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    KO in Africa

    KO in Africa


    “This (the water crisis faced by some schools in Africa) looks like I’m face to face with a wall and I’m looking up at the top of it and I’m not sure if I can do it but I know that I am going to figure it out.”  —Jesse Danger

    Jesse Danger of Movement Creative is referring to schools in South Africa that have been dealing with unbelievable water challenges.  A creche (pre-school) outside Pretoria needs new pumps so food can be prepared with clean water, a high school in Port Elizabeth needs doors with toilets and stronger pipes so that over 1300 students can use the bathroom in privacy without walking through flooded bathrooms, and another less than 10 miles away needs toilets with water rather than relying on just two spigots for both drinking water and sanitation systems.

    Along with Max Henry and Francis Lyons, Jesse visited these schools in August as part of Know Obstacles program iKnowObstacles: Water Crisis.   The world water crisis is a cause close to the heart of KO co-founder & CEO Francis Lyons who became familiar with the issue while doing film work for DC-based Global Water Challenge.

    “A lot of kids in South Africa can’t get the education they deserve because their hard working principals and teachers can’t provide these basic necessities.” Lyons says, “I spent most of my career making TV about experts and celebrities making a difference in people’s lives.  Through Know Obstacles I have met and worked with amazing parkour athletes who believe overcoming any and all obstacles is what parkour is all about.  iKnowObstacles was created as a way to help them do that and we couldn’t be more thrilled than to be working with Max and Jesse to create the program.”

    In partnership with Global Water Challenge, H2O for Life, and the Movement Creative KO is developing programs for students in the United States to help solve basic water issues for students in South Africa.   KO & Movement Creative bring parkour experiences to schools using water challenges as a foundation for their activities, and then, through the H2O for Life program, partner those schools with an African school to raise money for their specific water project. 

    Global Water Challenge and KO sponsored the August trip to give the athletes first hand experience with the crisis and learn about the specific needs of schools we plan to help in the near future. 

    Max Henry:

    “I was amazed at the tenacity of cafeteria staff cooking delicious healthy lunches for students despite a lack of running water in the kitchen… the determination of a principal who had to spend hours a day fixing plumbing & electrical problems by himself while still teaching classes and administering to a school of 1300 students...and the vision and strength of a woman who turned a school with no running water or sanitation infrastructure into a facility with a library , modern computer lab, social services, garden and a nationally ranked chess team in THREE YEARS.  These people understand the spirit of parkour.  They understand what it means to persevere, to find solutions to difficult problems.  They do it everyday…”

    Max Henry & Jesse Danger watch a demonstration of the only source of water at Erasmus Crèche preschool in Johannesburg , South Africa. Washington Primary School in Washington, CT and Olivia Hawkins and Claire Sullivan of Fairfield Connecticut helped raised money that will improve the water infrastructure at the preschool.


    The ‘water fountain’ for the middle school in Erasmus. Students scoop water from the yellow buckets using the cup and wash their hands in the metal bowl.

     Max teaches some parkour basics to elementary learners at Charles Duna Elementary.


    Students at Charles Duna write messages to send to children in the US.
    iKO and the movement creative will use these messages to create a ‘movement bridge’ across oceans and continents.


    KO and its partners thank everyone who have already donated to this program.  We look forward to working with more schools and athletes to get funding for these and other programs.  If you would like to find out how you can get involved please contact us at contact@knowobstacles.com.

    Wanna see more?   Check out Instagram to see personal highlights from the trip.




    iKnowObstacles: Water Crisis

    iKnowObstacles: Water Crisis

    Last Fall, KO ran a crowdfunding campaign to raise awareness of the world's water crisis among American youth. The campaign raised $10,000 and we are using that money to develop water awareness programs at schools in the US while at the same time helping to improve the water and sanitation systems of schools in Africa.

    Here's a sample of some of what we've been doing...

    Earlier this year, Jesse Danger (Movement Creative) & Max Henry brought our innovative movement workshops to elementary schools in New York & Connecticut.

    Working with our partner H2O for Life, we are helping Washington Elementary School in Washington Connecticut raise money for Mattuga High School in Uganda which is in need of a rainwater collection system, two hand washing stations, and a community WASH education program. Click here for more about this project. At the end of April we will be returning to Washington to throw a parkour jam as part of a final fundraising push to help them reach their financial goal.

    On March 30 and 31st, we attended the National Youth Leadership Council's annual conference to talk to high schools about our programs.  We hope that the outreach we do encourages more schools to team up with H2O for Life to raise money for water projects around the world.

    Jesse Danger, Max Henry, and Francis Lyons, CEO of KO with Nontombi Naomi Tutu, daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

    Steve Culbertson (CEO of Youth Service America) learns about the water crisis through our unique parkour and water bucket obstacle course.

    Global Water Challenge, another KO partner, has pledged to match any amount we help raise for a pre school in Erasmus South Africa.  That school is in need of two new water tanks, a water connection to the schools kitchen, rehabbing existing toilets, and hygiene education.

    These projects are close to our hearts at KO, and the support of our fans is making it possible.  If you would like to get involved with these projects or hear about how our innovation classes can raise awareness about the world water crisis please email contact@knowobstacles and ask about iKO: Water Crisis.