South African Education and Environment Project:

With only a few weeks left in South Africa, it is clear to me that changing internships was the best decision that I made this winter. I am actively involved with the projects here at SAEP, and even have my own desk. For those of you that are interested, I am a communications, media, and fundraising intern. I publish news stories onto the website twice a week, and generally keep the website up to date. I partake in various administrative tasks, maintain a presence on social media platforms, and work to create grant proposals. I am extremely happy with the work that I am doing at SAEP, and only wish that I had more time to dedicate to this organization. Below I have included some further information about the NGO (and some precious pictures of the most adorable kids).

South African Education and Environment Project:

The South African Education and Environment Project (SAEP) is a non-profit organisation that has been serving youth since 1994. Over the years, SAEP has launched a variety of educational and skills development programmes in response to community needs, including programmes at the early childhood, high school, post-matric and tertiary levels. Our early childhood and high school work is focused on the community of Philippi in the Cape Flats, where we partner with nine educare centres and six high schools. Today, SAEP reaches over 2,500 youth, children and education providers from impoverished township communities.

Mission:
SAEP empowers young people who are neglected by South Africa’s education system. Through tutoring, enrichment and support, we give impoverished learners the tools to reach their potential and uplift their communities.

Vision:
A South Africa where every child has the education and inspiration to achieve great things.

The need:
The majority of SAEP’s work takes place in the severely under-resourced community of Philippi. While the end of apartheid removed most of the legal barriers to personal development and opportunity, people in Philippi and the surrounding townships still struggle to access quality educational opportunities and meaningful employment. More than half of working-age people are unemployed, and many households rely on small government grants as their only source of income. The majority of Philippi’s residents live in informal wood and iron structures without electricity or running water. The community struggles with HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, crime, teenage pregnancy, gangsterism, substance abuse and domestic violence.

Early childhood care and education facilities reach only a fraction of children in need. Many are left unattended while their parents work or search for work, or stay at home because their parents cannot afford the small fee. Most educare centres are housed in unsafe, poorly-equipped shacks, and daycare facilities are often run by untrained teachers, with little focus on cognitive development.

Schools are severely under-resourced, with class sizes of 50 or more, low pass rates and few extra-curricular activities. Students rarely receive one-on-one help from teachers and lack positive, successful role models. Only one-third of South Africans make it through twelve years of school and graduate from high school. Even those who earn their matric pass face an uncertain future: most lack the skills necessary to secure employment, few qualify for tertiary study, and students who are admitted to colleges and universities can rarely count on financial support from their families.

Projects:
Changing lives for the better, SAEP offers several unique service delivery programmes including:

  1. The Early Childhood Development Programme helps under-resourced township educare centres develop through long-term mentoring relationships, ongoing staff training, provision of educational materials and guidance, and infrastructural nutritional support.
  2. The Hope Scholars Programme provides maths and science tutoring, mentorship and enrichment activities to promising secondary school learners, from Grades 9-12.
  3. The ADT Teach Programme uses innovative mobile computer labs to teach advanced computer skills to secondary school learners in Grades 10-12.
  4. The Arts Outreach Programme runs after-school workshops for secondary school learners in creative writing, visual art, drama, dance photography and music.
  5. The Environmental Education Programme runs after-school environmental awareness clubs for secondary school learners and organizes hikes for building environmental awareness.
  6. The Bridging Year Programme prepares promising recent matriculants for success in tertiary education and the workplace through academic tutoring, mentorship, career counselling, leadership training and skills development.
  7. The Tertiary Support Programme provides psycho-social counselling, financial support and mentorship to our bridging year alumni for success in higher education.

Impact:
– 17 struggling crèches have improved their facilities, teaching and management, helping more than 2500 children.
– Since 2009, 1614 high school students have been trained in computer skills.
– More than 250 students go hiking each year- many for the first time.
– More than 80% of our post-school Bridging Y ear graduates go to university, and 95% access education, work or training.
– 85% of our university students have graduated or are on track to do so, compared to fewer than 50% nationwide.
– Our alumni lead careers in fields including engineering, research, education, business, journalism, IT, the arts and the non-profit sector.

Awards:
–   STARS Impact Runner-Up Award for excellent service delivery and management (2012).
–   Impumelelo Innovation Award for the Early Childhood Development Programme (2012).
–   Shoprite Checkers Women of the Year: director Jane Keen named a finalist for education (2012).
–   Tyco Internatioanl Security Solutions President’s Award for the ADT Teach computer education
programme (2011).
–   ABSA/Sowetan Early Childhood Development Awards Runner-Up in the Western Cape Training
Organization of the Year (2008).

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