The mission of Calabar Foundation is to have a positive impact on education and the individual lives of learners of all ages by funding technology programs, literacy programs, and capital projects at deserving schools across South Africa.
The Calabar Foundation was established by Andrew and Didi Summers in September 2006 in memory of Andrew’s parents, Rev. John and Maureen Summers. Rev. John spent twenty-five years as a missionary in Africa, the first ten years as headmaster of Hope Waddell High School in Calabar, Nigeria (where Andrew was born), and the next fifteen years in Alice, South Africa, where he founded and was first President of the Federal Seminary in 1964, an inter-denominational seminary training Anglican, Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregationalist Africans to be ministers. Rev. John and Maureen were strong proponents of equality, education, and literacy. The Calabar Foundation seeks to honour their legacy through our mission to support of educational programs on the Eastern Cape.
Since 2008, the sole objective of the Calabar Foundation has been to support struggling rural schools in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, where Rev. John spent fifteen years of his missionary life as an educator.
We started with one partner school in 2008 and now we are up to six! The goal is to eventually work with up to 15 rural schools, implementing our unique support programs at each location. We work closely with our partner organization Sifunda Kunye – which means “together in learning” in the local language of isiXhosa – to implement the programs that we support financially. We focus on three separate categories of support: 1. Technology, 2. Literacy, and 3. Special/Basic Needs, which can take the form of special programs and capital projects.
The primary focus of our support is to introduce technology into high schools and primary schools in the form of computer or tablet labs, training learners and teachers in the use of computers and the opportunities the internet offers and providing English and Math learning software on the computers to enable students to supplement their classroom studies.
Our second focus is literacy. In 2010 we began the Sifunda Kunye Literacy Project, supporting Saturday morning book clubs, writing clubs, drama, music, and dance in order to foster a love of reading and learning outside of the classroom. The literacy project is based at St. Matthew’s Secondary School in the village of Keiskammahoek and attracts over 100 learners from St. Matthew’s and the broader community, including Richard Varha Secondary School, Keiskammahoek Children’s Home, and the Nomzekelo Primary School. Earlier in 2015 we opened the Sifunda Kunye Literacy Center on St. Matthew’s campus, giving us a permanent space out of which to run all of our various activities.
A third focus is special/basic needs projects. These can take many forms and vary based on each of our partner schools’ needs. We have helped refurbish teacher’s homes, built safe walkways, improved access to clean running water, installed security fencing, improved dangerous classrooms, built libraries, instituted sports tournaments, and the list goes on. In addition to these capital projects, we also introduce and manage various activities for the students where they can develop as individuals and build personal initiative. These include supporting the President’s Award, Young Academics Club, school newsletters, school websites, leadership summits and many more programs.