Deborah Terhune – Founder CEO – Growing Up Africa

Deborah Terhune was groomed by her father, owner of a construction company in the USA, to lean towards construction and property development.

By age 24 she had bought her first property. She went on to renovate and restore historic properties which lead to an illustrious career in construction and property development and was recognized as one of the Outstanding Young Women in America.

In the mid 80s and on the insistence of her South African friends Deborah visited South Africa.

As I reflected on my life and achievements I questioned what I was able to measure against the imprint of my efforts and accomplishments. I decided to invest that knowledge, experience and valuable resources in making a difference in the lives of others.

A decade ago, Deborah built an education facility and related infrastructure in a village in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa.  When she realized that the model could be replicated, she registered a non-profit organization, Growing Up Africa (GUA). GUA drives research-based development and design to build resilient education structures using materials that are both ecologically and economically sustainable.

Deborah played a key role as international business liaison and advisor to a group of 28 Cornell University students from 17 countries who build a state-of-the-art early childhood development and training center in Cosmo City.  Instead of approaching corporates for money, the design was shopped to all the relevant national and international corporates, soliciting support in kind. We are not a charity.

The third project, currently under construction, is a 2,000m2 education campus situated on a 7,000m2 site in Soweto.

Deborah says this is by far the most profound and exciting time in her life.

Deborah believes, through the collaboration created by Growing Up Africa thus far, will bring exponential change to those forgotten geographic areas and the less fortunate.

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