1 June 2006
Sunette Pienaar, founder of Heartbeat, has been named South Africa’s “Social Entrepreneur 2006” by the Schwab Foundation.
The award was made at the opening of the World Economic Forum’s Forum on Africa in Cape Town on Wednesday, and handed over by First Lady Zanele Mbeki.
The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship is running a search for “The Social Entrepreneur of the Year” in 30 countries around the world. In South Africa the search is in partnership with Deloitte and Independent Newspapers.
Heartbeat is a non-governmental organisation that reaches close to 5 000 orphaned and vulnerable children in communities right across South Africa. These include child-headed households, granny-headed households and potential orphans living with terminally ill parents.
The organisation was founded by Pienaar in 2000. By involving the community in raising and supporting the child, Heartbeat has developed a best practice model for the care of orphans.
A staff of 105 full-time employees and 500 volunteers have extended this concept of community intervention from the first site in Carltonville, south-west of Johannesburg, to 16 further sites in seven of South Africa’s provinces.
The organisation also helps orphans to access social services and schooling, ensures that they have access to medical care and provides regular food parcels.
Direct social impact
Pienaar was selected from a pool of five finalists: Mitchell Besser, Mothers’ Programmes (Cape Town); Taddy Blecher, CIDA City Campus (Johannesburg); Varkey George, SHAWCO (Cape Town); Banks Gwaxula and Jacob Lief, Ubuntu (Port Elizabeth).
The judges, Gill Marcus, Futhi Mtoba from Deloitte and Soul City founder Garth Japhet, considered the direct social impact, innovation, scale, replicability and sustainability of the finalists’ organisations.
Pienaar is admitted into the global network of leading social entrepreneurs of the Schwab Foundation and is invited to the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos.