Home of Hope for Girls - ‘The Greatest Lessons'
At Milpark, we don’t just attract any student. Distance learning can be challenging. Many of our students have other commitments, such as families of their own, full-time jobs or often both. For that reason, we’re in the fortunate position of attracting students who are driven, focused, and have a clear idea of the world they want for themselves – and why. But what of the world beyond their own?
The old truths suggest that, to lead, leaders must have foresight. They must lead by example, and motivate and inspire on a moral basis – through aspiration, as well as recognition and reward. It is these qualities, the attributes of calm, considered, and ethical leadership that find themselves in short supply today. As a business school, it is integral to us that our students and alumni endeavour to be generators of sustainable value both for business as well as society at large…to work for an inclusive and sustainable economy, not only for ourselves, but for our country, the continent, and the world.
Perhaps the greatest lessons we at Milpark can pass on to our students aren’t to be found in the average accounting textbooks or tutorials, but lessons that are to be found in the world beyond our comfort zones. For us, accountancy lives beyond the spreadsheet, and beyond tables and graphs and algorithms. It comes to life in the everyday of the economy and the effect that it has on each and every person within that economy. In the sense of – and because of this – we all bear a measure of accountability for each other. If we are to play our part in the economy of tomorrow, it must be with an awareness of those spheres in which we can best bring our skills to bear for good….the greater good
From the start, Milpark has had a philosophy of community. Outreach, community engagement and social responsibilities, as part drivers of social, environmental and economic sustainability, has set it apart from other business schools. It’s a philosophy that increases awareness and nurtures an understanding of the value of private partnership and being aware of, and open to, initiating real, meaningful and lasting change that can make a difference.
It’s possibly no surprise then that our Social Responsibility and Environmental Management (SREM) module was firmly founded on this philosophy. The module examines the social, ethical and environmental issues faced not only by business but also by other kinds of organisations. NGOs provide these students with a theoretically supported and invaluable analytical perspective of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The module explores the significance of social responsibility and environmental management from the perspectives of corporates, government, individuals and NGOs. In this way, students are empowered to assess CSR initiatives, drivers and responses critically. They can recognise current forms of economic activity that are either unsustainable or that may be subject to a broader raft of ethical, social and environmental constraints in the future. By considering social, ethical and environmental issues to the extent to which they represent both constraints as well as opportunities for commercial enterprises, we become better accountants and hopefully better practitioners of change for good.
The best way to impart this philosophy is with real-world experience. Part of the SREM module’s Summative Assessment requires students to identify a charity. Bearing the charity in mind, students present an integrated assignment, motivating their choice and alignment with a chosen company. A recommended CSR strategy is also provided for the selected company, which can be beneficial to both.
On 23 June 2020, the 2020 Exam group presentations were held. Eighteen groups of students made presentations on their selected charities. The presentations were adjudicated by three panels comprised of internal staff, independent contractors and invited panelists from the corporate world. It was awe-inspiring for everyone involved to be presented with so many organisations that are making a real daily change in our society. Ultimately there was one charity that stood above the rest:
Home of Hope for Girls was founded by Khanyisile Motsa. Her goal was to offer a safe residence for children and teens who have survived abusive situations – predominantly those linked to child sex trafficking. Motsa, or “Mam Khanyi” as she’s affectionately known, started Home of Hope because she couldn’t sit back and pretend there wasn’t a need. She knew she had it within her to address the problem. Creating the foundation with nothing to her name, Mam Khanyi faced eviction, social backlash and seemingly insurmountable odds in her almost single-handed endeavour to change the girls' lives. She started Home of Hope for Girls because she understood that we all bear a measure of accountability to each other.
Today, Home of Hope for Girls cares for more than 220 young women. Their maxim is that a girl’s background does not define her future. Given a chance, each girl has the potential to lead her community. Mam Khanyi’s work at Home of Hope for Girls is enough to humble anyone. It is the sort of initiative we at Milpark believe in getting behind, which is why we awarded R140 000 to Mam Khanyi and her NGO in an online prize-giving ceremony on 14 August 2020. Mam Khanyi and Home of Hope for Girls represent a lesson for all of us.
At Milpark Business School, our focus is on delivering an education that empowers and equips both current and future leaders to pursue ethical and sustainable business practices, as informed by the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), in an evolving, continental and global milieu. If Milpark’s involvement with Home of Hope for Girls is just the starting point in changing the way our students view tomorrow’s economy and their role within it, then we’re onto a good path. Ultimately, if we are to be guided by our internal compass in accounting, we sometimes need to learn how to lead with our heart and not just our head.
Congratulations to the winning group of students – Group 7 (Sithuhlana Team) – who chose the Home of Hope for Girls for their project.
23 Nov 2020