Give the gift that last a lifetime: Education
Once again this year the Peace Corps South Africa community is coming together help support the Kgwale le Mollo (KLM) Foundation. KLM is a non-profit started in 2004 by two SA-11 (I’m in SA-20) Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) to bring high quality education to young students who show exceptional potential but live in rural areas of South Africa where access to high quality education is basically nonexistent. Each year the foundation grants a 5 year scholarship to two 8th grade students to attend one of South Africa’s premier high schools, Upplands College, in Nelspruit. To date there have been 8 KLM scholars and Upplands has found the program to be so successful they’ve started offering their own scholarships. As part of the scholarship the students are required to compete a Home Investment Project during their junior and senior years to give back and build the community they came from. In this way KLM doesn’t just help train students from rural South Africa to become part the next generation of African leaders, but also bring much needed talent and experiences into the rural areas from people who know it best, those that grew up there.
If you’ve been following me through my blog, twitter, or facebook you know a little about the condition of education in South Africa. It’s truly impossible to describe it all in words. First, the disparity in quality of education as you go from rural to town schools in immense. It runs the gambit from primary schools with swimming pools and computer labs to ones like a fellow PCVs where they just recently got rid of the bats in the grade 4 classroom after 2 years to high schools in my township were 12 grade students can’t do basic arithmetic but are expected to do trig and calculus. Second, the problems facing rural education are numerous, rooted in deeply embedded remnants of Aparthied. Much progress has been made in the last 16 years, but the South Africa is still along ways off from reaching the ideals set out in it’s constitution. The KLM foundation offers a unique solution to help bootstrap the process of rural development in South Africa by educating students with great potential who just happened to be born in a place where the local education wouldn’t let them reach that potential.
One of the life lessons I’ve learned over the last 19 months is that the life isn’t the meritocracy the American Dream teaches us. We like to think that if you have the skills and potential the sky is the limit. But if the teachers at your local high school spend more time in the break room than the class room, the class sizes peak between 40 and 50 students, and the average pass rate is below 25% your not thinking about flying, you don’t even know where the runway is. KLM is designed not only guild a few young South Africans to the runway but provide them with wings. What can you do?
Nelson Mandela said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. I completely agree with that and hope you do too. In which case I hope you’ll make an effort to support KLM.
What can you do?
In order to raise money for this scholarship the KLM Foundation has teamed up with the annual Longtom marathon, and this is where you come in. On March 27th I’ll be running the half marathon (21.1km) and would love it if you could help sponsor me by donating to the KLM Foundation in my name. Donations can be done through a secure web form on the Foundation’s website (when you click donations your browser will most likely ask you if you want to see the pop, this happens because the KLM site sends you to name of site to securely handle any financial data). Or by snail mail, see details below. Please give what you can. It doesn’t have to be much, $5, $10 and $20 donations add up and you’ll be providing a child in rural South Africa with the gift of a lifetime: an education (plus its tax-detectable!).
Snail Mail Instructions
The online donation is preferable (at http://www.klm-foundation.org/) , but if you need to mail in a check, please make it payable to “Kgwale Le Mollo (US)” and send it to:
KLM Foundation (US)
c/o Bowen Hsu
461 So. Bonita Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91107
Also make sure to include a note that your donation is on my behalf.
This entry was posted on Sunday, February 14th, 2010 at 4:34 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.