Google’s Impact Challenge has me thinking about my legacy…
Every time someone who was considered an icon passes on I am left thinking about how they must have felt at the thought of their legacy and if there is an afterlife, whether they are happy with what they considered to be the work of their lives. I recently felt this with the passing of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Last year I had the opportunity to work in the Eastern Cape and though I often go through life with cynicism, something in me changed. I was working on an awareness drive where we were sharing knowledge with communities affected by the construction of SANRAL’s N2 Wild Coast road project. Our goal was to educate them on how the construction would impact their local economies and essentially their lives.
We went to many communities in and around the towns of Port St Johns, Bizana, Lusikisiki, Flagstaff and Port Edward engaging with hundreds of people from various ages and walks of life. There is a difference between seeing numbers on a sheet indicating the estimated amount of people who will be affected by something and actually speaking to them. I remember leaving there thinking “this is probably what my great legacy is going to be.”
While on the way back to Joburg, I was listening to a podcast from Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations where she shared an anecdote where Maya Angelou told her “You have no idea what your great legacy is going to be. Your great legacy will be all the lives that you have touched during your time here on earth,” and that stuck with me.
When I read about Google’s Impact Challenge it took me back to that time. They are committing US$2 million to non-profit organisations in South Africa. A panel which consists of Huffington Post’s Ferial Haffajee, media mogul Basetsana Kumalo, humanitarian Yvonne Chaka Chaka and media personality Maps Maponyane amongst others, will judge the entries. They will decide the winners along with a public vote. The public vote provides a chance for the people to decide which organisation gets an extra portion of funding to help them impact their community. The winning non-profits will get cash as well as access to guidance, technical assistance and mentorship from Google, which they are free to take up should they so choose.
As I prepare for another round of roadshows in the Eastern Cape, I am reminded how much it helps to have a big brand that not only has the resources to make a difference, but that also regards it as their responsibility to do so and impact lives. I know for the project that I work on, it could not have been possible otherwise.
I can only imagine how much some of the amazing men and women who are doing work that often has intangible benefits could use the money from the Google Impact Challenge to make an even greater difference for the causes that they serve.
The Google Impact Challenge South Africa is officially open and will close on the 4th of July. The final awards ceremony will be held during the week of 26 November. So if you are or know of a non-profit that could use this great opportunity, applications are open for the next six months, and non-profits can apply online at https://impactchallenge.withgoogle.com/southafrica2018