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February 24, 2017

One Child Can Change the World

In one disadvantaged community in South Africa, where a preschool education is not attainable for all, a young boy is making a difference. Each morning a 4 year old boy was found sitting outside the fence watching as other children made their way to school for the day. After a month, the Principal of one preschool that is a part of the Knysna Education Trust, told the child to attend school and learn. She informed the parents that they did not need to pay. She would carry the cost of the education until a sponsor could be found. From this point forward, the boy attended school daily where under the guidance of one young teacher he acclimated and made good progress.

One of the programs implemented by the Knysna Educational Trust is the FONIX literacy program. This involves a set of plastic letters which help the children learn to make words, sounds, and gain a beginning grasp of reading. This was one of the boy's favorite lessons, so much so that he began to cut out his own set of letters from old bits of cardboard he found lying around. Every day when he finished school, he would run home, round up the children in the street who did not attend preschool, and along with a grandfather who was illiterate, he would “hold school.” He would teach them some of what he had learned that day.

His grandfather was over the moon as he had never been to school. The little “preschool” quickly grew and even Primary school children would come, just to learn a bit more.

Paying It Forward

The positive impact of attending preschool on a child’s life has been proven to be one of the most significant actions in shaping successful adults. For years, the Collette Foundation has partnered with the Knysna Education Trust and supported its Adopt a Child’s Education program to assist those who cannot afford schooling. This wonderful boy is a shining example of the value of access to an education. His desire to pay it forward has inspired our whole team at Collette as well as our community of travelers and travel partners.

On our South Africa impact tour in September, travelers and employees alike will have the opportunity to volunteer at preschools with Knysna Education Trust, and continue making a difference in every life this program touches.

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