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Meet Rachel Kolisi

The Kolisi Foundation and Rise, South Africa


Rachel and her husband, South African rugby captain, Siya Kolisi founded the Kolisi Foundation earlier this year.

Rachel is a humanitarian, business owner and mother of four, Co-Founder of the Kolisi Foundation and Co-Founder of Rise. She grew up in the Eastern Cape and married Siya in 2016. For years, Rachel has been doing humanitarian work and spearheading projects to help people in need. This has laid the foundation to her and Siya’s Kolisi Foundation and the work they do daily. Rachel has always done this type of work, but now she is able to put it all under one umbrella and work with Siya to change lives through multiple initiatives and projects.
The Kolisi Foundation is committed to changing the narrative of inequality for people in vulnerable and disadvantaged communities in South Africa. They have set out to achieve this mission through extreme generosity and by focusing on real issues faced by South Africans, enriching the lives of those living below the poverty line and promoting equality.
Rachel and her Kolisi Foundation team saw the devastating impact lockdown and COVID-19 were having on families living below the poverty line in South Africa and knew they had to do something to help. In response to this, the Kolisi Foundation launched earlier than originally planned and has been providing essential goods to communities in need throughout the lockdown period, which is still underway.

“It’s a legacy we want to leave behind. It’s important for our children to see what’s happening in South Africa and to see their parents really on the frontline of it as well. They get to really be a part of this and see what actually is the priority in life and what’s important; we believe that that is serving others.”

- Rachel Kolisi
Rachel has a deep desire to see all South Africans afforded an equal opportunity to reach their full potential in life. Through her humanitarian efforts, she has headed up several community projects which have brought about transformation for many different communities and touched so many lives. Her sense of responsibility to those in need and determination and commitment to creating change is unequivocal.
After spending time with Rachel over the last few months, the one thing that has stood out to us the most is how deeply committed she is to making a difference and empowering the women around her. Even through the toughest of times, Rachel is committed to making an impact, one person at a time. The belief that each life matters lies at the core of Rachel’s passion for humanitarian work.

Young girls and women in South Africa are incredibly threatened by poverty, gender bias and gender-based violence. Through her work with the Kolisi Foundation, Rachel works tirelessly to address these issues and help women and young girls in any way she can.

Rachel is not only working hard daily driving the Kolisi Foundation team alongside Siya, but she is also the Co-Founder or Rise and a mother of four. Rise is a movement dedicated to helping women live more purposeful lives, through health and fitness. At Rise she has a focus on working to empower women throughout South Africa and has impacted so many women through her work already.

Robert Ingersoll said, “We rise by lifting others’’ and Rachel embodies this perfectly.

She has a heart for helping others and is a firm believer in the power of leading by example. Her selflessness, empathy, dedication and the hands-on work she is doing makes her a remarkable role model for young girls around the world.

“Remember the one – one by one. Just to focus on the one heart, and the one person, and the one life that you are changing. And remember that, that counts. That’s more important than anything else.”
- Rachel Kolisi
The power of having someone believe in you should never be underestimated, it can be transformative. Rachel is showing people, through her work at the Kolisi Foundation and Rise, that your circumstances do not define you. By showing up, listening, supporting and advocating for women and young girls throughout South Africa, Rachel is proving that someone cares, someone understands their story and most importantly, that someone recognizes their value and will fight for them.

In honour of Women’s Month, let’s join hands with Rachel and enable her to expand on the incredible work she is doing through the Kolisi Foundation.

The Matriarchs is all about sharing stories of women from all walks of life – that inspire, that bring hope, and that ultimately change lives.

Through these stories, we hope to make a difference both in the environmental and humanitarian space. Lifting women up to fulfill their purpose and helping those that are already leading the way to do more – to support them and champion them. Through hearing from women like Rachel and sharing these stories – we want to build a global community of girls and women that empower one another, help one another and that changes women’s mindsets – to always believe in themselves and their abilities. We want women to believe they can reach their full potential and live full lives whatever that may mean for them, regardless of what they have been through.

We stand together and want women to know that there are others out there that have experienced huge challenges but despite these hardships are still working to fulfill their dreams. And through these stories also show people and young girls that there are individuals and organizations out there that will support them if they are facing challenges that seem impossible to overcome. That there are women here, and a community, that will inspire and lift you up. These women are amazing role models for our youth but some of our Matriarchs are also still on their journey, still facing many mountains but are determined to climb them and to make a difference in this world.

Share Rachel’s story – and change someone’s life today – and join The Matriarchs community and let’s help each other and our Matriarchs make this world a better place.

Photos by Gary van Wyk, Chris Joubert and Alex Oelofse.
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