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Founder story: Afrika Tikkun Bambanani

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

Afrika Tikkun Bambanani ensures that underprivileged children receive an equitable and enriching early childhood education.

CEO & Co-Founder, Theresa Michael, Afrika Tikkun Bambanani.

In response to the stark educational inequalities present in South Africa, Theresa Michael and Tessa Forman embarked on a mission to rectify the disparities between privileged and underprivileged children, particularly in Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres. Recognising the pivotal role of a strong educational foundation, Theresa and Tess endeavoured to transform the trajectory of these young lives, aware that a solid start would shape their entire learning journey.

Theresa and Tess followed the Department of Education's guidelines while crafting a curriculum for ECD centres. Focused on children aged one to six years old, the curriculum includes comprehensive lesson plans, daily activities, stories, and teacher guides. Their approach combined local educational standards with content from the Independent Examinations Board (IEB), yielding a holistic curriculum tailored to the needs of South African ECD centres. Soon, they were asked to be involved in Afrika Tikkun and that's when Afrika Tikkun Bambanani (ATB) was born.

As the curriculum was implemented across various centres, an important realisation dawned – the need for a curriculum adaptable to classrooms housing multiple age groups. In this context, the incorporation of Montessori principles proved invaluable, enhancing the learning experience in centres with multi-grade classes. The culmination of their efforts arrived with the international certification from Education Alliance Finland, validating the quality and effectiveness of their curriculum. At present, the ATB curriculum has been implemented into 200 ECD centres and 1400 children have benefited from the programme.

Recently, Afrika Tikkun Bambanani took a significant stride by introducing the Bamba Learn app. This innovative approach allows them to scale their reach and impact on learners. The app transformed ECD learning into an engaging play-based experience, where the curriculum is used to create interactive games. Addressing facets such as Numeracy, Literacy, problem-solving, fine motor skills, and more, the app harnesses the power of technology to enrich the educational journey. Afrika Tikkun Bambanani provides tablets to facilitate the app's usage, and depending on the size of the classes, 5-6 tablets are required per centre. With a frequency of three times per week for 30 minutes, the app provides an immersive learning experience that fosters holistic development.

The organisation’s impact also extends to ECD teachers. Teacher training and comprehensive resources and curriculum materials empower teachers to guide the children effectively. The meticulously structured resources and lesson plans map out each day. This methodical approach not only brings structure and discipline to the classrooms but also instils a sense of accomplishment and progress among both students and educators. The outcomes are tangible: children are engaged, teachers are equipped, and parents are enthusiastic about enrolling their children in ECD centres affiliated with Afrika Tikkun Bambanani's curriculum. To date, over 1200 teachers have been trained in the ATB curriculum.

The ATB online assessment centre monitors the progression and development of each teacher and child. Screening tools raise concerns for learners with learning delays, and inclusion programmes help bridge the gaps in learning.

Afrika Tikkun Bambanani's impact is profoundly heartwarming. Children who were once marginalised now thrive, actively participating in their learning journey. Teachers who previously faced challenges in guiding their students now possess a robust system to navigate the classroom effectively. Through the organisation's unwavering dedication, numerous underprivileged children in South Africa now receive a strong and equitable foundation for their educational futures.


Afrika Tikkun Bambabani is part of the 2023 Injini Mastercard Foundation EdTech Fellowship Program.

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