Karen is the Australian Director of Sihlalo. She believes she has a role in helping young adults to reach their potential. She is a classical pianist, who regularly gives concerts to raise money for charitable causes in her home town of Adelaide, Australia. She believes that the ability to play music enriches the soul, and provides a platform for non-verbal communication that transcends language, culture and social circumstances. She has worked for 24 years in the university sector as a researcher, mainly in the area of allied health epidemiology, specialising in allied health quality and service delivery research. She has taught thousands of students from around the world during this time, about improving the quality of allied health care in their country. Karen has been teaching in South Africa for over 20 years, and she loves the culture, vibrancy and potential of the country. She sees opportunities to improve young lives by the creation of the Sihlalo training program. It is her dream to turn disadvantage into advantage for young people in South Africa who have not had the opportunities that others might have had.
Keith Peterson is an experienced and passionate craftsman in wood and fabric. He has had over 40 years experience in making wooden toys, with many of his toys passing the test of time and children’s use. He loves wood and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of international wood species and how they are used in crafts. He is a member of several international wooden toy making groups, in which he has been mobilizing interest in, and resources for Sihlalo. He believes that wooden products for children reflect the way the world should be going, with high quality, sustainable, fun and educational products that are integral to children’s lives. Keith has experience in training apprentices, as well as teaching young adults with physical and intellectual disabilities, and mental health disorders, to successfully produce wooden and fabric items.
He has a passion for Japanese ceramics, and loves collecting pieces in unexpected places (like South African second hand shops). Throughout his life he has had a great deal of satisfaction from passing his skills and knowledge on to others. Keith contributes his expertise in woodwork and fabric to the Sihlalo training program as a volunteer.