Thank you for backing us. Here’s what we did with your contribution.
A thank-you letter to all of our crowdfunding supporters.
A few years back, when I was still a law student, a friend posted a link of The most beautiful and imaginative public schools in the world. This post really stuck with me. I kept returning to it and staring at those pictures feeling something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I didn’t know then that I would one day start a school. To share pictures of our beautiful and imaginative Education Lab today is absolutely surreal.
I want to thank you for your contribution without which we could not have built this space. I am thankful not just for your direct contribution but that you are willing to be a part of a generation that accepts that we have the ability to be in service of those who currently do not access the educational opportunities that they deserve: that we can all be directly connected to improving the status quo.
Education is liberation. John Langilabele Dube, knew this a century ago when he founded Ohlangle High School as he was helping to launch the ANC- the party that lead to democracy for South Africa in 1994 under Nelson Mandela. Ohlange is also where Mandela chose to cast his vote in a free South Africa.
South Africa is in a profound educational crisis. Children come out of our primary schools still functionally illiterate and innumerate. We suffer from the deliberate disenfranchisement of millions of black learners under apartheid: a legacy we have not come close to addressing. We are also still hamstrung by inferior industrial education that communities globally are realising inadequately prepare children for life.
You are helping us change that. Thank you for helping us build the first step to opening our first school and challenging that reality. I believe that it is through us: people talking to people, that we will make this change happen. Thank you for validating that belief.
Here’s what we have learned so far in opening the Education Lab
Getting to this point today took multiple failures, innovations, strokes of luck and innumerate gestures of generosity: of time, money and hard labour. Here are some of the things we discovered:
- How to build a Computer for less than $86 a unit that can run offline and off-grid.
- Through reclaiming and up-cycling furniture, how bring overall costs for the Lab down to under $5960 cash spent.
- That space has an incredible impact on learning. Children can move between the auditorium, the library and computer room: they are allowed to be free to explore as their curiousity drives them. In this environment, children can build focus, feel safe and drive their own learning. The Ed Lab build is proving something surprising and truly remarkable: a great space can support children in having greater freedom to learn with tremendous success.
Melanie Smuts: CEO + Founder of Streetlight Schools
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