I Am Because You Are

Andrea Thompson, Jacob Lief

R 355

eB3 550

Discovery Miles  3 550

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Hassle-Free Exchanges & Returns for 30 Days. Learn more

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In 1998, Jacob Lief, a 21-year-old American university student, met school teacher Malizole Banks Gwaxula in a township tavern in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. After bonding over beers and a shared passion for education, Gwaxula invited Lief to live with him in the township. Inspired by their fortuitous meeting-which brought together two men separated by race, nationality, and age-and by the spirit of ubuntu, roughly translated as I am because you are -the two men embarked on an unexpectedly profound journey. Their vision? To provide vulnerable children in the townships with what every child deserves-everything. Today, their organization, Ubuntu Education Fund, is upending conventional wisdom about how to break the cycle of poverty. Shunning traditional development models, Ubuntu has redefined the concept of scale, focusing on how deeply it can impact each child's life rather than how many it can reach. Ubuntu provides everything a child needs and deserves, from prenatal care for pregnant mothers to support through university-essentially, from cradle to career. Their child-centered approach reminds us that one's birthplace should not determine one's future. I Am Because You Are sets forth an unflinching portrayal of the unique rewards and challenges of the nonprofit world while offering a bold vision for a new model of development.


I Am Because You Are is more than the story of two unlikely friends with a shared passion for helping children get an education. It's a celebration of hope, resilience, and perseverance, and in Jacob's telling we see that when we make a difference in the lives of others, we transformourselves in the process. --Arianna Huffington I Am Because You Are tells the powerful story of how Ubuntu Education Fund became a model for social change the whole world can learn from...an institution my grandfather would be proud of and continues to build on his legacy. There are many of us who search for the little undeniable moments of inspiration and purpose. Jacob is a source of that for me and I have no doubt that once you know his story, he will be for you. --Kweku Mandela, President, Out of Africa Entertainment; Co-Founder, Africa Rising Foundation Successful social entrepreneurs learn to develop a clear vision for how their organizations can add value to the world in a way that is distinctive. They then move heaven and earth to align their decisions with this vision--even if it's unconventional. I Am Because You Are shows us the power of a clear vision and leadership who is willing to defy industry constraints and integrate leadership disciplines into its organizational practices. Sixteen years ago, I invested seed capital into Jacob's vision, because I saw someone who could bring leadership talent to innovate in a way that would change the world. --Rob Kaplan, Former Vice Chairman, Goldman Sachs; Co-Chair, Draper Richards Kaplan; Current Professor, Harvard Business School In 2013, I visited Port Elizabeth, South Africa with President Bill Clinton; weaving through the townships, we found our way to the Ubuntu Centre. It was an inspiring and humbling day. The power of care, aspiration and love was so evident. It was a day I will always remember. I Am Because You Are brings to life the impact and Ubuntu spirit that I witnessed. Thank you for your gift to humanity. --Lord Rumi Verjee, Founder, The Rumi Foundation The work of founding a nonprofit requires perseverance, but to build an organization that challenges conventional wisdom demands even more. In his memoir, I Am Because You Are, Jacob faces countless rejections, skeptics, and obstacles as he questions all that has come before him. His success and Ubuntu's incredible impact prove the power of community-based, grassroots theories of change. --Daniel Lurie, CEO and Founder, Tipping Point Community Pride is the first word that came to mind reading I Am Because You Are ; I feel immensely privileged to have played a role, however small, in supporting Ubuntu Education Fund. What Jacob and Banks have achieved is just 16 years is remarkable; they are a worthy example for anyone who hopes to serve. --Dr. Mary Frances Berry, former Chair of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania I Am Because You Are is as fascinating and inspirational as Jacob himself. His story of creating an incredible island of hope in a South African township is told with excitement and brutal honesty. It reads both as a great memoir of a young man's journey, as well as a handbook for making a difference on this planet. --Kevin Bacon, Actor I Am Because You Are chronicles Ubuntu Education Fund's evolution into a best practice model for community development. Not only can we learn a great deal from how Jacob has weathered a myriad of challenges, but his memoir also sheds light on just what it takes to turn some of Africa's challenges into opportunities and really shift the needle in terms of creating lasting impact. --Ashish J Thakkar, Founder, Mara Group and Mara Foundation Jacob's unlikely success, chronicled in I Am Because You Are, reminds us all of just how much it takes to heal the world's injustices. He applies simple yet innovative principles of holistic wellness to development--transforming a disadvantaged community requires deep, sustained, and comprehensive interventions. --Dr. Frank Lipman, Founder, Eleven Eleven Wellness Sixteen years ago, Jacob asked Latham & Watkins to help him incorporate Ubuntu Education Fund as a non-profit organization. I thought he was just another naive university student who would soon lose interest in Ubuntu and join the corporate world. I was wrong. I Am Because You Are is the improbable story of a young idealist who never lost his passion and who founded one of the most impressive social projects that I have ever seen. --William Voge, Chair and Managing Partner, Latham & Watkins
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