Save the Children South AfricaSave the Children is a humanitarian organization working around the world to help children living in poverty. One of its outlets in Africa, Save the Children South Africa, specifically aims to accomplish three goals in the country by 2030: end any preventable deaths of children under 5 years old, ensure access to quality education and stop all violence against children. While the nonprofit organization’s tireless work is extensive, here are four main ways it is working toward achieving its goals.

  1. Bridging the Gap: Save the Children South Africa is pursuing Goal 4 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” To achieve this, it is updating local curriculums with education on 21st-century skills. Recently, the organization partnered with Webhelp South Africa, Think Human Foundation and Share Think Human to create a three-year program at Zwelihle Secondary School in Umlazi. The program facilitates the acquisition of digital literacy skills and also provides networking opportunities along the way for successful employment upon graduation. Teachers also receive training to teach skills like digital literacy, CV writing and interviewing.
  2. Child Protection Program: Save the Children South Africa considers education on positive discipline techniques as a fundamental component of its mission. The organization’s Vikela Nwana program connected approximately 3,400 children and 13,500 parents and caregivers with anti-violence resources. The program offered workshops and webinars that focused on positive discipline, a model that encourages children to practice effective communication and patience rather than violence. More than 200 educators from 10 local schools received training from 12 partner organizations in 2021. These schools are now able to lead workshops in their communities, providing protection to children who need it.
  3. Health and Nutrition: In South Africa, acute malnutrition is responsible for a third of child in-hospital deaths. As part of its mission to end all preventable deaths of children younger than 5 years old, Save the Children South Africa frequently hosts events that focus on alleviating malnutrition and other health concerns. In 2020, the nonprofit organization hosted Child Health Awareness Day (CHAD) in the Free State village of Makwane. The organization has had a partnership with pharmaceutical company GSK in this region for years, providing service to the community. The event provided vaccinations, Vitamin A supplements and oral hygiene services to hundreds of children. Adults who attended had access to HIV testing and family planning consultations. Save the Children regularly hosts CHAD events, offering community members the opportunity to receive free life-saving services and education.
  4. Early Childhood Care and Development: In the KwaZulu-Natal province, Save the Children South Africa consistently collaborates with local Education, Health and Social Development departments. These partnerships direct funds and resources to over 100 Early Childhood Development (ECD) centers and schools. Aside from supporting the centers, educators, community leaders and parents also receive access to excellent childcare instruction. Children impacted by Save the Children’s work are guaranteed a safer environment from a young age.

Hope for South African Children

According to Statistics South Africa in 2020, an estimated 62.7% of South African children live in multidimensional poverty. Fortunately, Save the Children’s educational programs and resources in South Africa are providing children with the opportunity to regain their childhood by accessing education and experiencing safety.

– Rachel Smith
Photo: Pixabay

Education in TembisaNetworks Unlimited Africa, an innovative IT company situated in Africa, made a generous donation to the Nokuphila School. The school is located in Tembisa, a region in South Africa, and it’s affiliated with the Love Trust organization. Love Trust is a South African organization that provides education to underprivileged children in the area, and the Nokuphila School is just one of its many projects. Since 2009, Love Trust has provided services to more than 20,000 individuals across South Africa.


The Nokuphila School was originally founded in January 2009, and it wanted to serve as a source of hope for the community of Tembisa; the name Nokuphila literally translates to “place of light.” It started with a class of 45 preschoolers from Tembisa, a township with high unemployment, poverty and crime. Tembisa was also chosen as the spot for this project because of its lack of resources for education, especially when it comes to pre-school education. Statistically, only 5% of adults in Tembisa have completed some kind of education beyond high school, and more than 10% of adults in Tembisa have received no schooling at all.

Children are admitted to the Nokuphila school based on their vulnerability, and the school provides them a number of enrichment opportunities: early childhood development and primary education, nutritious meals for breakfast and lunch, safe and reliable transport to and from school, after school care, and extracurricular activities. While the school now serves 340 children, there are plans for the development of the physical school building so that the Nokuphila school can admit and educate more at-risk youth.

Networks Unlimited Africa Supports Education in Tembisa

Having a tech giant like Networks Unlimited Africa donate to the school is game-changing, in terms of the number of children they can serve and the amount of resources the school can provide. The donation of R130,000 ($7,459), raised from the tech company’s annual charity golf event, will be used for two things: art supplies for the school’s art curriculum, and IT equipment, to support the essential technology that helps to keep the school up and running.

Networks Unlimited Africa provides innovative technology to Africa, but the company has also committed to helping improve the regions that it serves. It was recently certified as a Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Level 2 contributor in June 2020. BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) is a racially inclusive initiative by the South African government that attempts to rectify the economic inequalities brought about from Apartheid. The Love Trust fund has been a B-BBEE partner of Networks Unlimited Africa since 2018, which allows the company to help the Love Trust foundation in its goal of providing education in South Africa.

The donation couldn’t have come at a better time, either. Soon after the donation was announced, COVID-19 leaped onto the global stage and forced many schools to shut down or cut back on education. The Love Trust organization was hit hard and was forced to redo the budget and redistribute their finances, including their work with the Nokuphila school. While the situation is still uncertain, the Love Trust organization is grateful for its partnership with Networks Unlimited Africa and their dedication to childhood education in South Africa, especially since its support has made it possible for The Love Trust to continue to serve its community in these trying times.

– Hannah Daniel
Photo: Flickr

Education in South AfricaEducation in South Africa received more attention after 1994. This is after the fall of the segregationist apartheid regime. The South African government promised to improve its national education system (which has historically been disorganized and unequal). The link between poverty and education is well-recognized and cyclical. Here are eight facts about education in South Africa to provide background and context:

Top 8 Facts About Education in South Africa

  1. Historical legacies of segregation have created a lasting “race gap” in South African education. This means that quality education in South Africa is disproportionately more accessible to its white citizens. As of 2018, just over three percent of black South Africans were able to attain a university degree, in comparison to 18 percent of white South Africans. The Bantu Education Act of 1953, prescribed inferior education for black South Africans, meant to prepare them for lives of menial labor in the service of whites. Although this system no longer exists, the physical segregation of black homes to townships and rural areas is still present. As a result, this segregation decreases the likelihood that black South African children will receive a quality education, due to the tier-system which allocates funding to schools based on the average income in a particular school zone. Lower-income areas receive more state funding but lack revenue from fees that those in wealthier areas charge.
  2. South Africa has committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals along with all other African countries. This is a pledge to ensure universal access to free primary and secondary education for all children by 2030. The UN goals recommend re-entry policies for teen mothers and comprehensive sex-education to prevent drop-outs and gender inequality in education. Perhaps due partly to its commitment to these goals, enrollment in school and access to education in South Africa has been increasing over the last several decades. Unfortunately, the quality of education and student retention are still lacking. Less than half of South African students who enroll in grade one remain in school until grade twelve.
  3. In 2006, South Africa adopted a school feeding scheme called the National School Nutrition Programme to provide meals for needy learners nationwide. The country adopted this program after evidence was found linking well-rounded nutrition with improved school attendance and performance. Currently, the program provides daily meals to over nine million school children.
  4. The South African government spends a higher percentage of the country’s overall GDP on education than most countries in the EU (6.4 percent versus 4.8 percent, respectively). Yet, South African schools remain under-resourced and poorly staffed. Additionally, the illiteracy rate among sixth-year learners in the country is  27 percent. This is in comparison with other African nations like Zimbabwe and Tanzania, which sit at 19 and four percent. Furthermore, only 33 percent of South African schools have libraries.
  5. Rural schools are at higher risk of resource-deprivation, and instructors in these areas are notoriously under-trained and ill-equipped to handle large classes of students. Most children who attend school in rural areas leave school at age 16 with a reading age of only nine.
  6. In 2018, after two children drowned in school “pit latrines” (holes dug in the ground as toilets). As a result, the South African government vowed to tackle its school sanitation problems. President Cyril Ramaphosa created the Sanitation Appropriate for Education initiative and promised to replace pit toilets with safer facilities. The initiative has resulted in the installment of safer toilets in over 20,000 schools. However, a local data analytics organization estimates that it will take approximately 19 years to make all necessary replacements at the current rate of installment.
  7. Some organizations, like Rural Education SA and Rally to Read are working to alleviate obstacles to education in rural areas by partnering with sponsors to deliver supplies like books and stationary to rural schools. Donors’ investments also support teacher training. Overall, efforts by the organization have been fruitful with research showing that the program helps close the literacy gap at participating schools.
  8. A non-profit organization called Spark Schools is hoping to provide alternate paths to comprehensive quality education by opening low-cost private schools in the Eastern Cape. In sum, Spark schools follow a more organized curriculum and focus not only on academics but on emotional wellbeing. Currently, there are eight Spark Schools in South Africa, drawing math curriculum from China and phonics lessons from England. Additionally, Spark teachers attend 250 hours of professional development per year (far more than state school instructors). The organization hopes to open at least 10 more locations within the next 20 years.

Poor education, or lack of, deprives children of important skills necessary to become successful adults. In turn, those living in poverty often stop attending school in order to support themselves and their families. A well-funded, organized education system in South Africa is, therefore, necessary to eradicate the racial wealth disparities in the country.

– Nicollet Laframboise
Photo: Flickr

Hunger in South AfricaFood insecurity plagues approximately 14 million South Africans. Poverty and unemployment are the two leading contributors of hunger in South Africa, caused in part by the 2008 global economic crisis, which limited job creation opportunities and the purchasing power of South African households. The nation’s economy has also been stagnant, at a growth rate of 3.3 percent since 2011 and shows little signs of improvement. In 2006, 28.4 percent of the country’s population was living in extreme poverty. In 2015, the rate had only decreased to 25.2 percent.

Causes of Hunger

Other factors of poverty include the legacy of apartheid. Apartheid barred black individuals from a proper education system and thus skilled and higher paying occupations. South Africans also seem to display a sense of disinterest in entrepreneurship, given the lack of investment within the business space. High food and fuel prices, high-energy tariffs and increasing interest rates further exacerbate hunger within the nation, as households are struggling to meet basic needs.

Solutions for Hunger

In hopes to mitigate hunger in South Africa, several initiatives have been taken. For instance, Dr. Louise Van Rhyn founded Partners for Possibilities in 2010. Partners for Possibilities is a leadership development program focused on using grassroots and cross-sector collaboration efforts to help teachers and business leaders. The program pairs a business leader as a co-partner to a school principal. By forcing them to adapt and learn to lead a complex and unfamiliar environment, business leaders gradually develop leadership capabilities in the process. The principals learn to work with other individuals, as well as a partner to help them better manage under-resourced schools.

This approach not only improvement schools, spurs individuals to be involved in a business, but it also empowers individuals to succeed in their careers, strengthening South Africa’s education system, economy strengthening households from hunger and food insecurity.

Major international nonprofits such as the World Health Organization have invested in millions of dollars on food aid programs. Often times, even though there is food in markets, it is not necessarily available. Thus, these programs compensate for the lack of access. CARE is another major organization that has been trying to limit hunger in South Africa. Their programs focus on the nutrition specific needs of fetal and child development, as well as home-based practices, making them easy to follow for households of various conditions. One of their most notable developments is the creation of the integrated model: Collective Impact for Nutrition. This particular model was established after 10 years of programming where “key nutrition-sensitive interventions support a core nutrition-specific behavior-based approach, ensuring not only the promotion of improved nutrition practices but also helping to provide the necessary foundation for adopting them.”

Ultimately, hunger in South Africa is a complicated issue, as there are many factors at play. From high rates of unemployment, lack of accessibility to food markets and economic instability due to a lack of education, its difficult to resolve hunger. Recent statistics have shown there has been some improvement in the nation’s economy, though small. For these reasons, it is vital the organizations on the ground continue their efforts to limit hunger within South Africa.

– Iris Gao
Photo: Flickr

Education Programs in South Africa
Education programs in South Africa have been working tirelessly to aid the country’s effort to establish a holistic and accessible education system. Education is one of the key aspects that can successfully diminish the level of poverty that the country faces. By educating the youth, the country creates opportunities for individuals to escape the cyclical chains of poverty and pursue career paths that can provide them with higher standards of living.

South Africa’s education system is still recovering from the 1953 Bantu education law that essentially targeted the black community and their access to education, resulting in a depletion of opportunities for them to gain education and resources to pursue a career other than that of laborers. The government is currently focusing on this issue, but aid is still necessary. In 2017, the South African government allotted 17 percent of its budget to education. While this is a good statistic, much of this has focused higher
education, so early childhood and basic education are areas that still need improvement.


WonLife is one the education programs in South Africa. It is a nonprofit organization registered in 1999 that focuses on providing holistic education and health resources to the youth and educational programs for the teachers as well. The organization has been working in the impoverished area of Fisantekraal, South Africa, located right outside of Durbanville. Explained in detail below are the four mains focus areas within the organization.

The Early Learning Centre

This is a registered, independent, Grade-R preschool that was established in 2007. Grade-R means that this center doesn’t only provide a curriculum that will prepare the kids for their next school year, but holistic education socially, mentally and physically gives young students the foundation for a lifetime of learning. The center receives about 120 students a year. Starting out at as a daycare, the early learning center has become a safe haven, both emotionally and physically, for young children to go and discover the world around them without harm or threat from the poverty-stricken area in which most of them live. The center is now equipped with one principal, four teachers, two assistant teachers and two kitchen/facilities staff.

The Literacy Centre

The Literacy Centre was opened in May 2013. Its goal is to provide children with critical reading and comprehension skills. Students in grades one through three need these skills as a foundation for the rest of their academic careers, which is why WonLife created a center dedicated to making sure each child obtains this knowledge before moving on to higher education. The program uses curriculum from Shine Literacy, a nonprofit organization focused on English literacy. The Literacy Centre also facilitates a much smoother transition for students that come in speaking
Xhosa, one of the native Bantu languages, by helping them master English before moving into the intermediate phase of schooling.

High School Programme

The High School programme has two focuses: health and education. For health, the programme works with external organizations to provide health care to students. Some examples of these organizations are OneSight, that offers eye-care to students and The Usapho Foundation that offers teen parenting workshops for young parents attempting to continue their education. In respect to education, the programme has an Education Centre. This is a secure environment that provides students with the sources and space to study and work on homework and projects. Coming from a poverty-stricken area, a large issue for students is finding a safe-haven where they can work on their schooling without distraction or danger. The High School Programme plays a huge role in helping these students advance their academic careers in a healthy and safe state.

Teacher Mentorship Programme

Established in 2015, the Teacher Mentorship Programme shifts the focus from the students to the teachers. Teachers that are working in local schools often have a problem in the sense that they received an education at an underperforming school and have lack of exposure to formal teaching training. Recognizing the importance of capable teachers in the effort to further education in South Africa, WonLife worked with one of the local government schools to create this programme. The programme mentors and coaches teachers to improve lesson planning, lesson delivery, student assessment and classroom set-up.

It also provides teachers with soft skills like effective communication, professionalism, teamwork and time management. It currently equips 15 teachers working at Trevor Manual Primary School with the tools to provide a holistic education to their students. There are 200 students within each grade, totaling at 600 students between the grades one through three. This means that teachers have the opportunity to reach and benefit the educational trajectory of 600 students a year.

WonLife is only one example of education programs in South Africa that are working to improve education, especially in early childhood. The organization offers newsletters that give updates to the state and progress of their work being done in Fisantekraal. By facilitating holistic education to the youth of South Africa, they are providing people with opportunities to have choices and break the cycle of poverty, eventually lowering overall rates of poverty. The presence of WonLife, and organizations like it, will
do wonders to improve the quality of life and growth of South Africa as a country.

– Mary Spindler
Photo: Flickr

Education in South Africa
How important is education in South Africa? Education is often considered the great equalizer of society. When people have access to quality education, living conditions inevitably improve and economies grow. Although South Africa has relatively high enrollment rates, many students don’t have access to quality education.

After the fall of apartheid, Nelson Mandela sought to reinvent an education system that had categorically denied blacks a quality education in South Africa. Mandela’s reforms ended racial segregation and unlocked equal funding for all universities and schools.

South Africa has developed a progressive education system – at least in theory. According to UNICEF, South Africa spends more on education as a share of GDP than any other African nation, providing free and compulsory primary education to all children aged 7 to 15, regardless of race.

Despite these achievements, a 2013 study published by the World Economic Forum ranked South African 143rd out of 144 in effective education systems.

South African schools face a myriad of problems. 78 percent of them don’t have computers or libraries, and 27 percent don’t have running water.

In addition to this, South African public schools are riddled with low performance rates. UNICEF reports that only 12 to 31 percent of South African students reach proficiency in their coursework. Two thirds of South African young people aged 14 to 18 cannot find work because they don’t have the preparation they deserve.

Regrettably, many South African teachers also lack proficiency in the subjects they teach. As a result, most South African students do not meet international benchmarks for math and science. Long hours and a critical lack of basic school supplies put even greater strain on teachers and school staff.

A 2009 South African Department of Education study found that 5.8 percent of female secondary school students dropped out of school after becoming pregnant. Teenage pregnancy rates have only increased.

Furthermore, a study conducted by the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention found that 15.3 percent of South African primary school children had experienced violent assaults and robbery. Teachers and principals agree that children cannot learn in such an unsafe environment.

Prior to 1991, education in South Africa was segregated, with separate education systems for blacks and whites. Black South Africans were relegated to “Bantu” school systems, which promoted black subservience to whites. These institutions created unequal learning environments based on race. Many contemporary issues plaguing education in South Africa stem from this era of neglect and abuse.

It has been 22 years since the fall of apartheid, and positive change is slow but evident. In 2013, UNSECO reported a 95 percent literacy rate among South African school-aged youth. This number shows great improvement. Education in South Africa is not a lost cause, and it will improve as teachers gain competence and schools gain the funding they deserve.

According to Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” As a free and democratic South Africa rediscovers its identity, quality education can be afforded to the children of tomorrow.

Peter Nilson

Photo: Flickr

Students in South AfricaSouth African universities have recently faced many violent disruptions due to conflict over tuition prices. Buildings have been set on fire while student factions continue to clash. This is the second year of conflict between Students in South Africa and their universities over the high costs of tuition and the low pay for university staff.

The government budget for the past year only temporarily fixed the financial issues being protested, and violence continues. Students at the University of the Free State were attacked during their protest by rugby spectators, while students at Pretoria University have burned buses and artwork in clashes over language instruction policies.

A possible solution to the issue would involve allotting more funding in the next budget for public education and universities. If tuition prices were lowered, more students in South Africa would be able to attend university, thus beginning to dispel the conflict over tuition prices.

Protests began at Tshwane University of Technology, where students were unable to register for courses because of their outstanding debt. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) was incapable of meeting its funding commitments, causing a wave of anger amongst the students when their education was disrupted by this failure of the NSFAS. Additional funding for NSFAS was included in the 2016 budget in attempt to dispel protests, but the protesters are still active and escalating in violence.

Education continues to suffer in South Africa due to the unaffordable costs of higher education. A majority of the funding to remedy the protests has gone to North-West University, where academic activities were suspended for over a month.

The shadow higher education minister, Belinda Bozzoli, claims that “radical student groups” had “directed money away from the legitimate needs of thousands of poor students.” She says that though some of the damages can be covered by insurers, universities are suffering and unable to provide adequate education while under attack.

Inequality in South Africa is a major cause for the protests. Approximately 70 percent of South Africans are paid so little that they qualify for free state housing. These citizens cannot afford university tuition fees.

Students in South Africa in poor financial situations can apply for a bursary to fund part of their education. However, students must pay off a portion of debt before graduating and pay their loans in full immediately upon graduation.

As a result of the conflict over tuition prices, the government has continued to freeze the increasing tuition prices for two years—a short-term solution for a long-term, foundational issue.

Amanda Panella

Photo: Flickr

It has been 21 years since the end of apartheid in South Africa. While the Rainbow Nation has made progress on many fronts, the education system is struggling.

While schools do not aim to disadvantage minorities as they did during apartheid, the quality of education some provide is still severely lacking. The glow of democracy has not spread to the education system, which ranks 140th out of 144 according to a report done by the World Economic Forum. The worst being math and science specifically, ranking dead last at 144th.

Schools are failing for a number of reasons. For one, basic infrastructure is a problem and many schools are without running water or fully equipped bathrooms. Some are built of mud or are otherwise not structurally strong, leading to safety concerns.

Teachers are often absent, leaving classrooms full students with no teachers to educate them. This has been found to be more prevalent in schools located in less social-economically privileged areas. Often, these schools are smaller and have access to fewer resources, disadvantaging learners even more.

In the final year of secondary school, learners must pass their matriculation exam. About 75 percent of students passed the matric exams in 2014, a decrease from the 2013 mark of 78.2 percent. However, to pass matric, students need only 40 percent in three of their classes, and 30 percent in their other four classes.

Most students pass with better marks, however, the standard is low and half of the 18 percent of “matrics” that make it to universities, will never graduate. Couple this with the fact that despite progress in racial equality, Indians and whites possess many more matric and tertiary education certificates than blacks, and you have an education system that is struggling.

What is causing the education system to fail? It is not a lack of funding. In the 2013/14 fiscal year, 232.5 billion Rand, or $21.8 billion, was spent on education. However, money and resources often do not reach schools, instead falling into the hands of corrupt officials or middlemen involved in the purchasing of items such as computers or textbooks.

Corruption is a big problem in South Africa, and within the education sector it is no different. A recent study found that 20 percent of corruption cases reported by the public were related to education, and included things like mismanagement of funds, theft of funds, and tender corruption. Pair this corruption with a general lack of resources, infrastructure and teachers absent from work, and it makes more sense why schools are struggling.

What is the outcome of a poor education system? South Africa’s Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene made the connection between high unemployment in the country and a lack of properly educated individuals. Unemployment hovers at 26.4 percent, but rises to 37.8 percent when those who have given up looking for work are taken into account. To combat this, jobs obviously must be created and if the education system is improved, more people will be able to find work and continue the Rainbow Nation’s progress forward as a country.

– Greg Baker

Sources: National Department of Basic Education, South African Government News Agency, Mail and Guardian, Mail and Guardian, Brookings, World Economic Forum,BBC
Photo: Africa Check