Our mission is to prepare and motivate children and youth from under-resourced communities to thrive, through education, life skills, and psycho-social support. Our vision is a generation of motivated South African youth, equipped with education and life skills to maximise their potential and contribute to society.
WHERE WE WORK
SAEP works mainly in Philippi, one of the largest townships in Cape Town. We are dedicated to working in an environment where poverty is unacceptably high and education levels are worryingly low – in Philippi, only ⅓ of the population has passed grade 12. We hold a deep passion for bringing about equality and we see education as a key tool in addressing social problems. With well over 15 years of experience in Philippi we have a clear understanding of the local context and we have built strong relationships on the ground.
Philippi faces many social problems, including lack of education, violent crime, substance abuse, environmental degradation and a rise in the number of residents with HIV/AIDS. Schools in Philippi are often overcrowded, with low pass rates and are under-resourced with few extra-curricular activities available to students. The average household income is R3,200 or less, indicating that many residents hold low-income jobs or live on social grants. Successful graduates often move away from the township, leaving learners with few role models and little motivation to challenge local job-seeking behaviours or believe that they can make something of themselves. Lack of information, networks, and opportunities trap many into continued poverty and under-productivity.
Philippi today is one of the largest townships in Cape Town. Its boundaries follow along Lansdowne Road, Duinefontein Road, Vanguard Drive and the R300 (Adlard, 2009) and the area is situated in what is referred to as the Cape Flats.
SAEP FOCUSES ON...
of our beneficiaries have been female
hikes and excursions around Cape Town in the last 4 years
beneficiaries supported by an SAEP social worker in 2019
The South African Education and Environment Project began in 1994 as a vision sparked between several committed learners at a township high-school and an environmental lawyer, Norton Tennille, who is passionate about education. SAEP’s culture still reflects the early days of the organisation where bright young people were invited into our founders’ home to dream and to learn together.
1994 – 1998
The Foundation and Environmental Years
The South African Education and Environment Project (SAEP) was founded as a US non-profit organisation by Norton Tennille, a US environmental lawyer, to promote environmentally sustainable development in the new South Africa through environmental education and advocacy. SAEP’s activities then focused on environmental awareness, nature conservation, improving urban environments, and environmental career opportunities
1998 – 2002
High School Education and Enrichment
The focus of SAEP’s work shifted as students at Sinethemba High School in the Cape Town township of Philippi began to ask for academic support in key subjects like biology, mathematics and English. SAEP also assisted in mentoring and coaching extra-curricular activities.
A Watershed Year
Jane Keen, current SAEP Director, joined SAEP full-time as a volunteer. At her initiative, a South African sister organisation for SAEP was created and registered as a South African NPO (and later as a Public Benefit Organisation). In programmes, there were four major developments:
At the end of 2002, as they were finishing their matric, Bulelani Futshane and Luzuko Hina asked SAEP to provide a “gap year” in which they and some of their classmates might improve their English, develop computer skills, and explore career alternatives. In return they offered to do community service. This was the beginning of what became our Bridging Year Programme.
EXPANSION OF HIGH SCHOOL ACADEMIC SUPPORT AND ENRICHMENT PROGRAMME
SAEP extended its activities from Sinethemba to two other Philippi high schools.
EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT
Under the leadership of Jane Keen, SAEP began working with a cluster of 10 educare centres to help them improve infrastructure, develop financial and administrative skills, and register with the Departments of Social Development and Education.
ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION PROGRAMME
The Environment Programme gained new structure and momentum from a partnership with the Mountain Club of South Africa, which began to lead monthly hikes on Table Mountain for SAEP’s high school students.
Arts Outreach Programme
Arts had been a part of SAEP’s high school programme in the form of poetry workshops since 2000, but in 2005 it became a programme in its own right under the leadership of volunteer Charne Lavery. Visual arts, drama, photography and film were added that year, and music and other activities in subsequent years.
Hope Scholars and ADT Programme
SAEP moved its high school academic support programme from Grades 11 and 12 to Grade 9 with the launch of the Hope Scholars Programme, a holistic tutoring and mentoring programme designed to begin in Grade 9 and follow the learners through Grade 12.
Launched the ADT teach Programme, a three-year computer training programme designed to provide township learners in three high schools with IT skills necessary for the job market and for tertiary studies.
Tertiary Support Programme
Tertiary support was provided on an ad hoc basis from the time that the first Bridging Year students applied and were accepted to university. It was formalised in 2010 to accommodate the increasing number of Bridging Year students who are studying at the tertiary level.
Since 2006, SAEP had had a vision of creating a research and development hub or “think-and-do tank” but lacked funding for it. In 2011 it became a reality with a three-year grant from the Lottery.
SAEP recognised the importance of academic and career counselling at an early stage, and began a formal programme when it cofounded Inkanyezi in collaboration with its UCT partner organisation TeachOut. In 2013, Kayin Scholtz, SAEP’s social worker who has experience and expertise in career counselling, developed this programme which has a focus on capacity building for high school Life Orientation teachers.
Strategic Planning and Continued Growth
SAEP reviewed the programmes and organisation and embarked on intensive strategic planning looking forward to 2018
The Impact Centre piloted the Siyakhathala Primary Project at Siyazakha Primary School.
The Bridging Year Programme changed it's methodology to focus more on the development of soft skills and psycho-social support. The programme partnered with Y2K, LEAP & 2nd Chance who offered academic tutoring.
The Hope Scholars Programme has grown from 2 to 3 schools. The programme now works with grade 8 & 9 learners at Intsenbenziswano, Zisukhanyo & Sophumelela.
SAEP closes the Arts Programme and incorporates arts activities into e remaining programmes. Fidelity buys ADT and closes the ADT Teach programme.
The ECD programme is contracted by the Department of Social Development to register & work with all the ECD centres in Philippi. The programme grows from 8 centres to 137 centres.
SAEP partners with Rise Against Hunger to provide food parcels to all of it's beneficiaries.
The Bridging Year programme grew to take 80 students and partnered with CPUT's 2nd Chance programmes.
SAEP officially changes it's name to the South African Education Project.
The Hope Scholars programme has strategically shrunken to provide environmental excursions and holiday workshops.
Siyakhathala Primary Project has started teacher training workshops at Siyazakha Primary.
The ECD programme is running the holistic support programme with 50 centres in Philippi.
The SAEP Team is made up of a combination of full time staff, volunteers, tutors and interns. All of our staff are committed to the SAEP Vision of "a generation of motivated South African youth, equipped with education and life skills to maximise their potential and contribute to society."
SAEP SA VS SAEP USA
SAEP (USA) is dedicated to supporting work in an environment where poverty is unacceptably high and education levels are worryingly low. SAEP (SA) works mainly in Philippi, one of the largest black townships in Cape Town. SAEP (USA) is a separate legal entity that shares SAEP (SA)’s educational goals. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
SAEP (SA) is a registered NPO (non-profit organisation) and PBO (public benefit organisation). Contributions are tax-deductible under Section 18A of the Income Tax Act,1962, and can earn B-BBEE points in the Socio-Economic Development (SED) and Skills Development categories in accordance with the 2013 Broad Based Black Empowerment codes.
SAEP (USA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organisation that raises funds to support SAEP’s work. It is a separate legal entity that shares SAEP’s educational goals. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.