A journey to discover the people who change our world.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Chasing Opportunities, Fulfillings Needs

Still on the theme of HIV orphans, I met with Kim Feinburg in Johannesburg who is the founder of The Tomorrow Trust.

Like Veronica Khosa (see below), Kim started asking herself some questions about children orphaned through HIV/ Aids, and particularly about their educational opportunities.

She saw that when reaching young adulthood, many of these children were left to fend for themselves, unable to afford tertiary education. The Tomorrow Trust was set up to assist them through higher education; providing schooling fees and provisions, and creating a support community for these individuals as they venture out into the world. The trust also runs ‘holiday schools’ for secondary school pupils, providing extra tuition classes, and again increasing chances that they will have a chance to continue with their education.

Kim has been juggling continents and careers for much of her life. Growing up in South Africa, she was originally trained in the performing arts, and then went on to work as a dancer in the States. Things started to shift following a period of work in Hospice, where she started to question the impact which she wanted to have on this planet. There followed a period of time where she worked for Stephen Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation, for which she documented the oral history of South African Holocaust survivors. That led on to her setting up the Foundation for Tolerance Education, which promoted cultural understanding among South African schools. Then that led to involvement in setting up the Apartheid Museum in Jo’burg, then a role on the Human Rights Commission.. and now, the Tomorrow Trust.

There has indeed been a lot of activity, but what I find interesting about Kim is that she lets opportunity and need direct her. She admits that she does not have all the answers nor a grand map to where she will end up- but she works to find them. It is not an easy journey- there is risk and a huge amount of uncertainty, but overall the impetus to address the need is the overriding drive, and onwards she pushes.


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