The Foundation is a tribute to the work of Dr. Bettye Bouey-Yates. With the support of an international organization, Dr. Yates went to South Africa during apartheid to support Black and Colored teachers and to assist them and their families in dealing with the harsh realities of their daily lives including false imprisonments. After Nelson Mandela's election as President of South Africa, Dr. Yates decided to return to South Africa to see and experience the changes that had taken place. Several friends heard about her plans and asked to accompany her. The first visit in 1996 was the genesis of the "South African Adventure", a 14-day trip to South Africa that Dr. Yates conducts once or twice a year.
In 1998, travelers on one of Dr. Yates' South African Adventures made an unscheduled stop at the Christianenburg Primary School in the Clermont township, province of KwaZulu-Natal near the city of Durban. Established in 1844 by Lutheran missionaries, the school is historically significant for being the first private school established for African children in this black township. The travelers found deteriorating buildings and almost nonexistent basic educational tools. The school was required to be self-sufficient, which was virtually impossible considering the high rate of unemployment in the area. There were few books and educational supplies and little opportunity for physical education or after school activities.
Upon returning home, these travelers committed themselves to providing meaningful assistance to the students, teachers, and staff at the Christianenburg school. Efforts to assist the school began immediately. The travelers sent basic educational and art supplies and electronic equipment (TV, VCR, and videos). Dr. Yates asked each subsequent group of travelers to bring along with them educational items the school had requested. The travelers began to think about a mechanism for providing on-going assistance to the school.
In the spring of 2003 while South Africa was nearing almost a decade of democracy and changes, the Dr. Bettye Bouey-Yates Educational Foundation was incorporated in Washington, D.C., as a non-profit organization and later received its §501(c)(3) designation. Since its incorporation, the Foundation has worked with the Christianenburg Primary School to virtually transform it through the following accomplishments:
In August 2009, two Board members conducted an on-site evaluation to determine the effectiveness of the Foundation's efforts to assist the Christianenburg School. They interviewed parents, teachers, and the principals of the Christianenburg School, the principals of three other primary schools in the area, and the principal of a high school where the learners continue their education. They reported that the learners, educators, and staff are making excellent use of the books, materials, and facilities provided by the Foundation. The high school principal confirmed that the Christianenburg learners are somewhat more advanced than those from other primary schools.
Today the school is a public primary school serving approximately 1200 students in grades one through seven under the provincial Department of Education. National test results have improved. Parents are very excited about their children's progress and enthusiasm for learning.
In 2010, the Board extended its efforts to three other public primary schools in the same neighborhood as Christianenburg: Clermont, Clernaville, and Udumo. In 2010 and 2011, the Foundation distributed approximately 300 dictionaries each year to the three additional schools for the seventh grade learners; gave the Clernaville library a set of encyclopedias, and purchased 180 readers for the Udumo and Clermont schools.
The Foundation is focusing on the following goals:
Collaborating with the Department of Education to prevent duplication of effort. Providing the principal and staff at Christianenburg tools for achieving their educational goals. Awarding dictionaries and English readers to each seventh grader at Christianenburg and the three neighboring primary schools (an estimated 450 of each will be needed annually). Upgrading or helping to establish libraries at each of the three neighboring primary schools. Assisting in establishing computer centers at the neighboring schools. Assisting in establishing science centers.
Together we can make a difference. Please join us.