A letter arrived for us recently:
“Dear Axium Stakeholders,
We are P. Junior Secondary students and we are really sad that we can no longer partake in Axium’s Programs and it feels unfair to us that we continue to be disadvantaged because of the school that we go to. We ask that you all sit down and please figure out a plan for us.”
Signed by The grade 8 P. Junior Secondary learners.
We have sat down, and we have tried to figure out a plan for these learners who have shown such determination in the face of obstacles that have been placed in their way. Unfortunately, the reality is that because of a number of logistical and financial pressures, at the moment we are not able to work directly with the school that these learners attend.
We often share stories of success, hope and positivity, but sometimes an incredible story of grit and determination from learners does not end the way we’d like to. While we want nothing more than to support all learners and reward such a powerful demonstration of agency from young people, our capacity remains limited.
We share the frustrations of these learners: it is not fair that we are unable to work with them this year. We are deeply encouraged by their determination to be a part of Axium and the value that they find in our programmes as well as their drive to learn and achieve and to not give up. Funding and logistics permitting, we are hopeful that in future years our programmes will be able to grow to include this school. While the size and scope of our programmatic work remains constrained, part of our work includes advocating with key stakeholders for better learning conditions in rural schools. We hope that in this way access to quality education will become a reality for many more rural students.
For those of us who need a hopeful ending, this story is not yet over. Once these learners leave P. Junior Secondary at the end of grade 9 and move to one of the Senior Secondary Schools for their final three years of school, they have a strong chance of being selected for Axium’s Senior Schools Programme. We know this is not the immediate, tangible solution that these learners were asking for and regret that this type of limitation is unfortunately typical of the plight of many rural learners and schools.
Siyaxolisa kubafundi! Don’t give up. We hope we get the chance to work with you.