Gerrit Matthyse is the CEO of Orion Organisation, a non-profit company in Atlantis that focuses on caring and the provision of accommodation, education, training, and the therapeutic needs of adults and children living with physical, psychosocial, intellectual, and neurological disabilities.
Gerrit started off his teaching career in Atlantis. He transitioned to work and held various senior management positions at parastatals, a private sector company, City of Johannesburg, national government, and as Municipal Manager at 4 different municipalities across South Africa. Despite the many unique positions that he has held over the years, nothing satisfies him quite as much as making a difference in the lives of those in dire need. Gerrit speaks fondly about how he has always felt passionate about giving back to local communities. He has been actively involved in a diverse array of community organisations for many years, nurturing his love for helping others in any way that he could.
“The essence of life is caring about and investing in others,” he says, smiling.
Gerrit highlights how he believes that being a community-oriented person is in one’s DNA and soul, hence the reason he has returned to his calling at this point of his particularly diverse career path. He expresses his enthusiasm about the opportunity to become the CEO of Orion Organisation, seeing it as the exquisite way to conclude his career expedition and return to his first love, Atlantis.
Orion Organisation has seen its fair share of tough times since the start of the pandemic. Lots of companies and private investors are struggling financially and find themselves unable to donate as generously as before. Luckily, the organisation continues to receive support from a few respected donors, including Atlantis Seafood Products. Earlier in 2021, ASP donated R31 000 worth of frozen hake fillets to help feed the 80 residents, 60 adults and 23 children with disabilities coming to Orion Organisation on a daily basis, along with a further R10 000 in cash to purchase a new printer for the busy administrative office.
“We are relieved to be able to provide our beneficiaries with optimal nutrition thanks to donors like ASP. Fish is a scarce commodity and very expensive, so we are extremely grateful for the generous donation. We value the continued symbiotic relationship with ASP and hope that we can forge a long-term partnership going forward by assisting the brand in obtaining the fishing quotas that it so deserves!”
Gerrit is extremely grateful for the contribution and speaks fondly of the relationship between Orion Organisation and ASP, stating how the two brands fit perfectly with each other as they are both focused on empowering people and communities.
“It’s such a pleasure to listen to the story of the ASP brand. It’s one of those wonderful stories where the workers are the owners of the factory, which resonated well with us.”
Gerrit says that like many other, he had fallen deeper and deeper into a dangerous workaholic lifestyle but has recently put more effort into finding a balance between family, work, taking out time to enjoy hobbies and to just intentionally savour the small things in life that we were inclined to take for granted before Covid19 hit us like rugby and the sentiments of a preloved bookstore.
“Life is short. If the pandemic has done any good, it has been to force us all to pause and reflect”.