Another “way-finder” joins the ranks

In 2011, Lauren Burrows volunteered to work with Good Work Foundation in Philippolis, a small town on the edge of the Karoo in the Free State province of South Africa. Two years later, we received the following update from a young lady who is fast-becoming what Martha Beck would call a “wayfinder”, people who feel an internal call to heal an authentic part of the world.

Thanks for sharing Lauren!


I had no idea that my time in Philippolis would come to inspire my future career choices. I knew that what I was about to embark on in helping the Good Work Foundation would be inspirational and a worthy cause. Having previously travelled to North and West Africa I was eager to experience the South and in turn was equally grateful for the opportunity.

After meeting up with Kate Groch, Good Work Foundation founder and CEO, in Colesburg, I remember looking out of the window into the wild open bush, the dry grass hiding African secrets. It was at that point – on our way to Philippolis – that I realised the isolation present in this story; an isolation that could easily have neglected hidden towns like Philippolis if it wasn’t for organisations like the Good Work Foundation, which is involved in everything from soup kitchens, building projects, pre-schools and digital literacy.

My time in Philippolis was filled with children, delightful, eager, enthusiastic, curious, energetic children, all of whom had the weight of South Africa’s future on their shoulders.

As a volunteer I became a painter, a ceiling constructor, an entertainer, a nursery nurse but most of all, I was a teacher and a student.

I learnt how the communities of Philippolis live and how they construct their lives around this forgotten town. I loved being the reason why the kids were happy, and a teacher for them in terms of understanding “the West”, but giving back to the older generations by helping out in their homes was equally as worthy. I realised that people of all generations needed to be included in constructing a future for Philippolis, just like the Good Work Foundation’s aim to include children and “elders” alike into digital projects.

More than anything, I bought into the foundation’s resolute belief that rural people MUST be empowered with digital literacy skills. After teaching in Asia and Africa I can see that, in a global context, we need to give rural children every bit of knowledge we can in order to open up opportunities and improve their future prospects.

After Philippolis, I decided my next step was to become a master in the field of development, specifically with an African focus. I want to have the skills to be able to change and shape educational policies for countries like South Africa. I am currently studying an MSc in Africa and International Development at the University of Edinburgh. The time I had in Philippolis has shaped my understanding of the theories, it has given me an honest, realistic base of understanding and a motivation to expand my knowledge in order to help those in Africa expand theirs.

I want to encourage people of African nations to help themselves in making the choices to move forward. Good Work Foundation opened up these passions for me, it ignited a realisation that I guess I knew was their all along. Not only is Good Work Foundation bringing Western technology to the doorsteps of rural African communities, but by doing that it is giving young people access to knowledge and opportunities that never before existed.

Warm regards,

Lauren Burrows

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