How your IWC entry helps disadvantaged youths like Shannon

Wednesday, 26 August, 2020
Canopy, Chris Boiling
She’s one of 80 youngsters from townships in South Africa who have been "lifted out of poverty" through an IWC-sponsored WSET course. Shannon is now working on a wine estate in South Africa and has been given a bursary to help fund her WSET Level 4 Diploma. She thanks you all for “investing in me when I didn’t even believe in myself”.

It’s been a good week for Shannon Fortuin. First, she returned to work at a beautiful winery in South Africa’s Cape Winelands. She was so excited to get back to doing what she loves, she says, “I just started babbling with guests that came for a wine tasting, talking non-stop under my mask”.

Then she was given the news that she had gained an IWC bursary to continue her wine studies and go for a WSET Level 4 Diploma. “I feel so blessed and out-of-my-mind grateful that the International Wine Challenge will fund me with £1,000 for the course,” she told Canopy. “For me and where I come from, both of these opportunities are beyond my wildest dreams. I will always and forever be grateful. Thank you.”

It’s not just us she’s thanking – it’s everyone who sends wines to the International Wine Challenge (IWC).
All the IWC entrants are helping to lift disadvantaged youngsters like Shannon – and her five-year-old daughter – out of poverty.
Five years ago, single-mum Shannon was living with her extended family – 13 people in total – in a “two-apartment shack” before your IWC entry helped fund her WSET Level 2 course, which led to employment at La Motte Wine Estate in the Franschhoek Valley (a regular IWC Silver and Bronze medal winner which struck Gold with its La Motte Pierneef Shiraz Viognier 2011).

Now Shannon has her own apartment, a career and is saving for a car.
Shannon is one of 80 young people from townships who have had their WSET Level 2 course paid for by the IWC over the past two years. Twenty have also been given IWC bursaries so they can progress to Level 3 or the Diploma.

Cathy Marston, the local WSET programme provider, told Canopy: “I really hope you can give your readers a good understanding of just what a difference this support does for people in South Africa. According to local statistics, when you uplift one person in South Africa and get them into stable employment, you actually have a positive financial impact on a further four people. So you can see how much good can be achieved by your sponsorship.

“It isn’t always a given that employers pay for employee’s studies and La Motte’s generosity in paying for Shannon is, unfortunately, not always the norm. Our Level 2 qualification, because of the exchange rate etc, can easily be the equivalent of two months’ gross salary for many of our students, so you can imagine how difficult it is for them to do levels 3 and 4 without your help!

'These qualifications change people’s lives'

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