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Maxine Gray invests her time in the future of our young ones

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Maxine Gray is 28 years old, she’s a Board Member of imagine.nation (NPO) and founder of the Winter Warmer Initiative. Imagine.nation focuses on education and entrepreneurship in informal sector communities, particularly with a focus on Early Childhood Development (ECD). The Winter Warmer project is targeted at raising funds to provide polar fleece blankets to creches and other beneficiary organisations in need of assistance in keeping children warm while at school such that they can learn. Imagine.nation partners with a local supplier organisation who sources and makes up the polar fleece blankets. The Winter Warmer project started in 2010 as a personal project for Maxine and became an official imagine.nation project in 2015. Next year will be the 10-year anniversary for the Winter Warmer project.


We asked Maxine a couple of questions around the imagine.nation and the Winter Warmer project:


  1. Why is imagine.nation important?


We believe that education is the key to unlocking a better future for all and that if a child is given a good foundation, from an early age that he/she will be significantly more equipped to be able to develop, learn and grow into a successful adult. By providing a safe, educational space where children can learn from just a few months old to age 6 before entering primary school, it also enables parents to be able to seek employment and provide for their families thus promoting employment, higher income levels and assisting in alleviating poverty. I believe there is a direct link between ECD and alleviating poverty, using entrepreneurship to unlock economic potential.


  1. What’s been your biggest challenge in being a part of imagine.nation?


Balancing a full-time career and working in this space which I am so passionate about is difficult. Having limited time can make one feel despondent when progress seems slow or not at the pace I would have hoped, however looking back to where we have come from is always a great reminder of the compounded impact consistent work has had over the years. Also, funding and dedicated volunteers who are truly committed to the cause are always hard to come by.


  1. What advice would you give to other positive social change agents?


Always fuel your fire by consistently connecting with your passion, people that share your passion and surrounding yourself with people who support you in these endeavours. Never be too hard on yourself, set realistic goals based on your capacity and be consistent – a small amount of dedicated time, each day, compounds into great success over time – be patient and never give up.


  1. Is there any resource you’ve tapped into, that’s helped imagine.nation? What is it?


Family, friends, colleagues, social networks and fellow One Young World Ambassadors.


  1. If you would request one thing for the work you’re doing, what would it be?


For the Winter Warmer, with 2020 being the 10-year anniversary, my goal is to be able to raise enough funds to get 10 000 blankets distributed to children and organisations in need. As such, funding (donations) and support of the campaign, through social networks, family, friends and companies is required to be able to reach this goal. We are looking to raise R500k by June 2020 in order to achieve this.


  1. Any events coming up?


We run a program called “Parties with a Purpose” which we host once a month – the idea is to allow people to celebrate their Birthdays with an educational, fun morning at our Boitshepo creche in the Lanseria area. We are doing a Winter Warmer distribution at our Boitshepo creche on 7 July.


  1. For more information check out these pages or email Maxine:


Instagram: @imagine.nation_insta

Facebook: Imagine.nation

Email: maxinegray.imagine.nation@gmail.com

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