We have a problem in South Africa. Our Maths and Science levels at schools are at an all-time low. We have children going home to try finish their homework by candlelight because they cannot afford electricity or pitching up at school with no lunch.
You should. I should. South African software development company, Entelect, DOES.
I originally ended up in the Entelect offices to discuss their 100k Challenge, but after hearing about their Entelect foundation I convinced Entelect CEO, Charles Pritchard to tell me more. The Entelect Foundation wasn’t set up as a quick way to score BEE points. It’s a foundation that was set up to help South African families, no matter their race, who are poor. Entelect pays for the education of primary school, high school and university students. It’s a simple concept really, Entelect asked their staff to nominate families who needed assistance and from there selected those most in need to form the Entelect foundation. Those in the foundation have their schooling fees covered, taking a massive burden off the shoulders of their parents, grandparents and/or guardians.
The foundation students meet at Entelect once a month with their families (the company pays for their transport). They have a day to chat to the staff, get help with homework and generally enjoy some time filled with fun and much needed support. Pritchard ran through a typical day with me:
- The different age groups are split up and age appropriate activities are planned
- High School kids might get a lesson on the mathematics involved in landing an airplane for example.
- The Primary School children get to enjoy the likes of an Easter Egg hunt with a twist. They would have to solve various clues along the way (each offering up a logical maths problem in a real life situation) to find the Easter Egg treasure.
- Parents are also included, the Entelect Foundation brings in speakers to chat to them about things like Compound Interest and Bank Loans.
The focus isn’t only on Maths, Science and Technology though. Entelect’s aim is to help those less fortunate and give back at no cost to the families. It sounds cliche but I loved Pritchard’s tagline and strong belief that “you cannot outsource your love.”
The kids are clearly benefiting. With just these monthly meetings and the one on one communications they’ve begun with Entelect staff, their marks at school have improved drastically. There are currently 21 females in the foundation and 15 males. I was given access to the Foundation participants’ school reports and the one thing that stood out for me was the constant comments by teachers that referred to hard work, improvement and considerable progress. Most of the pupils are achieving marks above 70% in a host of different subjects with one student bragging over 90% for Technology!
The next step for the foundation is to supply all High School pupils with their own tablets loaded with learning apps and coding programmes. I asked Pritchard if he would, at some point, want one of the foundation’s beneficiaries to end up obtaining a university degree and applying to work at Entelect. While he agreed it would be nice, the main focus is simply to uplift members in the community and not necessarily build benefit for Entelect. The Entelect Foundation has now been running for two years and in that time gets to brag a no failure rate.
If South Africa’s top software engineering company can take the time to help fellow South Africans, what are you doing to help the community?