With a modern identity steeped in turmoil and diversity, South Africa is quite aptly nicknamed “The Rainbow Nation.” This is due to widespread immigration and colonization, and has resulted in the country having 66666 official languages. This multicultural mindset is complemented by varied geography, botany, wildlife and culture. The country’s recent history is known best for the apartheid of the 20th century, peace leader Nelson Mandela, and the struggle to recover. Now, people from all backgrounds can live anywhere and they have the right to equal opportunities, such as a good education.

Paradoxically, South Africa is one of the best and most challenging countries in Africa for women and children. Over the past 40 years, an array of laws, policies, and programs were founded to bring critical services to disadvantaged children, however, this progress continues n the context of deep-seated inequities towards the well-being of children.
In addition, despite bureaucratic reforms, the country remains one of the most unequal in the world, and income inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient, has been increasing since 1993. As a result, the opportunity for millions of children, especially females, to live a happy productive life continues to be thwarted.

A closer look

South Africa is paradoxically one of the best and most challenging countries in Africa for children and women. It has an array of laws, policies, budgets and programs that are expanding critical services for children, especially the most disadvantaged; but progress happens in the context of deep-seated inequities in child well-being.

The country remains one of the most unequal in the world, and income inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient, has been increasing since 1993. As a result, the life chances of millions of children continue to be thwarted.

    19 Apr, 2015
  • New career paths for girls in South Africa

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    To give girls a fighting chance to reach their full potential, The Techno Girl program was created, a program that increases female participation in STEM fields with shadowing and mentoring programs. Since its launch in 2010, More than 10,000 girls have been enrolled in shadowing programs and mentorship opportunities. Not only does the program expose …
  • 19 Apr, 2015
  • Prevent HIV/AIDS infection

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    A critical advancement has been in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, as rates of new infections have greatly declined in babies in low- and middle-income countries. However, the same progress has not yet been made for children already living with the disease, and the rate of AIDS deaths in adolescents is alarming. One center in …
  • 19 Apr, 2015
  • Helping children to end violence

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    Programs like The Young Reporters Network, which trains young female reporters in storytelling and journalism to prepare them to make appearances on nationwide radio stations. Reporters’ messages are often centered around violence and abuse, as these are sadly some of the most prominent issues affecting them. 15 year-old- Cindy is a reporter with the program. …

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Kevin Melchade

email:kevin@ubuntu.com

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Participating Schools in South African Republic

MASIFUNDE. Paired up with a School in Thailand.

Masifunde’s mission is to help nurture a united society by providing each and every individual with a complete, high-quality education. They know that when children receive a solid foundation like this, they will be empowered to participate more actively in their communities and spread the power of informed, critical thinking.

In order to bring positive change to societal issues, the school’s curriculum provides holistic education to 250 children from disadvantaged communities. These motivated young children are given programs such as life skills training, financial support, tutoring, and extracurricular activities in arts, media and sport. The school emphasizes that they want to go beyond simply providing an education, and want to inspire the next generation to be “change-makers,” (multipliers of knowledge and active role models) who can take over community responsibilities in an engaged, logical manner.

Masifunde hopes that this will not only brighten the future for their students, but also bring long-term positive change to their communities.

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Wellness Workshops

In many places throughout South Africa, people do not have access to trustworthy education or health materials. This is why the Wellness Workshops were created – to create a safe space for people to talk honestly about their health challenges and get answers to their questions they’re too afraid or shy to ask elsewhere. We also promote learning from each other and mutual support within the group.

The workshops are held on a weekly basis all year round for groups of 15-20 people at a time. They cover a range of important health topics based on challenges facing many South Africans, including infectious diseases such as HIV/ AIDS, TB and diarrhea, as well as Chronic Diseases of Lifestyle such as Obesity, Hypertension and Diabetes. The series is followed up by a healthy cooking demonstration to promote healthy lifestyle choices, and participants are taught how to use a “hotbox” for cooking, a method that uses significantly less electricity.

Workshops are run by trained health care professionals and instructors and cover a variety of topics:
• Understanding how the body and the immune system works
• Understanding prevention, symptoms and treatment for infectious and chronic diseases of lifestyle (HIV/AIDS, TB, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Arthritis and Cancer)
• Information regarding access and adherence to treatment regimens and the correct use of prescribed medication
• Healthy eating and healthy lifestyle
• Low cost healthy cooking
• Lowering electricity costs – cooking using a “hotbox”

The content of the workshops is tailored to the needs of each specific group.

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Hiking Club

Environmental activism is a growing issue, and establishing a sense of importance for protecting the Earth is crucial for young generations. Our Hiking Club, based in Cape Town, South Africa, believes that we can motivate children to truly respect the planet by putting on boots, getting out there, and exploring it for themselves.

So many of the children in our program are growing up in a densely urban environment, whose immediately surroundings are sky scrapers, gangs and drug and alcohol abuse. Many have never left this harsh environment or experience what it is like to just be alone with nature, even though Cape Town’s outskirts are surrounded by forests, mountains and beaches. We encourage them to get exercise, but also to make a deep connection with these landscapes through guided meditation and silent walks. The hikes also function as an outdoor classroom in which the children learn about flora, fauna and environmental changes and threats. This also presents a great opportunity for leadership, communication and teamwork.

The hikes take place once a month and exploring the many beautiful hiking trails in and around Cape Town. For a more immersive experience, participants also have the opportunity to attend two overnight camps on the beautiful Table Mountain and in the Cederberg Mountains. We hope to inspire a generation of nature-lovers so future children will continue to feel a sense of respect and connection to our precious planet.

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Ubuntu Lenses

It partners with local schools and organizations around the world to host our programs led by a volunteer community of seasoned photographers. The project provides education, resources, and community to instruct children in the art of photography and encourage them to explore their skills. Promotion and sales of participants’ creations is also provided in the form of photographic prints and products. This helps to sustain financial resources, support our programs, and provide continuing education to its hopeful, young photographers around the world.

We also use some of the photos at our Ubuntu Mail workshops and ask participants to exchange their views on the images, which highlight cultural diversity as well as difficult issues such as war, HIV/AIDS and hunger.

This artistic project is loved by many of our partner organizations. It illuminates a visual voice for the unseen children living in challenging conditions around the world. Ubuntu Lenses inspires creativity and cultivates photography skills with our students through the lens of connecting diverse people divided by cultural, socio-economic, and geographic boundaries.

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