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Sunday Times-South Africa
T-Systems donates R40 000 to Zip Zap Circus School outreach project
<p>Staff Writer</p>
March 15, 2013

T-Systems has donated R40 000 to the Zip Zap Circus School’s outreach project in Khayelitsha.

The donation was made during a Zip Zap student workshop with Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion performers at Grand West Arena, hosted by T-Systems.

“We believe that there is strong alignment between the qualities required to be a part of the fantastic acrobatic Cirque du Soleil experience and those we strive for within T-Systems,” says Gert Schoonbee, managing director of T-Systems South Africa.

“Specifically, reliability and competence stand out, which we strive for every day in our interaction with our customers, employees and other stakeholders. The sincerity and engagement required from the Cirque du Soleil team is something that we strive with purpose to create within our own organisation to drive improved delivery and customer experience.

“The Zip Zap Circus School is ensuring that the next generation of performers are rising through the ranks. While doing so, they are also doing good in our community thanks to programmes such as Ubuntu. Our investment in Zip Zap and the Ubuntu programme is clearly aligned with our CSI objectives of empowerment and the creation of a sustainable future for the country.”

Zip Zap Circus’s outreach programme, entitled Ubuntu, creates a fun and safe space for HIV positive children who are receiving anti-retroviral treatment but are not yet aware of their status.

The programme is Zip Zap’s second involving children living with HIV and was started in February 2012 in partnership with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

Every Wednesday teachers and older students from Zip Zap travel to the Khayelitsha MSF centre and entertain the children waiting in line for their treatment.  Because the children don’t know their status, they don’t understand why they are always sick and at the clinic, and dislike being there.

“Ubuntu aims to bring some fun and enjoyment to these young kids while they are waiting for their turn. It also aims to create the safe space they need when they are told about the disease, as most of the kids attend disclosure talks with counsellors while they are at the clinic,” said Laurence Estevee, co-founder of Zip Zap.

The space consists of two containers with a playing area in between them. So far the Ubuntu programme has improved the space with a mat between the containers and a roof over the playing area.

“The reality these kids face every day is a battle,” says Laurence. “But with Ubuntu we’ve seen smiles and laughter. Their faces light up when we play with them and they don’t want to leave at the end of the session.”