3rd Container Classroom for PYMA

Press Release

November 2023

Sawabona Africa and PYMA launch third container classroom

Munich, 2 November, 2023 – The non-profit organisation Sawabona Africa has launched a third container classroom together with Phakamani Young Minds Academy (PYMA), an after-school facility for disadvantaged children in Soweto. Containers are a quick and easy solution to give more girls and boys a better life through education.

While in Germany, containers are used as a short-term but unpopular solution for increased student numbers or during reconstruction, in other regions of the world, these ‘mobile classrooms’ are the only way to provide additional learning space relatively quickly and easily. With the help of donations, Sawabona Africa and PYMA have put a new container classroom into use, complete with equipment. For the people of Soweto, the largest township in South Africa, the “new building” is of great significance: Just in time for the last term and the final exams, it offers the children supported by PYMA more space to prepare. In addition, 50 girls and boys can now enrol for the 2024 school year. The number of tutors, who are graduates of the programme or students at the University of Johannesburg and receive a paid stipend for tutoring, will also increase.

No education without after-school programmes

In South Africa today, almost every girl and boy is enrolled in school. But one in two children drops out before Grade 12 without completing their education. Literacy and numeracy levels are appallingly low by international standards due to catastrophic learning conditions: Overcrowded classrooms, lack of materials and poorly qualified teachers are common in public institutions. In addition, many children come from homes where they receive no educational support.

Against this background, it is unrealistic to expect that good education can be achieved through public schools alone. After School Programmes (ASPs) fill the gap by supplementing public school education with academic and psychosocial support, and by providing a safe place for children to learn and play. The Phakamani Young Minds Academy (PYMA) targets disadvantaged children in Soweto, South Africa. In addition to state education, girls and boys of all grades receive tutoring with a focus on literacy and numeracy, homework help and mentorship. Parallel support for parents also plays an important role in promoting the children’s success at school.

“The new classroom will enhance the future of the students in our after-school programme. It will unlock their knowledge and dreams. And we can continue to increase the number of children who benefit,” says Mthandazo Khumalo, Executive Director of PYMA. “We look forward to the wondrous journey this classroom will enable us to take. We are very grateful to Sawabona Africa for their support”.

“Seeing children excited about learning and seizing their opportunities has fascinated us. An investment in the ASP sector is an investment in the future, in order to eliminate inequalities and promote social justice,” adds Zilla Stekhoven, founder of Sawabona Africa e.V. A South African-educated lawyer, she has worked internationally in many fields, including as a director at adidas in Germany, before founding Sawabona Africa in 2021. “Two years ago we financed a classroom for PYMA with donations. But it quickly became too small, and the new container has given us more space. But we haven’t reached our goal yet – we are already raising funds for another classroom to give all the children on the waiting list a good education.”

Zilla and Mthandazo
Zilla Stekhoven and Mthandazo Khumalo

More impressions from students, tutors and staff

"This new classroom is a real change - especially for us students who benefit from the PYMA programme. It will improve our learning environment and allow us to work effectively with our teachers.”
Tshidi Januarie
"This classroom means a lot to me because it gives us an additional opportunity to improve our educational opportunities. Also, other children who want to participate in PYMA's programmes will now have the opportunity to do so".
Ntokozo Fakude
Ntokozo Fakude
"The young people now have enough space to learn, before the classes were held in a very small space”.
Koketso Poo
Koketso Poo
"The new classroom makes it easier for us to create a quality learning environment. The children have enough space to work together and develop both academically and socially.”
Khanyisa Dokolwane
Khanyisa Dokolwane
 "The new classroom will enable us to reach even more young people who need our support. In this place of learning, creativity and inspiration, children can pursue their passions, receive academic support and develop important skills for their future. “
Luthando Ntantiso
"With this new classroom we want to create an inspiring environment that encourages creativity and a love of learning.”
Khotso Ramushu

Sawabona Africa:


Press Contact:

Natalie Burkhart
Sendlinger-Tor-Platz 6
80336 München
Tel.: 089/59997-804