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"I had to unlearn a lot and be open to new ways to approach things"

Bushra Razack shares reflections on her experiences as part of Be The Earth's Flow Funding programme. She explores how working in new and different ways has been uncomfortable at times, but ultimately this journey has proved wonderfully rewarding.

My name is Bushra Razack. I am based in Cape Town South Africa. I work for an integrated community development hub [Philippi Village] in one of the most under resourced and underserved communities in the country. The community I work in faces many challenges and we are trying to work with our stakeholders to co-create relevant and meaningful solutions.


We do this through placing the experts – those most affected by these challenges at the heart of how we design solutions. It is not always easy and on any given day, you could find the team and I navigating anything from extortion to service delivery protests, shack fires, floods and the effects of violent crime. There are new and unique challenges every day. Our approach is entirely community centred and people focused.


When I first met Seth and Renata, they spoke about how to find alternate approaches to challenges – They spoke passionately about Heart, Intuition and the importance of Healing and Self Care as a priority. This was a very different way to approach both my personal or professional life. I was intrigued… When they offered me opportunities to be involved with BTE in different ways, I saw it as a learning experience and said yes.


And what a journey this has been! At times, the road has been straight and sometimes it has taken a series of unplanned curves. There have been fun times, surprises and adventures, uncomfortable conversations and lots of learnings!


I have been a recipient of Be The Earth’s Flow Funding support, I have attended BTE gatherings, We have had a BTE supported learning garden run in our space, I have become friends with the BTE team and I am also now a BTE trustee.


On this journey I have made some incredible friends, learnt a lot and also appreciated how many of the BTE team made an intentional attempt to better understand the South African context and its relevance to BTE programming. I value how even though we do not always have the same approach, BTE has created a space for listening, dialogue and support.


I have had many moments where I felt completely uncomfortable! I had to unlearn a lot and be open to new ways to approach things. During the Flow Funding journey, we had multiple check-ins where we would pause, do a breathing exercise, light a candle – and share how we were feeling in the moment. I had never been asked that and was completely caught off guard! But, I quickly started to look forward to connecting with the other women in the Flow Funding circle that I was a part of.


I am still trying to wrap my head around this type of philanthropy. Flow Funding certainly allowed me to use my proximity to the community and to the challenges to better channel funding and support to those in need. However, I felt like I needed to write a report … send a budget… conduct an impact assessment of some kind to justify funds spent.


While I was stressing out about an impact report… BTE were happy trusting that my connection to the challenges on the ground would allow me to direct funds in a meaningful and impactful way. They operated with complete trust and affection and I appreciate that. It was truly a unique experience. I am truly grateful to have been a part of it.


I have since been appointed as a BTE earth trustee. This is a role that comes with a responsibility I recognise and accept. Having been a part of the Flow Funding process, getting to know the BTE team and family and running an organisation that has received BTE support allows me to have a deep understanding of the different dimensions of BTE – the opportunities, the challenges and the potential… and I am so excited to do my bit to support where I can.

 

Bushra is currently the CEO of Philippi Village, an integrated community development hub that focuses on empowering local entrepreneurs with the opportunity to seek personal and economic development. Bushra is a community development specialist, and has worked across the continent in countries like Ghana, Kenya, Cameroon, and South Africa. Her experience in the development sector includes working with Standard Chartered Bank and their global initiative Seeing is Believing, CBM, UN OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), and Right to Sight International. She was one of 100 young South African leaders selected to the prestigious Mail & Guardian Mzanzi Top 100 list, and is the winner of the Power Woman of the Year award in Innovation.


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