The delivery of the Booktainer® to the Lions River Community in Kwazulu Natal in August marked a major milestone for Bright Kid Foundation, our 300th delivery since 2000. The Booktainer® is also the 48th delivery for the Zoë Carss Education Trust, an astounding achievement. Below are some pics and an excerpt from a letter sent by the Head of Stepp, Louse Taylor, concerning this historic occasion.
It's Time To Help Our Children
The Bright Kid Foundation believes that every child in South Africa has a right to quality pre-school education in a safe and learner-friendly environment, with access to educational toys and books that encourage an optimal learning experience, supervised by a trained teacher.
Unfortunately this is not currently the case because many rural areas cannot afford or do not have access to full functioning classrooms. And so we came up a solution: the Edutainer®, containers converted into fully equipped preschool classrooms where children can realise their full potential in a nurturing and stimulating environment.
1. The Need
A shack school on a rubbish dump in Toekomsrus
2. Select a shipping container
12m shipping containers are carefully selected
3. Convert the container
Expert teams transform the containers into well constructed, safe classrooms
4. The pre-school Edutainer is complete
Edutainers are light and spacious. They are ideal learning environments.
5. The MANTAG Certificate
All Edutainers are MANTAG certified and can be registered with the Departments of Health and Education
6. Crane-truck delivery
Edutainers are delivered by crane-trucks
7. Delivery to rural areas
Edutainers can be delivered to remote rural areas
8. Edutainers on a mountain
Edutainers in the Magaliesburg mountains
9. Edutainers being delivered
An entire community enthusiastically receives Edutainers
10. Teachers and parents rejoice
Teachers and parents celebrate on receiving their new Edutainer
11. Children in their new Edutainer
Children enjoy a safe learning environment
12. Over 285 Edutainers delivered since 2000
Since 2000, over 285 Edutainers have been delivered, with 50,000 children graduating
13. Adult Education
Edutainers can be used for Adult Basic Education (ABET) after hours
14. Learning begins
Trained teachers teaching in an Edutainer
15. A Sustainable Center
Edutainers form an Early Childhood Development Centre. Visit the Clinton Global Initiative on our site
16. Get Involved
All you need to do is get involved. More details are to be found around the site
What is the Edutainer®
The Edutainer® is an ‘instant classroom’ made from a 12 meter (40 foot) shipping container, ideal for pre-school classrooms, taking up to 25 children.
The Edutainer® is an innovative and practical way to address the problem of scarce, inferior early childhood education in South Africa. The conversion process (which you can read more about in the article below), ensures that the Edutainer® is fitted with windows and doors, insulated, electrified, furnished, and then delivered to a community and installed on prepared concrete foundations. The Edutainer® is plentifully stocked with carefully selected books, teaching aids, and educational toys. Edutainers® are usually used as pre-schools for five to six year olds in impoverished areas where there are no existing preschool facilities or those that are available are substandard at best, to provide and safe and productive learning environment.
The extensive conversion transforms the container into a bright, airy classroom which includes: insulated ceilings, large windows, a heating fan, soft-board, chalkboard, vinyl tiles, electricity, burglar bars, a large cupboard, shelving, and coat-hooks. The Edutainer® is decorated on the outside and filled with school furniture and educational toys.
The Bright Kid Foundation builds the Edutainer® foundations and then delivers the container to a selected site. Edutainers® are donated to carefully chosen early learning NGO's with a sound infrastructure and well trained teachers.
Converted containers solve the difficult problem of building in remote areas in Africa. These fully equipped structures are delivered to remote sites by land, sea or rail. In addition to the Edutainer® pre-schools, we are also producing Edutainer® Toy Libraries in response to community needs.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE WORD EDUTAINER® HAS A TRADE MARK REGISTRATION NO. IN CLASS 06 AND CAN ONLY BE USED TO DESCRIBE A CONTAINER CLASSROOM SUPPLIED BY BRIGHT KID FOUNDATION.
Edutainer® Quick Facts
- Since 2000 285 Edutainers® have been delivered throughout South Africa
- Since 2000 50,000 children have graduated from Edutainers®
- Since 2000 558 teachers have been employed to teach in Edutainers®
- Communities protect and maintain their Edutainers®
- Edutainers® sites are carefully selected (for more on the process, click Projects on the above menu)
- Edutainers® are delivered to trained teachers
- NGO’s & Primary schools monitor them
- When informal settlements move, Edutainers® can be easily moved with them
- Parents & teachers take pride in their Edutainers®
Creating an Edutainer®
Bright Kid Foundation purchases used 12 meter shipping containers to convert into Edutainers®. A 50 point check sheet is used when purchasing a container, to ensure that they are suitable for use as Edutainers®. Containers are made from 2mm corrugated steel and are extremely strong structures; seven containers can be safely stacked on top of each other. Properly maintained containers can last up to thirty years or more. All Edutainers® are provided with maintenance schedules and appropriate paint to touch up. The conversion process is carefully monitored and designed to produce Edutainers® which can withstand most of the weather extremes found in South Africa.
Heat is generally transmitted through the ceiling, so very effective insulating panels are placed inside the Edutainer® at an appropriate distance from the roof. Extra large windows are placed opposite each other for light and to allow for cooling cross-breezes. A heating fan is provided for cold days.
Containers are wire-brushed to remove all old paint and rust resistant metal etch oxide is painted over the entire container. Two coats of enamel are painted on top of this, followed by a further coat of enamel which is used to decorate the container. Steel reinforced concrete foundation blocks are supplied with each Edutainer® to level them and keep them above ground to allow airflow underneath.
1. Selecting a Container
A 50 point check is used to select a suitable 12 container
2. Fitting the Inside
Containers are wire-brushed and 2 coats of enamel are painted on top of this, followed by a further coat of enamel which is used to decorate the container
3. Customising Features
Aside from windows and doors, each Edutainer is fitted with a heating fan, soft-board, chalkboard, vinyl tiles, electricity, burglar bars, a large cupboard, shelving, and coat-hooks.
4. Insulating and Lighting
Edutainers are insulated to protect from cold and over heating, and installed with lighting
To keep young learners free from distraction, comfort & sustainability are utmost
All Edutainers need to be safe, meeting all requirements for school buildings
Tables, chairs and other school furniture turns the Edutainer into a fully-functional classroom
8. Toys and Materials
Next comes the highest quality educational products, toys and other learning aids
Each container has its own beautiful and colourful paint job
10. A New Classroom
The extensive conversion transforms the container into a bright, airy classroom, ready to help our children thrive
Bright Kid Foundation has been awarded a MANTAG CERTIFICATE 2009/M56. MANTAG is part of AGREMENT, a South African national body which establishes and monitors building standards. This certificate means that Edutainers® can be permanently used as pre-schools as their high standards of construction, insulation, ventilation and pre-school facilities (like the cupboards and shelving) meet or exceed the required standards.
The Bright Kid Foundation has carefully designed the Edutainer® to be sustainable, enabling competent teachers to attract fee-paying parents so they can enroll enough children to generate sufficient funds to pay salaries and feed the children.
How the Bright Kid Foundation achieves sustainability:
- We work closely with established early-childhood development NGO's
- Edutainers® are only allocated to competent trained teachers
- Edutainers® are well equipped and function as excellent pre-schools.
- educational toys
- This high-quality learning environment attracts fee-paying parents
It is vital for Corporate Social Investment (CSI) to be sustainable. A social investment yields a stream of social benefits which accrue to the individuals directly involved (the pupils and teachers in the Edutainer®) and to the community at large.
An Edutainer® is a sizeable investment, and donors are not expected to provide additional funds over time to keep it operating. The teacher or the community running the Edutainer® need to generate the funds to pay salaries, feed the children, supply educational equipment, and maintain the Edutainer®. Teachers and communities are carefully vetted before they receive Edutainers®, to ensure that they will be able to make effective use of this significant, free capital asset. Edutainers® can be registered as pre-schools, so the school will receive some government grants in addition to the modest school fees they receive. It is very rare that the parents of all children attending will be able to pay fees as there is usually high unemployment in the poor areas where Edutainers® are placed. However, parents practice ‘uBuntu; a form of social responsibility to the community. Fee paying parents will allow a certain number of unemployed parents to send their children to the Edutainer® pre-school without paying fees.
There are always a number of ‘garage crèches’ in the poor communities receiving Edutainers®. These usually consist of ‘shack’ schools without trained teachers and without adequate sanitation or educational toys. The dramatic delivery of the Edutainer®, which is fully decorated on the outside and delivered by a crane truck, is often attended by local dignitaries and the whole community and this delivery provides superb publicity to the Edutainer®, encouraging parents to enroll their children in the Edutainer® school. .They will send their children to the well equipped Edutainer® pre-school in preference to a shack school and the school fees generated help make the Edutainer® sustainable.
In spite of careful planning on the part of the Donor and Bright Kid Foundation, social development investment in poorer communities always involves some degree of risk. Teachers may fall ill, communities may move, and employment creating factories may leave the school area. If the community is re-located, we are able to move the Edutainer® with the community. However, in some cases this is not possible. In a recent survey of the Edutainers® we placed, we found that approximately 3.5% of the units placed were not functioning properly as pre-schools. These were all Edutainers® placed before 2003. In these cases, we remove the container, and completely re-furbish and re-paint it, to make it equivalent to a new Edutainer®. By the time that this process is completed, the costs are the same as our normal finishing of used containers. Once the re-finishing is complete, we are able to re-cycle the newly finished fully equipped container. Containers which have been removed from their original location are marked with an “R” after the location place name in the list of Edutainers® delivered.
Our MANTAG Certification
Legally, container conversions and prefabricated buildings are classified as temporary structures. This means that they can only be used on one site for 6 months – since plans have not been approved by any Government department. This law is sporadically applied but will be more rigorous in the future. However, because Edutainers® underwent a rigorous 24 month evaluation, Edutainers® are MANTAG certified for permanent use as pre-schools. This means they can be registered as pre-schools for subsidy purposes.
View a letter from the city of Johannesburg about the necessity of a Mantag Certificate
Endorsements and Reports
Edutainers® have impacted very positively on the lives of children, teachers, parents and communities. Donors and teachers have given extremely favourable evaluations of the Edutainer® Project.
Watch the Stonecracker Video – The Donor Sponsored Video
Donor, NGO and Department Endorsements
'Bright Kid Foundation is able to deliver complete Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDCs) to remote rural areas and informal settlements. Once these ECDCs are inspected and certified, they are eligible for a per child subsidy to make them sustainable. We encourage investment in ECDCs, as the DSD has prioritized Early Childhood Development as vitally important for the future of South Africa's children.'
Mr AT Pule, Director of Stakeholder Management & Donor Coordination, Department of Social Development
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'Despite the poor living condition in the settlements, the children at the two centres seemed healthy and very happy. The communities also seem very engaged in the management of the project which is vital for the sustainability of the initiative. The initiative is a shining example of what successful partnerships between the private sector, government and civil society can achieve.'
Aida Girma, Representative, UNICEF South Africa
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'On behalf of Eskom ECOU and the Godidi community in the Eastern Cape, we would like to thank you for the final delivery of the Edutainers®. They were received with great fan fair and delight from the Godidi community, that not even the rain could dampen their spirits. The improvement in the new school will allow a solid grounding for children in the community to receive a good start with their education, allowing dreams to become a reality.'
Ntosh Mafumbatha, Corporate Affairs Division: Eskom
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'Nedbank Foundation has worked with Bright Kid Foundation from 2010 to 2013. During this time Nedbank funded 15 pre-school Edutainers® that were delivered throughout South Africa, and we are very proud of the positive impact they have had on the communities to which they were delivered.'
Kone Gugushe, Divisional Executive: Nedbank CSR
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'Citi is proud to have worked with the Bright Kid Foundation from 2001 to 2011. Over this time-frame, Citi sponsored 30 Edutainers® to various communities and is proud of the impact they had in the local communities. Early childhood development is a critical part of developing any society and particularly in South Africa...
Citi South Africa financially sponsored and partnered with the Bright Kid Foundation for 10 years and we are proud to have made a change in the lives of many community members with their assistance. While we no longer sponsor the project, we still believe in its merits to society and proudly endorse the work being done by them.'
Vanashree Moodley, Citibank South Africa
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'Good ideas are simple....
Stonecracker (a European donor organization working closely with Bright Kid Foundation) was struck by the elegant simplicity of the Edutainer® logic : in order to improve a society, you'll have to improve Education standards, improving education standards starts with providing basic schooling infrastructure, basic schooling infrastructure starts with adequate schooling facilities. The Edutainer® provides these basic facilities at relatively low prices, short lead-times and required movability. The last element is of great importance, Edutainers® are moveable and can be placed at any site where a short or long term need develops. Once the need has ceased, the Edutainer® can be deployed elsewhere. Simple and sound logic.
Since 2008 Stonecracker has funded 21 Edutainers® in the South African West Cape. Being closely involved with Bright Kid Foundation in site selection, placing and follow-up checks on usage and upkeep, our overall conclusion is that the Edutainer® is an efficient concept with excellent leverage on several levels.'
Irma Borrias, Stonecracker Foundation
'Receiving the Edutainers® has changed the lives of both Julia and Mollie significantly. Both these teachers have had more than a 50% increase in the number of children who enrolled
into their pre-schools for 2011. They will now be able to run their pre-schools as proper income earning concerns. The quality of education will also be enhanced significantly as the Edutainers® are superbly equipped and designed to function as one or even two class rooms. The lockable shelf space on the one side and the educational toys and equipment included
are also great for having a fully functional classroom facility from the minute the Edutainer® is delivered.'
Lucas Scheepers, Community Outreach Program Trust
‘I would like to motivate and encourage the approval of the ECD Edutainers®, to ensure that Early Childhood Education is enhanced, accessible and the acceptable quality standards are attained to improve the health and well being of our little children in Gauteng.'
Venessa Mentor, Director Early Childhood Development Institute, Gauteng Department of Education, 11 May 2011
'We recently visited one of our most successful Edutainers®, at Delft in the Cape townships which is a prime example of what happens when the whole process works properly. A very dedicated teacher, operating from a tiny site (the container barely squeezes in).... It feeds on being an evident success, parents want their children to go there and pay the fees.'
Richard Carss, The Zoë Carss Educational Trust Annual Report
‘Edutainers® are an imaginative cost-effective response to the lack of educating facilities in South Africa for children aged approximately 2 to 8 years old.’
Eric Atmore, CEO Centre for Early Childhood Development
ABI Edutainers® in Masakhane Magaliesburg
'..the placement of these Edutainers® has provided a lot of scope for the development and empowerment of the entire community'
Sonja van der Vyver Director Village Power Community Development
'The positive contribution of the Edutainer® program regarding the standard and quality of preschool education was confirmed by the many positive comments made by respondents. It was overwhelmingly expressed that the Edutainers® have impacted very positively on the lives of children, teachers, parents and communities, as one teacher succinctly noted: ”We need a place to teach but the classrooms assigned were not constructed. The Edutainer® stepped in where our need was the greatest. It also meets more than just our needs - it meets the community's needs, the parent's needs, and most importantly, the children's needs”'
Jaclyn Murray, Centre for Early Childhood Development, Edutainer® Evaluation
'At every visit a proud member of the parent body, or even the general community, will arrive and delight in the acknowledgement of their efforts to further strengthen the preschool experience they are providing their children. The Edutainer® serving as a catalyst, to lift this early childhood community out of despair and energizing them with hope as they continue to progress, tiny step by tiny step, forward.'
Fioni Murray, Khululeka Early Childhood Development, Didimana Village, Eastern Cape
In the words of Maria Robinson “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending”, and the two Edutainers® located in Hackney and Didimana respectively have most certainly provided these communities with the opportunity to make a new ending for their children. An ending, where teaching and learning can begin in a well-resourced, attractive and stimulating environment.
Fioni Murray, Khululeka Early Childhood Development
'Until now the group ( providing a safe place for children to play while their parents worked) has struggled with a lack of space, and meetings and workshops often had to be held amidst the hubbub of chattering children at play. Consequently, the Foundation jumped at the opportunity of having an Edutainer® that would provide a dedicated and purpose built space for pre-school learners. As Mama Nomhlobo, one of the group members, commented, “Now we’ve got our own space and the children will be more free”'.
Lucy O’Keeffe on Nedbank Edutainer® delivered to the remote rural town of Kalkeni, Angus Gilles Foundation
'I am very happy with the Edutainer® as it provides me with a professional classroom to teach from and earn a salary for myself and my teachers from the school fees.’
Meriam Petla, Tswelopepe Day Care Centre.
‘The Edutainer® is very spacious and I am happy with it.’
Rachel Thwala, Eyetu.
‘I find the Edutainer® very user-friendly for me, my teachers and the children. It is wonderful.’
Selina Malepa, Ithuthuba Preschool.
'I am proud to have a classroom such as an Edutainer®.’
Joyce Maila. Mafube Day Care.
‘I am very happy to have been awarded an Edutainer® to provide a school for the children and teachers."
Coronation Mbowani, Stepping Stone Day Care.
The following pdf files are reports from various projects:
The Need for Effective Pre-schools
Overwhelming research has shown that the first few years of education are vital for a child’s future cognitive, emotional and physical development. One year of quality pre-school education will make a huge difference in the child’s potential for success. It is crucial to teach pre-school children in a nurturing and stimulating environment.
Tragically, few South African children will receive adequate early childhood education. Only 17 % of children receive one year of effective pre-school. The end result is that most six and seven year olds enter the formal schooling system drastically unprepared, resulting in frustration, poor learning, failure, grade repetition, and a high dropout rate. Only one in five South African children achieves a school-leaving certificate. No specific funds are allocated by the South African Government to the construction of pre-school classrooms.
Very few South African children receive adequate early childhood education. Only 2% of children under three are enrolled in full-day pre-school programs and about 17% of children under six. In Belgium, France, Denmark and Italy, by comparison, the figure is about 80%. Disadvantaged children are particularly seriously affected. Much of the pre-schooling, which does occur, takes place in cramped, dilapidated and unhygienic conditions, with problems ranging from lead paint contamination to inadequate lighting. The end result is that many six and seven year olds enter the formal schooling system drastically unprepared, which results in frustration and poor learning as well as high rates of grade repetition, failure and dropping out.
The South African Government has consequently asked primary schools to add Grade R facilities. They stipulate that primary schools need quality classrooms and that children should not be taught in shacks. The problem is, primary schools generally don’t have funds for extra classrooms.
Early Child Development
Research into Early Child Development, or ECD, has shown that this period, which includes the Grade-R age group, is the most important in terms of maturing to healthy, functional adults. Eric Atmore, director of the Centre for Early Childhood Development, published an article in the Business Day in 2008 which describes the benefits from receiving one year of effective pre-school. These children are:
- More likely not to repeat a grade
- Less likely to need remedial education
- Less likely to be involved in crime
- Less likely to experience teen pregnancies
So what's the Solution?
The Edutainer®. Click here
The Edutainer® Map shows the location (often approximate) of the Edutainers®, Booktainers® and Skilltainers® delivered by the Bright Kid Foundation and currently in use around South Africa and beyond. Click on a markers to see more info on the Edutainer® such as the donor and date of delivery.