Changing the Education System One Learner at a Time
Ms Gabriella Khawula, the founder of Teach Me, a tutorial programme aimed at disadvantaged primary school learners was the winner of the Inspiring Impact Challenge 2021.
The Challenge is part of an annual UKZN campaign that recognises and profiles the impact of alumni and students who have taken up initiatives that inspire greatness.
Khawula, a BCom Marketing and Supply Chain Management alumnus, heard about the Challenge from a friend and was immediately drawn to enter because of the impact of her non-profit organisation.
Teach Me was established to close the gap between private and public school education. It offers tutoring in Mathematics and English for Grades 1-7 in public schools. The programme also teaches learners entrepreneurial skills, financial literacy, farming skills and coding.
Having already assisted around 200 learners, Teach Me prides itself on ‘changing the lives of disadvantaged learners and giving them equal opportunities at no cost’. Said Khawula, ‘It’s not easy but we are constantly striving to make it possible because we know that nothing is impossible.’
As the winner of the first Inspiring Impact Challenge, Khawula walked away with a R20 000 cash prize to assist her organisation in reaching more learners. She said, ‘I am proud that what I am doing is appreciated. Winning the competition means that nothing my team and I have done has been in vain, and that we need to continue doing good no matter what.’
Commenting on the organisation’s vision, Khawula said: ‘My dreams and aspirations for Teach Me are to help disadvantaged learners throughout South Africa and then expand to other countries. I want to see the pass rate for learners and schools improve until the minimum is increased back to 50%. I want to see learners grow and take on the world, as opposed to just depending on South Africa for opportunities, and I want to see the rate of unemployed graduates decrease by exposing learners to skills and knowledge that can help them branch out into unpopular career fields.’
She added that her challenges include always leading, even on bad days, with the biggest challenge being the COVID-19 pandemic which took a lot of time, patience and open communication to overcome.
She acknowledged that her qualification assisted her in understanding the different factors that come into play when building an organisation and being a visionary.
Words: Hlengiwe Khwela