I was asked to become an ambassador for this organisation. In the process of this, I started connecting with some of the students who were interested in my field of work and in the creative arts, and have stayed in touch with them regularly ever since. I see so much of the amazing work Imagine Scholar do, and what they bring to and encourage in their students. It is truly inspiring and I believe they are changing lives for the better every day.
I came upon IMAGINE SCHOLAR shortly after they initiated the program that has given hope and ensured the success of a significant number of youngsters in the remote poverty-stricken area of Kamhlushwa, south eastern Mpumalanga province in South Africa, when I was asked to source books for their library. Since then, I have witnessed the life-changing effect that Corey and his partner Megan have had on that community.
They have unwittingly taken up the challenge of the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, Dr Mamphela Ramphele to "reimagine South Africa and keep alive the dream" fought for by great leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Steve Biko and Oliver Tambo.
Rather than focusing on tutoring, they undertake to uncover the potential of the scholars by exposing them to critical and creative thinking, great literature and poetry, ethics and the importance of making their own contribution to the community. The development of academic and practical skills is thus a by-product of these youngsters' growth in confidence and belief in their ability to succeed in anything they set their hearts on. From the start, I was impressed by the students being trusted to make decisions such as the selection of the new cohort of Imagine Scholars each year. Their talents are evident in the enthusiastic testimonies of successes on the website, but this would not have been possible without the faith that Megan and Corey placed in their innate intelligence, aptitudes and wisdom.
In a community of many child-headed households, family support is rare; the Imagine Scholar team, including foreign volunteers and scholars who completed the program, steps in to provide advice and encouragement. As they live in the community, with basic housing, roads that turn to mud when it rains and drought that burns up the vegetables in their food garden, they experience the realities of the lives of the scholars on the program.
The Imagine Scholar students are truly blessed to be served by Corey, Megan and the many donars who generously support this inspirational initiative!
Imagine Scholar is a humble nonprofit that has helped rural South African students repeatedly achieve feats that no other students have. So many educational programs only help students with their academics. Imagine Scholar does so much more. In addition to tutoring, the program focuses on personal development and helping students gain tools to drive their own growth. The students are also incredibly committed to helping each other. The sincerity of the students in the pursuit to dream big while also maintaining a critical eye on helping their own rural community is beyond inspiring. This educational environment is what every school should aspire to. I encourage you to visit their website www.imaginescholar.org to find out more, but more importantly, become involved! Learn how this small program helping students to revolutionize what it means to be a rural South African youth.
Check out these videos of two of the students:
-Justice - http://beautifulnews.news24.com/Beautiful-News/calling-checkmate-on-our-nations-education-emergency-20170920
-Samkelisiwe - http://beautifulnews.news24.com/Beautiful-News/if-i-can-be-a-doctor-thats-one-more-child-with-a-chance-20171004
I was an intern with Imagine Scholar while I was doing my masters in International Higher Education and had the opportunity to visit the program for a couple of months and work alongside the students and staff. Imagine Scholar truly is an organization that exceeds my expectations as a non-profit focussed on sustainable development through education. They encourage and cultivate students to explore their passions, ask questions, and provide a safe and welcoming environment for them to be uniquely themselves. Students are not passive but are important decision makers in how the organization grows and how they want to make an impact in their community. Imagine Scholar is truly an organization that has an ethical and sustainable ground-up approach and holds great integrity to its values. It's an honor to continue to work with them.
My first encounter with Imagine Scholar was 6 years ago when I was a 14 year old girl in 9th grade. Through Imagine Scholar, I got acquainted with the reality of "determination will get you anywhere" and "hard work pays". I went from being a rural girl in South Africa who had never seen nor used a computer, to being a Global Education intern at the World Affairs Council - Washington, DC (WAC-DC). Never in my entire life would I had ever imagined the possibility of attending university had Imagine Scholar not given me the opportunity it did, at the time it did. I am now a graduate not only from Imagine Scholar but from the South Africa - Washington International Program (SAWIP) as well. This proves that Imagine Scholar does not only end at Imagine Scholar, it opens doors for bigger opportunities. I am forever grateful.
Imagine Scholar is a phenomenal afterschool program. The students are incredibly talented, driven, and always eager to learn. Imagine Scholar's staff and volunteers/interns have a profound commitment to empowering South African youth, and ensure that students pursue exciting opportunities to realize their potential and broaden their worldview. I feel honored to be part of the Imagine Scholar Family.
I had the chance to volunteer with Imagine Scholar in 2017 and I couldn't have been happier with this extraordinary project! I have worked with several grassroots nonprofits in Latin America, Asia and Africa for about two years in total and I can honestly say that Imagine Scholar is an absolutely unique program! As an after school program in a small rural community it goes far beyond assisting students with their academics - from philosophical debates about TED Talks and book cycles to building race carts and space balloons, the discovery and pursuit of utterly ample interests and passions is the foundation of this program and something that can be felt on the ground every day. With a student-centered approach Imagine Scholar fosters critical thinking and the contemplation of moral responsibilities in a country and world, where inequities and injustices ought to be addressed urgently. The students (and facilitators) are some of the brightest, most ambitious and passionate innovators, dreamers and thinkers I have ever met. With an incredible amount of grit, a love for learning, an untamed curiosity and endless support for each other, students at Imagine Scholar aim at empowering their community from within and I don't see any boundary stopping them from changing their world and beyond. Their achievements are already outstanding and I know that this is just the start. This nonprofit is a true gem with a sustainable future vision, so please donate to keep it going for many generations of students to come.
I have the highest regard for Imagine Scholar and the amazing work they do. They provide amazing opportunities for learners from disadvantaged backgrounds. I have had the opportunity to meet and work with some of their students and they are exceptional. I don't have the words to describe how impressed I am with this organisation and what they do. They have my support and the support of my friends, colleagues and network.
My husband and I have been involved with Imagine Scholar for several years. The first student we sponsored is now at the African Leadership University on a full scholarship. Our second student is excelling in the 10th grade. We have visited Imagine Scholar in its rural corner of South Africa two times now and have witnessed firsthand the selflessness and dedication of the leaders and facilitators committed to the students’ development. We can also attest that their limited resources have been used very effectively. The eagerness of these bright and hard-working students to learn and to give back to their communities is so heartening. This supplement to their regular schools (which provide limited education) that emphasizes such things as leadership, character and critical thinking, give them the skills to believe they can make themselves, their families, their communities and even the world, a better place. In an area where poverty and disease are the norm and opportunities nearly non-existent, Imagine Scholar provides the hope, and more importantly, the tools to give these promising young people a path to success. My husband and I believe our involvement is one of the best things we've ever done.
What a great nonprofit organization and run by a group of very devoted people. I have been a sponsor/donor now for many years. One of the students that I sponsored was awesome, she sent letters and e-mails about how well she was doing in school and at Imagine Scholar. I receive e-mails, photos and videos of about students that are in a competitions and almost always they are the winners in their categories. Many of the graduates after going off to universities want to come back to work at Imagine Scholar to help other prepare going off to the universities.