Education. And Visions for the Future

At some stage we ask ourselves “what is the meaning of my life” or a version of that question. What is my role in this world? Will I leave a legacy, will I make a difference?

Recently, I have been asked about how I got to Good Work Foundation (GWF) and why I am here? I have been asked that by friends and even by my own sons. At times, I have been filled with self-doubt. Why did I decide to uproot my family and embark on this journey?


Byron and Crispen on the digital whiteboard

Simply put, although I was living in a proverbial paradise, and enjoying my work, I was caught in the buffalo thorn of life. The buffalo thorn has a hooked thorn representing the past and a straight thorn representing the future. I was trapped on the node of the two, in the present. I was held fast by the hooked thorns of the past and afraid to step out of my comfortable space. I didn’t really have a plan past the immediate future.

In my previous role as a trainer of Field Guides, I came to realise that teaching was a calling. I knew I wanted to be involved in training, teaching and helping others, making a difference. When the opportunity arose to be part of the team at GWF, I was ready for it, I was looking for it. I only had to find the courage then to act upon that opportunity with a sense of adventure.

Think about Dr. Viktor Frankl, who was incarcerated at Auschwitz during the Second World War. His vision of his own future helped Dr. Frankl to survive this brutal period in his life. He had a purpose. He believed that there was still something significant that he had yet to do. Frankl went on to write a book called Man’s Search for Meaning, and his meaning in life was to help others find theirs.

This has reminded me that I am on the right track on my journey; I feel that the meaning of my life is to live a life of meaning, to use my experience to help others and thereby make a difference.

One of the biggest challenges we face in rural Africa is a situation in which many of our young people have lost hope in their futures. Poverty, crime and lack of education have negatively influenced their outlook on the future. Many are surviving day-to-day.

At the Hazyview Digital Learning Centre I have been pleasantly surprised at the energy and enthusiasm of our students. They are keen to learn, to grow and are acquiring the skills in digital technology and in English lessons to equip themselves for the future.

New students in an ICDL class

An adult literacy class at Hazyview

They have been given a chance, a shot at life, for a better future. Now, it is their choice what they do with it.

It is our job as teachers to help guide them, coach them, using our life experiences to better equip them for careers in the workplace.

More importantly, it is our job to help build a plan for them and to allow them to dream and to believe anything is possible, if they have the courage to act on it.

Coming from a wealthy family background is not a key indicator of success. Some of the most successful students come from very difficult family and social situations. The key differentiator is vision; a profound and positive vision of the future.

Through access to digital education at GWF, our students have an opportunity to shine, to dream of a better future and to change their lives and their world.

Stanford mobile inquiry-based learning environment

On the iPads at Hazyview

This is where my journey has led me thus far; this is why I am here.

I am excited at the prospect of having a positive influence on the lives of our students. To inspire them, to help them believe in themselves, to find a purpose, to dream big and help them find a plan to achieve that dream.

I would love to hear your thoughts about this journey and to get your ideas on how we can keep helping our students live to reach their dreams.