Last year, to mark its 21st anniversary, the Old Mutual Foundation supported the Matric Class of 2020.
The aim was to counteract the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on their education and specifically, the loss in learning and teaching time. The Old Mutual Foundation’s partners include renowned and trusted organisations like LoveLife, the Imbumba Foundation, the Mpumalanga Department of Education, Brand South Africa, the Nelson Mandela Foundation as well as various celebrity enablers, all supported by the Deputy Minister of Education.
This year, the 21Acts of Goodness initiative is back with a bang and even more determined than before to make a difference. The programme is now partnering with the Woza Matrics initiative – a multi-platform programme that is providing curriculum support to matric learners – and the Department of Basic Education, also integrating the Second Chance Matric Programme. With only around 50 days left to the matric exams, the focus will again be on helping learners meet their study needs at home and at school.
Even without the constraints of the pandemic and the recent social unrest, the matric year is always a challenging one, filled with pressure, late night cramming and uncertainty about the future. Despite the best efforts of teachers and learners to maintain online teaching and learning, the pandemic has caused immense disruption, anxiety and loss. Added to that are the further challenges of vandalised schools during the social unrest.
“Like last year, our hearts go out to the thousands of matriculants who are having to negotiate this major life event under the most difficult and stressful of circumstances,” says Fikile Kuhlase, Head of Old Mutual Foundation.
“Empowering our most vulnerable communities is part of our purpose and Old Mutual cares deeply about the youth of South Africa. Education is therefore one of the Foundation’s key focus areas. We are committed to focusing our efforts and resources on achieving inclusive prosperity through education and skills development.”
The 21 Acts of Goodness drive for 2021 began two weeks ago in four high schools in rural KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) in Nongoma and uThukela, hosted by Inkosi Zulu/uNdlunkulu the Deputy Chairperson of the KZN Provincial House of Traditional Leaders. Apart from study materials and assistance, the 155 matric learners of the four schools received food parcels, dignity packs and psychosocial and motivational support.
The past achievements of Thulwana High School provided much inspiration and encouragement. The school has seen a dramatic improvement in its pass rate over the past four years - from 15% in 2017 to 100% in 2020. The principal behind this success, Mrs Sithole, is keen to continue to grow the school’s success. Dedication and hard work are absolutely key, she believes.
Last week the Old Mutual Foundation and its partners were in Gauteng, in an informal settlement in Benoni called Etwatwa, visiting B.B. Myataza High School, graced by the presence of the MEC for Education in Gauteng, Panyaza Lesufi and the new Chairperson of the OM Foundation, Dr. Linda Ncube-Nkomo. The 200 matric learners received study materials and dignity packs and goodie packs donated by Big Save.
Richard Mabaso, Imbumba Foundation CEO, says: “Being on the road with Old Mutual to help uplift education is a cause very close to our hearts. The time is now to really make a positive impact by encouraging and supporting our 2021 Matrics as they prepare to write their final exams.”