The Princess Vlei Forum would like to congratulate our Chairperson, Mr Philip Bam, on being awarded the Heart of the Earth medal at a ceremony on 14 February.
The medal was founded by World Organization Koluchstyl, to pay tribute to people and institutions who have devoted their lives to working for others, and through this have contributed to the development of human, earth and human integration.
The Heart of the Earth medal is also a reminder for those who selflessly assist others, they are not alone, that they are internationally recognised and appreciated. This recognition can be helpful in extending the reach and impact of their work.
Philip is one of seven global recipients in the first round of awards which were handed over in Poland in December. He passed up the opportunity to attend the ceremony, as he was involved in the first Blind Cricket World Cup in South Africa at the time.
Philip has dedicated his life to the service of the visually impaired, to his local community, and his environment. He has served as a the executive director and vice president of LOFOB for many years, is a founding member of the Princess Vlei Forum, and has been active an many community forums including LOGRA, the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance, the Community Policing Forum. His unwavering dedication to humanity, and willingness to sacrifice his time and resources in this cause make him a very worthy recipient of this award.
See also the news report on the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance website.
Below is the entry on Philip Bam from the Heart of the Earth Foundation website.
He lives in Cape Town.
He studied at the Calvinist Theological Seminary, and was ordained in 1973.
Because of his great interest in the affairs of the visually handicapped community, Mr Bam resigned his full time ministry in 1979 to take up the position of Executive Director of the League of Friends of the Blind [LOFOB].
He is however still active in the church, conducting services and chairing its synodal commission on dogmatics and current affairs.
Mr Bam also holds the Diploma in Business Administration, 1st Class, from Executive Education, Cape Town, as well as a Diploma in Public Relations from the Centre for Management Development, Cape Town.
His involvement in blindness issues extends to all aspects of the world of the blind.
He served as Chairperson of the management board member of the Haven Night Shelter Welfare Organisation providing nineteen shelters in the Western Cape.
He is chairperson of the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance an organistion of 160 community based organisation and environmental groups.
He currently serves as Chairperson of the Princess Vlei Forum, comprising various interest groups involved in heritage, culture and environmental protection.
As the Executive Director of LOFOB he was personally responsible for the establishment of a new hostel in Grassy Park for 52 blind men.
Under his guidance a Work Centre creating employment for over 120 blind people.. This Centre also provided some job opportunities for unemployed people.
He was invited to become a trustee of Disability Employment Concerns, an empowerment of disabled people investment group, an organisation funding the building of schools where the State cannot do so.
Under his able direction a community-based rehabilitation programme was established for low ability blind people. He also established the Early Childhood Development programme for blind toddlers at LOFOB
He is considered to have expertise in the field of organisational development and management as well as fundraising .
He was the recipient of many various appreciation awards from community organisations. He was named a MELVYN JONES FELLOW which is the highest international recognition afforded by Lions International for humanitarian service.
A number of Princess Vlei supporters (some with four legs) turned out for our walk around Princess Vlei on 14 December 2014
Amongst the 30 or so participants were members of the ARD athletics club , who are interested in exploring the development of a walking/ running tracks around Princess Vlei to use for cross country races and training.
Dalton Gibbs, regional manager of the City of Cape Town's Biodiversity Management Branch, addressed the gathering on the fascinating ecological history of Princess Vlei and the other vleis in the area. He explained that the vlei formed part of what was once a huge wetland system that expanded in summer and shrank in winter. As human activity had had a major impact on the the natural systems of this and other vleis it would not be possible to restore it to its original form, but a lot could be done to rehabilitate it and boost the biodiversity of the site. He said that eastern shore of Princess Vlei contained remnants of the highly endangered Cape Flats Sand Fynbos, and it was important to try to restore this as much as possible.
“The challenge is always to balance human needs and environmental needs.” Gibbs said that it was important to restore the water quality of the vlei as far as possible, especially as this vlei feeds all the others in the system. However, there efforts were hampered by the ongoing impact of human activity, and the shortage of resources.
The walk once again demonstrated both the tremendous potential for this area as a recreational natural park, and also the many challenges of pollution and dumping to this site. In the coming months, the Princess Vlei Forum will be engaging with the City on implementing improvements to the site. All who have ideas on this can contact us, or fill in our on-line survey.
Posts by Bridget Pitt unless stated otherwise.