KLIPTOWN YOUTH PROGRAM (SOUTH AFRICA)
What Your Gift Will Do
Your gift will support education for children in Kliptown, South Africa
As the oldest district in Soweto township on the outskirts of Johannesburg, Kliptown is an urban slum with a population of 44,000. Despite its great cultural and historical significance in the South African struggle against Apartheid and the site of the adoption of the 1955 Freedom Charter, Kliptown has been severely neglected by a government seeking to build the “new” South Africa. Sixty years later, Kliptown still lacks even the most basic infrastructure such as electricity, proper sanitation, schools, and health clinics. Children must walk long distances to schools outside of Kliptown, and most cannot afford uniforms, shoes, school fees, lunch and books. Kliptown’s unemployment rate is 70-80% and its HIV/AIDS rate is 25%. In 2007, Kliptown Youth Program was founded to address these issues by offering educational support and after-school activities for local children and helping improve the community. KYP's programs support students ages 6-20 six days per week, providing school fees, uniforms, two meals daily, after-school tutoring, sports, and performing arts instruction in cultural dances and drumming. KYP has also created a renowned gumboot dance troupe that performs world-wide as well as locally. Other support includes a computer lab, computer training for students and community members, a library with many school textbooks, access to job training and apprenticeships, and financial assistance for tertiary education for eligible graduates.
KYP was founded by a team of passionate and committed young residents of Kliptown led by Thulani Madondo, co-founder and current Executive Director. Born in Kliptown in a one-room shack which he shared with his 7 siblings and single mother, the family had no electricity or running water. As a result, Thulani understands the many challenges facing Kliptown's youth. After graduating from high school without the financial means to attend university, he became a professional tour guide in Soweto and participated in local community development through the SKY organization prior to founding KYP in 2007. Driven by the belief that education is the key to Kliptown’s future, Thulani and his team work actively with the community to create opportunities for all children willing to work toward to a better life. Today Thulani and KYP serve as role models and mentors for other struggling communities in South Africa.
Jennifer Getz has a long-term relationship with KYP and is passionate about supporting KYP's mission. Nelson Mandela’s accession to power in 1994 opened the doors for her to re-engage with the country from which she had emigrated in 1979. "As an educator in both South Africa and the U.S., I felt a strong commitment to helping elevate the level of education in the black townships and rural areas that had for decades suffered from the prejudice and neglect of the Apartheid era. In 2000, I visited an after-school program in Soweto, where I first met the awe-inspiring 20-year-old Thulani Madondo, a future leader of KYP. As a teacher, school administrator, and founder of eduWeavers, a non-profit promoting reciprocal learning and cultural exchanges between disparate schools worldwide, I have visited many schools and learning centers that struggle for resources and provide crucial services in impoverished communities. However, KYP touched a special chord in me that motivated me to champion the organization even as I moved into retirement. Over the years, KYP has deeply inspired me with its commitment to living its slogan ‘From Poverty to Opportunity’ every day. Jennifer has a Co-Champion, Lynn West, with whom she co-founded a rural girls’ scholarship program that has partnered with KYP since 2011. "When I visited the community in 2012, it was inexpressively beautiful to witness what a profound bond the KYP team had formed with our scholarship girls. Encouraging, engaging, and confidence-building, their impact has been transformational. Thulani is extraordinary and has been incredibly helpful to us meeting the challenges we face in running the program effectively."