Supporting rural education in South Africa

Over 100 people gathered at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco

Roeland Schoeman, Charlene Lingham, Kimberly Porteus and Vinny Lingham.jpeg

As part of the worldwide Mandela Centenary celebrations, over 100 people gathered at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, to honor Nelson Mandela’s legacy in education and raise funds for the Nelson Mandela Institute for Education and Rural Development. Over 1 million Rand was raised in one night.

Funds raised at the event will expand the pipeline of new teachers to rural classrooms, and contribute toward launching a new school demonstrating the power of public education that serves children effectively through their home language(s).

Mandela founded the Nelson Mandela Institute (NMI) in 2007 just before his formal retirement, in response to the education crisis facing rural South Africa. His vision was to establish a sustainable research and development institute working in solidarity with rural teachers and communities to build sustainable solutions. 

One of the goals of the NMI is to launch a new school that will honour Nelson Mandela’s vision for the Institute; a school that will serve rural communities and demonstrate the far-reaching possibilities of inclusive public education.

“There is nothing as positively explosive as a child who learns to read independently,” said Kimberley Porteus, the Executive Director of the Nelson Mandela Institute, announcing the launch of the Centenary Campaign. “I was so moved by the support we received. It takes us a big jump forward toward reaching these goals.”

This was the first-ever international fundraising event for the NMI,and was hosted and organized by Silicon Valley based South Africans, Vinny and Charlene Lingham. 

Charlene Lingham, the US-based ambassador for the NMI, says: “We organised this event because of our deep commitment to education as the basis of building democracy across the world. If ever there were a time to break down borders, we believe it is now.” 

The night paid homage to South Africa in a number of ways, including a performance by the Zulu Spear Band. 

Attendees included Roland Schoeman, four-time Olympic gold medalist in swimming, and Andile Ncgaba, Founder and Chairman of Convergence Partners. 

“It’s gratifying to see the wide range of support shown for an international cause,” says Charlene Lingham. “Not only did we exceed our fundraising goal, but we have created a powerful network, which will support the cause far beyond donations” she concludes.

Anyone who would like to find out more about the NMI or who would like to contribute in some way can contact Kimberley Porteus on kporteus@mandelainstitute.org.za .

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