Who we are
In 1977, the Eshowe Christian Action Group (now Eshowe Community Action Group) was formed under the umbrella of the Rotary Club of Eshowe. It was inspired by two Eshowe Gentlemen: the late Rotarian and farmer, Guy Chennells and Prince Gideon Zulu, who, together with loyal donors built the first 12 classrooms.
It came to the attention of the local Rotarians that the township of Gezinsla (now King Dinuzulu suburb), near Eshowe, was growing and was in desperate need of a Secondary School. ECAG came up with an arrangement where the local community would be required to raise a 10% deposit to fund the building of the school, and ECAG would find an organisation to provide the other 90% required. ECAG found engineers to develop a simple standard classroom design, easily duplicated, so that every school would be easy to build and safe for the students.
Today, this non-profit organisation has built 3 000 classrooms and helped educate about 150 000 underprivileged children. ECAG recognises that education is the key to unraveling the vicious cycle of poverty in KwaZulu Natal. The estimated value of these projects in today's terms is about R450 million, and without funds received from our loyal donors would not have been possible.
Rural children need more schools, with improved teaching methods, techniques and materials that focus on their real needs. Education is the key to giving these children the chance to make a positive difference in their society.
The mission of the Eshowe Community Action Group, in partnership with rural communities, parents and the Local Education Department is to provide education opportunities for all disadvantaged children in Zululand to acquire knowledge, understanding, skills, attitudes and responsibility for life long success, while developing healthy, productive, responsible citizens of society.
In order to accomplish this mission,the following purposes and goals need to be in place:
- to provide classroom facilities that are properly designed, safe, secure and cost effective
- to seek funding to support facilities expansions and improvements on classrooms already available
- to encourage rural community participation to ensure the success of this project
- to provide a challenging environment for these young children, that is committed to academic and personal excellence, and where each child can master the skills needed to excel in a global society
We need to ensure that children growing up in low-income areas have the exposure they deserve to the world beyond their schools and neighborhoods.
Our group is made up of volunteers, and with the backing of the Rotary Club of Eshowe, has managed to raise funds for this project all over the world.
Our committee comprises of a Quantity Surveyor, Chartered Accountants and Principals of the schools that we serve, and our Chairman is Dr Jethro Mdlalose, principal at Thembalesizwe Primary School. The committee comprises of people with knowledge in architecture, clerk of works, project management and administration. Through their leadership, we have built in excess of:
- 3 000 classrooms
- 20 laboratories
- 6 000 toilets (including the ventilated inlet type pipe toilets)
at schools all around Zululand.
Our executive committee:
Dr B.J MDLALOSE – CHAIRPERSON
MRS N.G. QWABE – VICE CHAIRPERSON
MR J.G CHENNELLS – TREASURER
MR F.C. VOLBRECHT – PROJECT MANAGER
MR S.V. MTHEMBU – MEMBER
DR M.S MPUNGOSE – DEPT OF EDUCATION LIAISON