We had a very busy day and a bit of an emotional rollercoaster....
We went to the IBM Smarter Industry Symposium where Steve Forbes (Chairman and Editor-in Chief of Forbes media) was key note speaker. He gave a very insightful speech on the global economical challenges. During the coffee break I was lucky as he was standing next to me so we had a little talk. He asked me about the situation in Belgium. I had not seen that one coming! But.... I had a picture taken with him... Right before my camera went dead! I am really glad I could recover the picture!
But I had to get and buy a new camera... :-(
During lunch we were invited to talk in the Ivory Park public school to talk to 400 students of the age of 16-17.
#ibmcsc south africa
Each one of us told them something about our personal career to inspire them and motivate them to study well; identify their talent and not to give up despite any drawbacks. Most of them are orphans and live in shacks. They live in poverty with a lot of HIV and teenage pregnancies. One girl was raped the night before and another girl lived on her own in a shack without anyone taking care of her. The main reason why they come to school is because they get food during lunch time.
We realized we were keeping them away from their lunch actually and when we finished the head of the school asked the students who do have some food at home to wait until the others got served. It was emotionally very heavy to see that right in front of you.
But I was really positively surprised by the disciplined behavior of all of them.
Some students were very vocal in the Q&A and asked about IBM scholarships i.e.
3 years ago IBM did a project with some volunteers who went to give school on Saturday to 15 chosen students with a willingness to succeed but not the most intelligent ones.The head of the school told us that each one of those are now at the university as a result of that focused coaching & training.
I was proud to be an IBMer even though it was all just a drop on a hot plate. I just wished we could have done more.