Andre Bredenkamp is doing something a little different to keep people engaged and interested during the nation-wide COVID-19 lockdown.
Andre is a Programme Manager for Vector Australia and New Zealand, and is currently isolating at home in Karori, Wellington with his wife, son and granddaughter. After more than 20 years with a moustache and beard Andre is shaving it all off, and is using The Good Registry to spread some kindness.
In the early 80s Andre grew his moustache and beard, and although there’s been a few trims here and there, he’s sported consistent facial hair for over two decades. Andre has created a registry called the Bald Faced Proposal and has chosen Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Aotearoa as his charity recipient.
“Lockdown mode can be quite anxious and people need fun things to focus on, so I thought let’s do something to cheer everyone up again.”
Andre says he’s very noticeable around the company with his facial hair, and thought this could be something to keep his colleagues engaged and interested. Every Friday, Vector has a group video call with between 60–70 employees, and if the numbers stay up Andre said he may shave it off live on a video call.
Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Aotearoa (PADA) helps mums, dads, and families who are affected by mental illnesses that occur as a result of pregnancy, childbirth or early parenthood.
Donations go towards producing resources and events that help raise awareness and eliminate stigma associated with perinatal mental illnesses. Funds also go towards holding seminars that educate care providers so women and their families receive the best possible timely care.
“I think it’s a great facility and a great organisation. In times like these, there are an awful lot of parents being locked down and with a new baby expected or one just arrived, things can easily come to a peak — we are worried about seeing a spike of family violence and rising rates of depression and anxiety,” says Andre.
“They’re one of the organisations that are doing really good stuff so it feels great supporting them.”
Andre said he’s done the fundraiser within the company internally, as a bit of a laugh and to keep spirits high.
“I’ve had a couple of responses already, people saying it’s a great thing and nice to see.”
“Anyone can sponsor it as well, but they just won’t be able to join the live video.”
In regards to the nation-wide lockdown, Andre says that while he and his wife are used to working from home, for a lot of people it can be a new and challenging experience.
“It’s absolutely necessary to create something to keep people socialising. Normally people at work walk around, talk, sit at your desk and have a coffee. I’m doing a lot of stuff — making sure there’s a regular joke, anecdote or picture going around, anything so people stay engaged and stay socialising.”
Despite physical isolation, some work rituals will never stop.
“Instead of going to Friday work drinks we’ve got a virtual wine time. We’ll all enjoy a glass of wine together, in our respective lockdowns.”
Andre says the hard part is keeping the motivation to stay engaged and connected, so for him keeping it going is so important.
At the end of the day, Andre says his Bald Faced Proposal is just a bit of fun to raise money for PADA and all of the great work they do.
“It’s a great challenge that will help take people’s minds off their own situations and enjoy something a little fun.”
Andre’s inspiring challenge shows how we can all stay connected and share kindness during these uncertain times. You can donate to Andre’s bald Faced Proposal here or create your own fundraiser here to support PADA or any of our 65 wonderful charity partners.
Even though we are apart, we can still connect, celebrate and share kindness.