Living in South Africa brings with it certain responsibilities. Although a beautiful country with unbounded human potential, South Africa nevertheless has a number of serious infrastructural and socioeconomic problems, one of which is the lack of widely available quality education.
It is said that the gift of education is the greatest gift that one can ever give. The Theo Jackson Scholarship Fund aims to provide this gift to underprivileged children so that they can have the opportunity to enjoy a life which they would otherwise never have had.
Hopefully, like Theo Jackson, they will in turn repay the school, society and our country in time by giving back more than they ever received.
When we started the Theo Jackson Scholarship Fund in 2005 with a donation comprising the small inheritance left by our father, we never dreamed it would grow to the extent it has. Our initial aim was a simple and modest one – to repay the gift of education, and the opportunities which open up as a result thereof, to one boy. In this way, we are providing the same chances that John Jackson made available to our father when, in 1961, he adopted Theo, who had been orphaned after his mother’s death.
That the Theo Jackson Scholarship Fund will, in 2012, support in excess of 40 boys and is one of the largest Scholarships of its nature in the country is a great testament to the generosity of humanity, the power of a dream and the unlimited potential of the youth of South Africa, if only they are given the educational key to the door of their future.
The real heroes of the Scholarship are the boys who have risen above tremendous personal challenges and are creating a future for themselves in this beautiful country. Whilst we know we cannot change the world, we can change the lives of individuals therein and, by giving opportunities to these young men to become good husbands, fathers and citizens of South Africa, we hope we are doing just that, one boy at a time.
Dale and Craig Jackson
It takes a great investment in time and effort to unearth the hidden beauty of a rough diamond, transforming it into a precious gem.
In the same way, the Theo Jackson Scholarship Fund aims to uncover the talents of boys who, if not given such an opportunity, may well never get a chance to shine. The Fund specifically targets disadvantaged boys who are either orphaned, or come from single parent families. Most importantly, however, the boy must display a unique character and resolve; the type of determination and perseverance which refuses to be contained by difficult circumstances. The Theo Jackson Scholarship Fund helps to hone and harness this drive by providing scholarships at Johannesburg’s oldest government school, Jeppe High School for Boys.
The Theo Jackson Scholarship Fund was established by Dale and Craig Jackson, who were inspired by the dauntless spirit with which their father, Theo Jackson, faced the many challenges in his life.
Theo Jackson exemplifi ed the boys whom Dale and Craig strive to help through the Fund. An orphan, Theo found a new family when he became a boarder at Jeppe, while the school’s nurturing environment helped him develop previously unknown skills and talents. Theo later went on to become a role model citizen and father, president of Jeppe Quondam Club and co-founder of the Jeppe Quondam Athletic Club.
Dale Jackson – a former headboy at Jeppe – is keenly aware that his father’s life would have been very different, were it not for the opportunities, friendships and care he enjoyed at the school; hence his determination to ensure that other boys, from similar backgrounds, have the same prospects.
When awarding a scholarship, candidates must meet three criteria:
Trustees of the Theo Jackson Scholarship Fund have formed close links with a number of orphanages, primary schools and NGOs. These relationships ensure they are well placed to select appropriate recipients from among the many applications received each year.
Applicants undergo a rigorous process to ensure that they have the mettle to make the most of the opportunities which will be presented to them.
In addition to tuition and hostel costs which are paid by the Fund for all scholarship recipients, the Fund also pays for items such as school uniform, tours, sports kit and stationery should the parent, orphanage or guardian not be able to afford these items.
When Dale and Craig established the Theo Jackson Scholarship Fund in 2005, it was with the idea of extending the opportunities they had enjoyed throughout their life. Their altruistic gesture has mushroomed into a significant concern with a robust structure which, although carefully managed, remains a vital support for the boys it aims to help.
Dale (a qualifi ed chartered accountant) left the corporate world and is currently a deputy headmaster at Jeppe. He is aided in his efforts running the Fund by Elaine Jackson, who is responsible for the logistics, administration and wellbeing of the boys, and Penwell Magagula, a Jeppe Old Boy who resides in one of the boarding establishments with the boys.
At the Fund’s helm are trustees Craig Jackson (co-founder and former captain of SA Hockey and a member of Investec Wealth and Investment); successful businessman and former Jeppe Quondam president, Barry Holland, and former Nestlé director and Jeppe stalwart, Bill Sears.
Making an equally important contribution to the Fund’s success are its several partners. In order to ensure it is optimally equipped to answer the boys’ needs – physical as well as emotional or psychological – the Fund has joined forces with a number of medical providers, including optometrists, psychologists, physiotherapists and supplementary teachers.
The number of boys benefi ting from the Theo Jackson Scholarship Fund has increased dramatically; from one in 2006 to 42 in 2012. In order to maintain the integrity of the programme, the Fund offers a maximum of 10 new scholarships each year. However, it requires funds in order to support these learners.