The EPS Project (Alexandra, South Africa)
In 2007, the first Elon University cohort visited Ekukhanyisweni Primary School in the township of Alexandra. Two days prior to our arrival, the 1092 students and 25 teachers had recently moved into their new building from the asbestos-filled, inadequate facilities they had previously occupied. Ekukhanyisweni is the Zulu word for “place of light” and the positive energy and spirit of hope captured the imagination of everyone on that day.
Since that initial visit, several of SASA’s service projects have been constructed around the school. Working closely with the school’s adnibistrators and teachers, we share the vision of helping the school’s staff and students find sustainable, development opportunities to combat some of the problems that affect the country’s educational system, such as poverty, access to health care and technologies, illiteracy, and the struggling reader dilemma. By concentrating our service-learning initiatives around these central issues and working with a community partner that unselfishly permits us access to their world, students have the opportunity to gather in-depth knowledge about the community in which we work and the issues that affect the quality of their daily lives, and they and our donors can track the growth of our partnership with the school over time.
While Ekukhanyisweni moved into its current building ub January 2007, the same month and year that Elon's SASA program began its partnership with the school. Yet, conditions under which the students and staff function remain less than ideal. Classrooms are overcrowded, teachers experience limited access to training and professional development opportunities, most of the students are failing literacy and reading competency tests, coming to school hungry, some are barefooted, facing serious health risks, and families are making impossible decisions between their struggle for an education and responsibilities to their families. The needs are huge and the EPS community needs your help.
To learn more about how to get involved or to make a donation, visit www.elon.edu/sasa.