The 18 July 2021 marks the 12th Nelson Mandela International Day.  Celebrated both locally and internationally, this day stands in honour of Nelson Mandela, his life and his values. It is a day where we celebrate and remember a man who fought for equality and social justice. We commemorate active citizenship, volunteerism, and organisations that stand on the front-line championing causes that remain crucial to our society.

This Mandela Day, the Adopt-a-School Foundation, a Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation partner entity, is launching a COVID-19 relief campaign to support schools across the country. The campaign aims to address critical gaps that impede teaching and learning in schools. The COVID-19 relief campaign interventions include sanitation, digitalisation of classrooms, the provision of infrastructure and food security.  Through the support of donors, the Foundation will kick off the campaign at Qhobosheane Primary School in Soweto on the 16 of July 2021 in light of Mandela Day.

The global pandemic has impacted communities worldwide, posing new social and economic difficulties while intensifying existing ones. COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it, with many sectors grappling with modifying systems and operations, and adapting to the new normal. This is no different in the education sector. The pandemic has exposed and pushed the depth of the socio-economic inequalities in our schools. Learners from marginalised schools are cut off during extended school closures as remote learning is not yet an option. Further, schools struggle with overcrowding and sanitation, meaning they cannot provide a safe schooling environment conducive to teaching and learning amid the pandemic.

According to the Adopt-a-School Foundation Chief Executive Officer Steven Lebere, the Foundation supports 622 schools nationally through its Whole School Development model that addresses school leadership, infrastructure, curriculum and social welfare. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges in many schools from marginalised communities. The Foundation has developed a holistic COVID-19 relief campaign aimed at addressing these challenges.

“To tackle the gaps caused by COVID-19 in schools, we need to raise significant funding. We are calling upon Corporate South Africa to partner with us and donate towards our extensive menu of COVID-19 relief projects. The contribution will enable teaching and learning to continue. All pledges are also welcomed as they will allow us to implement more interventions in more schools.  Partnerships are critical to our work. Since 2002, with the help of our partners and funders, we have invested over a billion rand in education, benefitting over a million beneficiaries. For this reason, we believe in Corporate South Africa and are excited about this initiative. We know it is only through collaboration that we can fight the impacts of COVID-19 in schools and ensure all learners have access to education during this difficult time.” Continued Steven.

To get involved in the campaign, email the Adopt-a-School Foundation Events Manager at For more details about the campaign and the work of the Adopt-a-School Foundation, visit