In January 2003, two teenage sisters from London, Chase Olivarius-McAllister and Kathryn Olivarius, visited the Vuleka School in Johannesburg, South Africa bearing 33 large boxes of clothes, books, DVDs and games they had gathered through a collection drive in London. Conscious of the poverty in which the Vuleka School children live and somehow surmount, Chase and Kathryn were nevertheless overwhelmed by the outpouring of delight and gratitude their modest items generated amongst the recipients, some their same age, who had rarely received anything new, or anything they could truly call their own. The children’s glee was contagious. But it was the generosity of the Vuleka children in the face of their own great need which was most inspiring. As they opened gifts from unknown people in London, each child still thought of his or her own community, saving items to share – or give – to friends and relatives.
Moved by this, Chase and Kathryn resolved to not only continue, but to share this joy with their own school friends and community. After they returned to London, Chase led a group of students from her school to organise sponsor-a-child programmes, school supply drives, cake sales, and to seek funds though door-to-door solicitations. Kathryn, eager to increase the funds sent to the Vuleka School by providing donors a structured mechanism for giving, formally organised GenerationNext! as a charitable trust. In September 2005 GenerationNext! became UK Registered Charity 1111399. Nelson Mandela met with one of the Trustees of GenerationNext! about the work of the charity, and gave his blessing and advice on ways it could be most effective; advice, which was valued and implemented.
Vuleka School is an independent, non-profit Anglican Diocesan School in South Africa. It was founded in response to the crisis in black education during the apartheid by Mrs Susan Germond and Mrs Joy Chilvers. In 1989, the school's first year, it welcomed 59 children in 4 classes. Today, the school spans 7 venues and educates 700 pupils a year from Pre-Primary to Grade 7.
The school's mission is to provide an excellent and affordable education to children in difficult life circumstances. Their vision is to encourage students to lead a life of service and contribute to the society. They aim to provide an educational environment that is safe and that encourages students' self-confidence and challenges them to strive for academic excellence. Many of Vuleka's students continued their education at some of South Africa's best independent schools.
In their current Strategic Plan 2012-2015, the school aims to attract specialist teachers in Mathematics, Science and English, develop both their Arts and Sports programmes, and expand their infrastructure to accommodate the growing number of students.
Your kind donation will help Vuleka achieve these aims and better the lives of many South African children.