The lifeblood of any non-profit organisation is its donor community – and Good Work Foundation’s friends, family and supporters are more passionate and vocal than most!
With GWF being a proudly women-led organisation, we spoke to some of our female donor partners during Women’s Month to find out why they are so invested in backing GWF’s vision of wonder-filled education.
Bronwyn Varty-Laburn, Londolozi director and GWF trustee
The Londolozi Private Game Reserve family has been part of GWF’s “beautiful idea” since its inception – going back to when GWF co-founder and CEO Kate Groch was tutoring Bronwyn and her brother Boyd during their parents’ travels around the world. Bronwyn therefore knows the organisation’s DNA inside out, and remains one of its biggest fans.
“My brother and I always joke that we were GWF’s first students, because we were Kate’s first experiment in teaching under trees in the most rural parts of Africa, experiencing different cultures and different ideas, always at grassroots level. That was where the idea of reimagining education was born – disrupting the education model and playing with the idea that access is whatever you make of it,” Bronwyn reflects.
Londolozi is a founding partner of GWF, and opened a prototype learning centre to test the water ahead of the establishment of GWF’s flagship Hazyview Digital Learning Campus and, subsequently, its satellite campuses. Today, it continues to support GWF’s life-changing work through its Ripple Fund, and the Varty family remains intimately involved in the execution of its vision.
“The biggest thing that Good Work Foundation teaches you is that everything is a learning opportunity,” says Bronwyn.
“They are redefining the essence of knowledge acquisition, wisdom acquisition and emotional intelligence. And the power of apprenticeship is alive and well at GWF, with the idea that people learn in different ways and have different skill sets. The other thing is the genius of ‘and’ – that there’s space for formal schooling, but also that the mind, the body and the heart all have a right to an education.”
GWF goes beyond just technology education, she says. “Good Work Foundation is about growing great human beings in a shared humanity. We keep our tree at the heart of it, because that digital tree symbolises so much of what GWF stands for – the best that African wisdom has to offer, but also global excellence. And at the centre is always remembering that the wholeness of a human being is important.”
The proudest part of Londolozi’s association with GWF is that “they walk their talk”, she says. "There’s a lot of authenticity around what they do. I’ve seen many, many people upskilled. I’ve seen children’s marks going up. I’ve seen people start at Londolozi as gardeners and, after going through Good Work Foundation programmes, return to run our back office. So it’s really making a tangible difference in the rural parts of the country.”
It’s remarkable to watch the human spirit come back to life if children are given a chance to dream.
Bronwyn gets a little emotional when talking about her most treasured GWF moment, of which there are many. “I remember the first time I went to the Philippolis campus. Being in that space for the first time was very, very emotional and eye-opening.
"Seeing young children who had been below the poverty line having their creativity switched back on again was incredible. It’s remarkable to watch the human spirit come back to life if children are given a chance to dream.”