The SA Taxi Foundation, the corporate social investment (CSI) arm of SA Taxi who are a vertically integrated business platform designed to improve the sustainability of the minibus taxi industry and the communities they serve, today announced how it plans to expand the reach and impact of its initiatives. Through this new initiative, Adopt a School, the focus will be on foundational education among underprivileged children in South Africa.
“The foundation's new strategy will focus on education initiatives that aim to support children in their early childhood development (ECD) phase. This will better equip them with the knowledge base and aptitude necessary to thrive in later-stage formalised education systems,” explains Maroba Maduma, director of the SA Taxi Foundation.
“A staggering 61 percent of South African children eligible for ECD are not enrolled into formal education programmes and never receive an education. It is also gravely concerning that many students who are enrolled in schools across South Africa drop out due to the harsh conditions under which they must learn.”
According to figures released by the Department of Basic Education, approximately 60 percent of grade one learners will ultimately drop out of school before reaching grade 12. This poses a national crisis as it perpetuates the poverty cycle in which 55.5 percent of South Africans currently find themselves.
“Our concern at these worrying statistics and our desire to help drive the nation forward has prompted us to invest in young South Africans, and we believe that foundational education and early childhood development will have the greatest impact on their lives,” elaborates Maduma.
The foundation believes that implementing holistic development plans that focus on foundational education and ECD, while taking a longer-term view, alters the trajectory of young South Africans through the formal education system and can, therefore, create real intergenerational change within communities.
The ultimate aim, according to Maduma, is to facilitate better secondary and tertiary education outcomes for the learners enrolled in these projects, which will hopefully lead to better job and entrepreneurial prospects in later life.
“This is how we can create meaningful and enduring social and economic impact in South Africa and in so doing, begin to address the country's systemic issues around education, unemployment, job creation and the economic emancipation of underprivileged and historically disadvantaged communities.”
With the help of the South African National Taxi Council's (SANTACO) provincial executive structures, the foundation has already identified six foundation level schools across six provinces that require financial and operational support.
“Following engagements with each school's headmaster, the foundation has identified the most pressing and immediate needs and through the initiative will focus on addressing these areas as a priority,” continues Maduma.
The foundation's latest project is a R272,550 investment at Mthekelezi Primary School, which was used to build dry sanitation ablution facilities as the school has no direct access to water or sewerage infrastructure.
With dry sanitation facilities already delivered to Module Primary School in the North West, similar infrastructure initiatives are planned for Zastron Public School in the Free State and Monene Primary School is Limpopo Province.
The foundation will also break ground at Nelmapius Primary School in September to build a library, which will also service three other primary schools in the area. These schools all have a variety of additional requirements, which the foundation would like to address in partnership with other businesses or organisations.
“We would like to invite others to join the Adopt a School project to help make a difference in the lives of young South African learners, who are eager for better futures. Support can go to any school in the project in the form of financial, physical or operational contributions or donations such as books, building material or school equipment,” says Maduma.
He is confident that the identified initiatives within the Adopt a School project will empower children within these communities to finally break free from the perpetual poverty cycle that a lack of adequate education creates.
“It is only through this form of grassroots support at the earliest stages in an African child's life that we can begin to realise true transformational impact that delivers lasting, multi-generational benefits,” he concludes.