I have so enjoyed getting the founders, employees, board members, and interns at These Numbers Have Faces over the past year. On one occasion I spoke at length with a board member of this organization and was challenged to hear of the relational basis of their work and impressed by the sustainability of their model for providing higher education scholarships and opportunities for young women in South African Townships.
I was first introduced to TNHF by the Executive Director, Justin, in 2006. We met at a coffee shop so he could share his story about meeting the JL Zwane Football Team, Coach Eric and Anda. He wanted to continue his relationship with the team, felt called to do more, and formed a sole proprietorship business in order to do so. Little did he know that soon, after many a meeting in his attic, this little sole proprietorship would be the incredible nonprofit it is today. I believe in TNHF and am honored to be associated with this organization not only because of their responsible community-based development model and understanding that investing in girls is a key solution to addressing poverty from the bottom up, but because of the passionate dedicated leadership behind the scenes. Justin, his wife Trisha, the very few staff members, and the countless volunteers work at TNHF because they believe in the power of education, the dignity of all human beings, and they just love their friends in South Africa.
These Numbers Have Faces is a tremendously committed group of men and women that work everyday to play their small part in improving this world. It would be easy to be discouraged when tackling something like poverty in South Africa, but what they are accomplishing through their community impact model is revolutionary. They have the potential to empower not only the youth of South Africans to lift their communities out of poverty, but also leave a sustainable organization and structure that in the future will not be reliant on These Numbers Have Faces.
My volunteer experience with These Numbers Have Faces (TNHF) has been nothing short of continuing growth. The team at TNHF is unusual. Once the team recognized my talents and skills I was encouraged to come up with creative ideas to help grow my area of skill. I had been so accustomed to working in a controlled environment I’d almost forgotten what it was like to be free and creative. When I’m not volunteering I work in marketing for a company who sells consumer products. Having the knowledge I did in marketing and some contacts in the non-profit world here in Portland proved to them I could help get the job done. We met weekly to talk about ideas and status on projects. Every week I was there was positive and we continued to move forward. The positive feedback on ideas encouraged me to dig deeper for creativity within myself. When a company or non-profit allows their employees or volunteers to be free the sky is truly the limit on where they can go. I know TNHF will continue to inspire those they aid as much as those who volunteer.