SA’s Education Problems And A Solution

This is my desk. I probably should have tidied it up before showing it to you.


It will get tidied, at some point. Every few months I get the urge to do some filing, usually when I have some important work to do and I’ve run out of other procrastination options.

I don’t really think about my desk much. It’s just there. I bought it at a Weylandts sale a few years ago. Actually all my furniture was bought at Weylandts sales, but let’s not get side tracked. On my desk, as you can see, is my laptop (his name is Joseph. Just kidding, my laptop does not have a name) and a giant screen so I can watch movies, I mean work better.

It’s more ergonomic you see, to have a screen straight ahead instead of looking down into a laptop screen the whole time. So this is where I do my work when I’m not travelling and enjoying all the amazing things I get invited to do. What did you say? You didn’t think I ever worked? Well, when do you think I write about all those interesting things I do? Sometimes I sit at this desk for days at a time. Stopping to rest from work only every 5 minutes or so when I think of something to procrastinate on. I’ve already done about 5 other things I didn’t need to do since I started this article and I’m only on the 3rd paragraph. But I digress.

So why all this talk about my desk? Well, I was approached by MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet to help them spread the word about the TutuDesk campaign. Now before we get into the TutuDesk campaign, please tell me you have a MySchool card already. And that you use it whenever you shop at Woolworths. I know you shop at Woolies. You shop at Woolies all the time! Just quickly, this is how it works… If you swipe your MySchool card when you shop at Woolworths, 1% of your spend is donated to the cause you have selected. It doesn’t have to be for a school. It started for schools but now it covers all sorts of causes. Mine is linked to an awesome organisation focused mainly in townships around Johannesburg, the Community Outreach Programme Trust.

But you can choose from hundreds of causes listed. It could be an environmental cause, or a social cause, maybe even the SPCA or something if you love dogs or cats. If you don’t select a cause, your 1% goes into a pool of funds and gets allocated by MySchool themselves to projects that they have identified as needing extra assistance. So basically, if you don’t have a card you are stealing money from the poor and you’re killing rhinos. Understand? Also, just to give you an idea of the impact this 1% has, MySchool raises over R4m a month! They actually send you an email every month showing you how much was raised, how much you spent and what your contribution was.

Also, it’s not just at Woolies you can swipe. ToysRus, Waltons, Altech Netstar, Power24.co.za & Engen are all partners too. Find out more about the MySchool programme and sign up here (it’s very easy to sign up).

Now let’s talk about the TutuDesk campaign. Finally.

So Tuesday next week (16th) is a public holiday. I know you knew that. But did you know it’s Youth Day? I hope so. I was asked by MySchool to spread the word because in honour of Youth Day, they want to support a very special project. MySchool will donate an extra Rand for every swipe of the MySchool card at any partner, from the 13th to the 16th. This is in addition to the usual donation to the charity partner you originally selected.

So what is the Tutudesk campaign? Well, we all know that the lack of proper education is a major hurdle in our country. The more we can do to improve education, the better. The PROBLEM is that approximately 3 million students attend school without the benefit of a classroom desk to work at.

Which made me think, how do they get anything done? I decided to try working without my (or any) desk while writing this article. Some of the pupils have to sit on the floor while some have chairs but no desk. So I started on the floor. It was impossible. I’m not a kid anymore, not quite so flexible these days. Within 5 minutes I had pains in my back and hips. These days a yoga workout for me is just putting my socks on. So I gave that up quickly and moved to the couch. I managed to work there for long enough to get this article done, but ergonomic is not the first word that comes to mind. But all I was doing was typing on my laptop. These kids don’t have laptops, they need to write by hand, which is a whole different story.

I returned to my desk, feeling very appreciative that I have it and totally understanding why not having desks is such a big problem in schools. Which is why the Lapdesk is a great thing. It’s a portable desk which the pupil can use at school and at home. 76% of teachers advised that Tutudesks had significantly improved the overall learning experience for their pupils and there was an overall 65% improvement in homework delivery.


All Tutudesks are locally produced, supporting local employment. They are made from high-grade material and come with a 6-year guarantee. Each desk weighs less than 1kg and sits on the learner’s lap, providing them with a surface to write on, whether they are sitting on the floor or a chair. Desks have a handle, so they are easy to carry. The material the desk is made from is child safe, made from a mixed polymer that gives it flexibility and ensures that it can’t shatter like other plastics if dropped.

Desmond Tutu is the patron of the campaign and to date the Tutudesk Campaign has assisted more than 1,3 million learners in 24 African countries. In the last year MySchool was able to contribute 7 000 lap desks for learners at under-resourced schools in South Africa.

You can contribute to this campaign by simply SWIPING YOUR MYSCHOOL CARD AT ANY OF THE PARTNERS OVER THE 4 DAY PERIOD (13 – 16 JUNE). MySchool will contribute R1 for every card swipe, in addition to the usual charitable contribution as a percentage of card spend.

Read more about the campaign here. And you can read more about Tutudesk here.

So you hardly have to do anything, and you can support this great campaign. Just make sure that:

  1. You have signed up for a MySchool card (click here if you need to do that)
  2. You swipe as many times as you can at any partner over those 4 days


Now if you’ll excuse me. I’m late for yoga.