Catch up with the founders hosted by Christine and Althea with special guests co-founders of Rlabs Marlon Parker and Rene’ Petersen Parker. Marlon and Rene’ grew a Cape Town community project helping underserved communities into a global social enterprise. That has helped 20 million people by offering technological skills, training and economic empowerment programmes. 

What does being recognized as the SCHWAB foundation social innovator of the year 2022 mean for RLabs?

Rene’ and Marlon shared that they are honoured to be receiving the award but they express that the award would be for every person impacted from the 20 million people. The founders thanked everyone for the support up to this point. “This award represents and symbolizes every young boy and girl who has a dream. Every community leader and activist who takes that one step to go beyond thinking about themselves and keeping hope contagious. That’s really what this award is for us… We just want to say thank you as Rene’ mentioned for the people who came before us…” Marlon said. 

Social Innovator: Marlon Parker

What are some of the groundbreaking moments since the inception of RLabs that lead to this award?

The founders reflect on some of the moments that stood out to them over the years. Rene’ reflects on some of the thoughts they had back before 2009. Thinking back to a moment where they had to ask themselves would they be in it for the long run or would they just have a project that would die, that would end. As we can see today they decide to stay with the project for the long haul.

“From that to being in Bridgetown where our roots are and starting to really work with the community, doing a lot of incredible activities but then seeing the embrace from the community was so amazing…” said Marlon. He mentions the way communities embraced RLabs is a big thing and moving from those communities to a global scale. “And we are only getting started, we still have this big vision of 2 billion people but we have to recognize and acknowledge the community we find ourselves in.” -Marlon 

Social Innovator: Rene’ Parker

Rene’s response on the community impact on RLabs is, “The community really has played a phenomenal role in keeping us grounded and keeping us in check…”

Who are some of the partners who embarked on this journey with you?

The founder’s remark that firstly all the glory and honour must be given to God for the journey and opportunities Rlabs have been able to embark on and will be embarking on in the future. 

Impact Direct became a significant part of Rlabs journey. That would spawn the realisation that RLabs can’t do it alone. RLabs would form many partnerships, from community partners to government partners and various other partners and partnerships that came along. “The work we do cannot be done in isolation…” Marlon said. 

An amazing show filled with many trinkets and gems for each and every listener to pick out and draw inspiration from. 

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