Jeffery Gettleman, the East Africa bureau chief of the New York Times, and author of the book Love Africa talks about the "spirit of Africa" where a strong feeling of community motivates individuals to contribute to the betterment of their community. This is very true in South Africa and has provided CELD the opportunity to support individual initiatives to strengthen local communities through non-profit organizations.
CELD is currently providing financial assistance to two non-profits in the King William's Town area of the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. One group, Help A Student, provides programs in area high schools to help graduating seniors from disadvantaged families with basic support toward their education. Their activities take place through educational interventions dealing with sexual reproductive and health rights, HIV/AIDS education and life coaching. They conduct in-school workshops as well as community activities.
Initially Help A Student had 3 or 4 volunteers working in 3 high schools. Two years later they had 10 volunteers working in 8 high schools. Based on their initial successes, some schools have asked them to develop additional in-class modules on security and human rights.
Additionally, two young men in Dimbaza, South Africa also started a non-profit to improve their community. The organization is called Platter of Sharing and is dedicated to youth development in the communities through the arts.
Singing is a critical element of South African culture and Platter of Sharing has been building a recording studio to give local artists exposure. They have organized a number of other artistic initiatives including poetry, writing and painting. These efforts keep the children off the street after school by giving them constructive activities to develop their artistic abilities.
Based on their successes, the local police department came to them to help put together workshops at high schools about the problems learners experience as a result of drug addiction. They have also expanded their activities to include developing job fairs for students from 4 different high schools in the area.
CELD is currently discussing a partnership with a family foundation, Intlalo Entle (Good Social Life), in the King William's Town area to help strengthen other non-profits to better the local community.