Although Lalumbe Makuya went to school in an urban area, she never forgot her rural roots. When she returned to her home village during the holidays, the gap between urban and rural schools disturbed her.
So in 2011, at the age of 24, she started the Naledi Foundation to assist underperforming learners at rural schools. The foundation works with 14 schools in Limpopo, running book clubs, hosting spelling bees, and organising exchange programmes between urban and rural schools.
It also managed to improve the pass rate of learners by providing tutoring services at the schools. Fifteen learners have progressed to university, the first of whom will graduate at the end of this year. Also, thanks to the Naledi Foundation’s efforts in advocating for girls’ health, some rural chiefs agreed to give sanitary pads to orphaned girls on a monthly basis.
In 2014 Makuya was one of just 25 young Africans who received a Social Entrepreneurs Transforming Africa Award from the International Youth Foundation.
As a Mandela Washington fellow, she spent six weeks at a university in New York developing her interest in civic leadership. Moving forward, Makuya would like the Naledi Foundation to become a self-sustainable organisation with projects empowering young people in rural areas across South Africa.