The crowd was buzzing with energy during Generation Ubuntu’s recent 2016 Fashion Roars event. As guests perused the display of silent auction items donated by the likes of Tory Burch, Carolina Herrera, and The Metropolitan Opera, a video called attention to the cause of the evening: HIV/AIDS awareness.
More specifically, the fundraiser, which raised over $75,000, supported the important work being done by Generation Ubuntu to not only raise awareness, but also offer support to those living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa. The country has over 6.8 million people living with HIV, and is home to one the largest populations of children infected. One such child on screen says, “Generation Ubuntu is the place where they love children.”
The then 21-year-old Whitney Johnson founded the New York City-based nonprofit in 2007 after spending a year in Cape Town and volunteering at an orphanage in Khayelitsha. In her first month at work, she saw three children die, motivating her to make a difference. Her organization offers a comprehensive care model including psycho-social support, health and nutrition services, community engagement, and HIV education and life skills.
Since its founding, over 200 children and their families in Khayelitsha, South Africa have been assisted annually. Each year 30,000 nutritious meals have also been served. One hundred percent of participants regularly attending the program for at least six months have survived and thrived in their communities.
Fashion Roars celebrated Generation Ubuntu’s success and encouraged continued action through a one-of-a-kind theatrical fashion show and fundraiser hosted Amy Freeze. Some participating designers included Oscar de la Renta, HEIKE by Heike Jarick, Jeanette Limas, Illesteva, Libertine, Adriaan Kuiters + Jody Paulsen, and Pacific & Driftwood. An impressive array of local dancers, models, and designers joined together to present the performance-style catwalk event, riddled with various, high energy, choreographed sections. Contemporary movement, sultry jazz, hip hop, popping and locking, voguing, tributes to same sex marriage, men strutting forth in pointe shoes…the dynamic show embraced it all.
To support and learn more about Generation Ubuntu, visit its website and Facebook page.
Jenny Thompson is an Associate at Dunch Arts, LLC.