Trevor Noah launches foundation in South Africa

South African-born comedian and host of the U.S. The Daily Show, Trevor Noah, just launched the Trevor Noah Foundation.

The Trevor Noah Foundation is a non-profit organisation that seeks to equip orphans and vulnerable youth with the education, life skills, and social capital necessary to pursue further opportunity upon graduating high school or matriculation.

Announcing the initiative at a press conference, which was live-streamed on Facebook, Noah said, “Fundamentally it is an organisation that is initially going to focus primarily on education… figuring out how to bridge the gap between a child and the education that we feel that they deserve. 

The foundation plans to achieve this by investing in three priority areas: psycho-social support, skills development, and career guidance. It will also partner with government schools, researching innovative approaches, and mobilizing philanthropic capital.

“The journey and goal is to start a program, and better understand how to help schools move forwards. Then, we want to help these schools become self-sufficient. Each experience will inform the next. Today is only the beginning!”

Trevor Noah had previously shared his experiences growing up in South Africa during apartheid through his book Born A Crime where Noah tells of the leverage he got when a more privileged friend of his gave him a CD writer, which contributed immensely his ability to generate revenue from his DJ skills. 

The book, which is scheduled to be adapted to the big screens, helped shape the comedian’s understanding that access to PCs and digital skills opens doors. He intends to provide that same opportunity to South African youth, one school at a time. 

“We want to create an environment where children have the best chances of succeeding”, he said to a room full of students, teachers and guardians of the New Nation School–a school with about 500 orphans and other disadvantaged students. The school will be the first recipient of the Trevor Noah Foundation’s work to equip youth with the skills, technology and psychosocial support that they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond.

Also collaborating with Microsoft, President and CLO at Microsoft Corporation Brad Smith said in a post, “It was inspiring to see Trevor’s vision come to life in the bright smiles throughout the school’s hallways – and I’m thrilled that Microsoft is playing a part as the foundation’s technology partner.”

“You could be brain smart,” said Noah, “but if you don’t know how to apply it, if you’ve got no access to application, it’s a waste. If schools aren’t empowered to help learners reach the goals that they want to reach then we’ve failed as a society.”

The foundation is partnering with the New Nation School who he believes is already taking steps in the direction of the foundation’s goals and objectives, starting with psycho-social counselling.

Noah, excited on the new prospects, continued, “You cannot help but inspired that just a little would go a long way, you cannot help but be motivated to give more because you see the exponential results that just a little bit of giving can do.”