These three names might not mean much to you. To us, these are three amazing young people who have worked hard to achieve their dreams and goals and are giving back to their communities. They are also alumni of The Kusasa Project and the reason why we do what we do.
A better start through education
About a decade ago, Sesethu, Athi and Aphiwe might not have had the chance to get to this point, simply because the quality of primary education they had access to was very poor, leaving them desperately far behind in the acquisition of basic skills of numeracy, literacy and critical thinking – skills necessary for building a brighter future. Seeing these conditions with their own eyes, our founders Dave Riordan and Doug Gurr – who both lived in Franschhoek and were volunteering at a local school – started with a simple premise that these poor children in the informal settlement and farm community had a right to a better start in their educational journey. Using a growing body of research showing that access to sound early education is the single most important determinant of a child’s future success, they made a commitment to try to make a difference for the long term. It was the beginning of the Kusasa Project.
The whole community involved
In the twelve years we have been active in the community, we established The Kusasa Project as a highly credible, consistent presence in the area, impacting the lives of the children we serve as well as being a highly respected and appreciated presence in the community at large – including among those whose children do not attend our school. Not only do we see our kids thrive and get a better chance at life, we see the community change for the better as well. Parents now understand and appreciate the need for the children to go to school and to succeed. Where they were hesitant at first, now they are actively involved in our school. Why? Because they see how we work, realize that our commitment is solid and that we understand and appreciate the challenges that they face living in a crowded, dangerous and poor area. They know what we do because we are here everyday, and we are staying here to assure the kids can achieve their goals. As 10th grader Jaydene Marais said it: “Thank you for giving me the opportunity and seeing the potential in me.”
Be part of our story
We want to make you part of it. That is why we are starting with this weblog. We want to share what we are doing; not only about our successes, but also about our struggles. We want to show what daily life is like at The Kusasa Project for our teachers and students. We want to tell about the support we have, both locally and internationally. And we want you to meet our alumni. Because we can tell you all about our project, but our alumni and staff can tell you much better how the work of The Kusasa Project positively impacts their community.
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