Footpath to the future


By Lizelle van der Klashorst

Being called with passion and drive is often something that spontaneously gives one every day the courage to walk the footpath with conviction. Still, one sometimes has to linger and observe with awareness what to sharpen the focus on next. On what matters and needs to be done going forward. So: What does it specifically mean to be called in this specific time and space and within the vision and objectives of the Study Trust and the team?

I am often confronted with the challenges but also the incredible opportunities of our time. Very specifically, one is struck by the great responsibility to give structure to these challenges and opportunities, with the intention that they become a footpath and compass that guides the future. These challenges and opportunities are not only relevant for the growth and sustainable performance of the Study Trust, but also relevant for all our role players within the ecosystem and value chain of the Study Trust.

I use the symbolism of a “footpath”. For the past 15 years already, with the vocation, benevolence and hard work of several people, a footpath of hope has been slowly but surely trodden out, step by step for a future that has changed many young people’s lives irrevocably. What this footpath demonstrates is not only the persistence and hard work over a period of much change, but it also took responsibility with specific expertise, skills, capacity, resources and precious relationships to be able to celebrate this milestone. It is now of great importance that we do not rest on our laurels. With sustained drive, we need to get stronger with all our role players in our value chain, in order to use the challenges and opportunities to our advantage to stay stronger and make a difference with sustainable performance. The message is that a footpath does not become a highway overnight. A highway is built with special expertise and must also be constantly maintained.

Social, economic and societal well-being in our country and communities is inextricably linked to success and sustainable performance. Success comes with responsibility and more so to understand and do what is required of us, aligned with our vision, objectives and stakeholder interests within the framework of common objectives. Success also has a price, − in the context of certain quality standards that must be maintained. However, sustainability is also faced with constant change and times of instability. Critical skills and qualifications are required that can address the necessary capacity needs in the context of constant change and quality standards in the economy. When these skills and capacities are available, the foundations of organizations, businesses and social structures are strengthened. Strong foundations ensure success and sustainable performance.

Through study, training, education and development, we can be equipped for the future. By focusing on the fields of study and courses that create the relevant and necessary skills and capacity that can address the challenges but also the opportunities of our time, we can meet the need for quality, adaptability and sustainable performance. Critically needed skills include technical, business, leadership and interpersonal skills to ensure social, economic and societal well-being. Problem solving, creativity, communication, negotiation skills and resilience top the list of skills needed for our time. There is also a healthy tension between “I can do it myself” and “I can do more than I do with others”, and being part of a team or community with a cohesiveness and a shared value system. Leadership skills require us to be able to apply both, each relevant as the circumstance, occasion or process requires.

What does success and sustainable performance mean in the context of the Study Trust? The Studietrust team is committed to success as part of the vision: “Seven generations of hope founded in study”, which exemplifies the successful sustainability principle. The Study Trust likes to set the example of managing constant growth and change with responsibility also for the Study Trust by developing technical and leadership skills, thus creating capacity for sustainable performance. To add value through the student loan platform and thereby help create the economic and interpersonal skills and capacity for the economy and well-being in our communities is a precious legacy for us.

Relationships and handshakes with all our role players from donors, institutions, institutions, collaborators in our communities and students, are of inestimable value to us, as part of our full-circle model. I want to take the full-circle model further by asking each donor and student fund committee to reflect on the qualifications and skills required to serve our communities, adding value to the economy and being able to relevantly address the needs of our time. Job creation becomes of crucial importance as part of these discussions in order to be able to plow the expertise and skills that have been exploited and created through this process into fruitful capacity back into the economy and to give wings to our communities.

Psalm 24:1 – “The earth belongs to the Lord and the fullness of it, the world and those who live in it.”

The Studietrust team has seriously entrusted us with stewardship, the relationships, trust, gift of knowledge, donations and other resources. There is no glory in success. There is only great gratitude with a deep sense of responsibility. Today, the Studietrust team gratefully celebrates the progress to make a difference together with everyone who supports us with heart, hands, hard work and vision.

Thank you to every individual, donor, leader and collaborator who walks the footpath to the future with us!

  • Lizelle van der Klashorst is the head of Solidarity Helping Hand Study Trust.