BUILD THE FUTURE
Build The Future is a non-profit organization that works to create thriving and sustainable communities anchored in local relationships. We aim to meet the basic needs of communities through early childhood development programs, education and community development programs.
MISSION & HISTORY.
Fueled by a diverse, engaged donor base passionate about changing lives, Build The Future works to create thriving and sustainable communities anchored in local relationships and meet the basic needs of communities through education and community development programs.
THE EARLY YEARS.
To truly understand the roots of Build The Future, you need to look at the amazing people who are at the heart of the organisation. Even though Build The Future was officially established in 2006, one of our founding members, Phillip Shapiro, had developed a feeding programme and started working with communities 20 years before that in a suburb of Motsoaledi in Soweto district. He built up long-standing relationships with the community elders, which has aided him in all his work throughout the years in community upliftment and development. Phillip's prevalence and consistency within the communities around South Africa are grounded in those relationships that he has managed to established all those years ago. As an organization that relies on the communities that it works within, Build The Future would not be able to perform the work that it does, therefore our relationships we foster are at the cornerstone of the work that we do.
Over time, we started to expand ourselves into other communities around Johannesburg that were in desperate need of basic facilities such as schools and food. So, in 2008 we saw our expansion take us North of Johannesburg, to a squatter camp settlement in Kya Sands. So using nothing but brick and mortar, and a few 40ft. containers, we broke ground in Kya Sands and began to build our first pre-school, knowing how important it is to provide the younger generation of the community with a solid educational stepping stone towards their future personal development. At the same time, following in the footsteps of our Build The Future heritage, we also established an urban farm and vegetable garden that not only feeds the children of the pre-school but also supplies the surrounding community with fresh and organic produce throughout the year. You see Build The Future is an organisation that is centred on the consistent and sustainable development of every community that we are present. But we will touch more on that a bit later.
Following the establishment of our facility in Kya Sands, we extended our operation to the beautiful province of Kwazulu Natal on the east coast of South Africa. KZN, as it's affectionately known, is a wondrous land of green rolling hills, lush jungle with warm and abundant oceans and rivers that snake through its valleys. Unfortunately, many communities within these hills are in dire need of basic amenities. This is where our other prolific member, Clive Wetherell, cements himself in the community development programmes of our organisation. 5 years ago, Clive identified the Ndwedwe community near Waterfall and another in a location called Faya. Faya happens to be the last name of the 'Nduna' or leader of that particular community. It just goes to show how important the leadership structures are to these rural communities and how important it is to build relationships with them. Many of the communities hadn't had a pre-school for over 100 years before we arrived there, so early childhood development (ECD) naturally became our top priority. Apart from setting up pre-schools, we also assist these communities with running water, working bee-hives, and a sustainable garden to feed its inhabitants, just as we have done with our facilities in Johannesburg. At the end of the day, even if we can make the smallest improvement to the people's lives within the communities that we operate in, and our impact has been felt by everyone in a positive way and we know our efforts are making a difference.
WHERE WE ARE NOW.
We are very pleased to say that we currently have 5 separate facilities operating across South Africa. At the same time, we are in the process of establishing another 2, and within the next 3 years, we hope to have a total of between 10 to 15 facilities.
One of our biggest driving forces today is our 'American Connection', as we like to call it. For many years, volunteers from the US-based Christian organisation called Crossroads Church in Cincinnati have visited our various locations across South Africa. This is how we became acquainted with our amazing team member, Susie Shaffer Cambell. Susie has been involved with the Crossroads Church for most of her life and during the formative years of Build The Future, she was instrumental in facilitating and coordinating the tours from all across the US to our foundation. Since then, Susie joined the Build The Future team permanently and has established a tour operator called African Adventures, which is now the official travel partner to us for all of our Crossroad Church volunteers as well as all of the other volunteers anywhere in the US territory.
The volunteers play a pivotal role in the day-to-day functions of our development facilities when they come and visit. As the old saying goes, many hands make light work and we are forever grateful and always welcome the helping hands we receive from all of the guests that arrive. To date, we have had over 400 people devote their time and resources to the running operations of our various locations. It's always incredible to see how our volunteers develop over the days of their stay. They usually arrive a little shy and a bit timid, but as they become accustomed to their surroundings and the people that they are working with, then the energy really starts to flow. We are firm believers that every trip we host is half about the men, women, and children in the communities and the other half is about the people on the trip. As much as the volunteers are devoting themselves to a greater cause, they also receive so many gifts in return for their selfless actions. Rewards that they will take forward with them for the rest of their lives.
If you're wondering what the volunteers get up to at our locations, there are many various tasks that you can do. In the past we have had our volunteers help us with painting our containers, digging trenches and laying down water pipes under the road, planting and harvesting from our fresh produce gardens, food preparation, cooking and meal packing that gets supplied to us by one of our partners, Rise Against Hunger. Then there is also the education element of our work where a number of our volunteers immerse themselves in reading stories and other activities. The interaction with the children is unbelievable to witness. Our Kya Sands location also has a medical clinic, where volunteers assist with the many different healthcare needs of the community members.
Apart from the necessity for extra hands-on on a normal day-to-day basis, we have also developed workshops and corporate team-building experiences. These are all designed to teach people how to develop important self-sustaining skills such as permaculture farming, traditional farming, early-childhood development techniques. Ultimately we want all of our visitors to arrive with good intentions and leave with a newfound respect for all the people who may be a little less fortunate than them. But one thing is for sure, we believe that everyone will realise just how many different forms of abundance there is across all the facets of life.
One of our biggest driving forces today is our 'American Connection', as we like to call it. For many years, volunteers from the US-based Christian organisation called Crossroads Church in Cincinnati have visited our various locations across South Africa. This is how we became acquainted with our amazing team member, Susie Shaffer Cambell. Susie has been involved with the Crossroads Church for most of her life and during the formative years of Build The Future, she was instrumental in facilitating and coordinating the tours from all across the US to our foundation.