In the foothills of Mount Kenya lies a 90,000-acre wildlife conservancy called the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, home to the world’s last 2 Northern White Rhino subspecies. In June 2018, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, once again, teamed up with the British Army (BATUK), Fauna & Flora International, Australian High Commission (Kenya), the East Africa Cricket Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives Foundation, Last Man Stands, the Primary Club of Australia, the Obuya Cricket Academy, and the Maasai Cricket Warriors to host the annual Last Male Standing Rhino Cup (LMS).
The aim of the event is to raise funds and create awareness around the almost extinct animal and the greater risk of poaching and ivory trade out of East Africa. But this was no ordinary cricketing event. A team of eight battle-dressed Maasai Warriors batted it out against the Ambassadors and a mixed team of eight corporates, including our CEO, Bronwyn Corbett, and co-founder, Greg Pearson. Each person exhibited incredible amounts of determination and proved that despite all their differences- in culture, achievements, and aspirations- they all shared the will to build a stronger, more resilient world, where setbacks are stepping stones and victories are game changers.
Rob Stevenson, who was born and raised in Kenya, is the organiser of Kenya’s LMS, which he created in an aid to help rhino conservation throughout the Kenyan region, while assisting with cricket development at the same time. With approximately 6 000 cricket teams globally, the LMS has an incredible following. Stevenson says, “After the death of Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino, we now have the last 2 female Northern White Rhinos.”
“Having a footprint in Kenya, we selected this under-resourced Rhino Conservancy as one of our primary CSR projects. We have a committed team of people and partners who joined us in taking part in this momentous match in an effort to help save the last of the beautiful species.” – CEO of Grit, Bronwyn Corbett
The Colin Mayer Tour is a high-profile organisation that was set up in memory of the legendary cyclist, Colin Mayer. His cousins, Greg Mayer and Michel Mayer formed the Non-Profit Organisation in collaboration with the MCF (Mauritius Cycling Federation) and the MMTBC (Mauritius Mountain Biking Commission).
Colin Mayer, who tragically died at the Junior World Champs in Moscow in 2009, was a “one of a kind” sports legend in Mauritius who inspired an entire generation of cyclists. Passionate for the bike, Mayer only started cycling at the age of 30 and soon became the Indian Ocean Champion and a multiple time trial champion who was considered “Boss of the Peloton”.
Greg Pearson, co-founder of Grit Real Estate Income Group (Grit), and Michel Mayer, President of the Colin Mayer Tour, signed a naming rights partnership for the sum of Rs500 000 (R100 000) per annum, raising the bar for the tour and setting the standard for all MTB races in Mauritius. Pearson said that Grit was a smaller sponsor for the inaugural 2016 Colin Mayer Tour, but after experiencing the event first-hand, they decided that going forward, they would increase their sponsorship substantially. Grit essentially wanted to help grow the tour into a race calendar ‘must-do’ event in Mauritius that would compete against other renowned MTB races in South Africa.
“For us, the Grit Colin Mayer Tour provides an excellent platform to extend the metaphor of mountain biking, collaboration and building an African real estate conglomerate. At the same time, we are honoring the memory of a good friend, Colin Mayer, and his attitude towards living life to the fullest. We also want to inspire people through sport and change lives for the better. An event like the Grit Colin Mayer Tour can change the life of a little boy, a little girl or even a grown person. I have seen so many people’s lives change for the better through sport. We need more of that.” – Co-founder of Grit, Greg Pearson
Since arriving in Mauritius nine years ago, Moira van der Westhuizen, a member of Grit’s EXCO, has been very involved in PAWS Mauritius. With a focus on the welfare of cats and dogs, PAWS believes that education and sterilization is the only humane and sustainable solution to Mauritius’ regrettable problem of an overpopulation of stray cats and dogs.
Currently caring for almost 100 animals, Moira has set up a dedicated farm for these animals where they can live out their lives. Her philanthropy has expanded over the years beyond its initial focus on cats and dogs, and has grown to include retired race horses, pigs, a goat, tortoises, rabbits, chickens, ducks and a turkey, with other species on their way.
With support and guidance from other EXCO members, the farm has now been converted into a non-profit organisation called All Life Matters (ALM), which is very close to Grit’s heart. The aim of ALM, besides being a forever home to the animals, is to teach compassion– towards one another, animals and most importantly, our environment. Since March 2017, Grit has been intimately involved in ALM and has donated Rs50 000 per month to support its crucial work on the island.
ALM employs ten Mauritian staff members who care for the animals on a daily basis. These individuals also assist in the education programmes and events, with the aim of achieving a very specific set of goals. Some of these events involve school excursions to the sanctuary where children have the pleasure of interacting with the animals– a totally new experience for most of these children.
At ALM, each and every animal has an uplifting story, which is what makes the organisation so incredibly special to us.