Computershare launched Change A Life in South Africa in 2008 to help combat the scourge of crime and to strive for a hopeful future for all South Africans
Funds raised by Change A Life South Africa are channelled via the Mike Thomson Change A Life Trust, which was set up to help combat crime following the tragic murder of senior Computershare manager Mike Thomson in September 2007.

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  • 15 MAR 2017

    Ten minutes with Sbonela Kwela

  • 06 MAR 2017

    Shock non-stop Dusi win for Change a Life paddlers

  • 16 NOV 2016

    A Life Changing Experience

  • 17 OCT 2016

    Right Bike Creates the Right Smile

  • 17 OCT 2016

    Six Types of Crazy for a Good Cause

  • 23 SEP 2016

    Island Style Cycling

  • 26 FEB 2016

    Change a Lifers Dominate FNB Dusi

  • 23 FEB 2016

    Khwela Back into the Fray

  • Dusi glory beckons for Kwela

 Our current beneficiaries

The DNA project
The DNA Project, founded by Vanessa Lynch in 2005 after her father was murdered during a robbery, promotes the use of DNA in South Africa’s criminal intelligence system in order to solve crimes more effectively. Until 2014, South Africa was hamstrung by outdated legislation that didn’t allow for DNA collection and storage, meaning that DNA profiles were prevented from being taken from arrestees and convicted offenders.

To date, over 16,000 first on scene crime responders have been trained by the DNA Project in eight provinces throughout the country. Workshops held at security companies, paramedic training facilities, community policing forums, schools, community centres, rape crisis centres and now at SAPS stations have successfully been spreading the critical message: Never Disturb a Crime Scene, DNA can convict. In 2016, 44 workshops were held country-wide.

The DNA Project’s message to anyone who may be the first at a crime scene is:

D – Don’t touch
N – Note, record and observe
A – Assist police officers

C – Comfort victims
S – Secure the scene
I – Insist no one interferes
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Martin Dreyer Change A Life Academy
In October 2008, seven times Dusi champion and South Africa’s multi-sport king, Martin Dreyer, launched the Martin Dreyer Change A Life Academy to prepare at least ten underprivileged youngsters from the Valley of a Thousand Hills, to become leaders in the Dusi Canoe Challenge. After four short months of training his goal was exceeded with 11 of his protégés romping home in the top 50, two of them in the top ten. The cross-country running league was launched in 2010 to extend the academy’s reach into a broader community and encourage hundreds of local school children to aspire to greater heights.

In addition to weekly food parcels which provide much needed support for their families, top performers have earned enough from their sporting achievements to build proper homes in the valley and many participants have secured employment (many as coaches) as a direct result of skills gained at the academy.
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Change A Life Karate-do
Change A Life Karate-do uses an established Dojo karate facility, which was originally set up by murdered Computershare manager Mike Thomson and his brother Allan, to make a difference to the lives of under-privileged teenagers north of Johannesburg. The programme aims to inspire these children to grow in confidence and become well-balanced, productive members of society through the discipline and power of karate-do.

The programme started in 2010 with 15 students, aged between 11 and 20, who were recruited through church representatives in the informal community of Drummond. Despite being desperately poor, with few clothes and often little food to sustain them, the 15 students all passed their first official grading in August 2010 full of pride for what they had achieved.
Since then, the programme has grown to a core group of about 30 young people and expanded its reach to Cosmo City. The programme achieved a significant milestone in 2016 when its first student qualified for a black belt.
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Nemato Change A Life
The Nelson Mandela Township (Nemato) Rowing Club was established in 2005 to teach township youths to swim and row in the nearby Kowie River. Its initial focus was to use sport as a vehicle of empowerment and it soon began recording significant achievements, not only in competitive events where the rowers demonstrated their ability to compete at the highest levels of sport in South Africa, but also in the broader empowerment of its participants.

In 2010, the club expanded its development programme to include other sporting codes and daily homework classes for its athletes, with a strong focus on basic mathematics, language skills and computer literacy. A feeding scheme was also established to cater for the nutritional needs of participants. The empowerment programme has had a significant impact on local youngsters, opening up opportunities that previously would have been no more than a dream.

Nemato Change A Life has focused on empowering its members either through homework classes which have grown in numbers to 65 permanent members and career development for older members, or management of the club to broaden responsibility and ownership. There are also opportunities for members to complete coaching courses in rowing, gymnastics and fencing; and to gain their skipper’s and driver’s licenses. Twenty members are active in the President’s Award: the first five received their bronze medals in 2011 and in 2012 two received silver medals and a further five received their bronze medals in September, with some accumulating hours for their gold status.
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South African cycle tour

​Since 2008, Change A Life’s primary fundraiser in South Africa has been the annual cycle tour​. Computershare matches funds raised from cyclist entry fees. In 2016, for the fifth consecutive year, 100% of the cyclists' entry fees and the matched funds were channelled directly into the recipient projects, as all costs of the cycle tour were funded by sponsorships.   ​

560 cyclists
4130 kilometres cycled
30 million rand raised

 Our previous cycling challenges

  • 2016

    Wonderland Tour, Mauritius
    70 participants, 500 kilometres cycled, R3 million raised

  • 2015

    Nyami Nyami tour, Zambezi River Valley
    70 participants, 510km cycled, approx R3 million raised

  • 2014

    Masquerade tour, Western Cape
    62 participants, 600km cycled, approx R3 million raised

  • 2013

    Nguni tour
    72 participants, 570km cycled, approx R3 million raised

  • 2012

    High Five tour
    75 participants, 550km cycled, approx R3 million raised

  • 2011

    Wild West tour, Namib Desert
    70 participants, 539km cycled, approx R3 million raised

  • 2010

    Beat of Africa tour, Malawi
    70 participants, 520km cycled, approx R3 million raised

  • 2009

    Mystery Tour, Orange Free State, Northern Cape and Lesotho
    60 participants, 390km cycled, approx R3 million raised

  • 2008

    Inaugural tour, Zambezi River
    81 participants, 450km cycled, R2.3 million raised

 The Wonderland Tour

​In September 2016, 70 leading South African business executives joined cycling champion Robbie Hunter and extreme sportsman Martin Dreyer on the ninth Change A Life Cycle Tour organised by Computershare to raise funds to combat crime.

The 2016 Change A Life tour ventured beyond Africa's borders for the first time, taking the cyclists on a challenging four-day 500 km journey across the tropical island of Mauritius. There was opportunity for climbing as the cyclists ventured into the mountainous interior of the island, with its natural park and rainforest, waterfalls and native fauna such as the flying fox. One of the days involved a 212 km ride around the circumference of the island.

Business leaders who participated in the year's event included Nicky Newton-King, CEO of the JSE, Diane Radley, CEO of Old Mutual Investment Group, Itumeleng Kgaboesele, CEO of Sphere Holdings, Dr Bobby Ramasia, Principal Officer of Bonitas, George Todd, CEO of Merchants, a Dimension Data company, Anthony Diack, Managing Director of DSV, Thabo Leeuw, Executive Director of the Thesele Group, Dr Karsten Wellner, CEO of Ascendis Health and Dirk Reyneke, Group Executive of FBP Retail Telkom.

The 2016 Change A Life Cycle Tour had five primary day sponsors in Aspen Pharmacare, Telkom, Old Mutual Investment Group and Old Mutual Wealth, and Merchants, a Dimension Data company. In 2016, in line with the Change A Life approach of partnering with the communities we visit, we received generous support from Mauritius-based MCB Private Banking which sponsored all of the lunches, the gala dinner and the medals.​

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