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  Volume Five, 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 bogging down.

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 United States.

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 Africa’s 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 in education.

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 or regarded.

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 "AMY’S 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" program.


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 Africa’s 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 interest.


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 suppliers;
  • 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, all supplies:

Rand 160,000 U.S. $ 26,667

(subsidy) –73,000 (subsidy) -12,167

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) –12,500

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).


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


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. $284).

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.


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 problem–solving 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 event.

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 don’t 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 for them.

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 program’s 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 California’s Coachella Valley.



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 Foundation’s 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 evening.

25 On the sixth anniversary of Amy’s death, the entire day’s production of Community Baking Trust is donated to customers and to youth shelters, in her memory. Thousands of people remember Amy with their daily bread.


12 Linda and Peter Biehl join Orange County "Women of Vision" leadership and spouses for dinner and discussion of the Foundation’s 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. Rafael’s School in Athlone (Cape Town) celebrates its 70th anniversary with a mass conducted by the Archbishop of Cape Town, followed by dedication of the school’s new computer center. Linda and Peter Biehl presented a gift of $2,500 in memory of Anthea Williams, whose mother is St. Raphael’s principal. Anthea’s brother, Darrell, and sister, Eleanor, are key Amy Biehl Foundation Trust managers.

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 Amy’s Foundation through the years. Solange (Melanie’s 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 Jordan’s 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 "AMY’S 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 rest.


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