Bright Start

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Bright Start

Bright Start was founded by Sally Whitford and Sharon Scudamore, on the belief that sponsoring school fees alone are not enough to ensure a child’s success. A more holistic approach is essential, one that considers social, emotional, cultural and physical needs.

Bright Start was established to address these needs. The Education and Support Programme has been developed into a model that provides on-going mentorship and guidance to both child and parents throughout the child’s school career, in and outside of school. Bright Start is successfully integrating these children into a more challenging and diverse school environment, while providing their families with much needed guidance and a network of support.

Bright Start is a Section 18A, Nonprofit Company (NPC) founded in 2008 with a registration number: 2008/013050/08 and Public Benefit Organisation number: 930030374.

Vision and Mission

Bright Start is committed to providing a brighter future to children from low income families in historically disadvantaged communities in the Western Cape, through access to better educational opportunities.

Bright Start children will graduate with the academic skills and personal resources to contribute to the transformation of South Africa. The organisation’s model will be replicated across other provinces to bring valued educational opportunities to many more families.

Main Activities / Services

Bright Start’s Education and Mentorship Programme has been developed to ensure that children from low income, historically disadvantaged families in Imizamo Yethu and Hangberg in Hout Bay, are given an opportunity to attend schools of proven excellence, and importantly each family and learner is provided with additional guidance and mentorship.

Bright Start provides:

  • Financial support to attend a good school, starting from the age of three or four;
  • Dedicated mentor who will work closely with school, learner and family;
  • Cultural enrichment holiday programme;
  • Support in mathematics and literacy;
  • Access to subsidised medical and dental care;
  • Safe transport to and from school, aftercare and extra murals; and
  • Capacity building workshops available for all community members.

Challenges and Opportunities

Nelson Mandela once said that “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world” and yet we know that the education available to the majority of South Africa’s children is sadly lacking. It is widely accepted that morale is low among learners, with the majority dropping out of school early; schools are under resourced and classrooms are overcrowded.

Sobering Statistics

In 2011, South Africa ranked 138 out of 142 countries in quality of science education. In the 2012 World Economic Forum survey, South Africa ranked last for mathematics out of 62 countries. The 2012 Annual National Assessment showed that one in six learners who wrote Grade 12 scored below 10 percent in mathematics. Half of all learners in 2012 scored less than 30 percent in science. 10 percent of all 2012 matriculants earned a university exemption. One learner in every 100 will graduate from university and teacher absenteeism in state schools amounts to approximately one month per annum.

These results speak to a national crisis and shows that these children left school unprepared for further study or for the workplace. This translates directly into South Africa’s unemployment rate which was at 24.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The Bright Start model is changing these statistics and the lives off its beneficiaries.

Ongoing monitoring and evaluation of both child and family throughout the year, enables Bright Start to identify any potential problems that the child may face in the school room or on the playground and implement the necessary support.

Impact / Contribution

Bright Start aims to transform the lives of each child, providing upliftment through education - ‘A better education for a Brighter Future.’
Bright Start’s beneficiaries will be able to provide a decent life for their own family passing on the emphasis and value of a better education. These families in turn will contribute towards a greater skilled workforce.

Bright Start’s programme addresses specific aspects of poverty:

  • Beneficiaries will graduate with a first class education and opportunities to enter the job market;
  • Beneficiaries have self-worth and a belief in their right to aspire to a better life with high social capital;
  • Parents are uplifted through our ongoing mentorship and workshops;
  • Schools are relieved of the burden of running under-resourced bursary programmes;
  • Less pressure on socio-economic resources;
  • Knowledge and skills extended to the broader community through the organisation’s outreach programme;
  • Efficient and well managed use of donor funds, encouraging more charitable donations; and
  • A significant contribution to the nation’s workforce and transformation of the country.

Bright Start’s project addresses these children’s educational needs, for hope for the future, and a right for equal opportunity. These children will graduate with confidence and high self-esteem, providing a strong platform for economic success. This unique programme helps address the socio-economic backlog, one child at a time.

Quantifiable evidence of Bright Start’s success:

  • 26 children fully funded on the bright start programme compared to seven in 2008;
  • 95 percent of the organisation’s beneficiaries are achieving within the top 25 percent of their class, and 20 percent performing in the top 5 percent;
  • Principal and merit awards achieved by children in Bright Start’s programme;
  • Two bursary places offered at the German (DSK) School Cape Town based on academic merit;
  • Parents contribute financially every month;
  • Good attendance from the community during our outreach workshops;
  • High number of applications from the community for Bright Start places;
  • Written endorsements from partner schools;
  • Bright Start was chosen for the 2013 Vodacom ‘Change the World’ initiative.

To view Bright Start in the Prodder NGO Directory, click here.


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