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Project information

Phetoho - Education

Phetoho means 'change' in Sesotho, one of South Africa's 11 official languages. By enabling access to good quality teaching and educational resources, we will help change the life chances of some of South Africa's orphaned and poorest children living in Alexandra Township in Johannesburg.

January 2018 - December 2018

Charity information: The Gumboots Foundation (UK)

The Gumboots Foundation (UK) logo
  • Need


    State education in South Africa is failing children from the poorest backgrounds. Township schools are poorly resourced and teaching is often sub-standard. Children growing up without parental support are therefore doubly disadvantaged. In Alex this is contributing to the high levels of crime and youth unemployment. Children are being trapped in a life of poverty with few chances of developing their talents, realising their full potential and improving the quality of their lives.


    Gumboot's focus is on improving children's access to education and helping to raise their attainment levels. We will do this in three ways:
    - funding a group of children to attend the United Church school outside of Alex,
    - funding a second group of children to attend a Saturday supplementary school
    - funding school uniforms (essential in South Africa)
    for children attending Alex schools, transport, food and laptops
    Criteria for selection are children who are motivated but lack the resources.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To improve the life chances of disadvantaged and orphaned children in Alexandra, Johannesburg.


    » Funding a group of children to attend the United Church school where the resources and teaching standards are much higher than most schools in Alex.
    » Funding a second group of children to attend the St. Mary's Saturday supplementary school improving attainment levels and access to further education.

    What success will look like

    Success will be the improved confidence, motivation and attainment levels of the children we support who attend both the United church and Saturday supplementary school.

    Aim 2

    Removing some of the barriers which prevent children's access to learning and attending school.


    » Funding of school uniforms. All South African schools insist on the wearing of school uniforms, without them children are unable to attend.
    » Funding essential transport and food for children and young people attending schools and higher education institutions outside of Alexandra.
    » Funding essential materials and access to laptop computers for children and young people attending University or further education colleges.

    What success will look like

    Success will be children being able to attend local schools who were previously unable to because their families lacked the means to provide essential school uniforms.

  • Impact


    The individual children we support, particularly those who attend good schools or have additional tuition, are more likely to get a University place,
    attend a higher education institution or find employment once they leave school. They provide positive role models and can help younger siblings. They are more able to contribute to the household income raising living standards for all the family. We have good examples of young people who are doing this and who are now helping others.


    Life in Alex is tough, children face daily uncertainties and hardships which sometimes prevent them from attending school. Those without parental support and responsibility for younger siblings are under particular pressure. By working with local organisations we are able to identify children who are motivated, have some family or adult support, a stable living environment and somewhere to study. Through our local partners we follow their progress
    try to build lasting relationships with them.


    Our website and Facebook page provide news updates, our sister organisation in South Africa produces a twice yearly online newsletter which goes to all our donors. We report on trustee's visits to South Africa, produce a detailed annual report available on our website and emailed to all our donors.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £6,200

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £3,200 Fees Fees for 1 year for 4 children to attend United Church School
      £1,000 Fees Fees for 1 year for 4 children to attend Saturday and school holiday supplementary school.
      £750 Uniforms School uniforms for 12 children - 4 for United Church School and 8 for local township schools.
      £500 Transport/food Cost of transporting children to schools outside of Alex and providing a snack lunch.
      £750 Education materials Stationery and laptops for after school use by children at a local community centre.
  • Background


    The project is for children living in the township of Alexandra in Johannesburg which covers an area of around 3sq. miles with a population of over 500,000. It is characterised by a lack of infrastructure, poor housing, high unemployment and crime, failing schools, teenage pregnancy and the devastating impact of AIDS. Established in 1912, Alex was neglected during the apartheid years and this legacy lives on. Overcrowding is extreme with 20,000 living in shacks without water and sanitation.


    Children and young people from poor households, some with no working adult, some with children orphaned by AIDS and headed by an elderly grandmother whose only income is a small state pension. Gumboots in partnership with three local community projects identifies children in need who demonstrate aptitude and a desire to learn. Past experience shows that by improving young peoples' education they often become role models and providers for their siblings and the wider household.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Established in 2002, Gumboots UK with our sister organisations Gumboots SA and Kidlinks USA have over 15 years experience of working effectively with projects in Alex. Our policy is to work alongside local leaders in an enabling role. We believe in supporting initiatives which grow out of the community rather than imposing ideas from the outside. We have been effective at raising funds, building lasting relationships, making a difference and gaining insight into the difficulties of life in Alex.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Jack Letsoala - Partner

    Jack and his wife Beauty help in the selection of children for the project. They provide ongoing support and advice to young people without parents.

    Peggy Chauke - Partner

    Peggy runs an orphanage and has years of experience working with children. She helps with the selection and support of children for the project.

    Jenny Prangley - Volunteer

    Jenny, a trustee of Gumboots SA works closely with Peggy, Jack and Beauty. She has built positive, supportive relationships with the children in Alex.

    John Lightfoot - Volunteer

    John a trustee of Gumboots SA and accountant, oversees spending of Gumboots UK funding in South Africa. He too has close links with Alex. project

'Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world'

Nelson Mandela