Catherine Borien –co founder and long standing trustee of BEFSA – received an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List (2017) for services to schools in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.
After retiring from a highly successful teaching career, Catherine has worked tirelessly to improve the lives and life chances of South African children and rural women who live in one of the poorest areas of South Africa.
Above all Catherine has been truly effective in bringing people together wherever they might be in the UK and South Africa. Her selfless approach to working with others, be it in organising fundraising, managing communication between two countries or providing support and advice over the everyday problems faced by schools and by women endeavouring to start new micro businesses are the reasons why she was nominated for and received her MBE.
To all this work, Catherine has brought an indefatigable energy, great good humour and an unquenchable optimism. She has provided encouragement and challenge to school staff, acted as mentor and sometimes surrogate parent to young volunteers on placement in the Eastern Cape and filled the roles of secretary, treasurer and fundraiser.
This long-term voluntary service has entailed sacrifice and commitment on her part. Through Catherine’s efforts the lives of many South Africans – young and old – have improved. Her work has also done much to enhance the understanding of students and teachers working in UK schools around the global citizenship themes of human rights, sustainable living and social injustice.
To have achieved so much in the last 11 years with limited financial resources is an extraordinary achievement, which wholly deserves the recognition she has received.
All of us at BEFSA are very proud of Catherine’s achievements.
We congratulate her on her prestigious award which is so richly deserved.