Founded in 1999 by novelist Richard Mason in memory of his sister, the Kay Mason Foundation (KMF) eliminates barriers to quality education for underprivileged South Africans. The Foundation aims to empower learners and their families, and through education, to bridge the opportunity gap that is one of South Africa’s greatest challenges.
Under the patronage of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, the KMF works to identify and assist the leaders of tomorrow - the young people who can bring about the positive social change and development on which South Africa’s future success depends. With a 99 percent Matric pass rate, KMF’s track record speaks for itself. The organisation has spent 14 years developing practical, emotional and academic support structures to help disadvantaged young people in all of South Africa’s racial groups to achieve their full potential.
‘A Hand-Up, Not a Hand-Out’ - Archbishop Desmond Tutu:
The KMF works in partnership with families and provides funds only after a full investigation of financial need. The secret of the organisation’s success relies on its focus on the individual - his or her circumstances, needs, family situation and potential, no child is a number to KMF. The organisation has a very dedicated staff that provides each of the scholars with the psycho-social support they would only get at the most expensive private school. KMF has individually-tailored financial packages, regularly readjusted, to ensure that families only receive the minimum amount of financial assistance required to give their child a shot at a great future.
KMF has partnered with top achieving government schools in the Western Cape, which are affordable and yet produce excellent results which offer scholars a holistic education, equipping them with the tools to become leaders in their communities and in their country. KMF is good at identifying future leaders, while also remembering that one does not have to be a rocket scientist to change the world. KMF’s graduates are noted for their confidence, poise, and decisiveness in debate, independent thought and care for others, qualities they develop in the KMF support programme.
Kay Mason Foundation South Africa Trust programmes
Scholars apply during their Grade six year. The organisation has excellent relationships with primary schools in the Western Province; they help KMF to identify bright, motivated, academically strong but financially disadvantaged children. After a preliminary application process, the children are invited for interviews with their parents / guardians. The KMF team visits them at home to check their financial and social situations. Home visits are a strong feature of the organisation’s monitoring process. If they meet KMF’s requirements, they become enrichment scholars during their Grade seven year. The organisation’s Enrichment Programme is run every Saturday morning at the Cape Town classroom, doing tutoring in Mathematics, English, Science and study skills by professional teachers, KMF personnel and KMF Alumni.
The Enrichment Programme has two objectives:
- To prepare scholars academically and socially for KMF’s partnering high schools;
- To test their commitment to their education.
At the end of the Enrichment year, the scholars who have made it through are awarded a Kay Mason Foundation scholarship.
- Financial sponsorship: individually tailored financial packages, which can include:
- Academic support: Additional tutoring, group meetings, alumni support; and
- Psycho-social support
KMF’s scholars are not numbers to the organisation. KMF focuses on each scholar as an individual, with individual needs, background, psycho-social factors impacting on their achievements, behaviour and decision-making. Psycho-social support includes, but is not limited to the following:
- Home visits to assess home circumstances, financial- and social factor;
- Regular contact with both scholars and their parents;
- Quarterly formal KMF workshops for both scholars and parents;
- Assist scholars to adapt to a first world environment through workshops, outings, life skills training, counselling sessions, exposure;
- Quarterly assessment of progress academically and psycho-socially (academic reports, meetings with school teachers / principals, interviews, scholar reports);
- Additional information provided through Facebook, SMS, hard copy material, e-mail and telephonically;
- Special programmes as required, such as workshop, job shadowing, etc.;
- KMF scholars volunteer in the communities, to foster an awareness of the responsibilities that come with the gift of an education;
- KMF works with other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to provide volunteering opportunities in a range of areas including planting trees, cleaning nursery schools, engaging in educational debates and caring for the elderly and dying.
KMF’s support to scholars does not end the day they graduate from school. The organisation’s Alumni programme includes:
- Support towards tertiary education and options after leaving school;
- Assistance towards finding employment;
- Established an Alumni committee that facilitates the Alumni programme in liaison with the Chief Executive Officer;
- Alumni meetings (psycho-social support, advice, information, training and workshops);
- Tracking Alumni progress; and
- Alumni being actively involved in KMF activities, such as:
Many scholarship programmes do not actively include the parents of scholars. KMF has found that parental involvement is critical to ensure optimal long term development of scholars. Parents must be included in evaluation about their children’s progress and they must retain their parental roles and responsibilities. The organisation has included parents in discussions, decision-making, sharing information, outings, group-meetings, fundraising initiatives and KMF programme implementation. The organisation has also provided counselling for parents and families who require it.
To date, KMF has supported more than 150 scholars successfully. KMF’s vision is not only to empower and develop the leaders of tomorrow, but to make a lasting difference within communities. As such, the organisation forms strong partnerships with its feeder schools and high schools where scholars are placed. KMF plans to further identify high schools within underprivileged communities, which show a commitment towards excellence. Through KMF’s involvement and support towards these schools, the organisation can assist to turn them into centres of excellence, not only providing quality education to KMF scholars, but to all the children in the surrounding community. This in turn will lead to further community development and improvement.
KMF is a dynamic organisation which truly changes lives which in turn changes communities. With your support, KMF can make a meaningful difference in South Africa.
To view the Kay Mason Foundation in the Prodder NGO Directory, click here.