Wits students create a non-profit company to help matriculants in Soweto

Yumna Patel and Faraaz Ismail, founders of the non-profit company, Charity Project O.                                                                        Photo: Tumelo Modiba


Two Wits students created and founded a non-profit company to help matriculants with extra classes at a school in Soweto.

Yumna Patel and Faraaz Ismail started the non-profit company, Project O which aims to break the cycle of poverty through youth development in 2019. The enterprise provides extra classes, such as Accounting, Business, Economics, English, Geography, History, isiZulu, Math, Math Literacy and Physical Sciences to students.

Founder and CEO Patel said they wanted to give extra classes to struggling students.

“We decided to work with Orlando High School, because the learners told us that providing extra classes will assist them to matriculate and by matriculating they will be able to help their families,” said the 21-year-old.

Patel seeks to fill the school’s library through a book drive, “so that there is a place for them to study effectively.”

“Our idea is to create a schooling environment that learners who went to privileged schools had,” said Patel.

Project O, which stands for Project Orlando, is sponsored by Ace It Tutors, a tuition company that provides tutors and trains the non-profit’s volunteers as instructors.

Co-founder of Ace It Tutors, Faeez Saloogee said he wanted to join a charity, help the community and that is why they decided to sponsor Project O.

Saloogee told Wits Vuvuzela, “I think it (Project O) is a brilliant initiative. If you want to make a change you need to start with the youth.”

Ma’am Mongwe, a geography teacher at Orlando High School, said, “I have seen improvement in the learners in terms of understanding and answering questions since Project O came along.”

The geography teacher told Wits Vuvuzela that Project O is “wonderful, I can’t even put it into words”.

“When we started, we expected to get 20 people to help volunteer but now we have over 175 volunteers,” said Patel.

Aside from assisting the matriculants with extra classes, Project O provides self-defence classes for female learners at the school.

“This has made me a better person. It’s helped me grow and see how we have it so easy compared to other people,” said Ismail.

Project O hopes to provide extra classes to grade 11 learners next year and implement the same change in Orlando at other schools.