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Project information

Phetoho Education Project - Saturday School

Phetoho means 'change' in Sesotho. In partnership with St. Mary's School Johannesburg, Gumboots will help change the lives of orphaned and disadvantaged children in Alexandra Township by providing a Saturday school to assist them with the final three years of their secondary education.

January 2016 - December 2018

Charity information: The Gumboots Foundation (UK)

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  • Need


    Township schools are failing children from the poorest backgrounds.Poor teaching standards and a lack of resources mean children are leaving school ill-equipped for further education or employment. 58% of pupils leave without a matriculation or school leaving certificate. Attainment levels in maths and science are particularly low. South Africa's youth unemployment at 52% of 15-24 year olds, is the 3rd highest in the world, leaving many young people turning to crime as a means of survival.


    As part of the Phetoho Project,Gumboots will work with St. Mary's school which has a 24 year history of running a successful outreach education project for children in the township. The school provides a Saturday and holiday programme of high quality teaching for 300 children. This includes their transport, books and materials. Lessons in all key subjects take place at St. Mary's where the Alex children have access to very fine facilities and a lunch provided by St. Mary's pupil volunteers.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To raise the education attainment levels of some of South Africa's poorest children


    » Provide supplementary high quality teaching for children in the last 3 years of their secondary schooling

    What success will look like

    Children are assessed at the start of the programme and thereafter their performance, attendance and subject results will be monitored and reported on twice yearly.

    Aim 2

    Help children reach their potential by building confidence and raising their aspirations


    » Broaden their experience by taking them out of the township and giving them access to some of the best school facilities in the country
    » Through Gumboots SA provide encouragement and motivation by liaising closely with St. Mary's school and the individual Gumboots funded children.

    What success will look like

    Over the life of the project the children will be assessed and their personal aims and aspirations monitored. Gumboots will maintain regular contact with the school and students.

    Aim 3

    Enable children to acquire skills and knowledge to further their education and find employment.


    » Provide career advice and help in accessing higher education institutions and finding employment.
    » As part of the programme St. Mary's school provides a mentoring scheme and facilitates student interaction with potential employers and colleges.

    What success will look like

    The school progress reports on each child will provide a record of their academic achievements, and in their final year they are supported in making decisions about their future.

  • Impact


    The overall aim of the project is to help lift children out of poverty by enabling them to become self-sufficient. The project will improve their educational attainment levels and thereby increase their chances of going to University, a higher Education College or finding employment. Success will be demonstrated by the number of children who have participated in the St. Mary's programme who leave school having passed their matriculation exams and go on to study further or find employment.


    Many of the children supported will have difficult home lives and some will come from child or granny headed households. This may at times affect their motivation and attendance levels. By selecting the children through our Alex based partners, the 3 project leaders will play a part in monitoring their progress and help address any difficulties that arise. Very conscious of the value of a place on the Saturday School, they will ensure that children selected, make the most of the opportunity.


    Our sister organisation Gumboots SA produces a newsletter 3 times a year which provides regular updates on all Gumboots funded projects. It is circulated to all our donors. Our Annual Report to the Charity Commission is available on our website, it will include an update on the project's progress.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £8,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £5,250 Tuition fees Tuition fees for 7 children for 3 years
      £1,500 Transport Transport costs for 7 children for 3 years
      £1,250 Books/stationery Books, stationery for 7 children for 3 years
  • Background


    The project will involve children living in Alexandra Township, Johannesburg. Alex covers an area of around 3 sq miles with a population of approximately 500,000. Overcrowding, lack of infrastructure, poor housing, high crime, failing schools, teenage pregnancy and the devastating impact of Aids, make it a very tough place for children to grow up. St. Mary's School is in Waverley, a neighbouring more affluent suburb of Johannesburg. It has a long history of providing high quality education.


    Vulnerable children from poor households, some with no working adult and those orphaned through Aids. Established in 1912, Alex was neglected during the apartheid years. This legacy lives on with a lack of basic amenities and no infrastructure to support its ever increasing population. Overcrowding is extreme with 20,000 living in shacks without adequate water and sanitation. A lack of public open space and recreation facilities contributes to the difficulties faced by children living there.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Established in 2002, Gumboots UK with our sister organisations Gumboots SA and Kidlinks USA have over almost 12 years experience of working effectively with projects in Alex. Our policy is to work alongside local leaders in an enabling role. We adhere to the principles of successful community development, supporting initiatives which grow out of the community rather than imposing ideas from the outside. We have been effective at raising funds, providing financial accounting and admin support.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Taryn Barker - Gumboots Volunteer

    Taryn will provide a co-ordinating role with all the project partners, ensuring good communication and building a relationship with the children.

    Jenny Prangley - Gumboots SA Trustee

    Jenny will support Taryn, also ensuring effective communication with all the partners and overseeing the process for selecting the children.

    Linda Giuricich - Director Of St. Mary's Outreach Project - Partner

    Manages the programme including the teaching staff. She will ensure the effective monitoring, evaluation and reporting of the children's progress.

    Jack & Beauty Letsoela, Peggy Chauke & Ingrid Moloi - Project Leaders - Partners

    They will advise and help select children for the project, provide pastoral care and support for them particularly if and when difficulties arise.

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

Nelson Mandela