This week 324 young adults graduated from the Good Work Foundation (GWF) Bridging Academy. The significance of this graduation is huge: Every student that started the course in February 2020 has graduated and will leave with ready-to-work skills focusing on digital literacy and communication.
And while there is a new group of alumni, there is also a new group of applicants. This week, on GWF’s six digital learning campuses, prospective 2021 students were lining up to apply for the Bridging Academy. And so yes, there is movement despite the pandemic.
And while the temptation is to pat our own backs, breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate small steps forward during one of history’s most unsteady moments, we realise that, actually, all the back-patting should go to the extraordinary resilience of our students.
In some parts of the world, the pandemic was a catalyst for an accelerated move to more online learning. But for over a billion students, learning stopped in 2020. This was mostly in places where online learning isn’t a possibility, and broadly speaking, this would be true for most parts of rural South Africa.
Our students were able to adapt. They adapted to online learning. They adapted to modified curriculums. Smaller classrooms. Blended learning. Weekend learning. Catch-up learning. They adapted to not always having a facilitator present. They met our teams at “drop” locations, where they were able to collect learning content. They braved public transport. They stuck to health protocols and called out people who didn’t.
They helped each other. To say that we are proud is an understatement. Just as it is an understatement to say that we are grateful. Grateful for the overwhelming support that we received from the greater Londolozi community who collectively donated thousands of dollars to contribute to the solutions that meant that GWF students didn’t stop learning in 2020.
We are blown away, and as you can see from the graduation photos, so are our students.
P.S. We’ll be profiling some of our new students over on Instagram over the coming weeks – support them with a thumbs-up or a comment as they open up on camera.