CIDA–the Community and Individual Development Association–is a groundbreaking effort to reform South Africa’s educational system and thereby end poverty in Africa. Sixteen years into its nascent democracy, South Africa continues to struggle with the heavy burden of poverty, a burden that stands in the way of realizing the many dreams that seemed suddenly possible with the fall of apartheid.
It has long been a truism that the path out of poverty in South Africa lies in a better education for its poorest citizens, but until CIDA that path was far too expensive for all but a few. CIDA’s simple and yet phenomenally effective system offers a free accredited Bachelor’s degree to any individual who completes the course work. CIDA makes this possible through a revolutionary new model that is as sustainable as it is bold: students help to operate their own school, each class mentors the next, and business leaders who will benefit from an educated workforce volunteer to teach their potential future employees.

This educational community model produces accredited university graduates at a cost of only $10,000 per student. The graduates are highly employable and motivated. Their success breaks the cycle of poverty and despair, bringing change and hope to their communities and the entire nation.


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