The Anna Foundation was started in July 2005 by Anna Brom who was volunteering as a remedial teacher on a disadvantaged farm school and township school in Mpumalanga, South Africa. Remedial education at these schools largely entailed teaching basic literacy (i.e. reading and writing) to learners of all ages. A vast number of learners aged 15 - 17 years, still attending primary school, were identified as unable to read at the level of an average age 9 child. No special needs teachers are provided in these schools and no support supplied for these slower learners. It became clear that the need for greater support to these isolated and underprivileged schools in South Africa was crucial. Challenges faced by these schools include overcrowded classrooms, limited educational resources, lack of library facilities, language constraints, isolated geographical locations and poor transport availability. The Anna Foundation was created to provide support to these schools and to help create a stimulating environment for these children.
Anna started by providing support classes in English and Maths to learners from Ipani Primary school. The school had no library facility so Anna started a ‘library-in-a-box’ system, providing children with their first ever taste of reading their own book. There were also no sports facilities at the school so Anna started a running group. These reading and running activities were then combined and became the start of the Anna Foundation “3 R’s: Reading. Running. Right-ing” programme. The 3rd R: Right-ing was introduced to address the importance of positive self esteem and self worth, and help teach children different life skills.
The 3 R’s programme is currently being implemented on farms and other rural areas throughout the Western Cape, directly influencing over 700 children and training 45 community staff members.
The Anna Foundation has been a registered nonprofit organisation since 2005 and working on farms in the Western Cape since 2007.
Farms are spread over a large area, are isolated and unlike the townships, there is no central community area with shops or reliable public transport system to connect one with 'civilisation'. In relation to the farms the dorp or town is a quite a distance away. The nearest corner store is often quite a distance from the farm and most definitely not an ideal place for a child to hang out. A child's daily routine involves leaving the farm for school by bus, truck or foot and returning directly to the farm in the afternoon. As one can imagine this routine becomes tedious (especially for an active child!) and having parents who work on the farm means that there is no supervision upon returning from school - no one to insist that homework gets done and no one to ensure that a child stays out of mischief.
In the farming communities there is often a sense of helplessness, apathy and farm workers often suffer from low self esteem. Women living in the farming and rural communities are empowered by being trained and given the skills to implement the daily running of the 3 R's Programme. We want the women to feel proud about their role as an educator, enthusiastically grow and grant them with an opportunity to better themselves.
Through the 3 R's "Reading, Running, Righting" Programme we aim to provide children with much needed literacy and numeracy assistance, encourage a love for all kinds of sports and healthy lifestyle as well as teach children how to integrate values into their day to day lives. With the Anna Foundation running afterschool clubs, parents and farm owners have peace of mind knowing that their children are in a safe and enriching environment. By addressing the needs of rural children, a huge step is taken toward alleviating poverty in these communities. The Anna Foundation aims to teach these children that through dedication, persistence and hard work each one can become a master of his or her own destiny.