In South Africa, an estimated 3 million children do not have a classroom desk. This practical tool, which aides the child in their educational development, is absent from the majority of schools within rural Eastern Cape. Without a school desk, children struggle to find a solid surface on which to practice their writing and do their homework, impeding the learning process from basic literacy to class discipline.

With this in mind, the Tutudesk campaign, supported by Islamic Relief, provided 7618 South African children with school desks. Named after Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, the portable Tutudesks provide a stable work surface for impoverished schools with little or no permanent facilities.

Mr Sishuba, Principal of Taleni Junior Secondary School, expressed his gratitude for the Tutudesks. “Thank you to Islamic Relief – you have done well because you have benefitted our community. Before this, most of the children did not have desks. Our learners will now be eager to come to school knowing that they don’t have to share a desk.”

“These children are the future of our country. As a society we need to ensure we capacitate them with the relevant resources to be able to escape poverty and build a better life for themselves. By providing this simple, proven solution, we aim to address the structural inequality latent in our education system, and provide children with an equal platform to reach their dreams,” said Fazlin Fransman, Head of Fund Development and Communications for Islamic Relief, who was part of the envoy who delivered the portable desks to schools.

In answer to a call to action by the Archbishop, Islamic Relief South Africa and Islamic Relief USA joined forces with the TutuDesk Campaign and provided 7618 TutuDesks to learners in the Eastern Cape, focusing specifically on schools that have less than 50% of the desks they need.

Results from a comprehensive independent research survey based on previous TutuDesk interventions indicated that the Tutudesk Campaign facilitated sharp improvements in multiple areas relating to literacy development and academic performance. In the survey, 77% of teachers said that Tutudesk had made learning easier for their students and that they were able to teach more effectively. In addition, 76% of teachers advised that Tutudesks had significantly improved the overall learning experience for their pupils and that there was an overall 65% improvement in homework delivery.

The intervention started on 25th July and will continue until the 29th July 2016 in Rural Eastern Cape.

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