How a Nonprofit Started in a Broom Closet and Then Helped Thousands of African Children

Jessica Abo sits down with the founder and CEO of Ubuntu Pathways to learn how the nonprofit supports African children to find paths out of poverty.

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Jacob Lief believes poverty is complex, but the cycle is breakable. After visiting South Africa to observe the country’s historic elections, Lief returned to the Eastern Cape to co-found Ubuntu Pathways in 1999.

What started in a broom closet has become a world-class institution that supports 2,000 children. Today, Lief oversees 70 employees across three continents and has grown Ubuntu into an internationally-recognized model for community development. Lief has received several awards and honors for his work, including being recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. 

His book, I Am Because You Are, chronicles his journey in South Africa and sets forth a new, bold vision for breaking the cycle of poverty. To celebrate Ubuntu's 20th anniversary, the organization is holding a gala in Los Angeles on April 4th. 

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