South Africa’s “golden girl”, Tatjana Schoenmaker, who won the gold medal and set the world record in the 200-metre breaststroke at the 2020 Olympic Games, just launched her own foundation.
Tatjana Schoenmaker’s foundation
After the Olympics ended, South Africans started a crowdfunding platform to reward Tatjana. In light of that she would like to give back:
“I was blessed financially by the amazing people of South Africa through crowdfunding and want to now use this to bless others too, through my foundation!” she said on Twitter.
According to Good Things Guy, the money crowdfunded by South Africans nearly hit R1 million in just three days. Initially, SASCOC (South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee) had not been in a position to award bonuses to the athletes who had earned medals but thankfully, that was rectified a short while after the Olympics.
Now, Tatjana launched her foundation, which will focus on water-related projects, but the support won’t be limited to that.
“Just for someone else to reach their dream or to give someone a little bit of hope,” she later told SuperSport. “Even if it’s not the dream of going to the Olympics, maybe just to learn how to swim – it’s such a basic skill that a lot of us don’t have and don’t have the money to pay for it.”
It is stated that details of exactly how the money will be used are still being finalised.
“It won’t be limited to swimming but obviously I want to give back in terms of who I am and I am involved in swimming.”
Schoenmaker has already been involved with Precious Blessings – a charity in Pretoria that provides a place of safety for abandoned, abused, neglected and sick babies and toddlers.
“The work that they do and the people that they are is so amazing and what they do for those children – knowing that even if they’re there and they don’t have parents, that God has a plan for their lives,” she explained.
“That’s something that also really touched me. And that’s why I want to start there because I am involved already and then move it on to the rest of the public and the rest of South Africa. Hopefully, I can use my swimming platform to maybe get some help for the foundation as well and try and inspire other people to chase their dreams – not necessarily the Olympics but to be the best they can be.
“The Tatjana Foundation is a way for me to give back to a sport and a country which has supported me on my rise to the top.”
Schoenmaker won’t be able to give swimming lessons herself just yet as she has the next Olympic Games to focus on.
All hands on deck
“I think for now it’ll be paying for the swimming lessons and stuff like that. In the beginning, I won’t be as involved physically because I’m still swimming and I have a career. But that’s why I want to get it started now so I can already make a difference.
“Then when I’m done with swimming I’ll be able to be all hands on deck and really be part of it. Not to just be the face in the background but to be there and help them as well.”