Sinesipho Rabidyani, a former recipient of an Ubuntu Fund scholarship and honored guest at the event, was one of the major showstoppers. Her vocal performance stunned almost as much as her gorgeous dress was the talk of the evening. She also shared her story of how the Ubuntu Fund changed her life and allowed her to escape the abuse of her alcoholic father. After graduating from the university, she was accepted to law school and is now attending classes. This changed the entire dynamic of her family and empowered her other family members to separate from her abusive father. Following some powerful and inspiring speeches, a very lucrative auction was held. Art by Nelson Makamo and Dom Pattinson were the most sought-after pieces at the auction, which raised more than 33,000 pounds for the Ubuntu Fund. The artists and donors who contributed to the auction were delighted to see their work go to support such an important cause in the fight against global poverty.
What sets the Ubuntu Fund apart from many of the other educational charities around the world is that it provides a wide range of services to the children it serves. As one of the leaders of the Ubuntu Fund, Rolfe realizes that educational initiatives can only go so far in changing children’s lives if those children are not given the basic daily essentials that they need to survive. The Ubuntu Fund has been successful in providing psychological, health and nutritional services to children who otherwise might not survive in their present circumstances. Children are also cared for with mentorship services so that there are adult role models who are aware of the students’ family situation and can ensure that they are getting access to all of the vital services that they need. This has allowed those children to thrive in the classroom and take full advantage of the educational opportunities they are being afforded.
One of the major issues that the Ubuntu Fund has had to tackle for South African children is HIV/AIDS. Thanks to the generous support of donors and the unrelenting work of volunteers like Rolfe, the Ubuntu Fund has been able to ensure that 100 percent of the babies born to HIV-positive mothers were born HIV-negative. This is a major accomplishment in an area that has been ravaged by the disease. What is even more inspiring is that all of those babies that have completed the Ubuntu Fund’s program qualified to enroll in the university. The Ubuntu Fund has expanded to serve a community of about 400,000 people, although the major focus of the program is to serve its current community members to the full depth of their needs. This program has been able to turn the traditional development model on its head by its emphasis on grassroots efforts to empower a community and to never provide a service in a vacuum.
The ultimate goal of the Ubuntu Fund is that all of its services result in a community that is more sustainable and is able to support its youth into fully employable adults. The graduates of the Ubuntu Fund are expected to sustain themselves with meaningful employment and are then able to give back to their community in the long-term. This creates a stronger connection between community members, which fosters a deeper level of involvement of all members of the community in making sure that children have access to education.
Rolfe is able to do such amazing things in his philanthropic work because of his track record of success in his professional life. He currently serves as managing director at TowerBook Capital Partners and as a member of the board directors. Since graduating from Harvard Business School, Rolfe has held a variety of high-profile positions in the business world, including as president of The Gap, Inc. Rolfe has amassed a wealth of leadership experience in the business world, which has allowed him to implement comprehensive and proactive in all of his current positions. He has always stayed true to giving 100 percent of his efforts to whichever position he is serving in and empowers others around them to rise to their full potential.
Out of all of his professional achievements, Andrew Rolfe says that serving on the board of the Ubuntu Fund is one of the most fulfilling and significant to him. He is very passionate about the work of the program in enriching the lives of children in one of the most impoverished and hopeless regions of the world. Rolfe has the unique ability to encourage other business leaders to collaborate and combine resources for the benefit of a cause that is bigger than themselves. In what is typical of Rolfe’s approach to all of his commitments, he has thrown himself wholeheartedly into the work of the Ubuntu Fund and plans to stay very involved in the program for many years to come. Rather than simply stroking a check to the fund each year and attending fundraising programs, Rolfe believes in full-scale involvement in important causes. He says that he feels much more connected to the community that the Ubuntu Fund serves by working at the grassroots level to bring necessary services to the community.