Ubuntu Education Fund believes health and education are basic human rights, which is why they have begun the construction of The Ubuntu Centre. Set to open in 2010, The Ubuntu Centre will be the first community center of its kind in South Africa, offering an environmentally-friendly, state-of-the-art education and health complex, providing free and accessible social services under one roof. They believe that this building is a statement to our communities of them deserve quality health and education facilities and services.
In January 2009, their building was awarded the highly prestigious and internationally-acclaimed Progressive Architecture Award for The Ubuntu Centre. To launch the award, Architect magazine used The Ubuntu Centre as the cover-story for their January issue and featured the building in a four-page centre-fold spread. Their community has already demonstrated great pride in the building as a symbol of what is possible in the townships.
The Ubuntu Centre will house a clinic, technology lab, multimedia library, and multipurpose hall and theatre, as well as office space to accommodate our growing team. The combination of these services in one central location will allow Ubuntu to better integrate testing and care services in a de-stigmatised environment. Staff will be equipped to reach larger numbers of families with comprehensive case management services and vastly improve and increase voluntary HIV counselling and testing services.
Ubuntu will need to wire the entire building for high-speed internet and communication systems. Their staff will require up-to-date computer equipment, particularly the Monitoring and Evaluation department, which depends on technology to measure the impact of all of our programs. Students in the technology lab will use high-speed laptops to learn commonly-used programs and how to effectively utilize the internet to access education and employment opportunities.
By ensuring that The Ubuntu Centre is technologically-equipped, they not only provide access to the children in our community, we also ensure that our programs are run effectively and efficiently. Technology has the potential to break down national, racial , cultural, and gender barriers and bring the world to our community.
Ubuntu Education Fund is committed to assisting vulnerable youth access higher and further education and easier access to the world of work. We have proven over the past 10 years that the key to achieving our goal is stabilising the child's environment. Through a comprehensive system of interventions, Ubuntu provides children with the educational and health support that they need to focus on their academic progress and reach their full potential.
In the US and Europe, it is expected that students and potential employees will be fluent in all forms of technology, having used computers for most of their lives. Students in resource-poor areas, therefore, are less competitive in the education and employment markets due to a lack of experience with technology, even if they had access to computers in higher education. Therefore, ensuring that children have access to technology from an early age is part of a long-term strategy to support their educational and employment future.
Ubuntu works with the Port Elizabeth township communities (population: approximately 350,000) in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. The Port Elizabeth townships remain haunted by the legacy of systemic impoverishment and destabilisation of apartheid and are reeling from the devastation wreaked by the AIDS epidemic. Access to adequate nutrition, sanitation, health care, housing and educational facilities remain a challenge for most children growing up in our communities. Additionally, our communities are burdened with an HIV prevalence rate of 40% and an unemployment rate of approximately 80%. Although general HIV/AIDS knowledge and awareness is high, most people do not know their HIV status. Life expectancy has fallen to 46 years for men and 51 years for women. As a result, there are an estimated 50,000 orphaned and vulnerable children in the townships of Port Elizabeth.
OFFERING: Best practice information, other. An integral component of Ubuntu's services is its referral program where clients are directed to other local organizations or institutions when the needs of a client are outside of Ubuntu's expertise.
Ubuntu is still very interested in attracting new funders and media partners for our work. We would be happy to share best practices of running a sustainable community-based organization with other NGOs and/or funders.