South Africa | Child Academy

Tembisa Township Banner


Project Location:

Tembisa Township, South Africa

Project Partner:

Mercer Island Presbyterian Church

Project Team:

Jim Seeks (and others coming soon)




Project Description:

Child Academy is located in the shanty area of Tembisa Township, near Johannesburg, South Africa. Today the Child Academy has 700 students and is one of the few private schools in South Africa, created, developed, and managed by Black South Africans for Black South African children.


The growth of the school has lead to new issues and problems. Tembisa, already scared by the legacy of apartheid and the impact of HIV/AIDS, is experiencing new violence and conflict due to the pressures caused by a large influx of immigrants from Zimbabwe and Mozambique and anxiety about random violence adds to an already difficult and tenuous existence in the township . The school has an urgent need for more security and wants to build a security wall to surround the school. In addition, to pursue the school’s goal to become self sustaining, the school wants to landscape the fenced area to create opportunities for food cultivation as a way to improve children and staff nutrition, create skills, and boost self sufficiency.  The school plans to engage parents and local volunteers from the surrounding community to supply both their labor and skills to construct the wall. Locally supplied, indigenous building materials and products will be utilized. Trusted local contractors will oversee the project.


The local partner, the Mercer Island Presbyterian Church, has supported the school for over 10 years, providing administrative council and student scholarships. Exmenda, a local Seattle non-profit provides additional guidance and support to the school.


AWB volunteers are developing the design concept and preparing presentation materials that the school’s administration and board can utilize in carrying out their fundraising campaign in South Africa. During the fundraising campaign, AWB volunteers will concentrate on making connections with, and developing partnerships with nonprofits in South Africa, and with the University of Pretoria’s Community Relations and Engineering Department, which includes the Schools of Architecture and Landscape Architecture.


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