RALEIGH, N.C. - Meredith College volleyball alumna Mary Beth Finegan traveled to South Africa last February after completing her collegiate coursework in December 2012. After a six month adventure working with the Teachers for Africa Foundation in the Hout Bay and Cape Town areas, Finegan returns to Africa as a philanthropist dedicated to making a difference.
Finegan will join Sylke Funk, the founder of Ubuntu for Africa, to launch the non-profit organization dedicated to connecting volunteers with the students and families in the Imizamo Yethu township in South Africa. Ubuntu recruits and supports volunteers who work in a primary and secondary school in the township.
"We are looking for people who can do anything from counseling, assisting with academic intervention, teaching social skills, and teaching violence and abuse awareness and prevention, to teaching basic healthcare skills, specifically women's health and family planning and HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention," said Finegan. "Anyone is welcome for any amount of time, but we will provide internships and long-term projects for those still studying."
According to the Unbuntu website, this age-old wisdom means "I am because we are and we are because I am."
Sylke and Finegan dedicate themselves to bettering the lives of an impoverished group by combating some basic educational and social issues. Class sizes are too large to promote significant learning, language barriers limit communication and a general lack of support and encouragement prevent students and families from succeeding in life.
Finegan created this video to promote the efforts of Ubuntu. This personal glimpse into the challenges of living and learning in Imizamo Yethu will serve as a tool to enlist interested volunteers.
"The wounds of apartheid are still fresh, and the country is still trying to fight for equal opportunity for all," said Finegan. "I believe that starts with providing a good education with safety nets for those struggling to overcome poverty."
An official graduate of the Class of 2013, Finegan completed her athletics eligibility in 2011 and currently holds the USA South's record with 4.56 career digs per set. Finegan also reigns as Meredith's all-time leader with 2,105 total digs and 2.52 overall career digs per set.