A charity gala has raised £650,000 (R14,400,000) to help transform the lives of 2,000 South African children and their families.
More than 350 people were at the event in London to support the Ubuntu Education Fund. The charity provides orphaned and vulnerable children and their families living in townships in Port Elizabeth with health, education and social support.
The money raised will go towards the charity’s early childhood development scheme, as well as vocational training and prevention from mother to child HIV programme.
Guests at the charity’s 9th annual gala at the Roundhouse enjoyed performances by The Faithettes and Vula Malinga, a UK-based South African singer.
There was also an auction, which included tickets to 2016 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, David Bowie memorabilia and a trip on a private jet to Milan Fashion Week.
The theme of this year’s event was “growing up”, which explored the initiatives set up by Ubuntu to help township children, from cradle to career, overcome hardships.
Among the speakers was 17-year-old Zanele Nobadula from Port Elizabeth who spoke about the impact the charity has had on her life.
“Ubuntu lifted me up,” she said. “It lifts up my community to reach the height of success. My life will be different, and because of that, the next generation will grow up with more opportunity, hope and promise of a future. That’s what it means to grow up with Ubuntu.”
Ciko Thomas, Nedbank managing executive and Ubuntu board member, also explained how guidance and support had helped him. He said: “I was born in a poor township in Port Elizabeth. I am a managing executive of a major bank. The reason I can introduce myself this way is because I got a break. When people get a break they have agency over their lives.
“Ubuntu is there to provide that opportunity to the children from my home community.”
The charity’s CEO and founder Jacob Lief told the audience: “We are fueled by the belief that our children at Ubuntu deserve what children all around the world deserve, and that’s everything. An individual’s pathway is a blueprint towards a transformed community.
“I know that our model works. Our children came to us abused and orphaned. Today they are performing surgeries at the top hospitals in the country, writing code for new innovations, working the factory lines of the Eastern Cape and building robots in our after-school programme. This is what happens when you invest in a child every day of their lives.”
Source: The South African