About Edu Fun

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Edu Fun is a volunteer-led, non-profit organisation (069-772-NPO) working with the Diepsloot Combined School in the township of Diepsloot on the northern outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa.

We were established in 2003 at the request of the school principal at the time, Veronica Kgabo. Our main objective is to teach English to Grade 2 & 3 students in a fun and interesting way, and to awaken their curiosity in the outside world. Other roles include mending school uniforms and performing basic health checks to identify problems with the children’s eyesight and teeth.

Our volunteers come from all walks of life – locals, ex pats and visitors from around the world. the late Lord Joel Joffe, the late human rights lawyer who defended Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and seven others in the Rivonia Trial of 1963-64, was our Patron for many years.

As a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO 930036948), Edu Fun can issue tax deductible receipts for donations.

If you’re interested in volunteering with Edu Fun or funding our various activities, please call Jenny Taylor on 082 322 0608 or view our volunteering page. 

 
The Edu Fun educational programme at Diepsloot Combined School was started by Avril Donnelly, Petra Michelson and Sandy and Miguel Buchwald, an American couple who have now retired back in the USA.
 
Avril Donnelly – Founder and Retired Chairperson

“After having stopped work (I was a PA most of my working life) I was looking for something to do in the charity field.  Petra and I decided to do a training course to teach children who come from underprivileged homes. Whilst on the course we met Sandy Buchwald and after the final session we had discussions about what we should do with everything we had learnt. Sandy had previously met Veronica Kgabo who at that stage was the principal of DCS, and she said she would discuss the idea of teaching Grade 3 students English.  We decided on Grade 3 as according to the Department of Education all children were to be taught in the mother tongue until the end of Grade 2 and then English from Grade 3 onwards. Veronica was thrilled with the idea and we started the programme in April of 2003.

The first group that we taught in 2003 matriculated in 2013.  It really gives me a sense of satisfaction. I can only say that through this programme I have met some wonderful expats (both men and women) who have helped us with the teaching, nursing, 'Spread a little Love' and mending groups.  The nursing group was started by a group of Swedish ladies, led by Maria Junebrink, who didn’t want to teach but wanted to give to the community. It has gone from strength to strength. I love what we are doing with Edu Fun and it has really become a passion in my life.”

Avril retired in 2016 and handed over the baton to Jenny Taylor who has taken over the leadership of Edu Fun since January 2017.


Jenny Taylor - Chairperson

"I have run a company called Read For Africa since 2000 which was started as the vehicle to bring the Phono-Graphix Reading method to South Africa having had great results whilst working and travelling in the UK and USA in 1998 and 1999. I completed a Master degree in Adult Education where my research focused on "Exploring the Phono-Graphix Reading and Spelling method in a South African context". This involved training teachers as well as working with young adult learners with learning difficulties and for whom English was a second language. 

In 2012, I was introduced to Monica Sloane and the St Peter's School Outreach Programme and the work that they do in Diepsloot. This led to Read For Africa getting very involved with Diepsloot Combined and Sefikeng Schools for the next 4 years where we worked with the teachers, volunteers and learners in both the Foundation and Intermediate Phases. This introduction also led to me being introduced to Avril and Edu Fun in 2016.

I was very excited to find out about Edu Fun and the movement that Avril has created and together with her army of volunteers have not only contributed to the betterment of the children at Diepsloot Combined School but have also had an impact on the larger Diepsloot community.

Avril retired at the end of 2016 and offered the leadership of Edu Fun to me. A responsibility and opportunity that I knew I could not refuse.

As a result I’ve entered a family of amazing leaders and volunteers - both local and ex-pat and have this wonderful opportunity to continue to build on Avril’s legacy as well as continue to help teach Africa to read."

Petra Michelson, one of the founder members remains our treasurer and continues to do the books and we welcome Jeanne Kuhr- Madinane who has also joined the committee in 2017.

Petra Michelson - Treasurer
 
“My name is Petra Michelson.  I was born in Johannesburg as one of the baby boomers. After finishing my High School education I went to study in Pretoria and qualified as a school teacher.  I taught for 15 years and then joined my husband in his business. I gained valuable management and financial skills over this period.

In 2003 Avril, Sandy and I started doing voluntary work at Diepsloot School. It did not take me long to dust off my tutoring skills and to get back into teaching the little ones the basic educational building blocks so vital for a child’s school career.

When we started teaching, the volunteers funded all the books, pencils and other stationery needs for the children.  We also provided them with a snack after class. After numerous offers from people who wanted to donate to our cause it became necessary to formally register Edu Fun as a non-profit organisation (NPO). These funds are now used for teaching materials, educational movies and field trips.

We had a great break at another charity function that I attended when I was seated next to a CEO of a major building material supplier in South Africa. Once I explained our project he asked me to contact him so that he could donate building materials to our project. The result was that many new classrooms were built.

I write up the books monthly and prepare a set of accounts that are generously audited annually by Mastermind Business Support Services. If anyone wants a copy of the Accounts they are available via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it."

 

Gillean Small - Committee Member

"I moved to Johannesburg from the UK in 2014 and began volunteering with Edu-Fun in 2015. I am Scottish and have a BA in Childhood Studies  from Strathclyde University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Psychology.

I’ve always worked in education, in both Scotland and England in various roles such as Depute Head of a large nursery school in a deprived area of Scotland; I then took up the position of Learning & Development Manager for Worcestershire County Council when I relocated to England. 

We began using the Phono-Graphix method in 2017 during our Edu-Fun lessons and I could see how simple yet highly effective it was in helping our learners to become more confident in their English skills. In addition, the improvements were clear from the assessment scores at the end of this first year of implementing Phono-Graphix. 

I attended the Phono-Graphix workshop that Jenny runs for Edu-Fun volunteers and decided to progress to the certification. I completed the Phono-Graphix internship in 2018 and am now a certified Phono-Graphix reading therapist. 

I’ve been lucky enough to join Jenny on some of her ‘Read for Africa’ trips to Blantyre in Malawi and Wakkerstroom. Hopefully I will continue to assist Edu-Fun and Read for Africa in helping to open the door to literacy for all of our learners."

To find out more, call Jenny on 082 322 0608.
Visit Edu Fun's Facebook page.