Living Your Business Values: Platinum Electricians’ One Van, One Child Initiative

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Honesty and integrity… it may sound like stuff suited to stories about knights in shining armour, but at Platinum Electricians it defines how we do business. Saying what you mean, speaking with your actions and doing the right thing by your community is what we stand for. Which is why we’ve been proud to partner with World Vision to help children in need from Zambia. Our One Van, One Child initiative means that for every Platinum Electricians van on the road, a child is sponsored.

The Platinum family took the opportunity to travel to Chikomeni community in Zambia in 2015 to visit the children and families who had been supported by the One Van, One Child initiative. As Jeff Hoare of Platinum Electricians Rockhampton simply puts it, it was an eye-opening experience.

“It was very humbling to meet the kids and also meet their parents. The gratitude that was expressed by the parents in particular, you can see the life changing events that have happened as a result of the sponsorship.”

Having no expectations of what awaited him when he travelled there, Jeff’s first trip to Zambia proved to be one of his most memorable experiences. That bigger picture he saw there was why Platinum Electricians are in business.

“Are we in business to make money or are we in business to provide a better opportunity for everyone?” is what he found himself asking. Jeff discovered that the commitment to honesty and integrity can extend beyond just the everyday activities of Platinum Electricians.

“Think of how much that’s going to help people not just in Zambia, but people all over the world, through the various projects that we have the ability to do by being in the fortunate position of having successful businesses. Financially we have the capacity to be out supporting that type of fair notion.

“The main thing was to see exactly what our support is doing. It is all good and well to get your card from the children and have some contact with them by the post and all that stuff. But that’s nothing compared to going over there and actually meeting them and putting a name and a face and a personality to the dollar value at the end of it.

“We got to see the benefit that this initiative had not only to that particular child, but that child’s whole family. Everything through to the siblings, the mother, the father, and even the grandparents. The benefit that our sponsorship is having directly to that family is great community building.”

During their time there, Jeff and the Platinum family saw firsthand that things they would usually take for granted had made a huge difference in the lives of the children and their families. Children who would leave school in the afternoon didn’t have access to clean drinking water, and would have to resort to drinking water from a hole in the ground that animals would drink out of and people would also wash in.

It’s one thing to see this happen on television, but to see it and experience it in reality was a far more revealing experience. “In reality that’s what’s happening” Jeff says. Knowing that the contributions from the One Van, One Child sponsorship program were able to make a difference by improving the circumstances for the community considerably showed Jeff that the Platinum commitment to integrity was working.

“To see the change that the little bit of money we give makes and how far that actually goes is huge. Having the ability to get fresh water right out of the tap rather than drinking dirty water every day, it’s such a huge difference.”

Looking back on the experience now, Jeff feels that his time in the Chikomeni community greatly reinforced his belief that honesty and integrity are integral elements of Platinum Electricians.

“I’ve always in business held onto integrity very hard. If you make a promise, if you make a commitment, deliver on that promise, deliver on that commitment. Not just in the immediate but in the future, with your back up in service. The trip to Zambia really exaggerates the importance of the little things. Especially things like honesty and integrity.”

A year after the visit, Jeff isn’t satisfied with the one trip and is now determined to return to Zambia. “What I’d like to do is in maybe four or five years time to go back and see what benefit the sponsorship has given” he says.

“It’s not just the immediate child. It’s not just the child and his family, it’s also the benefits for the community that’s going on. It’s a community of people have been living in poverty with absolutely zero of an income. Then a group like World Vision comes along and teaches them better farming practices. They teach them things like raising chickens, and also, trades like welding and carpentry. Stuff that can be passed on for generations. Not a handout of some money to immediately solve the situation.”

As Jeff sees it, honesty and integrity is the best way to bring a community together. While it may be easy to put distance between Australia and Zambia, these two principles demand that if something can be done, then taking half measures will never be enough.

Looking at the involvement with the Chikomeni community, Jeff is convinced that what the Platinum family has done so far, and what they aspire to continue to do, is seeing these ideals become a reality.