Friday, September 25, 2009

Kids: We Want Better Schools!

South African kids are taking it into their own hands. Tired of sub-par schools and education, this week thousands of children marched in Cape Town, asking for books and libraries for their schools. The march on city hall was organized by Equal Education, a movement that the New York Times reports has its movements in the anti-apartheid marches of the previous century.
Ninth grader Abongile Ndesi told NYT: “We want more information and knowledge."

Here's some more of what's going on in South Africa, per the Times, as these students step up to demand their own when it comes to education.

Last year, Equal Education gave students in Khayelitsha, home to more than 500,000 unemployed and working-class people, disposable cameras to document problems in their high schools. They returned with shots of leaking roofs, cracked desks and children crowded around a single textbook.
One image — a bank of window panes at Luhlaza high school, all shattered, captured by a student named Zukiswa Vuka — proved the most resonant. Some 500 windows at the school had been broken for years, leaving the students shivering in wintertime classes.
Equal Education’s first campaign was to get them replaced. The school agreed to put up about $650, an amount the group said it would match. That left some $900 still needed. Over months, the group met with local and provincial managers, organized a communitywide petition drive, held a rally of hundreds of township students and garnered coverage in local newspapers.

The libraries campaign is the group’s first attempt to tackle a national issue. With financial support from Atlantic Philanthropies and the Open Society Institute, among others, it is also hoping to broaden its membership to include teachers and more parents and to graduate to bigger victories.
Abongile, the ninth grader from Luhlaza high school, noted appreciatively that she did not have to sit with chattering teeth in class this winter because the broken windows had been fixed.
“I saw that Equal Education can make something impossible possible,” she said.

I don't know about ya'll, but all this talk of kids hungry for libraries reminds me of something going on here in Chattanooga...
Picture taken by Pieter Bauermeister for The New York Times

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