Ubuntu (uu-Boon-too) has become an integral part of Wediko’s culture; it is written across our t-shirts, introduced in our orientation sessions, and brought to life through our work and our personal lives.
Ubuntu, a Nguni Bantu term, is loosely translated as “A person is a person through other persons.” At Wediko, Ubuntu means generosity, kindness, selflessness, empathy, and a willingness to share.
Ubuntu is best understood through an anecdote:
An anthropologist studying the habits and customs of an African tribe found himself surrounded by children most days. So, he decided to play a game with them. He managed to get candy from the nearest town and put it all in a decorated basket at the foot of a tree. When the anthropologist said “now,” the children would run to the tree and the first one there could have all the candy to him/herself. So, the children all lined up, waiting for the signal. When the anthropologist said “now,” all of the children took each other by the hand and ran towards the tree together. They all arrived at the same time, divided the candy, sat down, and happily ate. The anthropologist asked why they had all run together when any one of them could have had all the candy to themselves. The children responded: “Ubuntu. How could any one of us be happy if all the others were sad?” Ubuntu is a philosophy of African tribes that can be summed up as “I am what I am because of who we all are.”
Since former Summer Program Director Tod Rossi, Ph.D. introduced the philosophy at Wediko, Ubuntu has caught fire. It was a natural fit. Wediko programs recognize the collective impact of environmental, academic, and social-emotional stressors on children’s learning and family functioning. We emphasize community engagement and take a strengths-based approach to help children see they are not alone, we’re in it together, and hope is possible. Across the continuum, Wediko staff, students, and families experience the benefit of Ubuntu.
At Wediko, through Ubuntu, we see people; people to form relationships with, to get to know better, to support, and to care for as they struggle with some of life’s greatest challenges. For Wediko, 80+ years of changing lives has proven that the best way to tackle the toughest problems is together, in Ubuntu.