Number Two - January, 2000
A Foundation is a living organism, with
its good days and its bad days. All things considered, we
have been blessed with an abundance of good days and burdened
with very few bad days. This is a function of good planning,
good people, hard work and good fortune. One problem with
so many good days is that they have a tendency to produce
a false sense of security or of well-being. We know better
than to permit this to happen. Too many times we have left
South Africa feeling good about things, only to return to
too many set backs or to yet another funeral.
Yet, when we departed Cape Town on Saturday
night, December 18, we were generally delighted with progress
on most fronts and satisfied that we had accomplished everything
possible as South Africa shut itself down for the Festive
Season. We were especially pleased that the Foundation had
the right people in the right places and that our ambitious
"EXPANSION 2001" program was off to a strong start
under the leadership of Zunade Dharsey. We were thinking
we might soon be in position to moderate our South African
travel schedule a bit.
Barely one week later on Sunday, December
26, an early morning telephone call shattered our sense
of well-being. Zunade Dharsey had drowned in a treacherous
tidal current in the Indian Ocean at Arniston. A strong
and experienced ocean swimmer, Zunade had died attempting
to assist another swimmer in trouble.
ZUNADE DHARSEY (1960-1999)
Zunade Dharsey was a unique individual
-- one of a kind. It was as though he were created for a
key role in the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust and he was the
perfect choice to direct "EXPANSION 2001", our
program to extend our successful, community-inspired violence
prevention strategies from Cape Town to communities throughout
the Western Cape Province.
Zunade had the energy and stamina which
are essential to the role. He was a charger. But Zunade
had the ability to walk the fine line between pushing and
listening. He loved and defended the sometimes-frustrating
grassroots consultation practices which are characteristic
of marginalized communities in South Africa. Still, he was
unafraid to push for decision and action when things were
He was gregarious, friendly and enjoyed
telling of stories. He was self-reliant and confident, yet
his insecurities regarding his own performance were always
just below the surface. He was a gifted communicator and
understood the importance of this gift to our work.
At age 39, Zunade was a recognized educator
whose graduate degrees were earned in Canada and in the
During his tenure with the Western Cape
Department of Education, he rose from teacher to circuit
manager to top-level administrator. Following the killing
of a student at one of his schools, Zunade created and launched
the innovative "Safer Schools" programme
elements of which were based upon inner-city schools and
community partnerships which he observed in U.S. cities
such as Boston and New York.
Together, we created a partnership protocol
between the Department and the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust,
through which our Trust has provided employable skills training
for youth after school. Zunade had so many ideas, so few
resources. Frustrated, he left public education for Telkom
and its Centres of Excellence programme in 1998. From his
office in Pretoria, he traveled the country extensively
to promote creative corporate involvements in development
of education distribution infrastructure utilizing
new technologies to bring education services to South Africas
most disadvantaged schools.
When Zunade joined our team on October
1, we assumed we were beginning a long-term partnership.
We felt there were many exciting things we could do together
Zunade was comfortable and impactful
in many worlds. He had such promise for leadership in his
country. He cannot be replaced and we shall not try. He
joins Amy as one who cared and who worked very hard for
things in life which truly matter. We are devastated. Our
prayers are with his daughters, his parents and his family.
We grieve, also, for South Africa, which
has lost an invaluable son.
As we initiated our "EXPANSION
2001" program to extend our successful youth violence
prevention strategies from Cape Flats communities to other
disadvantaged communities throughout the Western Cape Province,
we knew we would need a tactic for engaging community grassroots
leadership in communities where we were not so well known
Through hours of preliminary consultations,
Zunade and our team detected skepticism which was a direct
result of too many outside organizations with too many promises
and too little delivery. Residents of disadvantaged communities
harbor too many unfulfilled dreams and begin to accept this
as a fact of life.
Consequently, we decided it would be
our policy to under-promise and over-deliver. We would deliver
something quickly which was desired by community leadership,
as a means of winning confidence and respect.
Each community had its needs. A container
store for sale of "AMYS BREAD the bread
of hope and peace" was required in Kayumandi, near
Stellenbosch. Commissions from bread sales would help women
in the community build their houses. Furniture was required
to equip and activate an office/counseling center in Strand.
A table tennis table was needed to create a youth drop-in
centre in Oudtshoorn. All were provided.
But lacking in every community were
playing fields for youth and proper playgrounds for children.
Zunade found a visiting mechanical engineering student from
Germany, who designed an entertaining and durable playground
environment to be constructed of rope and wooden poles.
Zunade then integrated playground with multi-purpose playing
field and conceived the "Peace Park".
Sites were finally approved in Oudtshoorn
and in George during December. Construction, irrigation
system installation, and sodding should be completed on
these first two "Peace Parks" in January and February.
Perhaps we should dedicate the parks to Zunade Dharsey.
That way the people will know that Zunade always delivered
what he promised.
Certainly, playing fields and "Peace
Parks" will be key elements in the entry strategy for
each community to be served by the "EXPANSION 2001"
PLAYING FIELDS AND PORTLAND
While it may be a long way from Oudtshoorn
to Portland, OR, people in Portland know that violence prevention
and youth empowerment frequently begin on a supervised playing
field whether that field be in Oregon or in South
Africa. As a major international port city and as host to
the headquarters of NIKE and of ADIDAS-AMERICA, Portland
and its people have a well-developed sense of global linkage.
Aided by the "can-do" attitudes
of Terry and Carolyn Murphy, the commitment of their daughter,
Ashleigh, to South Africa, and by the generous help of friends,
Linda and Peter Biehl spent three days preceding Halloween
speaking and fund-raising in Portland. Results of this visit
were so overwhelmingly-successful that a special Portland
Fund has been created within the Amy Biehl Foundation. The
Fund was opened with donations in excess of $60,000
the equivalent of Rand 360,000 in South Africa.
At an approximate average cost of Rand
40,000 per multi-purpose playing field, the Portland Fund
could underwrite development of nine fields. Through a combination
of matching funds from other sources and interest, the nine
fields can be increased to twenty.
Thanks to the Murphy family and to the
people of Portland, a significant violence prevention impact
can be achieved with youth in South Africas Western
Cape during the next sixteen months. Moreover, creation
of the Portland Fund within the Foundation establishes a
funding model which can be replicated with other communities
and other groups which express specific areas of program
WHAT OUR PROGRAMS COST
People ask frequently what our violence
prevention programs cost to operate in South Africa. Actually,
our program models in and around Guguletu township have
been operating successfully for at least 18 months, in most
cases, and we have a very detailed understanding of what
each program costs.
In interpreting South African program
costs, certain underlying conditions must be noted:
- the South African Rand continues
to experience weakness against most sound Western currencies,
including our U.S. Dollar. Currently, we use Rand 6 (U.S.
$1.00) for budgeting purposes, although this is subject
to change at any time. A U.S. Dollar goes a long way in
the new South Africa;
- our programs are created and managed
by grassroots South Africans from marginalized communities
(except for financial management, which is supplied by
the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust and our accounting firm).
Whereas all staff are paid competitively by South African
standards, these compensation levels are low by U.S. standards;
- our programs are budgeted for a 10-month
year, to reflect the major school holiday break periods
during which time our programs are not operated;
- many of our program supplies are
donated or discounted by South African retail and wholesale
- our after-school schools are partially
subsidized by the Western Cape Department of Social Services.
Currently, this subsidy is paid at a rate of Rand 2.50/child/day
(U.S. $.42). This can change at any time.
Programs and their costs for a 10-month
year (where appropriate) are as follows:
One multi-purpose playing field
(suitable for rugby, soccer, field hockey and other supervised
games), fully-irrigated, sodded and grown-in, ready for
play. Delivered cost -- on public, donated site:
Rand 40,000-50,000 U.S. $7,500+
one after-school school (to
teach skills formerly taught in a township home), meeting
5 days/week (3:00-5:00 PM), hot meal provided in winter
months, 180-200 children and youth, in donated public school
facilities. Delivered cost -- including teacher salaries,
Rand 160,000 U.S. $ 26,667
R 87,000 $14,500
one after-school school (for remedial
instruction of educationally-challenged students, referred
by public school teachers and guidance counselors), meeting
5 days/week (3:00 6:00 PM), in donated public school
facilities, 200 youth. This school staffed by qualified
remedial teachers is the only school of its type in
the Cape Flats. Delivered cost -- including teacher salaries,
testing, all supplies:
Rand 155,000 U.S. $ 25,834
(subsidy) - 75,000 (subsidy)
R 80,000 $13,334
one Youth Reading Role Models program,
wherein responsible youth recruited from township secondary
schools select books, prepare to read them aloud, and share
by reading aloud to pre-primary children in designated preschools
on a predetermined schedule each week. High schoolers become
role models, develop self-esteem. Preschoolers receive foundations
for learning. Delivered cost -- including organizer salary,
reader stipends, transportation, book purchases:
Rand 12,500 U.S. $ 2,084
One "Go for the Gold" tutorial
program in which Amy Biehl Foundation Trust partners with
a major employer in a selected industry and with Western Cape
Department of Education to provide specially-designed and
industry-specific tutoring to 30 youth (last two years of
secondary school) referred by area teachers. Selected graduates
are hired by the industry partner and placed in career path
positions. Meets daily, after school, at a designated training
site. Employer pays teacher salaries. We pay drivers and transportation
costs (2 drivers & vans/30 students) at:
Rand 50,000 U.S. $ 8,334
One Themba Music Project, wherein musicians
from the townships provide instruction in music theory and
in instrumental music technique free-of-charge to selected
township public schools on a scheduled basis each week (such
instruction is not otherwise provided in poor public schools).
Classroom instruction is supplemented by small group work
each weekday afternoon in brass, woodwind and string instruments,
and in marimbas. Delivered cost -- including teacher salaries,
instrument repair, sheet music and transportation:
Rand 60,000 U.S. $ 10,000
* instruments can be donated new
or used. A suite of 4 marimbas can be purchased new for Rand
10,000 (U.S. $1,667).
EMERGENCY FIRST-AID TRAINING
one first-aid training program provided
by Cape Metropolitan Ambulance Service training specialists
(one of whom attended Amy at her death). Training sessions
are scheduled throughout the year with youth groups, grassroots
community leaders, teachers, and South African Police
with a Level One training certificate issued to qualified
trainees. Training includes CPR, blunt instrument, sharp instrument
and gunshot trauma. Delivered costs for approximately 700-800
trainees -- including stipends, books, training materials,
first-aid kits for graduates:
Rand 21,000 U.S. $ 3,500
EMPLOYABLE SKILLS TRAINING
one training program which provides instruction
in sewing, welding, concrete block-making and basic construction
methods each weekday at Buthusizwe Training Centre. Morning
sessions (12 trainees per each skill area) are for at-risk
youth who are not in school, afternoon sessions are for youth
in school. Training cycles range from 4-9 weeks. Certificates
are awarded to qualified graduates. All skills are in demand.
Delivered cost, including instructor salaries, equipment acquisition,
*raw material supplies:
Rand 105,000 U.S. $ 17,500
* a new cement mixer costs Rand 6,000
(U.S. $1,000); a new sewing machine costs Rand 1,700 (U.S.
Any of these programs or pieces
of them can be adopted by an individual, family or
group at any time and/or for any period of time. It is a way
to become closely involved with a program in South Africa,
and it enables our Foundation to stretch its resources further.
BRINGING A SOUTH AFRICAN
Our long-term objective is to migrate
violence prevention programs which are successful with youth
in South Africa home to appropriate settings in America. It
appears that we are about to have our first opportunity to
make this happen.
Working with Peace Links (Washington,
DC), Coachella Valley High School (CA), and a steering committee
of local leadership, Foundation intern Crystal Gonzalez spent
over four months planning and organizing a very successful
"Listen-Up" event at Coachella Valley High School
on November 19, 1999.
A creation of the Peace Links organization,
a "Listen-Up" is an innovative and inclusive process
through which the student population of any given school can
express itself on a range of issues and/or problems confronted
by students both on and off campus and propose
ways and means of dealing with them successfully.
This student dialogue/work session is
observed by an invited group of Congressional, State, County
and local government representatives, local school, organizational,
labor and business leadership. After listening to the student
problemsolving exercises and presentations, the listener
leadership group organizes itself to work with the students
to implement proposed problem solutions.
This remarkably sensible process was co-sponsored
by Peace Links, The Save the World Club (Coachella Valley
High School) and by the Amy Biehl Foundation. Our intern,
Crystal Gonzalez, did an outstanding job organizing this well-attended
Among the top five needs identified by
Coachella Valley High School students is an urgent requirement
for emergency care facilities and services in the South end
of the Coachella Valley, where the Hispanic farm workers (their
parents and neighbors) reside. As one student explained, "...even
the ambulances dont come when we call them!"
The similarities between this and the
Black South African township experience are stunning.
We pointed out how township youth and
teachers had asked us for emergency first-aid training and
how empowering that process had proven to be for everyone
trained. Coachella Valley High School youth were very excited
to learn this and asked if such training could be provided
Subsequently, we have contacted the Riverside
County Red Cross Association and it is organizing and budgeting
an emergency first-aid training program drawing on
our South African model to be launched in February
2000. The 33-hour program will be given to a minimum of 100
youth and will include CPR, blunt instrument, sharp instrument
and gunshot trauma, seizures, and many other health emergencies.
Trained youth will be equipped with first-aid kits and will
serve as a first-line of defense in their communities, during
medical emergency situations.
This South African-inspired youth empowerment
program will be sponsored by the Amy Biehl Foundation, and
we are very excited about the programs potential.
Additionally, members of the listener
leadership working team have determined that U.S. Department
of Agriculture funding exists for development of emergency
health care facilities in under-served agricultural areas.
So, it is possible within two-three years that a facility
could be brought on-stream.
We are very grateful to Peace Links, the
Save the World Club, Crystal Gonzalez, and to all "Listen-Up"
participants for helping to advance this important youth violence
prevention initiative in Californias Coachella Valley.
FIVE MONTHS, IN BRIEF
The following highlight summary touches
on significant events from August December 1999. It
is intended to emphasize, rather than to be inclusive.
14 Linda and Peter Biehl fly from Cape
Town to address the International Peace Corps Association
awards dinner in Minneapolis, MN. A great evening was had
with over 700 returned Peace Corps volunteers. Linda and Peter
return to Cape Town the next morning.
17 First team from Wharton Graduate School
of Business (University of Pennsylvania) arrives in Cape Town
to work with the Foundations Community Baking Trust.
21 Ahmed Kathrada celebrates his 70th
birthday in gatherings throughout South Africa. Biehls are
fortunate to host "Kathy" for dinner on the preceding
25 On the sixth anniversary of Amys
death, the entire days production of Community Baking
Trust is donated to customers and to youth shelters, in her
memory. Thousands of people remember Amy with their daily
12 Linda and Peter Biehl join Orange County
"Women of Vision" leadership and spouses for dinner
and discussion of the Foundations work in South Africa
at a beautiful evening in Laguna Beach.
14 Interview with CBS News Leslie
Stahl in New York for use in a follow-up piece for "60-MINUTES
TWO" produced by Debbie De Luca. Biehls have dinner with
"60- MINUTES" Associate Producer Jim Margolis and
with Foundation friend Sonia Seherr-Thoss while in New York.
24 Presentation of "Amy Biehl Youth
Spirit Awards" in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A very beautiful
program is staged at the Albuquerque Convention Center, with
Deanna Sauceda (creator of the award) hosting the event with
great warmth and humor. As in years past, the "Spirit
Award" finalists were amazing young people, who act as
great examples of service to their communities.
17 St. Rafaels School in Athlone
(Cape Town) celebrates its 70th anniversary with
a mass conducted by the Archbishop of Cape Town, followed
by dedication of the schools new computer center. Linda
and Peter Biehl presented a gift of $2,500 in memory of Anthea
Williams, whose mother is St. Raphaels principal. Antheas
brother, Darrell, and sister, Eleanor, are key Amy Biehl Foundation
23 Melanie Jacobs mother to Solange
Jacobs dies in Cape Town under tragic circumstances.
Melanie and Solange shared their flat with Amy for the eleven
months prior to her death in 1993. Melanie dealt with a very
challenging life, but remained a true friend of Amys
Foundation through the years. Solange (Melanies best
legacy) will graduate from Stanford University as a member
of its Class of 2000.
19 "Listen-Up" event at Coachella
Valley High School.
28 Peter and Linda Biehl speak as guests
of the Unitarian Universalist Church, Costa Mesa, CA.
1 Linda, Peter, daughter Molly, grandson
Alexander film a segment with actress, Alfre Woodard, produced
by NBC television correspondent Bonnie Boswell for future
airing. Filming is in the park overlooking Newport Beach Harbor
where the Biehl family often walked.
7 Linda, Molly (with husband Tim) and
intern Crystal Gonzalez attend the annual "Peace on Earth"
Gala in Washington, DC, hosted by Peace Links. Linda receives
a peace award from Jordans Queen Noor at a very festive
and well-attended gala at the Capital Hilton. (Peter flies
to Cape Town to prepare for a Congressional Delegation visit.)
12-13 Peter and Linda Biehl host a delegation
headed by Rep. Richard Gephardt (MO) and Rep. Amo Houghton
(NY) in a visit to the townships and to a distribution point
for "AMYS BREAD". Amo and Priscilla Houghton
report enjoying a slice of the bread for breakfast the next
morning. Foundation supporter Bob Van Wicklin traveled with
the delegation and was able to join the Biehls for dinner.
Another eventful year has ended, and we
can only say that we remain humbled by the fragility of life
and convinced that we must make the most of it while we have
it. There is no excuse for dying alone and unremembered when
there is so much human need to address, so much work to be
done. Every person close to us whom we have lost this year
will be remembered as one who cared, tried, and made a positive
difference in our world.
We shall not forget them, nor take for
granted any one of the almost-countless friends who share
our work each day. Together, we have much to do before we
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