|Intro||South African community leader|
Malizole “Banks” Gwaxula is a teacher and community leader in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
In 1999, Malizole Banks Gwaxula and Jacob Lief co-founded Ubuntu Education Fund (www.ubuntufund.org) with the goal of transforming the lives of the children of Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Ubuntu is a Zwide-based NGO that reaches over 40,000 children and their families with educational and health initiatives. Banks was twice nominated for South African Social Entrepreneur of the year, in 2006 (award given by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship) and 2008 (award given by the World Economic Forum).
Ignoring the traditional development models, they redefined the theory of “going to scale” ;rather than expanding geographically Ubuntu drew a perimeter around a community of 400,000 people. Ubuntu created an integrated system of medical, health, educational, and social interventions that would ensure that a child who was either orphaned or vulnerable could, after several years, succeed in the worlds of education and employment.
The organization was started in a broom closet with a raffle on a university campus and today has over 80 full-time staff in South Africa and fundraising offices in London and New York. The Ubuntu Model has become a blueprint for organizations around the world that strive for culturally appropriate, community-based development. Ubuntu’s child-centered approach highlights the difference between merely touching a child’s life versus fundamentally changing it.
Ubuntu has also been highlighted by the Clinton Global Initiative on numerous occasions as an organization effecting lasting change in South Africa.