In 2010, Laura and I ran an after-school program and used our social capital to support others doing the same. Seeing the impact of collaborating on training, sharing resources and opportunities, we founded Outliers with 12 after-school programs. We are now a community of more than 122 sites reaching 10,000 learners. And until every child has equal access to education, I will continue to advocate for access to after-school programs.
I trust in the power of small actions. I believe in the power of hard working people. In a world where everyone has an opinion about what is wrong, the joy of Outliers is watching a solution in action. A solution that comes through small actions, dedicated people and a lot of hard work. I look forward to seeing every child being able to access a safe space of their own, to love learning, and be shepherded by the wonderful people of this network.
Before working with Outliers I had the opportunity to work with an educational program which allowed me to see every type of learner and school in the Western Cape and was always saddened at the lack of resources and exposure majority of our kids have. Now I get to work with another side of this space, with after-school programs, and while majority of them still don’t have much, they have taught me that sitting back is not an option. These partners inspire me daily to keep going.
In 2020, during National lockdown and school closure, Outliers distributed in excess of 25000 workbooks. With many printing facilities closed, Vulisango Mtshikwana of Rondebosch United Church helped us launch our emergency response by personally printing thousands of copies of workbooks every week. When Rondebosch United Church offered us office space, we were thrilled that Vuli was able to join our team on a more regular basis.
I believe that education not only equips us with knowledge to know better, but it empowers us with the skills to do better. Equal access to education gives all young people the power to make choices that shape their lives and not let circumstances dictate it for them. I joined Outliers because they help create spaces so that all young people have access to resources that will give them the knowledge and skill to choose a better life for themselves and their community.