Rationale behind the Fund:
In 1994 Post Apartheid South Africa, there was a critical need to address the education standard differential between people of different ethnic backgrounds in South Africa. Twenty years on, there remains a gross shortage of teachers, pupils attending non-fee paying rural schools in Kwazulu Natal are taught in large multi-grade classes by one teacher and are only exposed to English from Grade 4 at the age of ten years. In a mere four years, these pupils have to grasp English which is not their mother tongue, in order to study and to ultimately write their final Grade 7 examinations which will be used to assess their acceptance by a High School. Matriculation examinations in South Africa can only be written in English. Any pupil without a solid foundation in spoken and written English and attending a rural school is disadvantaged from the outset and cannot realise their potential. Russell and Simone hope that in the long term, children of staff members given the opportunity to attend a good pre-primary school will be able to enter a good Primary school and hence a good High school.
The aim of the Sani Lodge Backpackers Educational Fund started in January 2014, is to allow Sani Lodge to play a role in improving the level of education of children in our country by providing financial assistance to staff , thereby allowing them to be able to afford to send their children to schools providing a higher level of education (usually fee paying schools). Sani Lodge wants to encourage staff to send their children to pre-schools at the earliest age possible – quality preschools which are not just “child-minding” but really prepare the children for primary school. The children attending these pre-schools will be taught in English from an early age, allowing them to gain entrance to a good quality primary school, where the individual classes are smaller and not multi-grade as in rural primary schools.
Staff at Sani Lodge are screened according to guidelines set out by the Education Fund. We currently fund Elihle Mtolo, Lwandle Mtolo, Thando Mthembu all aged 5 years to attend Noah’s Ark Pre Primary school in Himeville. We also fund Thembelani Dumakude who is deaf and attends the special Kwa Thintwa School for the Deaf near Durban. We pay 50% of school fees for each of these children. Each of the pre-school children receives a termly report categorising their progress under Language, Mathematics, Emotional and Social Development , Life skills and music which we see and make a copy of. Children of all different ethnic and cultural groups attend this school which imbibes a healthy philosophy of religious and cultural tolerance and acceptance.