Paying It Forward—Literally

Lawrence Vande VyvereToday’s guest blog comes from Lawrence Vande Vyvere, a diabetes sales rep with Lilly Canada and a 2014 Connecting Heart Abroad ambassador with the Lilly NCD Partnership in Johannesburg, South Africa. With nine of his fellow ambassadors, Lawrence is using his service experience to pay it forward through a new scholarship program for community health workers with Project HOPE in South Africa.   

I appreciate the importance of an efficient and well-organized pharmacy. Why? I used to work as a diabetes education clinic manager with a hospital in Canada. So I was delighted to observe such organization at a clinic operated by Project HOPE in Zandspruit, an impoverished township in Johannesburg, South Africa.

I had the privilege of volunteering at the HOPE Centre in 2014, along with nine Lilly colleagues from around the world. Together, we built on the work of Lilly ambassadors who helped establish new workflows for the clinic a year earlier.

Our team was deeply affected by the people of Zandspruit, especially the local health workers with Project HOPE. One of these workers is a single mother who lives in the township. Her job is to help meticulously maintain the pharmacy’s new processes. She’s one of several workers whose passion to serve her community inspired our team of ambassadors.

We returned from South Africa last year—not overwhelmed by the problems we encountered, but amazed by the potential we saw there.

These local health workers are carrying the work forward. They have fantastic spirits and great attitudes—and they learn quickly. But many don’t have the opportunity or means to advance their education or training.

2014 Johannesburg Pic from LV 1

Our team of ambassadors hopes to change that with the new Project HOPE Zandspruit Bursary, a scholarship program we established this year. Each of our team’s10 ambassadors who served in Zandspruit in 2014 has volunteered to personally invest $200 annually in the scholarship. These funds will be awarded to local community health workers who have applied to advance their education or support a clinic program. Project HOPE will screen the applications to ensure they meet program criteria and clinic objectives.

Our team of ambassadors, along with Project HOPE’s country manager in South Africa, will select the finalists. And we couldn’t be more excited to do so. These are bright, capable and empowered individuals who are doing great work for their community. The goal of the scholarship program is to keep that light shining.


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