Knorr-Bremse Global Care supports educational center in South Africa.
Masifunde, an association in the city of Port Elizabeth in South Africa, is helping children in Walmer Township to look forward to a brighter future. Partnered by Knorr-Bremse Global Care e. V., Masifunde built a new educational center for 450 students.
“The people at Masifunde care about us. They are bringing real change to Walmer Township,” says Andisiwe Dingalubala (15), a member of the Masifunde youth choir and the Learn4Life! program. Walmer Township is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Port Elizabeth. Over 26,000 people live here, most of them in makeshift homes made out of corrugated iron. The crime rate is high and the education standard low. Jonas Schumacher from Frankfurt am Main, Germany, worked with children and young people in Walmer Township in 1998, when he was just 19, as part of his alternative civilian service. He saw first-hand one of the area’s biggest problems: a lack of access to education.
Broad range of courses for township students
In 2004 he set up an association called “Masifunde,” which means “Let us learn” in the South African language of isiXhosa. Since then Masifunde has become a reliable partner for township schools, and offers a broad range of courses. “Now our programs have a home as well,” says Schumacher, who is now Managing Director at Masifunde Learner Development. “It was a long journey, but Knorr-Bremse Global Care has been a loyal partner and supported us since the first contact in 2008.” After making purchases including a minibus and equipping the library, both organizations had the idea of launching a large-scale joint project that would bring genuine change – and the idea of an educational center was born.
Biggest investment in the association’s history
The project was finally ready to go in September 2017. Knorr-Bremse Global Care not only financed construction of the building, but also played an active role in managing the construction project with ((KB South Africa)). Consultation on the building plans, detailed financial management of the project, and help in communicating with the local authorities ensured that the academy was built according to plan. At the big inauguration ceremony in September, the students on the Masifunde program showed off the new building to their guests, including many local politicians. Around 450 pupils can now take a number of different courses here to consolidate their school learning in a welcoming atmosphere and expand their talents in the drama group or choir, or learn drawing or programing skills.
The cafeteria, which also serves as a safe meeting place for young people, serves healthy food. The computer room is equipped with 37 computers, the art room is also used by children from the local primary school, the multifunction room is used for private coaching, and there is a big hall for rehearsals and shows. A wide-ranging program of activities that highlights Masifunde’s diversity. The educational center guarantees secure work for the years to come, and the new premises have plenty of space for expansion to allow more pupils to join.
The Masifunde center fits in very well with Knorr- Bremse Global Care’s holistic approach – the trained young changemakers help other children in their community to improve their skills independently, boost their educational and employment opportunities, and thus bring about a real change in society over the long term.
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