The dream of an eight-year-old Helderberg boy to teach less fortunate children to fish is on a steady growth path.
He managed to take the first group of children on a fishing outing at the weekend.
Joshua van Zyl from Somerset West started a fishing group among his friends last year, going on weekend fishing trips to Harbour Island in Gordon’s Bay. His parents initially thought the regular fishing trips would help Joshua get out of his comfort zone and learn people skills, as he is rather shy. Little did they know that Joshua was a step ahead and had greater plans for himself and his fishing friends.
“It started when all his friends wanted to go fishing with him . . . He used his pocket money to buy handlines for his friends to fish with, but obviously his pocket money could only buy a certain number of handlines,” mom Jacqueline recalled.
“After 20 friends joined, he decided he wanted to raise funds to buy more handlines for his friends.”
Last June, when the Van Zyls went on a family outing to Johannesburg, his Jacqueline overheard Joshua and a friend share an idea on how he could raise funds to buy fishing equipment for all his friends. He planned to sell sweet mustard to his friends and family to raise the money.
Again, Joshua used his pocket money to buy the ingredients and made little pots of sweet mustard. “He sold them to everyone,” his mom said. “Our neighbours could not even stop to greet, then Joshua would ask them if they wanted to buy sweet mustard.”
After doing the maths, Joshua concluded that for every two pots of sweet mustard he sold, he could buy one bait and a handline. Apart from the sweet mustard he manufactures, Joshua also sells embroidered caps and jewellery to his fishing friends. They can have their parents’ contact details engraved on the back of the pieces.
“We are planning on selling the jewellery to all his fishing friends, so if they get lost they have their parents contact details with them,” Jacqueline explained.
Joshua’s initial idea was to teach children from disadvantaged backgrounds to fish, so he asked his mother to contact an orphanage in Strand, and glean permission to take the children on a fishing trip.
Jacqueline contacted Dorothy Cleophas, a social worker at Badisa Strand, and asked her if it would be possible for Joshua to treat the children to a fishing expedition. “Dorothy told us the home accommodated 44 children, and it would be difficult to take some children on the outing,” Jacqueline said.
“So we agreed on taking the young ones first and then the older ones at a later stage.”
The young lad’s father Corné applauded his sons’ leadership and entrepreneural qualities.
“The idea was never that he goes out to find sponsors to make his dream possible. We wanted him to find a way to fund it and he is doing well thus far,” he related.
To make the activities of Saturday 2 March a reality, Charmaine Fassbender, owner of Fish World in Harbour Island, donated hooks, sinkers and baits after hearing what the avid young fisher had in mind. “I met Joshua when he started fishing a year ago and shared the passion with him,” she said of her getting involved in the initiative.
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