Our goal

BEFSA was launched in 2004 with one aim: to reduce poverty in Southern Africa.

To achieve this our focus has been on assisting the marginalised communities of the Eastern Cape in South Africa to step out of poverty.

I believe that education is the key to unlocking the door that will eradicate poverty and that young people have the power to make it happen.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, BEFSA Patron

Trustees and patrons

BEFSA has two groups of trustees, one in South Africa and one in the UK. Both trustee groups are guided by Keith and Catherine Borien to achieve the overarching aims and objectives of the charity.

BEFSA has three patrons; Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Channel 4 News presenter Jon Snow, and former British High Commissioner to South Africa Lord Paul Boateng. Learn more about our trustees and patrons here.

Our mission

At BEFSA our mission is to:

  • Improve the quality of education for young people in schools in Southern Africa
  • Reduce poverty through educational and economic development
  • Enable rural and township schools to become agents for change.

Our work

We currently work across the Fort Beaufort schools district of the Eastern Cape with schools and communities impoverished by years of neglect.

  • We run training programmes for teachers and school principals
  • We provide schools with furniture, equipment, and teaching and learning resources
  • We repair school buildings following natural and man-made disasters
  • We support women starting new micro businesses.

You can learn about our programmes, or see how you can get involved.

The challenge

The reality confronting national and provincial governments in South Africa today is the sheer enormity of the challenges facing them to bring about major improvements in people’s lives. Equally local communities have come to realise that there will not be an instant solution to the years of poverty, and to the decades of neglect and educational impoverishment associated with conflict and social injustice.

Families have watched as generations of children miss out on a basic education, either as a consequence of an unqualified teaching force or because of an absence of teaching and poor learning materials in schools or because of sub standard teaching and learning environments. In many areas of South Africa it tends to be a combination of all three.

In the midst of the poverty of the rural areas and the townships in which the majority of South African people live today, there is an urgent need to create and nurture centres of educational excellence to counter the perception and reality of two worlds and to provide opportunities for children to reach their true potential.

Search our site to learn about how BEFSA is working with local communities to bring about change in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape, and see how you can get involved.