Both of my parents, Desmond & Leah Tutu, were teachers. It was before apartheid laws segregated schools and forced an inferior education on black children: bantu education. My parents resigned in protest. They vowed that their children would never be subjected to bantu education. Each year we drove thousands of kilometers from our home in the Eastern Cape to boarding schools in Swaziland. The education we earned has been a bridge to opportunity for my siblings and me, Mpho Tutu van Furth. With my education I have been able to become a priest and author. I was founding CEO of the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation and lead that institution from a dream into a multi-project and multi-million euro operation.
Rather than a bridge many South African children experience education as a barrier to opportunity. It is more than two decades since the end of apartheid. The bantu education curriculum is gone but for many poor black children reality hasn't changed. Almost one third of children who have attended a South African school for six years cannot read. The patterns of poverty, inequality and unemployment that apartheid created are entrenched by the current system of education.THE SUNRISE PROJECT WILL CHANGE THIS!
With this project we will transform the education system so that every child in South-Africa will have a quality education; one community and one grade level at a time. Our project begins in one of the poorest communities with grade R teachers and learners (ages 4-6). The sunrise spreads daylight gradually until the whole land is bathed in sunshine. The transformation in the school will be like a sunrise, each year more grades and more children will benefit. As the first cohort of students continues their education, grade level by grade level their schools will be transformed. Our initial project will be realised in six phases:
1. In the preparatory phase we will identify communities with, at most, three public primary schools in which to work. The communities will be rural or semi-rural. The schools will have engaged leadership. Ideally we will also be able to identify an effective local NGO partner who shares our vision.
2. In this phase we will select the schools and community in which to work. We will make a preliminary evaluation of the scope of work to be completed.
3. In this phase we must secure buy-in and support from key stakeholders including parents and community; teachers; school leadership; local government; education department and students. Develop a training plan and materials for teachers and school leadership. Recruit trainers, mentors and master teachers. Decide on the construction and equipment plan for the physical plant.
4. In the fourth phase construction and fit out will be completed and any necessary teacher training will commence.
5. The first grade R enters fit-to-purpose classrooms to meet enthusiastic, accomplished teachers who are members of a community committed to school improvement.
6. Phase six begins the second and subsequent years.
For one community the project will be completed in eight years. In the first year of of the project we will ensure that every child entering grade R in our target community enters the kind of classroom that any one of us would want for our own children. We will offer their teachers skill-building workshops and the mentoring support they deserve so that they are fully equipped for their crucial role in moulding our future leaders. In the second and subsequent years the focus will be on the next grade level thus the transformation progresses with the child.
Our budget for the first two phases of the plan is €50 000. This includes personnel, travel, communications, website development and expert evaluation of the physical plant and assessment of teaching staff. Our request for €10 000 covers expenses for the first phase of the project. Budget for the second and succeeding phases depends on the the findings from the evaluation phase.
Your donation in any amount will help us move this project from a dream to a reality.