For the past five years, Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meetings have highlighted the most innovative and efficient projects across the world. At today’s crowded Education Keynote Lunch, before an audience of hundreds of world leaders, Laurene Powell Jobs, Geoffrey Canada (Harlem Children’s Zone), and Vicky Colbert (Fundacion Escuela Nueva) highlighted one of CGI’s thriving commitments, the opening of an unprecedented investment in the children of South Africa—The Ubuntu Centre.
A special report on the success of The Ubuntu Centre will be highlighted during Bill Clinton’s interview with Wolf Blitzer on CNN this evening, September 21 at 5 PM EST. CGI, under the guidance of Bill Clinton, chose Ubuntu as a poster child for successful commitments.
The Ubuntu Centre is the brainchild of Ubuntu Education Fund. In 1999, Ubuntu was founded with the goal of transforming the lives of the children of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Ignoring the traditional development models, Ubuntu redefined the theory of “going to scale:” rather than expanding geographically, they drew a seven-kilometer radius around a community of 400,000 people. Ubuntu created an integrated system of medical, health, educational, and social services that would ensure that a child who was either orphaned or vulnerable could, after several years, succeed in the worlds of higher education and employment. In order to enhance these services and serve thousands more children, Ubuntu has made a $6 million investment to build The Ubuntu Centre. The Port Elizabeth townships suffer from a 40% HIV rate and an 80% unemployment rate—the grim legacies of apartheid. The Centre will feature a pediatric HIV clinic, community theatre, and educational centre. Solar and wind energy will be used to power the innovative building, which will also benefit from passive heating, grey-water recycling, and other green technology.
In 2009, Ubuntu Education Fund committed to CGI to “bring the future to the children of South Africa” by outfitting The Ubuntu Centre with high-tech equipment and resources. Thanks to their partnership, Ubuntu was introduced to a number of new stakeholders one of whom, Cisco Systems, will provide all the networking and communication equipment for The Centre. The majority of major investments in Africa are based in wealthy cities and neighborhoods. Ubuntu and CGI have shown that all children deserve the best in health care and education.
As an American university student visiting South Africa, Jacob Lief, founded Ubuntu Education Fund with Malizole “Banks” Gwaxula, a teacher living and working in the Port Elizabeth townships. Now its President and Co-Founder, Jacob was selected in 2009 as an Aspen Institute Fellow through Aspen’s African Leadership Initiative and, most recently, was recognized by the World Economic Forum as a 2010 Young Global Leader.
“By providing necessary services in an inspiring environment, right in the townships,” Jacob Lief said. “The Ubuntu Centre will uplift the body, mind, and spirit of the community.”
Follow Jacob Lief on Twitter: @ubuntujakes
Ubuntu Education Fund