The Change a Life Trust held their annual Feedback Session at the JSE (JHB) on Tuesday 2 November 2010. This is an opportunity for its beneficiaries to showcase their good work done over the last year, and The DNA Project, as one of its major beneficiaries was asked to give a presentation on our achievements over the 2009/2010 FY. Unfortunately I was suddenly struck down with the most terrible flu (which hasn’t happened to me in over 10 years!), so I was sadly unable to attend. But the DNA Project is comprised of a team of amazing people, so Carolyn took over the reins and reports back below on the day’s events….
The 2nd of November was a busy day for us. After flying up to Johannesburg, I met with Allan Thompson, another director of the DNA Project. We both then attended a wonderful lunch at the Computershare offices with the other beneficiaries of the Mike Thompson/Computershare Change a Life Trust. The occasion provided us all with an opportunity to catch up on what we had been doing throughout the year and the progress which each of the projects has made in the fight against crime in South Africa. We also chatted about the way forward in 2011.
Allan and I then met up with Rob Mathews for a DNA Project Board meeting (unfortunately Vanessa was not present as she is in bed with the flu!) During the meeting I was able to give Allan and Rob some further insight into our progress to date, with particular reference to the legislation, the post graduate degree and the DNA Awareness Campaign. During our meeting we also spent time on planning what the DNA Project should focus on in the next few months.
Debby Thomson (left) and Carolyn Hancock (right) at the event
Then it was a quick rush home to change and then back to the JSE for the Computershare Change a Life Feedback event after the cyclists recent exciting (but exhausting) trip to Malawi. The JSE was completely transformed into a wonderfully festive venue end everyone enjoyed a few snacks and cocktails before we went into the conference room where all the beneficiaries of the Change a Life Trust gave feedback on their achievements during the last 12 months.
With Vanessa being unwell, I gave the presentation on behalf of the DNA Project – quite a daunting task as we feel we have accomplished an enormous amount – but only had 6 minutes to tell the cyclists everything!! I was delighted to be able to comment on the fact that the post graduate degree is now up and running at the University of Free State and we are expecting our first graduates at the end of this year. In addition, that UCT will also be taking on a few forensic genetics honours students in 2011. I provided the participants with some idea of where we currently stand in terms of the legislation and how crucial it is that the parliamentary committee deal with the DNA Bill as a matter of urgency.The last few minutes of the presentation I spent concentrating on describing our DNA Awareness Campaign – how we have developed and filmed the training DVD, compiled the information booklet and trained people around the country to conduct DNA awareness workshops with various members of the community. To date we have contacted 552 organisations with regard to running awareness workshops and have already given presentations or workshops to over 1200 people (mostly since the beginning of August).
Carolyn presenting to the cyclists
Our message to anyone who may be the first at a crime scene remains:
D – Don’t touch
N – Note Record and Observe
A – Assist police officers
C – Comfort victims
S – Secure the scene
I – Insist no one interferes
Once the presentations were over the cyclists were introduced to what they could expect of next years event – a fantastic trip through Namibia – from East to West. When we returned to the foyer of the JSE, and in line with the theme of “going west,” the JSE was transformed into the “Wild West”. It was a really fun evening but also a time to remind the sponsors and cyclist’s of where their hard earned money has gone – to what we believe are some very worthy causes. We thank them all for their continued support of the DNA Project!!