This year SAEP celebrates a milestone marking our twenty-five years of serving the community of Philippi at large and similar communities from where our many beneficiaries are from. Launched at the Annual General Meeting held in May at Beautiful Gate in Philippi, this year long celebration pays tribute to all those who have shared this journey with us from our thousands of beneficiaries and our valued supporters from South Africa, USA, Canada, UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia, Zimbabwe and the rest of the world.
We celebrate our anniversary with a message of thanks, and a time of reflection of our history. Twenty-five years ago, when it all started, tutoring a handful of young learners by the kitchen table, and how the project grew to different learning programmes that focused on key milestones in a child’s journey through a holistic approach to education. In truth SAEP’s vision was ignited by what the youth yearned for then – to be given an opportunity to have access to better education in order to maximise their potential and be productive citizens. Touched by the students’ determination to educate themselves, SAEP’s mission was set.
Our Founder, Norton Tennille, describes how we evolved over the years –
” In the early days of the WWW, organisations would register a web site and apologise for its primitive design and content by admitting it was “under construction,” adding the familiar yellow and black road sign for “Men Working.” That prompted us to boast on ours that SAEP was not “under construction,” but “growing organically.” Each new programme developed in response to a request from learners, students, school principals and teachers, or ‘crèche mothers’.
SAEP continues to adapt and restructure its strategy. Despite of the funding challenges we face, we remain steadfast in our commitment to provide better education opportunities to children and youth from poor communities.
For example, we launched the Siyakhathala Primary School Programme to help Grade 3 learners with their reading fluency and comprehension in native isiXhosa in preparation to migrate to English in Grade 4. Our Bridging Year programme provides not only life-orientation classes but also critical thinking and digital literary in order to prepare the students to the challenges of tertiary education in the 21st century. These are but a some of the ways SAEP has organically grown.
Ushering the next 25 years with a new name
You may have noticed that our logo has been updated to with “25 years” in the middle. And what perfect timing that in April this year the Department of Social Development sent us our registration certificate confirming our name change to South African Education Project. Some of you may recall that this resolution for a change of name was agreed at the Annual General Meeting in 2014. Now our name projects a more focused sense of what we do, that of educating the youth of South Africa for them to have a brighter future.
Environmental education remains an integral part of what we provide to our beneficiaries. Each of our five learning programmes ensure that their curriculum for the year includes environmental awareness through hikes, camps, excursions, workshops and similar forms of experiential learning.
We are grateful to the institutions, corporates and individuals who have contributed to SAEP’s success, and the recognition and trust we have received over the years from various institutions. Equally instrumental is the support we have generated from our tireless Board members who continue to give guidance, and scrutiny to get us going through the years. And to our many staff members and volunteers (past and present), who believe in our vision and our mission and remain passionate in the work they do, and have made the most of the resources we have towards achieving SAEP’s goals and objectives to ensure that we provide the best service we possibly can to our beneficiaries.
Watch out for a series of stories we will feature on our different media channels in the coming period. We will also soon launch our 25th anniversary giving campaign of which we hope you will be part of.
To learn more of what we do, and how you or your company can get involved, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter SAEPcapetown, and Instagram saep_capetown.
SAEP, continuing to provide opportunities of educating for a brighter future.