The Dream Factory may only be a few years old, but it has already reached thousands of children and encouraged them to spread their wings.
The 10th annual philanthropy awards of Inyathelo, the South African Institute for Advancement, took place in Camps Bay earlier this month, and the Dream Factor’s co-founder, Lusanda Gwayi, won the philanthropy award in the education section.
Ms Gwayi works with young people to help them achieve their dreams.
The foundation works with 10 Western Cape schools, focusing on pupils in Grades 9 and 10 who are making academic choices.
Some of the schools the foundation works with are Sea Point High School, Vista High School in the Bo-Kaap and Gardens Commercial High School in the City Bowl.
The foundation has also worked with schools in Kuils River, Khayelitsha and Rondebosch East.
The Blaauwberg resident said she was excited and humbled to win the award.
“I didn’t realise that I was going to be nominated in the education category, so it was a nice surprise.
“It was also a good round-up to the year because when you are in the trenches you don’t realise how much you have done. It was great because I am passionate about education,” Ms Gwayi said.
She started the Dream Factory Foundation in 2011 with co-founder Laurian Nortje, spurred on by the lack of facilities and resources in schools and communities.
The organisation was registered as an NPO in 2013 and has worked in 20 schools and with thousands of children since.
Young people can now take part in several programmes, run throughout the year.
“I believe that the inspiration to dream is vital to the welfare of society. It is the difference between those who succeed and those who fail in life,” Ms Gwayi proudly said.
One of the organisation’s programmes teaches pupils coding, and they can take part in 10 two-hour coding sessions a week.
“The earlier you start with coding the better, so that’s why we have done some primary schools as well,” said Ms Gwayi.
“I was supposed to be an attorney, but God has a funny way of doing things,” she said.
“Given that our name is the Dream Factory, it would be an injustice if we didn’t one day have our own factory space where young people’s dreams can be manufactured.”
Inyathelo acting executive director Nomfundo Walaza said the awards were part of Inyathelo’s commitment to building a vibrant democracy in South Africa.
“Our awards seek to inspire others to give by recognising the incredible role models who live and work among us. Philanthropists pay a critical role in benefiting society through their interest, passion, generosity and foresight.
“At Inyathelo, we hope that in acknowledging the individuals who commit their funds and resources to better the lives of others, we will encourage others to do the same.”