SA Taxi Foundation shifts focus to foundational education
The SA Taxi Foundation is the corporate social investment (CSI) arm of SA Taxi, a vertically integrated business platform designed to improve the sustainability of the minibus taxi industry and the communities they serve. To expand the reach and impact of its initiatives the Foundation recently launched the Adopt a School initiative to focus 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% of South African children eligible for ECD are not enrolled in 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% 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% 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 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.
With the help of the South African National Taxi Council’s (SANTACO) provincial executive structures, the Foundation has already identified eight primary schools across eight provinces that require financial and operational support. Following engagements with each school’s headmaster, the Foundation has identified the schools’ most pressing and immediate needs and through the initiative will focus on addressing these areas as a priority.
The Foundation’s latest project is a R272 550 investment at Mthekelezi Primary School in KwaZulu-Natal, 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 in Limpopo Province.
In September, the Foundation will also break ground at Nelmapius Primary School in Gauteng to build a library, which will also serve 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.