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Educate • Equip • Empower

Education Africa's Mission to Alleviate Poverty Through Education

Education Africa was established in 1992 with a clear mission to alleviate poverty through education. The organisation was founded by James Urdang, a humanitarian and social entrepreneur, with the generous support of historical political heroes such as Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela.

Education Africa’s programs creatively focus on improving the quality and accessibility of education, providing a multitude of educational and skills-building opportunities for disadvantaged South Africans. The NGO aims to assist individuals in their pursuit of a quality, relevant education, and to ensure that they become global citizens and competitive, productive elements in the local job market.

Over the past three decades, Education Africa has directly benefited tens of thousands of South Africans, and indirectly impacted over one million more. The organisation’s work supports the nation’s most vulnerable citizens, from toddlers to adulthood, with the aim of impacting whole communities.

Education Africa’s dedication to its mission has helped to create a brighter future for many disadvantaged South Africans. By providing access to quality education and skills-building opportunities, the organisation is helping to break the cycle of poverty and create a more prosperous future for all.

Empowering Disadvantaged Communities in South Africa.

  • ECD Project: Free, accredited training (NQF-Level 4) for under-qualified caregivers and educators from poor communities. Trainer Intern program upskills educators to become ECD trainers.
  • Marimba Project: Provides traditional musical instruction through Marimba Hubs, Sounds of Celebration, International Marimba & Steelpan Festival, Marimba Internship Program, and Arts & Culture Tours.
  • Masibambane College: High-performance school partnered with St. John’s College in Orange Farm.
  • UNISA Business Certificate Courses: Tertiary education made accessible via distance-learning and ICT platforms.
  • Walter Sisulu Scholarship Fund: Awarded nearly 4,000 scholarships from primary through tertiary level.
  • Social Architecture: Invites architecture students to design and construct sustainable pre-schools.
  • SAMUN: Develops leadership skills through national model UN high school debating.

Education Africa Highlights since 1992

  • awarded more than 3 650 scholarships through the Walter Sisulu Scholarship Fund;
  • founded Masibambane College and sourced almost 100% of the funding for the construction of the primary school in 1996 and the high school in 2009 – impacting the lives of over   1 100 learners registered at the school each year;
  • distributed over 11 000 bicycles and equipment to under-resourced schools in rural communities, changing the lives and improving the learning capacity of many children who would normally walk long distances to attend school;
  • impacted 500 schools annually through our SAMUN programme; partnered with universities to build 17 preschools in South Africa through our Social Architecture project;
  • reached over 167 000 learners through our Edu-bike Africa programme;
  • established 29 Marimba Hubs throughout Gauteng, The Northern Cape and Northwest;
  • arranged  15 International Arts & Culture tours for disadvantaged learners; 
  • achieved social cohesion at 10 International Festivals and 9 Sounds of Celebration concerts; 
  • trained 274 caregivers through their ECD Skills Development Programme and an additional 255 educators in the nationally accredited training programme and are currently up-skilling 5 interns to become ECD trainers, through the Train the Trainer programme. 

Partnering to leverage ICT for education

In 2022, Education Africa partnered with Blue Label Telecoms to leverage ICT platforms across their projects and improve training and teaching for the benefit of their beneficiaries. The pandemic disrupted Education Africa’s strategy to subsidize central project management costs through high-profile events that relied on global travel, but their partnership with Blue Label Telecoms has ensured continued support.

The two organisations have solidified their relationship through co-branding efforts, with Blue Label Telecoms’ logo now incorporated on Education Africa’s website, official letterheads, business cards, and staff t-shirts. With three decades of historic service delivery behind them, Education Africa and Blue Label Telecoms continue to innovate and leverage technology to strengthen economic stability and drive development for vulnerable South Africans.

Marimba Project: Sounds of Celebration

Education Africa’s Marimba Hub programme, which began in 2013, has become the largest project of its kind in South Africa, with 19 Marimba Hubs and 10 Preschool Marimba Hubs serving over 1,500 beneficiaries every week during school terms. These hubs provide safe spaces for learning, diversity, and community-building. They serve communities where children face numerous obstacles and limited opportunities for cultural or academic enrichment, particularly for children with disabilities. Through this project, Education Africa aims to create safe and inclusive environments where children can learn a new skill, the marimba, and develop self-confidence.

Education Africa’s partnership with Blue Label Telecoms began in 2014 with the Sounds of Celebration concert, which brings together young South Africans from diverse backgrounds to celebrate social cohesion through music. This inspiring event features marimbas, steelpans, string ensembles, pipe bands, dancers, and vocalists, and has historically been held at the Theatre of Marcellus at Emperor’s Palace.

In 2021, Education Africa launched its first online production, and in 2022, the 9th instalment of the Sounds of Celebration took place virtually, with performers and viewers from around the world. The concert continued its goal of social cohesion through music, featuring eight of Education Africa’s Marimba Hubs and the newly formed Education Africa Alumni All Stars band. The concert was streamed online and was available via video-on-demand for seven days. This event is also a fundraising initiative, with ticket sales going towards the ongoing sustainability of the Marimba Hubs.

Masibambane College Solar Installation Project 2022

The Masibambane College, founded by Education Africa in partnership with St John’s College, has been providing quality education to over 1,200 learners from Grade R to Grade 12 since its official opening in 2010. The school has maintained high academic standards, with the 2022 matric class achieving a 95% pass rate, including a significant increase in bachelor’s passes from the previous year.

In 2022, the Masibambane College transitioned to operate entirely on off-grid solar energy, thanks to the generous support of Cigicell, a Blue Label Telecoms company. This project aligns with Education Africa’s vision for the school to become a STEM Educational Centre of Excellence, which would require ample resources for new infrastructure, technology, equipping, scholarships, and specialised teaching staff.

The Masibambane College Solar Installation Project means that learners can now experience uninterrupted teaching and learning while also saving on energy costs. This project has the capacity to provide life-changing education, setting vulnerable children and youth on a trajectory to dominate in-demand, high-earning fields, potentially benefiting South Africa as a nation at large. Education Africa’s motto of Educate, Equip, Empower reflects their confidence that this project will lead to better support and opportunities for learners at Masibambane College.

Our impact by numbers