Archive for Eradicating Poverty


Port Elizabeth, South Africa has a human crisis. In Its townships, 4.1 million children are orphaned. Their parents had HIV/AIDS. Unemployment is high, and poverty runs rampant. The presence of sexual exploitation destroys one’s dignity. The children need everything and receive nothing.

However, there was a small breath of hope in the written word. Knowledge nourishes the spirit and provides hope and inspiration. The Ubuntu Education Fund was founded by Jacob Lief and Malizole “Banks” Gwaxula in 1999. They quickly realized that by distributing education materials to orphaned and unprotected children were but a mere beginning. The whole social structure of the Port Elizabeth community of 400,000 had to change.

Ubuntu dramatically laid down a plan to restructure the community in providing a means to stabilize households, and offer health and educational services. Results were achieved after unrelenting work over a ten year period.

Making permanent changes in the Port Elizabeth community required significant funding which seemed near impossible. Andrew Rolfe took an interest in the Ubuntu Education Fund. Mr. Rolfe is a highly respected person and financially successful in his business ventures. He founded Prêt A Manger, a fast food enterprise which established ties with McDonald’s. Further, he founded Gap, a clothing company. Rolfe’s food company is more upscale than McDonald’s. Prêt A Manger is on the same business level as Starbucks and Subway sandwiches.

Mr. Rolfe injected his business acumen in the Ubuntu Education Fund and is the fund’s Chairman. Even with the probability of good and continuous funding, the work of the Ubuntu Education Fund is still not complete. The education system is marred by teacher shortages, overflowing classrooms, and school closings. Further, the lack of uniforms contributes to the children’s dropout rate.

The Ubuntu Education Fund has a home, the Ubuntu Centre. The center is a 25,000 square-foot headquarters. Thus, Ubuntu can provide an array of services including a pediatric HIV clinic, pharmacy, classrooms, computer labs, theater, and rooftop garden.

Each step Ubuntu takes gives the people of Port Elizabeth hope. They have earned the right to live their life with a sense of dignity.

Andrew Rolfe Supports John Lief’s Move to Fund Ubuntu Without Strings

The Ubuntu Fund is a non-profit organization based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The NGO focuses on offering health and educational aid to helpless and orphaned children in South Africa. Jacob Lief is the founder and the CEO of Ubuntu Fund.

John Lief discovered that most the donations to the organization had been ineffective in fulfilling its purpose of changing the lives of its beneficiaries. Most of the donations and grants have so many strings attached, and Lief decided to alter his organization’s policy by refusing donations from donors who restricted the use of the funds. His aim was to find the best way to assist the children for which the fund was created to help.

Patrick Boggon, the director of Tarnside Consulting, explains that benefactors that are on the Board of NGOS have a right to control the operations of the organization specifically if that donor has professional expertise on the relevant matter. Therefore, the organization will benefit from the grantor’s knowledge and the donor’s engagement in the cause is guaranteed.

Charitable organizations require an on-going source of cash that can be used on anything such as the acquisitions of IT systems to the training of the Staff, and as such it will allow the organization to be efficient or help it to expand its programs. For this reason, John Lief believes that when funds are reserved for specific projects, it leave the NGO without the flexibility to be innovative.

Andrew Rolfe is the chairman of the Ubuntu Education Fund, and he also serves the community of Zwide, Port Elizabeth to alleviate issues in healthcare, education, and social welfare. Andrew Rolfe holds remarkable credentials such as his Bachelor of Arts from Oxford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Andrew Rolfe responded to an article featured by The Financial Times by countering that Ubuntu Fund is not a typical non-profit whose goal is to ensure its operating system is installed on all laptops. Instead, Andrew Rolfe explains that the NGO is focused in bring real change to its benefactors.

Ubuntu Fund has an average social media presence with 265 YouTube subscribers, 13,000 likes on its Facebook page, 2919 followers and 5147 tweets on its Twitter page and lastly, 1379 followers on its Instagram page.