Ubuntu Global Connections is a nonprofit organization in the United States that offers educational service trips to enable American students and adults to do volunteer work in South Africa. The trips are designed to promote connections and understanding between people of different cultural backgrounds through service activities and immersion experiences. Ubuntu is a term that originated in the Bantu languages of Southern Africa and it conveys the sense that we exist only in relation to others.
The philosophy of Ubuntu Global Connections is that volunteers work with the people being served while learning from the experiences and views of the local people, and that the precise nature of the service to be provided should be dictated locally. The trips foster mutual respect as the volunteers are immersed in the local culture during their time there and have opportunities to learn about the history, traditions and customs of the culture. Through learning these things, the volunteers have a context for the challenges that are faced by the people and are in a better position to understand their needs and support their goals for improving their lives. The educational nature of these trips allows the participants to learn and appreciate the perspective of people in another culture while working with them on meaningful projects that have a lasting impact on both the volunteers and those served. It is our hope that both the volunteers and the people served by the volunteers leave the experience with a greater awareness of others and that they will share what they have learned with their own communities.
As part of its mission, Ubuntu Global Connection makes grants and in-kind donations to the organizations with which the volunteers work. Some of the South Aftrican organizations with which participants works include Linawo Children’s Home, Axium Education and Jabulani Foundation.
Amy Gleason, President
Amy has been a high school math teacher in independent schools since 1984. She currently teaches at Dana Hall School in Wellesley, MA. In addition to her teaching, she was the Director of Community Service and dormitory head at Middlesex School from 2008 to 2014. She has taught at Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts, St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire, The Ellis School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and St. George’s School in Newport, Rhode Island. She holds a M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology from Harvard Graduate School of Education and an A.B. in Economics from Princeton University. Amy is a resident of Concord, Massachusetts.
Jack Megan, Clerk
Since 2001, Jack has served as Director of the Office for the Arts at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Previously, he was Program Director at Fidelity Foundation, and Associate Director of the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He holds an MFA from Columbia University and a B.A. from Holy Cross College. Jack is a resident of Concord, Massachusetts.
Christine Coffin, Treasurer
Chris currently works as Director of Peer Services, Testing and Placement at Fitchburg State College in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Chris’s past experience includes work as a mathematics teacher at the Middlesex School and in product development as a mechanical engineer. She holds a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts. Chris lives in Concord, Massachusetts.