Local charity inspired by Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela inspires more than just South Africans. He inspires people as far away as Oklahoma.
Leigh Jacobs lives in Oklahoma City. His charity, the Vilakazi Foundation, is named after the street where Nelson Mandela and other leaders were born.
"It's in a bad neighborhood," Jacobs said, "so if you can come from there and you can make something happen and become Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu anything can happen," he said.
Jacobs grew up during the South African apartheid. He remembers being segregated and when the legal racism finally ended.
"It was a great time to be there. I remember the election when people were allowed to vote for the first time, my mom, my parents," he said.
In his work today Jacobs channels Mandela's teachings to help underprivileged kids in his home state. Donors and volunteers travel from the Metro to South Africa to help kids who have almost nothing.
"He made the world a better place, he helped those who didn't have a voice at the time," Jacobs said.
The Vilakazi Foundation provides backpacks, vitamins, school supplies, even rain boots and other necessities for kids who are growing up in rural South Africa. Some of them don't have access to electricity or running water.
"We focus on education, health and sports," Jacobs said.
That way they can grow up, get out of poverty and maybe even change the world.
Because Mandela helped revolutionize one aspect but there's still so much work to do.
"We're moving in the right direction but things take time," Jacobs said, "so probably in the next generation there will be a level playing field for everybody."
The Vilakazi Foundation will head back to South Africa in 2015. Click here to get involved.