Social Responsibility Overview
Roedean has a strong and unambiguous commitment to social justice causes and to educating our girls for a better world. Our school Founders were suffragettes who understood the inequalities of their day, and engaged thoughtfully with a widening circle of concerns. This mission of standing “Shoulder to shoulder” focuses our attention on a broad range of local and global opportunities to make a difference in our world.
“The March of the Women” (Shoulder to shoulder) was composed by Dame Ethel Smyth in 1910 (words by Cicely Hamilton).”
The Social Responsibility Programme is based on putting Roedean’s core principles into practice. The critical analysis and thinking it promotes is part of a holistic approach to education. This vision upholds the notion of responsible citizenship: one cannot exist in isolation from the community in which one finds oneself.
Vision and Aim
The community in which Roedean is located is diverse and dynamic, creating unique opportunities for pupils to engage with a variety of community-based organisations. Formal partnerships are nurtured with all the groups with whom the pupils interface, ensuring that there is joint ownership of the project outcomes. Projects are designed within a social development framework as opposed to that of charity, emphasising the importance of sustainability, effectiveness and impact to the community. Owing to the nature of social development in South Africa, many of the organisations assist and support orphans and vulnerable children. Such support has become a focal area of many of the projects. Structures within the programme create opportunities for pupils to become part of a reciprocal learning-process through a commitment to the weekly and five-day residential projects
Building the capacity of the pupils is paramount when one is striving for successful project implementation. Therefore, training on the ethics of volunteering takes place and emphasizes the value of integrity and respect. Social-responsibility initiatives develop pupils’ attitudes and values through direct experiences that deepen their understanding of the complexities that exist in a country, still in the process of transformation.
Roedean School Projects
Flying Children www.flyingchildren.co.za
Roedean continues to have the privilege of working with Flying Children since the establishment of the partnership in 2013. The organisation has afforded our pupils the opportunity for creative and critical learning. Every year the LV pupils spend the day at a number of the flying Children school implementing various curricula activities with the children guided by the staff; work days are scheduled throughout the year to assist build resources in the schools enabling the schools to register with the Department of Social Development; our pupils have been responsible for the creation of themed Resource Boxes and upcycled equipment. Flying Children have too received ad hoc monetary donations from various fundraisers at the school.
Roedean marked Mandela Day 67 minutes by implementing the Women’s Health Initiative in collaboration with our community partners Phedisang and Project Dignity again this year, due to the positive and powerful impact it had on the Phedisang and Roedean communities. Nine million girls aged between 13 and 19 miss a week of school every month, for lack of sanitary pads that they cannot afford. Project Dignity educates girls about their sexual health and has created a sustainable product; Subz Sustainable Sanitary Pads, and eco friendly, re-usable sanitary pad which clips onto ladies underwear and doens not need to be disposed of. This project enables girls to keep their dignity intact, is a cost effective alternative, reduces school absenteeism and builds self-esteem through education on their bodies and sexual rights.
This year 500 young girls in the Phedisang community were fortunate enough to each receive a Roedean Solidarity Pack. The packs included the Subz product, deodorant, face cloth, sunlight soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, care instructions for the product in Sepedi and a personalised hand written message from each pupil.
The theme,‘Young Leaders Working Together for Social Change’, was the focus for the annual Ante-Matric Residential Project with our community partner, Phedisang, in semi-rural
Limpopo. In preparation for the residential project this year, the Roedean Team attended training sessions on Women’s Health“Understanding Our Bodies Positively”; training materials were developed specifically for the project whereby the approach was a Train-the-Trainer model. The implementation of the training was successful and the Phedisang staff and leaders responded positively to the process and the outcomes, meeting the project’s expectations.
It was evident from this residential that a meaningful platform for engagement with this community has been established since Roedean’s first visit to the community nine years ago.The relationship between Roedean and Phedisang continues to develop positively. Roedean and Phedisang both value the reciprocal learning that takes place.
The project was successful in that it achieved the purpose of taking the pupils on a journey of understanding, in which they were encouraged to think critically about their thinking, allowing for an opportunity to be created in which many explored their values, knowledge of development work and the complexity of the socio-economic issues that continue to limit social inclusion of communities.
“If we ever begin to lose sight of our promised goals to make this world a better, more equal place I hope the memory of this week of immersion and important learning reminds us of who we truly are: young people with the strength and vision required for creating great change.
(Roedean Phedisang participant)
The march on Women’s Day was absolutely incredible for me and deeply touched me. I have never felt more united for women’s rights than before”.(Roedean Phedisang participant)
Phendulani Literary Quiz www.kidslitquiz.com
The Phendulani Literary Quiz, founded by Marj Brown is one of the interventions that was introduced at Yeoville Community School when the Gauteng Department of Education identified the school as a school at risk due to the poor literacy and numeracy scores; giving
Roedean permission to partner with the school. Currently Roedean offers support but it is the two structures Phendulani and The Link (literacy, numeracy and library support) that contribute to the growth of literacy and numeracy in the school.
The Roedean Upper Junior School Kids Literacy Quiz Team offer support and preparation for the Albert Street School and Yeoville Community School teams prior to the event, taking the form of a Mock Phendulani Quiz.
Upper V Service Learning Project
The Grade 10 Life Orientation Curriculum Learning Outcome 2 states that the learner needs to identify a contemporary social or an environmental issue and participate in a group project to address this issue. For this reason, the Life Orientation Department and the Social Responsibility Programme have integrated their skills and content in providing the pupils with a holistic programme.
The emphasis of the project is on the pupils’ reflecting on self and on planning as a group what skills and knowledge they are able to offer the organisation. It is in this light that the project is designed and developed.
Roedean has established a Memorandum of Understanding with 28 different organisations that support this project. Pupils motivate for their choice of organization, after which a needs analysis is conducted to determine the content of the project to be implemented. The preparation for the two days of actual implementation involves the pupils’ learning the skill of project-development and project-process to achieve the projects final outcome. Every two weeks, pupils are expected to submit the relevant documents: interview schedules, minutes of meetings with the organisation, a proposal, and a budget are required by the task to make up their portfolio.
The length of the project extends over two terms. Input, feedback, and planning take place during the timetabled Social Responsibility period.
This project prepares pupils to be engaged citizens. Linking community service with the school curriculum enhances both character development and academic skills. Service learning can also go beyond these goals to prepare pupils to become engaged citizens by expanding their understanding of social problems and the role of civic action as a solution to these problems.
Ante Matric Baking Initiative www.kidshaven.org.za
A group of Ante Matric pupils took the initiative and organized themselves to provide baked items on a monthly basis for Kids Haven. The baked items are used by the organisation for birthday celebrations for the 91 children living in the Kids Haven Village. This initiative has grown in momentum and more pupils are contributing. It is encouraging to observe projects like these taking shape within our pupil body.“
The children celebrate their birthday on the day rather than one big party like the Shelter.They enjoy their cake after supper with their house siblings. The volunteer cakes are a win for this”. (Fundraising Manager)
Internal Social Responsibility Structures
Rotary Interact Club
Interact meets every Friday morning in which projects are conceptualised for the term. Interact have recently established a partnership with the Nelson Mandela’s Children’s Hospital with the vision of building a long term meaningful relationship with the institution.
Social Responsibility Period
In a timetabled social responsibility period senior pupils develop and work on content related to a need of our community partners. Emphasis has been placed on developing projects that speak directly to environment, to assist in the developing of the Round Square ideal of environment.
The social responsibility period provided a platform for engagement to take place around the environment. The Wits Siyakhana Initiative, the Siyakhana Food Garden was the most obvious partner to work more closely with, as it functions as a change agent to engage individuals and organisations to promote health, improve food security and enhance the environment. Activities involved the planting of seeds and seedlings which were then nurtured at school and delivered to Siyakhana. The Green Building Council South Africa addressed the pupils creating an opportunity for our pupils to reflect on sustainable development in construction.
Social Responsibility Board
The Social Responsibility Board, an elected group of senior leaders, build awareness in the school with the assistance from the Social Responsibility Representatives in each class through various initiatives, and through commemorating important days: Youth Day, Women’s Day, Human Rights Day, Mandela Day etc. Once-off volunteering days provide an additional opportunity for the pupils.
There are various projects that are implemented throughout the year; building a bottle brick bench, planting shrubs and clearing vegetation at the Flying Children Schools on the West Rand; The South African National Blood Service, a blood drive; Habitat for Humanity South Africa, a building project in Orange Farm, Phoenix project in collaboration with UNHCR and 10 other schools in Johannesburg to collect tins of food and plan an event for Youth Day.