Donating to REALISTIC

31 08 2010


We learned about REALISTIC (Rebuilding and Life Skills Training Centre) when we worked with schools in South Africa. Sunny had the good fortune to work with them several times during our time in Cape Town. You can read below to learn more about the program or visit this link.

To make a donation to REALISTIC by check (preferred):
1. Make the check out to “South Africa Partners.”
2. In the memo line write: “For REALISTIC, in honor of Stanton/Pai.
3. Be sure your correct name and address are on the check so you can receive a tax write-off letter and we can properly thank you.
4. Send to South Africa Partners, 89 South Street, Suite 701, Boston, MA 02111.

Why is this preferred? Because credit card companies charge a 5-7% processing fee on every purchase. This is why smaller businesses sometimes require a minimum charge to use a credit card for purchases. If you donate via credit card, just know that 5-7% never makes it to South Africa Partners or Realistic. However, because credit cards can be so much easier…

To make a donation to REALISTIC on-line by credit card:
1. Go to and click “Donate to SA Partners Now.”
2. Next to “How should we use your donation” click “Other” and list “REALISTIC.”
3. Scroll down to “Donation Dedication – I’d like to make this donation on behalf of” and enter “Jocelyn Stanton and Sung-Joon Pai.”


Twice a year, REALISTIC enrolls a cohort of 20-25 young men and women between the ages of 13 and 25. These “Realists” are all attempting to re-integrate into society after serving time in prison. They participate in a four-month program that meets daily. As part of the program, they meet in circles led by amazing facilitators, some of whom are older parolees themselves and live in the same community as the youth. In these circles, Realists discuss their lives, the pressures they face in the townships where they live, and the decisions they made that led them down a pathway to prison. They support each other to make better choices.

Realists also take a variety of courses – ranging from AIDS/HIV awareness to pottery to computer skills. They also participate in outdoor retreats, taking advantage of South Africa’s incredible natural beauty, on hiking and camping trips. Staff help Realists plan their new lives, which may be returning to school, starting a new job, or enrolling in a job-training program.

Realistic was founded in 2004 by Solomon Madikane, who worked as a prison warden for ten years. Solomon was discouraged by the lack of support for prisoners and troubled by the tendency for parolees to be repeat offenders. Today, as they begin their eleventh cohort, Solomon reports that they have had less than five repeat offenders among their Realists.

We were incredibly inspired by the work happening at Realistic, and learned many lessons that we hope to bring with us to Boston Public Schools.




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