On-the-Ground in Zambia: John Grout on Being Generous in Both Business and Life

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Platinumelectricians - John Grout On-the-Ground in Zambi

John Grout is the owner of Platinum Electricians in Gippsland and Mulgrave, VIC, and has been with the Platinum company for five years. John played a pivotal role in the development of the Platinum Foundation, after visiting Zambia and seeing the real impact that Platinum’s One Van One Child initiative was having on people such as those living in the Chikomeni community. Making use of his amazing experience, we had a chat to John about what generosity means to him, his trip to Zambia, and why generosity is such an important core value to Platinum.

What does being generous mean to you?

I really believe that you get what you give. So, if you want more, you should really give more. I think that one of the things people should measure themselves on is what you give away, rather than what you have – who you helped and what you did, rather than what you bought.

How does Platinum’s One Child One Van initiative reflect the value of generosity?

We have a great partnership with World Vision, and one of the things that we encourage all our franchisees to do is have each one of their vehicles sponsor a child in need, which is where the ‘One Van One Child’ slogan comes from. Each of our vans is currently doing about 20 – 30,000 kilometres a month of electrical servicing, so sponsoring a child for $50 a month is a great thing to do that stems from that productivity and success. It’s so great to be able to have an avenue where we can give back, and to have a partnership like the one we have with World Vision is great, because they’re a reputable organisation on the ground, and we know that the money we raise is really making a real difference.

Tell us a little bit about your trip to Zambia…

I went to Zambia in February two or three years ago. We didn’t go over there with any expectations or achievements in mind, it was just an amazing opportunity that I was lucky enough to have offered to me. I thought it would be amazing to get to meet the sponsorship children and see what goes on in the areas that we sponsor, such as the Chikomeni community. It really was an opportunity that was just too good to pass up.

What did you get up to while you were there?

It was a fairly remote location we went to, so it took a few days to get to the communities. We met a lot of amazing people and opened some new facilities, like toilets. We also got to see firsthand what the sponsorship money that we raise actually does, and we got to see how the people we help to support live – and how happy they are! The communities have done loads of things over the past five or ten years to improve their general living conditions, and give themselves better sanitation, better food and better nutrition for their kids. We got a real taste for what it’s like to live in a country like that.

I didn’t really have that much of a culture shock as I’ve travelled through third world countries before, but I always found it surprising that no matter what they’re going through or how little they have, they always give their absolute best to guests and visitors. When we visited places we would always be very welcomed and given the best food that they had. It was unusual eating the kind of food that they eat though. We tried some interesting stuff, like salads made of pumpkin leaves and peanuts that they’d grown, as well as different varieties of bush chicken, which is a very lean meat.

Do you think your trip to Zambia influenced your attitude to generosity when you returned home?

Well I suppose the main ‘generous’ outcome of the trip to Zambia was that it spurred us starting the Platinum Foundation. We thought that we could really take our giving back to the next level, and seeing what a great impact we were having in Zambia really encouraged us to want to give back more. Being generous is such an amazing thing to be able to do that comes along with business success, and knowing that we’re going to be able to help these people for generations to come is a great feeling.