In the past 14 years, Adopt-a-School Foundation has worked tirelessly to make significant strides in improving access to quality education and uplifting communities in South Africa.
In October 2016, Cyril Ramaphosa, founder and chairperson of Adopt-a-School Foundation, hosted 1 000 people under one roof, in what has become one of the biggest events on South Africa’s CSI calendar; the Back to School Party.
Guests, dressed in school uniform, pledged generously towards the work of the Foundation and over R4.5 million was raised on the occasion. In 10 years these parties alone have raised over R35 million for the work of the Foundation.
In 14 years of operation, the organisation, through its collaborative social investment model, has ploughed over R500 million into rural and township schools. It works closely with big business, small community enterprises, non-profit organisations and various sectors of government and society, to support schools, their learners, teachers, and broader communities.
The Foundation has built 528 new school facilities and their Whole School Development model also benefits the community. During construction, parents and community members are temporarily employed and provided with skills set that assists them to be more employable in the future. To date, 7 656 temporary job opportunities have been provided. Local small businesses are also supported by making use of their services or buying building materials.
Adopt-a-School Foundation has grown tremendously since the first Back to School Party fundraiser in 2007 when it reported that through the adoption of 29 schools, 15 000 children were impacted. Today, there are 614 schools under the adoption programme and over 790 000 children, their families and greater communities have benefitted.
In 2015, the Back to School Party fundraising efforts enabled the Foundation to launch a Health, Sanitation and Sexual Awareness programme. For many girl learners, the onset of puberty results in a significant decline in their school attendance. One of the main reasons for this is the lack of sanitary pads and the lack of basic knowledge around what is happening to their bodies during puberty. The project has since been rolled out to more than 20 adopted schools and has benefited 11 671 learners. At the 2016 Back to School Party, a donation of 100 000 sanitary pads was made by the Dischem Foundation.
Further pledges of nearly R1 million will be used to continue this programme. Every year guests also donate books, blazers and school uniforms worn on the night, which the Foundation distributes to adopted schools.
This event shows what can transpire and be genuinely celebrated when business, individuals and organisations come together for the greater good.
The Foundation is able to enumerate the school facilities built, the employment opportunities created and the teachers trained. The numbers speak for themselves. But even more inspiring, is the children that speak for the Foundation. It is their dreams and determination that bring South Africans together to uplift their schools.
One night. One thousand people. And R5 million raised. This is collaboration in action.