Trailblazer: Lesley Ann van Selm


Founder: Khulisa

Why is Lesley Ann a Trailblazer?

How many of us talk about how bad the crime situation is? How many of us have ideas on how to solve it? And how many of us actually do anything about it?

Lesley Ann van Selm is not your average “all talk, no action” kind of person. She’s a doer. That’s why, in 1997, armed with only her marketing savvy, she started Khulisa as a pilot programme using African stories as a way of instilling morals among offenders.

Eleven years later, Khulisa is a fully fledged non-profit organisation rendering crime prevention programmes to schools, awaiting trial offenders, sentenced offenders, and also to offenders when they’re being released back into society. Now that’s taking action.

In her own words .

“Our children are exposed to so much violence in their schools, in their communities, in their families, and they need to be shown that there is an alternative way of living and that they have a choice.”

Fast Facts

  • South Africa currently has an incarceration rate of approximately 145 000 offenders, 50% of whom are 25 and under.
  • A firm believer in second chances, Lesley Ann set up restorative justice programmes to promote dialogue between victims and offenders.
  • Khulisa offers a wide variety of programmes which have been developed scientifically in response to childrens’ needs and focus on emotional intelligence, creative writing and drama therapy.
  • Khulisa’s programmes have been introduced into 35 correctional facilities across South Africa.
  • Khulisa staff have mediated in over 900 restorative justice programmes.
  • Khulisa has diversion programmes running in 18 areas across four provinces.
  • Khulisa has an impact on about 25 000 to 35 000 lives every year.

How can I can find out more?

To find out more, visit Khulisa.

Story published on SAinfo on 18 August 2008.
Source: Brand South Africa