No future without school
No future without school: Sawabona Africa gives children access to education
Munich, 20 September, 2023 – The motto of this year’s World Children’s Day on 20 September is “Every child needs a future”. The fact is that hundreds of millions of girls and boys are not in school because they are excluded. In South Africa, too, a good education is an unattainable dream for many children. The non-profit organisation Sawabona Africa wants to change this and supports local aid organisations to give young people a future.
The first day of school is a very special occasion for both children and parents. For the little ones, the adventure of school begins. But while hundreds of thousands of children in Germany have taken their first steps into a new life in recent weeks, the situation in South Africa is very different. The government is investing money in education and trying to redress the injustices that still exist between black and white children. But there exist still huge problems in the country. There are schools without water, toilets or electricity. In many places, children do not receive school books and materials. In addition, teachers are poorly trained, poorly paid and regularly go on strike. As a result, the standard of education continues to decrease.
The numbers are dramatic
At the beginning of the year, the UN warned of an education crisis. 41 million of the 165 million school-age children in eastern and southern Africa are not receiving an adequate education. The consequences are dramatic: only a tenth of 10-year-olds can read and understand a simple text, the lowest reading level in the world. And this deplorable state of affairs runs like a thread through the rest of their lives: According to the World Bank, South Africa has the highest unemployment rate in the world. According to official statistics, the rate for 15 to 24-year-olds is 61 per cent, and 71 per cent if all those who are not economically active are included.
Every cent directly supports the education of the children
Sawabona Africa – Sawabona is the African greeting “I respect you. I appreciate you. You are important to me.” – aims to give disadvantaged children access to a good education. The non-profit organisation works with carefully selected local charities. The funds go directly to the individual programmes. To prevent abuse and corruption, Sawabona Africa subjects the charities it supports to a multi-stage due diligence process: This includes a detailed initial screening as well as regular checks after the partnership has been established.
Organisations currently supported include Bright Start’s education and mentoring programmes, PYMA (Phakamani Young Minds Academy) after-school education programme in Soweto, Help Lesotho’s school sponsorship and learning support, and Uthando (Love), which raises money for the community through fair trade tourism.
“Time is running out. We need to invest much more in the education, development and protection of young people,” says Zilla Stekhoven, founder of Sawabona Africa e.V. The South African-educated lawyer has worked internationally in many fields, including as a director at adidas in Germany, before founding Sawabona Africa in 2021. “Corruption in South Africa is widespread and leads to a lot of negative press. At the same time, there is a great willingness to help those in need. My goal was to create a platform where people can donate to South African charities without hesitation and without any administrative fees.”