Thursday, October 13, Constitution Hill Human Rights Precinct, Women’s Prison: Reigning Miss South Africa Ndavi Nokeri today launched her advocacy campaign Ed-Unite which was attended by special guest Professor Thuli Madonsela.
The launch included a panel discussion with former Public Prosecutor, and current Law Trust Chair in social justice at Stellenbosch University, Professor Madonsela; Wits SRC President Cebolenkosi Samuel Khumalo and several school students.
Nokeri has always been passionate about equal educational opportunities and, at her crowning in August, pledged herself to helping ensure an equal playing field for all learners.
When Nokeri had the opportunity to go from a rural Tzaneen village classroom to a better resourced one in the city of Polokwane, she realised that education is not equal. She had come from a school depleted in every way to an environment conducive to learning. Without the chances she was given, Nokeri acknowledges that she would never have reached her true potential.
In implementing her Ed-Unite campaign, the Miss South Africa title holder will play the role of convenor, linking like-minded groups to act in concert as they redress the inequalities of the past. She will act as a conduit between big corporations, foundations and schools in need, ensuring that businesses with services to offer and finances to spend on Corporate Social Investment are partnered with each other.
“South Africa currently has the highest inequality rates globally. Having been exposed to extreme poverty as a child and thereafter being granted the opportunity to attend advantaged schools, I witnessed the negative effects of the great and unfair divide in this country. My mission is to bridge that gap. It is fundamental that every young person is given the opportunity to cultivate their talents, intelligence and skills, regardless of their background. This will enable us to reduce inequality by tackling the root causes of unemployment in South Africa.
“I want to approach this campaign holistically, helping across the board where it is needed to facilitate easier ways of learning. Here is my call to action: I call on corporate South Africa to join me and change the future of as many young people within the educational space as possible. Help me help them by providing expertise, equipment or financial assistance. Together, we can close the gap.”
Ed-Unite will have as its main partner the Adopt-a-School Foundation (AASF) and, by default, Nokeri will become an AASF ambassador. It has also partnered with the Cyril Ramaphosa Education Trust (CRET).
AASF will play a critical role, and with Whole School Development (WSD) as its prime objective, the Foundation has all the relevant information Nokeri will need including:
- Names of schools that are lacking and the exact nature of the resources they need (infrastructure, ICT, equipment, laboratories, etc.).
- A comprehensive list of student programmes needing support.
- An in-depth understanding of the training and development required to facilitate improved teaching and learning.
- The number of projects or campaigns that can be fulfilled will be determined based on needs
- Each campaign to have an associate partner/corporate to head that specific need/campaign. Might be a combination or partnership between multiple brands.
Nokeri concluded: “I want to set a target and reach a point where R6-million has been donated, spent or reserved for projects that Ed-Unite is involved in by mid-January 2023.”
How it will work:
Nokeri has identified a list of campaigns, each with an area that needs to be tackled. All campaigns will be matched with independent associate partners to provide the needed resources and expertise in their field or industry to fulfil the needs for the selected campaign.
- Period Poverty: Forever New has pledged R600 000 to supply sanitary pads across all nine provinces through the Adopt-a-School Foundation’s database to help tackle the issue of period poverty as another barrier to education. The aim is to raise more funds and put them towards different school needs.
- Bursaries/Financial Aid: Start an independent bursary fund to help at least five learners get a tertiary qualification in their field or industry of choice.
- Resource Provision: Tech support by raising funds for laptops or desks in schools. Aim to improve connectivity with providing the needed infrastructure and resources.
- Infrastructure: refurbish classrooms, bathrooms, playgrounds, etc.
- Training: Fund training and workshops for teachers.
- Sport: Supply gym equipment, assist in the refurbishment of sport fields/grounds, sports development training classes and funds for coaches.
- Skills development: Short courses for those unable to obtain tertiary qualifications.
- Agriculture: Planting gardens: teaching about food security through self-sufficiency
- Health Education: Learning about nutrition, hygiene, etc.
- Career guidance and advice: Where possible attend career guidance expos and assist in connecting industry professionals with learners in need of information on career options.
Nokeri will also host ongoing roundtable discussions on social media with special guests to discuss various topics applicable to her campaign.