In the spirit of celebrating Women’s Month and honouring people while they are still alive, MOT – an Athlone-based registered non-profit organisation (NPO) honoured a woman whom they deemed worthy of a special accolade.
The organisation honoured Christine Thomas, a student support officer from False Bay Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College, Fish Hoek campus, with a “Are Hovstad Award”. She was nominated by Pamela Jako, who is the student representative council (SRC) president at the college.
The award is named after a Norwegian community activist Jarl Are Hovstad, who became a permanent South African resident. He was honoured by HRH King Harald of Norway for his work in education and health on the Cape Flats.
He was also awarded Western Cape provincial honours in the form of The Order of the Disa, bestowed various Rotary International awards and was instrumental in the establishment of a life-skills programme for students and learners in TVET colleges and schools.
Hosted on Tuesday 2 July in Pinelands, the award ceremony sought to encourage people to do well in their respective industries.
MOT was established 22 years ago in Norway and arrived in South Africa 10 years ago. It facilitates life-skills programmes for young people and empowers the youth to make conscious choices. Its programmes aim to equip young people with the tools to strengthen their awareness, courage and to manage peer pressure.
It also has a partnership with False Bay TVET College.
According to MOT’s office and social media administrator Jacqueline Carolus, it was the first time the ceremony was held.
Carolus the criteria used in nominating candidates was to look for someone who lives the values of MOT.
“Thomas was the best candidate,” Carolus explains. “She is a role model to many and lives by MOT’s values X to be yourself, to be passionate, to lead and to accept that you can’t always be perfect.”
Thomas says she feels honoured by the award. It was unexpected because her work is driven by pure passion.
“I was humbled by the honour. It came as a surprise. It shows that I am doing good work and that it’s worth recognition,” Thomas says.
For this individual, a social worker by profession, working with learners comes easily because it is something she enjoys.
“I am passionate about serving the youth. I like the fact that they can come to me anytime. I have an open-door policy. This is a calling for me,” she says.
Jako says she has known Thomas for more than two years and describes her as a mother figure.
She says Thomas deserves the nomination because of her willingness to go the extra mile for students.
“She is always willing to assist. When I was asked to nominate someone, it was just a no-brainer because she has been there for a lot of us,” says Jako.
Her wish for Thomas is that she continues to do the good work she does and to reach as many students as possible.