The Touch Life Centre is an early childhood development centre located in Troyeville, a disadvantaged community on the edge of Johannesburg’s city centre.

The centre caters for 60 children between the ages of two and six from the local community and provides them with a structured educational programme and meals.

By charging a nominal fee of R200, the centre offers an early childhood development education that their families could not otherwise afford. Many of the mothers are single parents and knowing that their children are being cared for during the day, are able to go out and try to find work.

At the end of each year, the centre hosts a graduation ceremony for the children who have completed their Grade R. This is a highlight for everyone and gives the children an opportunity to showcase for their parents what they have learned during the year. The children receive their diplomas and are handed a backpack containing stationery for their following year in primary school, which is donated by Murray & Roberts.

Says Tony Parker, Managing Director, Touch Life Centre, “We had a full turnout of parents for our graduation. The children came up to receive their certificates and their parents gave excited cheers, which grew louder when we handed out their photos, certificates and backpacks.”


Sail Africa Youth Development Foundation was established in 2007 and its objective is to expose youth to the sport of sailing and to careers in the nautical sciences and maritime industry. Several youngsters from the foundation have gone on to represent South Africa in world events and its focus on girls has seen an increased number of girls participating in the development programme, racing and claiming podium places. The programme also develops life skills, contributes to poverty alleviation, education and environmental awareness. The programme was awarded first place at the 2016 Jack Cheetham Awards.

The World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award celebrates the effective execution or ongoing delivery of high-impact sustainability initiatives that are aligned with the World Sailing Sustainability Agenda 2030. Entries are accepted from around the world with four finalists selected before going to a world vote. Sail Africa Youth Development Foundation received 41% of the public vote, an overwhelming win for the 2021 awards.

Quanhai Li, World Sailing President, says: “Sail Africa Youth Development Foundation is a life-changing project, ensuring under-represented communities have the opportunity to take part in the sport.”

Concludes Jackie Barnard, Sail Africa Youth Development Foundation Director, “We owe a debt of gratitude to our funders and partners and are grateful for the support shown to the programme, which will continue to change the lives of our sailors.”