Two men of different race and generation – one South African, one American – are partners in a common cause. From a chance meeting in 1998 in New Brighton Township, South Africa, Banks Gwaxula and Jacob Lief came to realise that they shared more than a common interest in soccer. The two shared an abiding belief in the power of education.
Banks invited Jacob, a travelling student, to live in his home as family and work with him as a teacher in his township school. In the townships, Jacob witnessed people overcoming the desperation of poverty through the power of community. He learned that townships schools lacked resources taken for granted in even the poorest communities in the United States. Classrooms made out of abandoned shipping containers held as many as 60 students at a time. Children shared few desks and fewer chairs. Teachers taught in front of blank boards in schools that had not owned a piece of chalk in years. Yet students with neither books nor pencils listened attentively to their teachers for hours on end. For despite the immeasurable hardships, communities remained dedicated to the belief that education would allow their children to overcome Apartheid’s legacy of poverty, disease and inequality
Address: 32 Broadway Suite 414
New York, NY 10004