The ECAG project

Classrooms for South African children

The Eshowe Community Action Group (ECAG) is a self-help project that provides educational facilities for thousands of Zulu children and young people who live on the margins of society, ranging from the ages of 5-21 years old. Thousands of these children do not go to school, not through any fault of their own, but rather due to a lack of educational facilities.

How does the scheme work?

Communities raise a deposit to help fund a school and with the help of ECAG a sponsor is found to provide the remaining funds required to build classrooms. The deposit which has to be raised is minimal, but for these poor communities it can take up to a year to raise this money. The school is registered with the Department of Education in South Africa and funding provided for teachers and school furniture.
 
The local community is responsible for the fencing off and levelling of the site where the school is to be built. ECAG provides full-time builders to work with local people to build the classrooms thereby providing training and job opportunities. Although the ECAG’s prime objective is to build classrooms, they also assist schools with water and sanitation facilities.

Where are the schools?

The Eshowe Community Action Group is situated in the heart of Zululand, in the small town of Eshowe, 120 kilometres north of Durban. It covers a radius of some 200 kilometres, extending from the Tugela River in the south towards Hlabisa in the north, Nkandla on the western side, and the surrounding areas of Empangeni on the eastern side.

Sponsorship to date

Classrooms currently cost in the region of £9,000 (depending on currency fluctuations of the South African Rand). The classrooms that have been funded so far:
  • Mathibelana School (primary)
  • Mbatshazwa School (high school/secondary)
  • Mpumazi School (high school/secondary)
  • Ngilandela School (primary)
  • Majindi School (primary)
If rural communities are to be seen as viable and meaningful places to live, rural youths must learn to see their communities as a positive choice in which to live and work. This can be accomplished by providing these children with opportunities to become active, responsible people of a community that works together.