World Cup-winning star Cheslin Kolbe says outreach work conducted in communities with the Be the Difference Foundation has been an eye-opening experience, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
In an exclusive interview with SA Rugby magazine, Kolbe reflected on his World Cup memories and plans for the future, but also touched on the invaluable work of a foundation very close to his heart.
As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Be the Difference Foundation has expanded its daily outreach to various communities, where they have been handing out food parcels and making various contributions to those in need.
‘One of our biggest challenges is to give back to our communities, and those who need it the most,’ Kolbe reflected. ‘From the work we’ve being doing recently – seeing the young and old all waiting in line for food and hoping to receive something – I’d really urge anyone who can to help support the foundation and in any other ways to help out during this challenging time.
‘You can see that people are struggling day in and day out, we’ve seen such a need for help, and how excited they are to receive something. That brings us so much joy to help in whatever way we can.’
Kolbe, who plays for French club Toulouse, had initially just returned to Cape Town for a holiday, but that his stay was extended after South Africa was placed in lockdown.
The Springbok star said he felt ‘everything happens for a reason’, and was extremely grateful to be able to help those in need in at this time.
‘During some our outreach, I asked someone what motivates him and thought they might say a player or something like that, but they just started singing a worship song. It just made me think this virus makes you take a closer look at yourself, and you realise how others have to live, and how much need there is. So, if we can help in any little way, hopefully it can help some to ensure they don’t have to go bed hungry.
‘This time has given me an opportunity to spend more time with my family and the community. It’s been great to be able to give back a bit, and hopefully some of what we have done has helped, and provided some hope. I think there are a lot of people who look up to us as sports people, and the least we can do is go out and try to help in some way. If I can put a smile on one person’s face, it’s worth it. I wish more people could come out and see how much need there is during this time.’
View this post on Instagram
What a time to Be The Difference and to help make a difference. The joy on those young kids faces, the suffering in our elders eyes, the struggles in our communities, this is what hit home. This is what makes me want to do more. Many people look up to me and many people approach me for help. I honestly want to try and help where I can. It has nothing to do about me or the credits, but it took a lot of me to do this post. I am not posting this to boast or for acknowledgement that I am giving back, I apologise if I am doing this wrong. Friends, family, companies: Our people need us. Yes, the government is reaching out and many foundations are doing their bit, but they are not going to every community as we all can’t be everywhere at once. Many are being forgotten, therefore I urge us all, let’s all do our bit. Together with BTD, reaching out to various communities daily and they definitely need more help in terms of sponsors and donations. If you can help in anyway, you help feed a starving child, a mother trying to feed a household, a man that has nothing to bring to the table during this lockdown due to no economic activity or the impossibility of odd jobs. Please I urge you to help. If each one of us, can feed one, no one will go to bed hungry. Together we can fight this Pandemic, together we can be the difference @bethedifferencefoundation
*The full interview with Kolbe will feature in an upcoming issue of SA Rugby magazine.