I started this project in February 2004 at Thuto-Thebe Middle school, in Ga-Rankuwa where I did my Grade 8 and 9 many years ago. I selected this school because it presently caters for learners from low socio-economic backgrounds. Most of the learners in the school are from families in which either one or both of the parents are blind and are either employed or working at the local institute for the blind.
The main purposes of the project are:
To recognise, promote and encourage learner excellence in mathematics and science in black schools.
To provide financial assistance to outstanding but financially underprivileged learners between Grades 7 and 12 by means of annual scholarships.
To recruit individuals who are sympathetic to the aims and objectives of the project to support and mentor learners.
During the period 2004 – 2007 I visited the school regularly to give support and work with the mathematics teachers on their teaching. During my visits I would teach mathematics to model pedagogies that I believe create equitable and enabling environments in multilingual classrooms. When I taught a class the mathematics teachers in the school were invited to observe and this created an opportunity for us to talk about the quality of mathematics teaching in an open manner.
The first group of learners who were adopted were selected on the basis of their performance in a mathematics challenge that I gave to them. Since then the number of learners who are receiving sponsorship has grown.
I do not actively raise funds for this project. Whenever I am invited to give talks I request my hosts to make a contribution to the project. At the beginning of the project I contributed a lump sum to the project so that I can open a bank account. In addition to me, a few other people assisted with contributions at the beginning of the project: Ms. Shosho Mmutlana, Dr. N. Bhengu, Dr. R. Sefako, Both Shosho Mmutlana and Dr Sefako continue to make contributions to date. Ms Segametsi Songwane started making contributions in 2010 when she learned about the project. The money is used to pay for school fees as well as any other educational needs that the learners may have.
Between 2004 and 2006 Mrs. Matlakala Sefora – a mathematics teacher at Thuto-Thebe middle school, managed the project and when she resigned I appointed Mr Joshua Mpete, another mathematics teacher and now Principal of LG Holele Secondary School to take over as manager of the project. The role of the manager is to support the learners in their school work and also to monitor their progress and prepare report on their progress. The manager also ensures that the learners’ educational needs are catered for.