Jessica Shelver

Co-Founder, Ubunye-Unity Trust

Recognised as a trailblazer in both politics and community engagement, Jessica Shelver is as active in governance as she is in social upliftment projects.

As a young South African, Shelver has always been passionate about politics and how good governance can give people the opportunity to overcome poverty. Her commitment to social justice and equality drew her to politics while travelling abroad, and she co-founded the Ubunye-Unity Trust in 2011, a charity set up to bring about positive change in  South Africa.

Returning to South Africa in 2013, Shelver is an active member of the Democratic Alliance, involved in development projects for Engineers For Change, a community based organisation she founded in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.

She is also a campaign manager for the Adopt a School programme at Muzomuhle Primary School, an underprivileged school in Diepsloot, Gauteng.

For Shelver, politics has the power to effect change and to make a difference in the world.

“I love my country and am passionate about contributing to a positive future for all South Africans. I believe that bringing widespread attention to the challenges affecting our country, such as lack of access to basic education, is the first step to achieving positive change, as well as getting involved in projects that change people’s lives for the better.”

Educational development and community service are Shelver’s passions.

“I believe that knowing your work is changing someone’s life for the better is what makes it possible to face the world every day. My motto is to be the change that I want to see in the world. The key to a successful life is to gain happiness through helping others.”

Shelver volunteers for the United Nations Association of Young Professionals and was formerly the UN Young Professional Parliamentary liaison.

In 2012 Shelver won the South African Chamber of Commerce Rising Star of the Year. She was also named one of the top 13 African Business/ Economic Leaders to watch in 2013 and was first runner up for South African Personality of the Year 2013. — Linda Doke