Meet our team:
Jaco van Schalkwyk
Loraine van Schalkwyk
Jaco van Schalkwyk - Dad, Founder & Director
After starting his career in the financial and then corporate fields, Jaco moved into the NGO sector in 2001. Jaco spent the majority of that time managing a non profit in JHB where he experienced the impact of absent fathers on a daily basis. Despite the invaluable experience he picked up in hands-on involvement with communities and the NGO sector in general, his passion for the fatherless just grew stronger and stronger.
Jaco is the Dad and Founder of the Character Company and believes that only through intentional MENtorship and establishing a culture of MENtorship in South Africa will we be able to change the current culture of violence, corruption and abuse.
Jaco is married to his amazing wife Loraine and the proud dad of 3 daughters. He is passionate about Jesus and MENtorship.
Gavin Meyers - PA to the Director (Uncle Jaco)
Grew up in Heidelberg, Gauteng. Matriculated from Sedaven High School in 1987, started my working life in the retail industry and eventually entered the financial arena where I progressed from administrative work to Procedures and Policies, Training and System development and support.
From a young age I always knew that I would serve God and eventually left the secular world and was ordained as a Pastor. My greatest desire is to see the next generation go beyond where we are today and feel that it is of vital importance for us to make sure that their starting point is at a higher level that will enabling them to surpass us and excel early on in their lives.
It is through working with organisation like The Character Company that we will see a change in our country through the lives of honest, humble and amazing men.
Loraine van Schalkwyk - Social Worker
Loraine van Schalkwyk grew up in Klerksdorp and studied at the University of Potchefstroom, earning a degree in Social work. She has been practising as a Social Worker and Addiction Treatment specialist professionally since 1995.
Although Loraine specialised in the field of addiction therapy, she is also passionate about family counselling and life-skills training for children and teenagers. She has an adventurous spirit, enjoys the outdoors and have a big appreciation for nature.
She is currently employed as TCC’s full time Social Worker and her main responsibility is the support of single mothers on our programme. Loraine is registered as a member of the South African Council for Social Service Professions.
Willie Sapsford- Operations Manager
Willie was born and raised in Bloemfontein in the Free State. He matriculated in 2007 and completed his B.Sc. Quantity Surveying degree in 2011 at the University of the Free State.
He moved to Johannesburg in 2012 and joined The Character Company in November 2013 as a volunteer, and later on as Assistant Operations Manager.
In 2018 he moved to Taiwan to work for an outdoor education program in Taipei but returned to South Africa early in 2019 to join The Character Company full time as Operations Manager.
He is a community oriented individual and enjoys giving back and investing into the lives of others to help them develop their potential.
Willie is passionate about adventure sports and the outdoors and using outdoor activities as a vehicle to make a difference. He holds a Generic Adventure Site Guide Qualification, a Level 3 First Aid Certificate and is a certified PMBIA Level 1 Mountain Bike Instructor, and a certified MDT Wall Climbing Supervisor.
Fatima Solomons - Office Manager
Born and raised on the West Rand and studied at Southern Business School (SBS), earning a Honors Degree in Business Administration majoring in Human Resource Management. She possesses a certificate in Basic Ambulance Assistance from Impact Emergency Technologies Fire.
She is a single parent of two beautiful kids, a boy and a girl. She has previously worked in contact with boys from Girls and Boys Town-Magaliesburg which she felt in love with helping youth and helping them to be good men.
Thando Malepe - MENtor & intake coordinator
Thando has a B.Com degree in Accounting, but a heart for community development. He is determined to change his community for the better, whether it’s running a small children’s ministry every Saturday or the proactive work he does organizing wheelchairs for those in need in his community.
He is an active member of Network of Caring and is working to procure more community members. He has a quiet demeanour and compassionate heart. He is enthusiastic and always helpful, willing to be accountable and takes instruction or guidance with an open heart. Thando is our MENtor Intake Coordinator and an active MENtor in the Johannesburg North Region.