BASA Awards 2004


BUSINESS DAY, Tuesday, May 25 2004          9

Children’s book led to

empowerment video

THROUGH its sponsorship of a book, The Story of the Forgetful Ice Lollies, Waltons KwaZulu-Natal was able to enlist the services of the author, Kriben Pillay, to conceive and direct a twenty -minute video on the company's black empowerment initiatives.

“The video enabled Waltons to showcase the meaningful part it is playing in economic empowerment in a way that is accessible to our clients,” says Yugen Naidoo, national director of black economic empowerment at Waltons.

“It has had a positive impact on our customer relations and sales. At the same time, we have played a reciprocal role in the empowerment of a local writer and his vision of transformation for children, by sponsoring the book’s publication.”

Written by Pillay and illustrated by Laura Pretorius, The Story of the Forgetful Ice Lollies is aimed at people from the age of 8 upwards.

Pillay, a professional writer, consultant in transformation and founder of the Children’s Literature Project, says “Using the ice lollies as a metaphor, the book shows that human beings are all connected to each other.

“What the book proposes to the reader is that we begin to feel this connectedness when we start to question our own stories that give us a sense of pain, suffering or isolation.”

“This book teaches the rarely addressed life skill of self-enquiry; people tend to shy away from questioning themselves,” says Pillay.

The book’s philosophy is based on the teachings of US transformational teacher, Byron Katie.

The next step for Pillay was to take the book’s processes for transformation into the schools as a voluntary community outreach.

“We had the book but didn’t have sufficient funds to go into the schools and complete the project,” he says.

After hearing about Basa, Pillay applied for and received a supporting grant to take the book out into the schools. He then obtained contracts to visit 10 primary schools in the region.

“News of the workshops spread like wildfire, especially in the disadvantaged schools in Phoenix and Chatsworth,” says Pillay.

“After the schools found out what the book was about, they asked me to come back and run workshops with the teachers to enable them to continue the process with the children.”

The book acknowledges Waltons support, further promoting the company’s name.

“This aspect of the sponsorship means that the relationship between Waltons and its schools client base is further strengthened, especially in terms of the back-to-school marketing strategy,” says Naidoo.

Pillay is conceptualising a second book, entitled Is it True You’ve Lost Your Marbles? which takes the self-questioning process further.

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