The "Afrikaskolen" association is a private Danish, non-political, humanitarian association with the objective to support and improve poor, black children's school situation and education in South Africa. The name "Afrikaskolen" means "the African School"
By fund raising, sponsorships and voluntary work, "Afrikaskolen" addresses specific poverty-oriented problems in selected rural areas and communities with focus on schools and education.
Why a School in South Africa's Vaalwater area?
The rural areas in the Limpopo-province is well known as the wildlife-richest and most spectacular in South Africa. The province boasts numerous National parks and game & nature reserves - and an increasing numbers of international tourists come to the area on Safari. But here you also see the contrasts of South Africa: Poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, massive social problems and many poor and neglected children. Most black children in rural areas stand without any future at all in spite of their interest, willingness and ability to learn.
Poverty has many faces and it will take generations before Mandela's vision of a South Africa with equal opportunities for everyone reaches the Limpopo rural areas.
We have chosen the country South Africa and the location Vaalwater because we have good knowledge of both the country and the region. Since the fall of the apartheid-system, we have worked with the poverty problems in the country, seen the villages and know the schools and the situation of the rural worker's children. Furthermore, we have established a good co-operation with a local christian aid-association "Bushveld Mission", who voluntarily, without salary and with very limited means put in a significant amount of work in lifting the areas 7 primary schools. By supporting their work you support and invest in long-term education of children, which is fundamental for lifting children and families out of poverty. Furthermore, it will on longer term secure the area a more qualified work force which is desperately needed i.e. in the tourist industry, where qualified staff currently is "imported" from elsewhere.
We know, that there are many large, professional humanitarian organizations doing a terrific job all over the world. We also think, that there are a lot of potential sponsors, who do not contribute because many think:
- That administration swallows too much of donations
- That funds are channeled elsewhere and not to the promised area
- That it is difficult to relate to other things than terrible pictures of earth-quakes, wars and skinny black children
- That their money does not support the poor but mostly goes to corruption and big cars to the politicians
But we believe, that the Danes have the willingness to help if they can relate their assistance to something specific such as concrete school or children support and projects. Here you can see what happens and follow the improvement your money make.
We are also convinced that we in this way contribute significantly to the sponsors feeling of making a difference on the ground - and that it helps! Furthermore, that it contributes to an increased cultural understanding between countries.
Finally, we think, that it is important to include Danish schools and school children to create an interest and willingness to help one or more specific schools in Africa (teaching, fund raising, information exchange and pen-friends etc.). This will enable Danish children to reflect on their own priviledged situation and place it into a useful perspective.
So for everyone a support and engagement across borders is a win-win situation. Through our web site "Afrikaskolen" we ensure regular photo and text documentation of activities and projects. In this way everybody can follow what happens to their contribution.
What are the problems of the school children?
We have in co-operation with our South African partner "Bushveld Mission" chosen initially to work with and for the Tshukudu-school. It is located in a village on a large tobacco farm in Vaalwater district in Limpopo province. The Tshukudu school has 56 children, 35 boys and 19 girls. Socio-economically the situation is as follows:
- A tobaccoworker salary is app. 800 Rand/month. Tobaccoworkers often have longer periods without work and income
- The families are large with many children, grand parents and un-employed relatives to feed.
- There are many alcohol problems and it is common, that the father uses the salary for alcohol
- The children are starving, they live basically of maize and they lack shoes and clothes
- There are many children without parents due to wide-spread hiv/aids and other illnesses
- The children often receive only seven years of primary school teaching and rarely any secondary education. Only primary school is free of charge
- Girls are raped, exploited and many teenagers get pregnant unwillingly
- The schools are in bad condition, lack electricity, water, toilets
- The schools are overcrowded, teachers insufficient and facilities, teaching materials and tools lacking
- The province administration has no money for improvements as the taxbase is too weak
- The schools are for many children a "space of freedom" where they have to opportunity to learn and for a while can forget the daily problems
What can we do?
We are a small humanitarian association and it is important that we have a clear, long-term strategy for our activities, so we get the best results for our donated funds. Our objective is to improve and better the situation and possibilities for black school children with special focus at girls schooling and education. This prioritation is based on the general fact, that if you support an African man, you support an individual, but if you support an African woman you support a whole family. Our main principles are:
- we support childrens basic school education including establishing acceptable teaching conditions and quality
- we support secondary and further education for especially talented school children with focus at girls/womens schooling, education and self-sustaining
- we encurage concrete contacts between Danish schools/pupils and the schools in Vaalwater area to facilitate and increase cultural exchanges and understanding.
How can YOU support?
You can make a sifgnificant difference on shorter and longer term for poor African children as follows. If you have other ideas to generate funds, you are welcome to take own initiatives:
|Membership||Payment of an annual membership fee|
|Donations and Sponsorships||Sign-up for a single or regular sponsorship or donation|
|Voluntary work||Spend some of your spare time with something really meaningful and become ambassador for the children.
For example you can:
The association is based on financial contributions and voluntary work from members and other interested parties only. The key principle is, that administration costs must be kept minimal and ensure, that basically all funds go to the African school children.
Costs are aimed covered by the sponsors. Un-avoidable, direct costs that cannot be sponsored (stamps, telephone, printing, revision, domain costs etc.) can if pre-agreed be reimbursed. A chartered accountant revises the accounts annually.
We have published a web site "Afrikaskolen at http://www.afrikaskolen.dk where you can see objectives, regulations, activities, membership, bank account etc. Furthermore we will regularly publish news letters, pictures from the school and area, activities and results achieved.