Trevor Noah Foundation receives R13.5 million grant from Oak Foundation

The Trevor Noah Foundation South Africa has received an R13.5-million grant from Oak Foundation. The grant will help to advance education outcomes in South Africa and enable the longevity of the foundation’s numerous initiatives aimed at educators, schools and communities. 

“Oak Foundation chose the Trevor Noah Foundation for this grant because of its track record in building strong community partnerships, its clear expertise in education and its great appetite for piloting innovative initiatives,” says Bethiel Girma Holton, programme officer for Oak Foundation’s Learning Differences Programme. 

“These will help schools find solutions to support children with learning differences. We are excited because this project will allow the Trevor Noah Foundation to establish its support to students with learning differences in the South African context,” adds Holton.

Founded in 1983, Oak Foundation supports others in making the world a safer, fairer and more sustainable place to live by giving grants to organisations in approximately 40 countries worldwide.

This grant provided by Oak Foundation comes as its first donation from the Learning Differences Programme made directly to an organisation in South Africa.

“We’re honoured to be a recipient of Oak Foundation’s grant over the next three years,” says Shalane Yuen, executive director of the Trevor Noah Foundation. “Designing, implementing and evaluating our programmes to ensure they are inclusive and responsive to our learners’ and educators’ needs are non-negotiable.”

“It’s refreshing to be supported by a funder who acknowledges often overlooked socioeconomic factors such as racism and poverty when accounting for learning differences,” concludes Yuen.

In addition to an R8-million donation from Trevor Noah in 2021, this grant will continue the success of the Trevor Noah Foundation’s various projects to improve education and empower learners and educators.

The initiatives supported by the Oak Foundation grant are the following:

Education Changemakers 

Education Changemakers is a training programme for teachers to gain additional skills and resources. This is not only to further the education of their learners but as a means to invest in themselves and their careers in education. 

In partnership with the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), they provide 50 young teachers from sub-Saharan Africa with a four-week training opportunity on leadership and inclusive education. The participants pitch an idea for improving education within their classrooms and communities. 

Of those ideas, the Trevor Noah Foundation provides funding and business development coaching for the 10 most successful proposals. The next cohort of this project will take place from Monday, 27 June to Friday, 22 July at the Unisa Graduate School of Business Leadership. 

By 2024, the Trevor Noah Foundation and YALI aim to graduate 200 additional Education Changemakers. Oak Foundation support will focus on implementing this programme and integrating training and programming for educators specific to learning differences.

Community-Driven Literacy initiative, in partnership with Nal’ibali (the isiXhosa word for ‘here’s the story’), is an initiative that promotes learning and literacy in all the native languages of South Africa. The initiative falls under the Trevor Noah Foundation’s Khulani Schools programme. 

While the Khulani Schools programme has solely supported secondary education, the partnership with Nal’ibali to improve literacy represents the programme’s expansion into foundation phase education. 

Oak support will focus on launching this programme and developing the project’s measurement, evaluation, and learning plan.

Faranani Infrastructure Project 

The Faranani Infrastructure Project aims to empower young people with the skills and training needed to construct new buildings and rehabilitate existing assets in their local schools. 

In partnership with YouthBuild South Africa in 2021, the Faranani Infrastructure Project upskilled 100 youth not in education, employment or training and refurbished six primary schools in Braamfischer, Soweto. 

Between 2022 and 2023, it aims to train an additional 200 youth, benefiting over 10 schools. Oak Foundation support will focus on launching this programme and recruiting youth with learning differences as participants.

All programmes and initiatives created or sponsored by the Trevor Noah Foundation South Africa, including the Faranani Infrastructure Project, are working in harmony to create a holistic environment that addresses tactical and knowledge infrastructure within communities that enables the expansion and cultivation of education. 

The purpose is to provide a foundation for skills development and resources for educators to uplift and empower their learners.

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