Ex diplomat has a God-inspired dream for tackling social injustice and poverty
God has a dream for South Africa – a dream in which the ever present nightmare of social disaster gets managed as risk, birthing a major new business sector and leading the way in poverty eradication.
It is a dream which former career diplomat turned carer for Aids orphans, Robert Botha, believes God has placed in his heart and which he plans to pursue together with other Kingdom-minded entrepreneurs who dare to dream with him.
Change of direction
After 18 years in international relations culminating with a posting as First Secretary Political at the South African Embassy in Paris from 1999 to 2003, Botha founded the James 1:27 Trust in 2004 to care for orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV and poverty. He says the idea for the radical change in the direction of his life began to emerge during a near-fatal bout with Leukaemia when he developed a deep compassion for the dying and children who had been orphaned.
Today the Trust which is located at the Innovation Hub in Pretoria runs off sophisticated information management systems such as SAP Business One and is pioneering the concept of holistic care within an asset based community development approach.
Botha says that given the present numbers of children at risk he believes there is a need for a fresh approach to social innovation, entrepreneurship and enterprise development.
His main narrative is that God has a dream for South Africa and that the ever present nightmare scenario needs to be managed as a risk.
Expanding on his dream of a commercial, risk-based approach to the present scenario, he writes: “The reality is that within the next two decades the majority of the electorate will be today’s dissatisfied youth. The Arab Spring fuelled by discontent and a connected youth through social media makes for a real possibility of dramatic social change.
“The James 1:27 Trust, in response, is exploring the possibility of creating a social movement in which ordinary South Africans on a fixed monthly basis subscribe to sponsored child and youth care services. These services forming a healing presence among individuals, families and communities.
“The big idea being promoted by the Trust is that these sponsored subscriptions can be packaged and commercialised as a form social insurance. Purchased as an annuity on an e-commerce platform they constitute a cash transfer from the resourced to the poor. Underwritten by the imperatives of self-interest and risk mitigation ordinary people become social buyers of social justice. The outcome, a securely delivered actual service (on-line education, supplementary food, therapy).
“This great migration from just ethics and philanthropy to interests and the market could be the genesis of the emerging social services sector, one that can become an even bigger industry than the financial services sector. As you can imagine this is a massive task one requiring Kingdom minded collaboration.
“The potential in seeing inequality as a fuel and opportunity for capital transfer makes for a game changing approach. By stimulating employment creation through social entrepreneurship, poverty can be addressed at systemic level. “
South Africa with the largest GINI coefficient and level of inequality may well become a world leader in solving poverty. God has a dream for this nation. Are you prepared to dream as well?”
Botha says anybody interested in finding out more about his dream and possibly partnering with him should visit the Trust website at www.james127trust.org
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