Jubuntu: Jewish Contributions to Education, Skills and Jobs in South Africa

by Mary Kluk on 10 February 2012

in Above Board, Jubuntu

Above Board 10 February 2012

In the course of his address at the opening night of the SAJBD’s national conference last year, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe appealed to the Board to assist in addressing the pressing challenges of education, skills development and job creation facing the country.

The SAJBD, he said, was well positioned to make a contribution in this regard because of the skills, knowledge and influence its members wielded as significant role-players in the South African economy.

We have made answering the Deputy President’s call one of our main projects for 2012. We intend, as the representative body for South African Jewry, to harness the resources of our community – countrywide – for the benefit of the greater society. This initiative will be known as “Jubuntu”.

The way we are approaching the challenge is through a two-stage process. The first is to establish exactly what is already being done by the Jewish community all around South Africa, both at the organisational and the individual level, in the educational and skills development spheres. This necessary “stock-taking” process will provide us with a better idea as to how Jews are contributing, which projects have been especially successful and what resources and expertise might be available for further developments. It would perhaps be premature to propose new outreach projects before knowing what is already out there.

Once we have determined this, we can move on to the next stage, which is to identify ways in which what is already out there could be better harnessed and extended upon. The possibility of bringing in Jewish skills and resources from further afield, will also form part of this, given the interest that many Jewish welfare workers internationally have expressed in somehow getting involved.

In due course, all this will be formally presented to the Deputy President with a view, we hope, to fostering constructive working partnerships between government and Jewish outreach bodies.

The first stage of the project is already well advanced. Our professional staff has met with a wide range of Jewish organisations and individuals involved in the outreach field, and a comprehensive database is being compiled.

What has already become clear is that there are a great many worthy projects being run by community members and even our affiliate organisations that we have been unaware of. Undoubtedly, we will learn of many more in the course of our research.

However, without the participation of our community, it is inevitable that important projects will end up being overlooked. I would like, therefore, to appeal to everyone involved in educational and skills development initiatives, or who are aware of other such Jewish-headed activities, to please let us know about them so that we can add the relevant details to our database.

The contact person in this regard is Steven Gruzd: steven@beyachad.co.za

This Above Board Column first appeared in the South African Jewish Report on 10 February 2012

Mary Kluk is the Chairman of the SAJBD, and is based in Durban.

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