Over the years, as a family and business, we have been privileged to be part of movements that look to make a positive, lasting impact on the world we live in. From rehabilitating Londolozi’s biodiversity in the 1970s and 80s, to being on the frontline of a mission to bring down fences restricting the natural migration patterns of southern Africa’s plain herds.
Whilst my father, Dave, leads the charge in conservation, Boyd and myself have grown up with a teacher – Kate Groch – who has made it her mission to challenge education: the “what”, the “how” and the “who” has access. Actually, Kate started that challenge with Boyd and I, when she declared that we could develop into perfectly normal human beings without formal schooling. History, geography, English and mathematics were all combined in a field classroom that included a month living with the Maasai in Kenya, an extended anthropological journey through India, and “geometry” on the edge of the Ngorongoro crater in Tanzania (meet our teacher, Kate, in chapter 13 of Boyd’s book Cathedral of the Wild).
Inspired by Kate’s out-of-the-box approach to life, Boyd and I have joined her mission, and over the last decade we have developed an open learning model for rural Africa that uses technology to deliver dramatically improved access to quality education.
Interestingly, visiting friends and guests from first-world countries believe that, with our digital learning centre model, we are on the cutting-edge, on par, if not ahead, of the US and Europe. The reason for that, they suggest, is that in Africa we have less red tape, and a smaller education establishment. It’s easier for us to start, to explore and to incubate. In the face of so few resources, parents, students and teachers in rural South Africa are more receptive to anything that will work.
The education model that we have created can be seen through the eyes of our “avatar” learner, nine-year-old Karabo. We shared Karabo’s short video in a recent blog post – if you didn’t get to see it, I have included it below. It is only two minutes long and, in infographic format, explains how from a single digital hub we can reach 10 000 rural learners (just a note, there is a second video that I would love you to see after you have been introduced to Karabo – scroll down for that one).
Today, Boyd and I are really excited to bring you a new video with some of the real children that Karabo is based on. To everyone who has contributed to our online campaign to raise funds for the open learning movement, we would like to take this opportunity to say a heartfelt thank you. This is not just another school project; this is part of a decade-long dream to challenge education. Today, there is no excuse for children not to have access. There is no excuse for children not to be learning like Karabo. This is the future, and we believe it will have a positive, lasting impact on the world we live in.
We believe we can lead the world from rural South Africa.
Enjoy the video, and if you would like to contribute $25 to the movement ($25 pays for a year of digital learning for one primary school learner) please click here.
Written by Bronwyn Varty-Laburn