Global Youth for Education and Change

Mission Our mission is to inspire young people in the U.S. to be forces for good by delivering opportunities to be socially innovative, enable people in the developing world with limited formal education to become leaders in their communities, and cultivate lasting relationships that advance the idea and practice of responsible and strategic global service. A global problem We are tackling the problem of intergenerational poverty and joblessness. Unemployment is widespread, both globally and locally, and young people at most affected. In Kenya, there are over 2.5 mill...
Aug 13, 2014

Staying put, having a flexible mind, practicing accompaniment and going far together.

If you want to go far, go together.
If you want to go far, go together.

Since we last reached out, we've been busy making sure that our South African partner, Vumundzuku-bya Vana/Our Children's Future (VVOCF), continues to address the needs of orphans, vulnerable children and youth in the Zonkizizwe community. During this time, those who previously threatened us with eviction have remained quiet. More importantly, Nomusa Buthelezi, VVOCF's executive director, has expressed interest in keeping the center on the land where it is currently located.

Although we are committed to the goal of helping VVOCF secure ownership of its land, I can't help but think of Dr. Paul Farmer's comments about the process of accompaniment:

"To accompany someone is to go somewhere with him or her, to break bread together, to be present on a journey with a beginning and an end.[It's] about sticking with a task until it's deemed completed-not by the accompagnateur, but by the person being accompanied."

Nomusa has by no means deemed the task of securing land ownership as complete. Instead, she has applied a flexible mind to the problem. Recognizing that securing new land may not be the best option for the center, she has decided to stay put. Having continued conversations about land ownership for VVOCF as part of a coalition representing several community-based organizations, Nomusa has developed a working relationship with a representative from the Department of Social Development who is working with her to apply for funding from the South African government.

Even with Nomusa's hard work and our hope for better days ahead, the future remains uncertain. As we close the chapter of securing new land, we enter a new chapter-one with a focus on developing the resources necessary to help VVOCF and the orphans, vulnerable children and youth it serves to thrive.

You have been vital to our success in pursuing the possibility of land ownership. While government bureaucracy and inaction thwarted our initial plans, your support has helped VVOCF continue to serve 50-60 orphans, vulnerable children and youth every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We look forward to sharing specific examples of how your support has helped the children, youth and families served by the center.

In the meantime, we wanted to say thank you-for donating, for raising awareness and for widening the circle of your family to include all those we serve. Your encouragement inspires us, and your commitment carries us forward.

With immense gratitude and deepest thanks,

Paul

Links:

Jun 5, 2014

Indawo Yothando

Last time we wrote, we were thanking you for your gifts, and we couldn't help but thank you again. Your support keeps the children we serve healthy and happy. Your donations directly provide food to help them grow and thrive, and your support helps them connect with a caring adult every time they visit the center.

With that in mind, we wanted to share a symbol of how we are trying to make Vumundzuku-bya Vana/Our Children's Future (VVOCF) "indawo yothando," a place of love. To help us on this journey, consider making pledging a monthly gift so that we can continue to meet the needs of the orphans, vulnerable children and youth we serve. 

Thanks again for all you do. We look forward to keeping you posted on our progress in the coming months. 

Links:

Apr 10, 2014

"Dreams are our only geography-our native land."

In thinking about how to write this report, I was struck by a quote from Yugoslavian-born poet, essayist, philosopher and businessman, Dejan Stojanovic: "Dreams are our only geography—our native land." What struck me about this quote is the truth that it conveys, particularly in the South African context. While apartheid kept its crippling grip on black South Africans, the majority of the country's citizens could only possess dreams of a better future. Despite a renewed democracy and some progress, dreams are still one of the few things the majority of South Africans can possess. 

Nowhere else is this truer than at VVOCF. Although Nomusa has worked tirelessly—through individual and collective means—to gain rightful ownership of the unoccupied land that will ensure VVOCF's stability, the governmental bureacracy has been incapable of granting her a deed. This failure continues to render VVOCF's programs surviving, but stagnant. More importantly, it leaves the children, youth and families VVOCF serves—children, youth and families who receive VVOCF's services because of their vulnerable status—even more vulnerable to the issues that plague the ill and the poor. 

As we continue to enable Nomusa to get up each day and confront the constant injusitces, we ask for your patience. Securing this land has not proven easy, and we believe it will remain just as difficult. Still, we are committed to achieving this goal and seeing this project through. 

Thank you for your support and ecnouragement. We will continue to keep you posted on our progress. 

Links:

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