Unsung Heroes, a Christian community development organization based in Johannesburg, provides mentoring in the fields of management and fundraising to community based organizations. Many of these organizations have been started by women who see basic needs and seek to meet them with limited resources and unlimited faith. In response, Unsung Heroes provides mentoring on how to run an organization, manage staff, apply for government grants and more broadly raise funding. Unsung Heroes does not directly fund these CBOs longterm, but instead truly equips them to be self-sustaining.
The portfolio that these selections are drawn from details a week spent shadowing the Unsung Heroes mentors in the field. Programs visited include a team of home-based care nurses and two educational daycare centers for children aged 0-6 which also provide after school meals and support for the youth in the community. The week also included a visit to an orphanage, an Unsung Heroes program graduate, and one of the better known townships, Soweto.
It was a privilege to return to South Africa in 2008 after my initial visit 18 years earlier. So much change had occured following the first democratic elections in 1994 and yet the needs arising from educational inequity, unemployment and the HIV & AIDS pandemic far outweigh the resources available. Unsung Heroes recognizes and nurtures the critical work being done at the grassroots level by those whose care and commitment has until now gone unnoticed. This practical and prayerful support equips these change agents in such a way that their investment in their communities results in sustainable development for many. As an organization, Unsung Heroes' diversity amongst its staff mirrors the diversity of the nation, the power of which should not be underestimated.
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Karen Elliott Greisdorf Photography