SOS Africa Charity's first education programme was founded in Mafikeng in 2003 to provide education and care to underprivileged children from the town's disadvantaged communities. It represents the birthplace of the charity's operations in South Africa and since its inauguration, has expanded to empower 20 children from the region through education.
Mafikeng is the capital city of the North-West province of South Africa and has a growing population of 292,000 people. It is a town rich in cultural history but has a struggling economy hampered by the gradual decline of South Africa’s mining industries. The town itself is surrounded by large township dwellings, the residents of which suffer from high unemployment and limited access to reputable educational institutions.
In the 2011 census, the town reported a 46.5% unemployment rate among its youth (ages 15-34). The limited access to education is of further concern given that the 0-4 age range represents the town's largest age group (11.4% of its total population).
SOS Africa Mafikeng Education Programme
SOS Africa's Mafikeng Education Programme was founded in January 2003 by 18-year-old UK gap student Matt Crowcombe and South African school teacher Henry Matthews. Matt and Henry were dismayed by the poor standard of free schooling available to South African township children. One night, over a bowl of jelly and ice-cream, they developed a plan to establish a holistic education programme to empower South Africa’s future generations through education.
Matt and Henry's vision began by sponsoring the education and care of one child from Lonely Park Township in Mafikeng. This sponsorship covered all aspects of the child's education and care including school tuition, transportation, school uniform, stationary, nutrition and after-school care. After the charity's UK fundraising office was established and word spread, the programme expanded to provide this holistic support to many more children.
The initial successes of the organisation's Mafikeng Operations owed much to the dedication of Henry Matthews and his wife Jenny. As the programme grew they operated SOS Africa's Aftercare Centre from their Mafikeng home. This personal approach enabled them to monitor the progress and development of the children and provide regular updates to growing numbers of sponsors around the world via the charity's UK headquarters.
As the numbers of children sponsored increased, SOS Africa partnered with Mafikeng's Curro Academy School. With small class sizes, experienced staff and great facilities, this collaboration provided our children with the opportunity to excel both in and out of the classroom.
2016 represented a very proud year for SOS Africa as its oldest student, Mavis Madie graduated from high school and continued her studies at varsity. In the years since, more students have followed in her footsteps and graduated with good qualifications and bright futures ahead of them.
Meanwhile, SOS Africa expanded to establish holistic education programmes to empower children from disadvantaged communities across the South Africa...
Find out about SOS Africa's other Education Programmes: