This past summer, all eyes were on South Africa. Over the course of the 2010 World Cup, viewers became acquainted with the symbol of its flag, the names of its townships and the buzz of its vuvuzelas. But for Justin Zoradi, victory in South Africa began years before on a far smaller, though perhaps far more significant, soccer field.
“South Africa had not really been on my radar at all, to be honest,” admits Zoradi, founder of These Numbers Have Faces (TNHF), a nonprofit that provides scholarships to deserving youth. Zoradi had devoted much of his undergraduate studies to the civil conflict of Northern Ireland, and first came to South Africa with a team from Belfast to learn from the nation’s recent transition to democracy. But it didn’t take Zoradi long to recognize there was more to this mission. He became involved with a local youth soccer league, the J.L. Zwane Football Club, forming relationships that anchor the work of TNHF today. “I felt God begin something really powerful in me,” he says of that summer. When the coach of the soccer club proposed that Zoradi help the boys go to college, he was daunted. Not to mention, his own graduate education awaited him in the U.S. He suppressed the idea, promising to keep in touch. But one afternoon while waiting for a class at Portland State University, the thought emerged, almost audibly: Would you deny for others what you demand for yourself? That same afternoon, he walked to a bookstore and purchased a guide to starting a nonprofit. Three years later, the book still sits on the shelf of the Portland office of TNHF. “I knew my friends were not statistics. They were not pie
year. Such a prospect is even more precious in a post-apartheid community where only 3.5 percent of black South Africans graduate from college. “The opportunity for these young people is absolutely radical. It’s something that, honestly, you and I can’t fathom,” Zoradi says. “In our communities, for the most part, you go to college. That’s what you do after high school. It’s kind of a nobrainer. That’s not the case over there at all.” A college education is even more elusive for females, prompting TNHF’s Women’s Empowerment campaign. “Women are, without a doubt, the secret weapon in international development. When you educate a woman, everything changes,” says Zoradi, who identifies academic equality as one of the primary purposes of TNHF. Evidence shows that an educated woman in an underdeveloped area is less likely to contract HIV/AIDS
graphs, or color-coded charts or Excel spreadsheets,” Zoradi says. He continues to partner with the J.L. Zwane Football Club, as well as lintombi Zilapha, a girls’ dance team. It is primarily from these two groups that TNHF selects students for whom they will provide scholarships. Research shows that students from lowincome areas who are involved in sports programs are more likely to stay away from crime and to succeed academically and socially in the future. “We don’t just give out college scholarships for free. They have to do something for them. That is the difference between aid and development,” Zoradi explains TNHF implements what they call the Community Impact Model, requiring scholarship recipients to participate in community service projects, mentorship programs and financial literacy courses. In an effort to create a selfsustaining operation, students also commit 1 percent of their future earnings to the ongoing work of TNHF. “How exciting would it be for our South African TNHF team to one day tell us to go elsewhere, or stop fundraising because they had it taken care of on their own?” Zoradi says. “That’ll be an exciting day.” Currently, TNHF has eight students enrolled in local colleges, which costs $23 a day per student. The goal is to have 20 students by this time next
Attention from the World Cup was what Zoradi calls “a perfect storm” for interest and support. By hosting an online World Cup Benefit Bracket, they raised $2,500 for their education programs, roughly the amount needed for a student to complete one year of college in South Africa. Two of their scholarship students also had the honor of being selected by FIFA to serve as World Cup ambassadors. Of course, expansion means restructuring. TNHF launched an internship program in May, opened a new office in Cape Town and applied to be a South African charity in addition to their American nonprofit status. But the ultimate goal of TNHF has always been to shut down—in a good way. “We need to have exit strategies,” Zoradi says. He believes a successful nonprofit is one that empowers its people to maintain development independently. In a place where
“Education is key because it is lasting aid. It doesn’t dry up. It doesn’t go bad.” —Justin Zoradi and more likely to reinvest into her community. Statistically, her earning potential increases 10-20 percent for every year in school. “We are trying to right the wrongs of the past and move these students forward into this new, post-racial, post-apartheid society that South Africa is sort of floundering in,” Zoradi says. He expects 10-12 new female students to begin the program come January 2011.
food and clean water can be a luxury, this is something of a challenge. But TNHF is restoring the promise of education in South Africa, and consequently producing knowledgeable, connected citizens who can care for their community like no organization can. “Education is key because it is lasting aid,” Zoradi says. “It doesn’t dry up. It doesn’t go bad. It can never be taken from you.”
(These Numbers Have Faces) www.thesenumbers.org
These Numbers Have Faces awards scholarships to hardworking, deserving students in South Africa. They also offer students training in a variety of fields, giving them the opportunity to make the most of their education and become the leaders of tomorrow. TNHF also works to empower women in the community.
How You Can Help TNHF In addition to traditional, monetary donations, TNHF also takes donations of soccer equipment and frequent flier miles.
Education Programs TNHF trains students in several ways so they will get the most out of their education: Financial literacy and computer training: From budgeting to basic computer programs, TNHF teaches students practical skills to apply to future careers Opportunities for community service and volunteer work: TNHF hopes to instill in students a sense of community by helping those around them Leadership and development training: TNHF students are required to mentor and build relationships with future members of the program
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Published on Aug 31, 2010
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