One of CNN's Nominees for Hero of the Year

Meet CNN Hero Nominee, Thulani Madondo!

CNN Nominee for Hero of the Year, Thulani Madondo, Director of Kliptown Youth Organization

Dr. Rodney Shainbom and KYP Director, Thulani Madondo

Please meet our friend, Thulani Madondo, the Founder of Kliptown Youth Organization in Kliptown/Soweto, outside Johannesburg, South Africa. Thulani was nominated as one of CNN’s candidates for Hero of the Year in 2012, and made it into the final 10 nominees. If you could meet him where he lives, you would understand the reason and interest behind his nomination.

Kliptown, South Africa is a shanty town with a population of approximately 45,000 and an unemployment rate of over 70%. In spite of the fall of apartheid, Kliptown’s impoverished way of life has not changed, nor has it enjoyed the infusion of resources which nearby Johannesburg has received to its infrastructure and other services, especially in advance of the soccer World Cup in 2010. Rather, the citizens of Kliptown, a suburb of Soweto, have been left largely to find their own way on their own.

Thulani Madondo was raised as one of nine children in a corrugated tin shack. He did not have money from his family to provide for his education, let alone electricity and indoor plumbing. Nevertheless, through working at jobs through high school, he became the first member of his family to graduate from high school! Now 31 years old, he co-founded Kliptown Youth Organization (KYP) in 2007 to help other children in his community have at least one meal/day as well as the resources to stay in school. Through corporate and private donations, KYP provides after-school tutoring, meals, and classes to 400 of the 10,000 children who live in Kliptown, and Thulani is there, working, six out of seven days, making sure the program runs in spite of the sizeable challenges faced by their community. This is no free give-away support. Both kids and their parents sign contracts binding each to their responsibilities of attending class and making sure homework is done. Finally, Thulani’s young friends are attending colleges he could never afford to consider.

If you are looking for a non-profit organization to support abroad (and for those of you with a history or an affinity for South Africa), please reach out to Kliptown Youth Program. You can find them on Facebook and be as amazed as we are at their incredible accomplishments!