Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign, Back-to-school-for-a-day, is gathering momentum. In its second year the campaign has drawn 40 companies who have responded to a call of dedicating a day to help impoverished schools across the country.
The campaign was launched last year with Ramaphosa going back to his primary school, Tshilidzi in Soweto, which has been adopted as a beneficiary of Ramaphosa’s investment vehicle Shanduka Group. This year, Ramaphosa spent the 17th of May at Olivantsvlei Primary School, south of Johannesburg, which is another beneficiary of Shanduka. He was accompanied by an entourage of Shanduka and McDonalds employees who are making a personal gesture to support the campaign.
Ramaphosa said the campaign was critical in exposing individuals who have made it in life to challenges faced by impoverished schools across the country. This exposure would spark interest in many people to make a contribution of addressing these challenges.
The campaign was supported by 16 companies last year and 40 this year. This means over 80 schools were visited around the country and more than 50 000 learners will be exposed to career guidance programmes, debating workshops, literacy activities and motivational talks. Many of these schools will also benefit physically where corporates have opted to paint classrooms, clean up vegetable gardens and renovate sports facilities.
Ramaphosa said this single day has an even greater significance. “It affirms the value that society places on the success of each pupil by offering them recognition and encouragement. It also lifts the morale of educators who recognise that society appreciates their work”.
“Interventions such as these do not only benefit the pupils. They also benefit those who return to schools to make a contribution. Such interactions enable them to get a clearer sense of the challenges in education and to take a more informed approach to seeking solutions,” Ramaphosa.
Shanduka adopted Olifantsvlei in 2005 and has invested over R2.5 million in infrastructure development, educator and learner support programmes and social welfare initiatives. Every Shanduka staff member contributes financially to this school and today over 50 volunteers will spend time interacting with the learners.