Scott hosts my family in Philippi…

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Well, it’s almost the end of July and it has been incredibly quiet on my end which is not a true reflection of what is happening with Amandla. There have been incredible developments since I last updated you all. I have been a bit of a headless chicken lately but promise to update this blog more frequently!

In April, my family and I were able to spend a day in Philippi with Scott and the amazingly passionate team he works with day to day. As someone who was born and lived in South Africa for most of my life, it was shocking to hear some of the stories and challenges the community faces day to day. I have been away from home for many years now and have forgotten so many of the problems and issues of living in the country.

This visit to Philippi was an important, visceral reminder of why I am running the Development Committee for Amandla here in NYC. It made me realize, again, why we need to spread the word on Amandla as far and wide as we can. The power of helping a community like this will have an impact on the entire world.

With all of the stories we hear as outsiders looking in, there is no greater impact than seeing the conditions personally and speaking with the locals one on one. Visiting Philippi was a profoundly moving experience and I am glad my family was able to share it with me.

There are monumental developments happening in the community and so many exciting projects that involves art and music is on the horizon. I look forward to sharing these uplifting stories with you as the process evolves. For now, this is a very light update. I will follow up soon after the NYC Development Committee gets together next week and starts rolling out our initiatives for the rest of 2017.

Spread the word until we meet again. Until soon dear friends…

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Scott and the NYC Development Committee – 2017 Kickoff

Raj&Scott.jpgScott and the NYC Development Committee finally got together for their  2017 kickoff meeting. Yes, we KNOW it’s April, but these long distance relationships are not easy ya know? We also welcomed a new member to our band of merry volunteers (high five to Rodney for joining our NYC cause).

We plan to hit the ground running with some exciting initiatives to grow the footprint of Amandla in the USA and beyond. Our little hub in NYC will be working hard on some exciting events, programming and social media outreach to keep you all updated on our plans for this year and beyond.

The team in South Africa is already working on gathering interesting stories on people within the Amandla program and will be sending us regular updates to share with all of you so you can see exactly how your much-needed support and donations are helping to make major changes in Philippi.

I am also looking forward to let you all know about an exciting fitness fundraising event that I am working on with my fellow development committee member at Power To The People. The updates will be coming a bit more often now that we have a great team in place, so please keep checking back here for new developments and continue to follow us @amandladev and click HERE to follow us on Facebook. See you soon!

Happy Holidays from Amandla Development!

I just wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone Happy Holidays from Amandla Development. We have made great leaps in 2016 and it’s all because of the support and friendship of people like you.

In the spirit of the holidays and continued giving, please click on this link while doing your shopping on AMAZON. It’s an easy way to make continued contributions to our amazing organization while shopping for your loved ones. A portion of all sales supports Amandla Development and projects in our community.

We are looking forward to further developments in 2017, and, as usual, we will keep you posted of what lies ahead and how you can continue to stay involved in our initiatives.

Cheers to you!

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Scott and the Brooklyn Fundraiser

On September 30th, my company, Ellipsis, LLC hosted a fundraiser for Amandla Development at our humble abode in Brooklyn. We were joined by several of our very close friends who helped bring together a wonderful evening of awareness, new friendships, cocktails and most importantly… samosas.

The premise of the “fundraiser” was simple. Ellipsis, LLC would provide drinks and light bites if all guests would, instead of bringing a house gift or bottle of wine, use those funds to make a small donation to Amandla Development. We had our laptops available for our guests to go online and make donations during the evening’s festivities.

My goal was to take the fear out of fundraising and make it casual, supportive and fun. I had the opportunity to introduce Scott to some of the dearest people in my life and Scott was able to make a presentation and share his hopes and goals for Amandla Development with his now, new friends and acquaintances.

At the end of the day, we raised some money, but most importantly, we made new connections for Amandla and gave Scott and his team the opportunity to grow their network and awareness about the organization.

We, at Ellipsis, LLC, hope to make this an annual event and gathering with the focus being more on growing relationships and awareness about Amandla than a few dollars raised. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important for us to establish a steady flow of funds to the organization but that will come with the building of new connections, which, at this time, is one of our prime goals and most-needed resources for Amandla.

A few weeks after the event, we gathered with Scott and some South African and American friends and my favorite business guru at “Power To The People“, to start a small development committee based here in New York. Our goal will be to raise awareness about the program and keep our friends and networks updated about news and developments regarding Amandla.

Watch this space for the adventures of the new development committee and our events and tweets which will be coming in 2017.

Happy Thanksgiving ya’all.

 

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Scott’s teeny tiny fundraiser in Brooklyn

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Scott and I have finally done it.

Almost one year to the date of meeting Scott for the first time at a fundraiser in Manhattan, I have now become so immersed in the Amandla way that I will be hosting my own “teeny, tiny” fundraiser at my apartment in Brooklyn on Friday, September 30th.

I invited some close friends to meet Scott and enjoy some light bites and cocktails following what will surely be a grueling work week. Scott will have the opportunity to share updates and background on Amandla Development and the new “100 For 1o0” program that launched last month.

I started to realize that gathering a few friends for a good cause is the easiest thing to do in the world. Instead of having my guests bring snacks and a few bottles of wine, I asked instead, that they donate whatever they planned to spend as a donation to Amandla.

A little goes a long way, which is why I am so adamant about changing our thought process about being involved in philanthropic work. My biggest donation to this cause will be bringing people together. Something all of us do on a weekly, monthly and often daily basis.

With the bombings in New Jersey and Chelsea, New York last weekend (one horribly close to my church – the Peloton spinning studio), it makes me realize more than ever that we need to spread more good and love to overpower all this negativity and hate in the world.

Thought for the day: “You don’t have to be a millionaire to make a difference. You just have to give a damn about something bigger than yourself.” – Karen G.

For those of you who would like to join the party – please shoot me an email or leave a comment. We would love to have you join our Amandla party and meet our community of givers. For those who can’t make it but would like to donate a few bucks to the cause, please click HERE.

Peace, love and light to you all. Until soon.

Scott’s vision: the 100 for 100 initiative

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Pardon my silence.

For several months now, Scott and the team at Amandla Development have been working on a new initiative, the “100 for 100” that was launched just this week! (And the crowd goes wild!) This program is aimed at ensuring Philippi’s students have the support they need to stay in school.

Amandla’s goal, with this initiative, is to assist 100% of the students in the community. Let me explain: a $100 donation per month aimed at saving 100% of a community’s students = the 100 for 100 initiative. This is a lofty goal but we realize that with the proper network, sharing and support, we can absolutely realize this vision.

One of the biggest obstacles students face is losing hope due to various factors that include crime, poverty, broken family units and many other issues that I have mentioned in my previous blogs. The thought of a child losing hope and losing all future opportunities is enough reason for us to fight to try and make a difference. This goes far beyond a country, far, far away or the “out of sight out of mind” way of thinking. These children, with the right support, could be the leaders of tomorrow, who will in turn encourage the next generation to reach higher and work harder. The only way to effect change is to start now. We cannot keep waiting for the right moment or opportunity. We have the tools right now to start making a difference in someone’s life. The ripple effect with just some of the programs that Amandla has already started has been monumentally positive. Just think of what we can achieve if we work together, share this information with our networks, and in the end, sacrifice a latte once in a while because really, that is what it comes down to. No seriously – step away from the latte.

Let’s face it – a $100 per month donation is a big ask – but what this will do in the greater Philippi community is priceless. Don’t be discouraged by the number, if all you can afford is $20 per month, please put that toward a steady monthly donation to the program. A steady line of donations sets us up for continued support throughout the year – something our children can count on. The 100 for 100 program will show you where your money is going through monthly updated photos, newsletters and email blasts. You will be able to see first-hand the difference your donation will make.

Over the next months, my company, Ellipsis LLC, will be hosting a series of fundraising events to help spread the word on the 100 for 100 initiative. I hope to see you all there to share in something groundbreaking, positive and uplifting. Watch this space for updates on my upcoming events, and, if you’d like to get involved with the 100 for 100 program now, please click HERE for full information.

Until soon dear friends…

Scott and the Indaba

1280px-Philippi,_Cape_Town_map.pngIn March 2016, Amandla Development hosted an indaba (a meeting or conference), with keynote speaker, Trevor Manuel, to launch the Philippi Community Report Card.

Mr. Manuel urged attendees to look at education as “a journey and not an event” and confirmed that through the report card, we could “create conditions to make formal education work”.

Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, noted during the release of the 2015 matric results that half of learners who enter the school system drop out before matric year (Grade 12). Scott and the Philippi Collective Network are working tirelessly toward diagnosing the specific challenges in given communities or schools and puts emphasis on providing clear support to the learner. The Community Report Card is a tool that will monitor student progress from cradle to career and will track children’s goals and success throughout their development.

While many children get off to a good start on their educational journeys, almost half of Philippi’s children are not properly prepared to enter primary school. With literacy and numeracy results plummeting after Grade Three, a sense of anxiety overtakes the learners and many boys end up in gangs, while many young girls fall pregnant. Other serious health issues like HIV are also monumental in affecting students and these communities as a whole.

The Philippi Collective Network is a collaboration of NGO’s, government, schools and active citizens all working to ensure that learners not only succeed in school, but stay in school. Amandla and the Collective are constantly working on strategies to establish the Philippi community as a place where learning thrives by engaging parents and decreasing violence in the community through solid programming and support from many talented (and willing) resources.

These Community Solutions (CS) projects by Amandla are aimed at breaking down barriers to learning in the community at large. These groups focus on getting infrastructure in place to improve educator morale or school leadership. Having strong role models to look up to will be vital to the success of the community.

On this side of the pond, I am still working with my personal network and business partner to provide remote support to my friend Scott and the life-changing and never-ending work he is doing to improve lives in South Africa. Watch this space for information on a series of fundraisers I will be hosting in New York City this summer and beyond. Let’s see if we can give Scott a little support by coming together and sharing in the incredible work he is doing. Every little bit helps.

You know what they say, “Philippi wasn’t built in a day”.