Jacob Lien and Malizole Gwaxula started the Ubuntu Education Fund to provide academic supplies to vulnerable children in Eastern Cape. Although money quickly started flowing in, the founders realized that they weren’t changing the lives of the beneficiaries. It dawned on them that providing books and notebooks to children who were distracted by hunger, disease, and other problems at home wasn’t practical. That’s how Ubuntu was born.
How the Ubuntu model works
The model focuses on depth rather than breath of the impact of the organization’s work. This means that the organization tailors plans to address problems that individual children face instead of using a similar model for everyone. The success of the model is not only linked to education, but also to household stability and health of beneficiaries. Just after a few years, children can access higher education and grow into adults with steady income.
About Andrew Rolfe
Andrew Rolfe is the chairman of the Ubuntu Fund Board of Directors, which is currently working with over 2,000 children and their families. Although Andrew Rolfe lends his expertise to the foundation, he doesn’t dictate how the money that comes in will be used. This leaves room for the staff to be flexible and innovative.
In addition, Andrew Rolfe helps communicate with potential donors to set expectations and avoid conflicts. He helps find organizations that are willing to give money without dictating how it will be used. Andrew Rolfe lets the donors know earlier on that even if they donate to the organization, they will not be allowed to dictate how the money will be used. They, however, can be confident that the funds will improve the lives of needy children and their families.
The Ubuntu Education Fund has improved the lives of many. Studies show that its beneficiaries are twice as likely to finish high school compared with children in community schools. The non-profit organization also helps beneficiaries successfully managed HIV by following treatment programmes—the very spirit on Ubuntu.