Trailblazer: Taddy Blecher

Founder: CIDA City Campus

Why is Taddy a Trailblazer?

Taddy founded CIDA City Campus, the first “virtually free” South African university, offering a business degree to deserving youngster who would otherwise not be able to afford it, either because of insufficient money or poor marks coming out of high school.

Two weeks before emigrating, Taddy turned down a R1.3-million salary and decided to stay in the country and help uplift South African youth.

Through CIDA, thousands of young people who would have otherwise ended up with nothing to do in the townships or worked manual jobs which pay minimal wages are now properly qualified to gain better employment opportunities and earning capacity.

The mindset that motivated Taddy to found CIDA was to show young people that they have value and meaning. He believes that if you give people responsibility and the opportunity to prove their strength, they can build themselves up.

In his own words .

“If we just do one thing and regard every person on the streets of our country as our real diamonds, not what we’ve mined underground; if we look at the brilliance and genius that sit in our young people, and if we love them enough and care enough about them and really actually be sensible about our future, we would be putting everything we could into giving those young people the opportunity for a brilliant future.”

Fast Facts

  • Through CIDA City Campus, 35 000 people who would have been on the streets are now, between them, earning around R187-million in annual salaries.
  • So far, 850 CIDA students have graduated with a business degree, 803 students have trained as IT engineers, 1 500 have been trained as call centre agents, and 600 students have trained to go into banking and other industries.
  • The fees that students pay at CIDA are approximately 4% of the cost of going into a traditional university.
  • In 2002, Taddy received the Global Leader of Tomorrow Award from the World Economic Forum. He was recognised as one of 100 young people round the world, under the age of 37, who are making an exceptional contribution toward “making a better world”.
  • CIDA City campus has been visited and is supported by international leaders, businessmen and celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson and the Dalai Lama.

How can I help?

Companies can contribute by backing the university financially or on a training/ project base. For more information, visit CIDA City Campus.

Story published on SAinfo on 5 August 2008.
Source: Brand South Africa