SA Taxi Foundation funds innovative school desks for underprivileged schools and scholars.
South Africa’s only specialist financer to the minibus taxi industry donates to a primary school in Alexandra, Johannesburg, 500 school bags that turn into desks
11 April 2014 – As part of its support for the communities in which its customers operate, SA Taxi, the country’s only developmental credit provider and specialist provider of finance to the entrepreneurs who operate minibus taxis, is donating, through the SA Taxi Foundation, 500 DeskBags to the Zenzeleni Primary School.
Made from recycled vinyl billboards, the bags are designed to contain school books while still being light enough to be carried by pre-primary children. The flap of the bag is made of reinforced ABS plastic so that it can be used as a desktop.
The bags therefore address the problem in remote, rural areas and in urban areas where poverty is rife of children not having school desks at which to sit and learn. Where the cost of furnishing schools is too high, the bags offer a desk-type facility in the schools themselves. Where schools do have desks, the bags provide underprivileged children with a place to study at home.
A recent report by Unesco shows that 95 million African children do not have access to a school desk. According to Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, there are an estimated 3.1 million children in need of school desks.
“Nelson Mandela once said that education is considered to be the greatest weapon in fighting poverty and at DeskBags we truly believe that education is the vaccine to poverty. But it is only through contributions such as those from SA Taxi Foundation, that we can help provide young South Africans with the necessary tools to help ease their educational struggles. Together is there is nothing that we can’t accomplish,” says Madelain Roscher, the founder and originator of DeskBags.
SA Taxi Foundation Director, Kalnisha Singh, says that although the Zenzeleni Primary School in Alexandra has reasonable facilities and classroom furniture, many of the children who attend the school come from extremely poor homes where there is neither the space nor the money to give children a desk at which to do their homework.
“We chose to work with Zenzeleni because of its remarkable commitment to both its students and its community. Starting from humble beginnings as a feeding scheme in the 1960s, the school has grown steadily through the dedication of its teaching staff into a notable educational institution. Its mission is to produce a reading, responsible nation that can cope in a changing world. To achieve this, the school makes use of every possible tool – including the Discovery Channel television learning project, Read Educational Trust, the Avusa reading programme, Reading Dynamics, the Breakthrough Project, and Readucate.
“We see DeskBags as a way of reinforcing all these initiatives, by enabling the children to more easily absorb what they’re learning because they can sit comfortably at a type of desk.”
The DeskBags initiative also provides employment for the previously abused, disadvantaged, or unemployed women who make them.
SA Taxi is built on the premise of empowerment financing, providing funding to entrepreneurs who, through lack of a business track record and security, are not able to access finance through conventional financial institutions.
“We are privileged to be part of an industry that drives the nation and, therefore, plays a significant role in driving the economy,” Singh says. “Inherently, through our day to day business activities, we assist the industry and the communities it affects in meeting their potential. We’re now extending our contribution to their sustainability through education-based initiatives – and have established the SA Taxi Foundation as a mechanism through which to do this. Our partnership with the DeskBags initiative is thus the first of many planned undertakings.”