A proper education can go a long way to improving the standards of living of many South Africans, but a quality education may be hard to come by if one does not have the means to pay for it.
It is even more difficult to get a quality education for children living without their parents in child-headed homes or orphanages.
It is this massive challenge, among many others, that the Tomorrow Trust is looking to overcome. It works to help some of South Africa’s promising young minds to fulfil their potential by accessing better education.
“There is nothing more tragic than when someone has been gifted with potential and then cannot access it due to systemic breakdown of delivery within a country such as ours,” says Kim Feinberg, the chief executive officer of the Tomorrow Trust.
INVESTING IN THE FUTURE
“After 14 years in human rights and education in the non-profit world of South Africa, it became obvious to me that the greatest injustice in our country was not to give our children and youth the opportunity to receive a quality education that would give them both choices and opportunity for their lives.”
Shortly after coming to this realisation, Feinberg went about creating the Tomorrow Trust to provide much-needed support to young people who were trying to reach heights just out of reach.
The Tomorrow Trust is a non-profit organisation whose efforts are aimed at improving the quality of education available to youth throughout the country. They put a particular focus on those living without the care of their parents in orphanages and homes.
A faltering education structure coupled with the lingering effects of apartheid has robbed many South African children of the chance to get high quality education. Apartheid’s unequal education legislation hindered the improvement of infrastructure in schools in underprivileged areas. This has perpetuated the cycle of poverty.
It has also widened the gap between the privileged and those less fortunate, making it increasingly difficult for people to lift themselves out of poverty and pursue the lives they would like to live.
Feinberg believes a country cannot be successful without an educated youth. “In this case both our youth and the country are set up for failure, breaking all the dreams of each individual as well as those who gave their lives for our democracy such as Madiba and Walter Sisulu, Steve Biko among all the others.”
PROGRAMMES ON OFFER
The Tomorrow trust helps these children to reach their educational goals from as early as preschool all the way through to their matric year, offering support in various ways such as providing study materials, stationery and funding to attend schools that they otherwise may not have been able to attend.
The organisation also helps pupils to apply for scholarships and bursaries to help lighten the financial load on the organisation and its sponsors.
Throughout their school years, the children taking part in its programmes are inculcated with a pay-it-forward mentality and are encouraged to support other children relying on the trust. Along with this mentality the trust also hopes to instil a sense of self-motivation and independence by offering a hand up, an opportunity to learn how to help themselves, as opposed to a hand out which would only encourage dependence.
This approach allows for the youth participating to grow into self-sufficient members of society who can help themselves and in turn, as alumni, help others who are experiencing the same difficulties.
Feinberg says the Tomorrow Trust “offers both integrated education and holistic support through psycho-social support and self-development covering all areas of their lives to prepare them for independence and to move into the economy and our society”.
Their many programmes insure that they can reach as wide a group of children as their resources allow. By building basic skills in the earlier stages of the programmes and supplementing these skills with more in-depth understanding of subjects like maths, English, science and life sciences later, the pupils are better equipped to compete for places in leading higher learning institutions.
Pupils in the Tomorrow Trust programme have shown a marked improvement in their performances. This improvement is even more apparent when one compares the national pass rate and university entry to that of the students taking part in the Tomorrow Trust programmes.
In the nine years that the Tomorrow Trust has been in action, it has managed to improve the lives of some 2 000 individuals and their immediate families. It has more than 160 alumni who have graduated from tertiary institutions.
“We have a 90% employment rate in a country with over 50% of our youth unemployed. We are breaking generational poverty and creating lives that have both choices and critical thinking to make our country great,” says Feinberg.
PLAY YOUR PART
Feinberg encourages the public to help ensure that the trust reaches as many youth as it can by supporting the trust in any way they can.
“Tomorrow Trust is turning away hundreds of deserving young children and youth from five years [old] through to university simply due to financial restraints. Every R50 impacts what we can do to give an opportunity to our children and our country. Please get involved with us in as many ways as possible.”
To play your part in uplifting the country’s youth, contact the Tomorrow Trust on 011 447 7707 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on the trust, you can visit its website.