Supporting pupils and teachers in South Africa
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What we do

During South Africa’s apartheid era (from the 1940s to the first free elections in 1994), it was the whites-only government policy to depress the aspirations of black people by ensuring that they received very little education. Schools received minimal funding and even as late as 1997, when the Trust started its work in Mamelodi, schools received no funding beyond the provision of teachers. As a result, it was normal to find schools with large classes, some poorly trained teachers, but no books or other resources for the children to use.

Although schools do now receive some funding from the state, this is insufficient to provide an adequate education for children. The Mamelodi Trust raises money in the UK and makes grants to schools Windowto enable them to improve their facilities and to purchase books and other learning materials. We have also funded visits by experienced UK teachers and advisory teachers to help schools in Mamelodi develop the quality of learning and teaching.  We work with other individuals and organisations both in the UK and in South Africa, to support schools in Mamelodi.

We are supporting schools as they try to improve their provision. We are helping them to:

  • raise pupils’ achievement and provide them with the skills necessary for employment in the new South Africa;
  • purchase books and to create school libraries;
  • buy new learning resources and other essential equipment;
  • undertake staff training to improve the quality of teaching and learning;
  • develop staff training to deal with issues relating to HIV/Aids;
  • develop computer and Internet facilities to provide new opportunities for learning and communication with partners in the UK.

The Trust currently supports five schools, three primary schools, one secondary school and one special school.  These schools:

  • serve several of Mamelodi’s informal settlements;
  • are housed in run-down, and sometimes unsafe buildings;
  • have large and overcrowded classes;
  • have few books or teaching aids and virtually no equipment for maths, science and technology;
  • care for children infected by HIV/Aids;
  • receive only limited local funding;
  • are unable to benefit from financial support from parents since over 90% are unemployed;
  • run feeding schemes for the children.

So far, funds provided by the Trust have been used:

  • to purchase books and a wide range of other learning resources;
  • to refurbish classrooms, toilets and staff work areas;
  • to improve school environments and play facilities for the children;
  • to create and equip a computer room, a science laboratory and a library in Zakhele School;
  • to build and stock a brand new library at Meetse A Bophelo Primary School;
  • to improve facilities in the library at Sikhanyisele Primary School;
  • to provide Reception class facilities and play equipment at Tshegofatsong Special School;
  • to improve the provision of science equipment at Stanza Bopape Secondary School and to start work on the refurbishment of the school library;
  • to improve security so that new resources and equipment are safe;
  • to provide children with football and netball kit;
  • to provide gas to heat food for the children;
  • to part-fund a feeding scheme at Stanza Bopape Secondary School;
  • to provide teacher resources in the Mamelodi Teachers’ Centre;
  • to part-fund working visits by UK teachers to train and support Mamelodi teachers;
  • to facilitate visits to schools in the UK by Mamelodi teachers;
  • to provide financial support for individual students from Mamelodi who have reached the required standard to attend university.

At the end of 2007, Georgina Baglin, a Project manager at IET in the UK, spent three weeks working on behalf of the Trust at Meetse A Bophelo Primary School in Mamelodi funded by the company. While she was there she made a video about Mamelodi and life at the school and you can view this by clicking here. Although Meetse A Bophelo School has been recently rebuilt, the video gives a good introduction to the work of the Trust and the picture it paints of life in Mamelodi is still accurate.