The Sunday Mail
Our Society Reporter last week had a chat with Thompson Dondo, one of the people behind the recent “Change a Life Concert”. Below are excerpts from the interview. Read on.
Q: Did the “Change a Life Concert” change a life?
A: The concert was a success in terms of changing lives of the Alfred Dondo Foundation beneficiaries. The turnout was encouraging and we managed to harvest clothes, shoes, food as well as partners that have pledged commitment in ensuring that there is consistency and sustainability in basic needs provision to the beneficiaries.
Q: Why did you choose Nasty C for the concert and did you get the intended results from him?
A: We researched his background and discovered that he has a similar background with some ADF beneficiaries. He was an orphan at 11 months after his mother was shot and was raised by his grandmother. However through support, hard work and determination he is now one of the biggest hip-hop artistes around.
We saw it befitting to work with someone who will be able to comprehend the cause and the objective behind the show. He humbly accepted, and was more than willing, to be part of this cause, encouraging people to help and donate.
The artiste donated to the cause through discounts on his performance fee; he has also donated to the foundation as it were. He also went an extra mile by performing for more time than initially agreed.
Q: The show was attended mostly by youths. Was this your target group?
A: We believe cultivation of a giving culture is vital for our community. Also making them understand that corporates do give back to the community is critical if we are to breed a generation that will build empires that support communities.
But it is important to note that inasmuch as his music attracts youths, a handful of the older generation also came and they had interests in the initiative.
Q: Give us a brief background of the Alfred Dondo Foundation?
A: The foundation was initiated in 2014 and is the brainchild of the late Alfred Dondo, who is brother to Impala Car rental chief executive Thompson Dondo.
The foundation has 65 children under its auspices and has been bankrolling their school fees, stationery, uniforms as well as food hampers.
It started off with just under 30 children from Chikomba district and the figure grew. Twenty children are from Sadza District and the remainder from Chivhu area, where Mr Dondo comes from.
The foundation caters for different impairments that have affected some of the beneficiaries. We have five children with visual impairments and we have manged to rehabilitate them in institutions that accommodate such deficiencies. We also have children with hearing challenges and to date we have only managed to habilitate two out of the six and we thus still appeal to the corporate world that can assist in this regard, more specifically with hearing aids as well as sending them to schools that will assist with sign language accordingly.
There are children that have been affected and infected by HIV and thus requires special assistance.
As a foundation we have tried to assist in providing access to medication and regular check-ups, however, more will still needs to be done to ensure that these children do not receive any stigma because of their health conditions.
We also have one of the beneficiaries who has skin condition that requires surgery for excess skin and we thus appeal to plastic surgeon(s) that can assist in this regard. In a nutshell, the foundation still requires partnerships with corporates to share the same vision of changing lives of the less privileged.
To date we have partnered with Aspire Magazine, Hama Solution, Schweppes, CBZ, Central Cash, Fasfit Matlock Garage, Pepsi, Chicken Hut, Star FM, Pacific, MAZ, SMDC, Child Line, Flash beverages, EML Trading and Pacific.
Q: How does the foundation operate?
A: The foundation starts offering assistance at primary level and will continue to do so until completion of the highest educational level possible.
It operates under a trust fund and the patron is Mrs Dondo, wife of the late Alfred Dondo; and she works with Tracy Ngoma, the brand manager for Impala.
Q: How can we prove your foundation is not a bogus scheme aimed at swindling or laundering money?
A: Transparency is our core value as evidenced by our willingness to get into partnerships.
In addition, organisations that have partnered with us or want to partner us and would like to assist financially can pay direct to the schools in question.
The fact that Impala initiated the foundation and has been has for the past four yes been bank rolling everything without seeking assistance speaks volumes of the vision behind the foundation.
Besides, we mostly appeal for no-financial donations like blankets, food, stationery medical assistance, which are fundamental in one’s daily life.
We have an open door policy. We are open to visits for those that would want to authenticate the cause.