According to research from WITS University, South Africa ranks as the most unequal country globally, which significantly impacts education.
The Gini coefficient, a measure of inequality, shows South Africa’s score at 0.67, while China is at 0.38, and some European countries score 0.24. During the pandemic, as many children shifted to online learning, millions of children in underserved South African communities faced disadvantages.
Saray Khumalo, the first African woman to summit Mount Everest and founder of Summit With a Purpose, is working to improve literacy accessibility. Since 2015, Summit With a Purpose has built traditional libraries, and they are now expanding to deliver digital libraries. Three libraries will be delivered in the next four weeks through two different campaigns.
Summit With a Purpose, in collaboration with iSchoolAfrica and Vuma, successfully raised funds for seven digital libraries, providing digital learning facilities to children in seven out of nine provinces in South Africa. Their campaign operates under the hashtag #Trek4Education. Another campaign, #Spin4literacy, established in 2020, raised funds for the last two libraries. Summit With a Purpose will deliver the first #Trek4Education to a community school in Edenvale, with plans for another one in Namibia in 2024, aiming to place at least one library in every African country.
The Edenvale library is under the care of Community Provision & Social Services (COMPASS), a non-profit organization, and digital libraries will also be launched at Manamani Primary School in Venda, Limpopo, Francois Visser Primary School in the Northern Cape, and another in Namibia.
Saray’s initiative equips libraries with tablets and projectors, providing teacher training and monitoring the children’s progress. iSchool Africa’s Executive Director, Michelle Lissoos, emphasizes the potential of this partnership to bridge the digital divide and help young people access opportunities, thereby reducing inequality.
Digital education offers real-time learning material updates and helps children connect with the world, making their dreams achievable and expanding their horizons beyond traditional libraries. Saray’s efforts aim to narrow the inequality gap in South Africa and empower children to build a brighter future.