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The Trevor Noah Foundation partners with the Oak Foundation to advance education outcomes in South Africa

Trevor Noah Foundation - Resource Hub - Khula Funda Literacy Project

For immediate release

The Trevor Noah Foundation, S.A. has received a R13,5 million grant from Oak Foundation, which will help to advance education outcomes in South Africa and enable the longevity of the Foundation’s numerous initiatives aimed at educators, schools, and communities.

“Oak Foundation chose the Trevor Noah Foundation for this grant because of its track record in building strong community partnerships, its clear expertise in education, and its great appetite for piloting innovative initiatives, which will help schools find solutions to support children with learning differences,” says Bethiel Girma Holton, Programme Officer for Oak Foundation’s Learning Differences Programme. “We are excited because this project will allow the Trevor Noah Foundation to establish its support to students with learning differences in the South African context.”

Founded in 1983, Oak Foundation supports others in making the world a safer, fairer, and more sustainable place to live by giving grants to organisations in approximately 40 countries worldwide.

This grant provided by Oak Foundation comes as its first donation from the Learning Differences Programme made directly to an organisation in South Africa, a monumental decision for both the Trevor Noah Foundation and the Oak Foundation itself.

“We’re honoured to be a recipient of Oak Foundation’s grant over the next three years,” says Shalane Yuen, the Executive Director of the Trevor Noah Foundation. “Designing, implementing and evaluating our programmes to ensure they are inclusive and responsive to our learners’ and educators’ needs are non-negotiable. It’s refreshing to be supported by a funder who acknowledges often overlooked socioeconomic factors such as racism and poverty when accounting for learning differences.”

In addition to a R8 million donation from Trevor Noah in 2021, this grant will continue the success of the Trevor Noah Foundation’s various projects to improve education and empower learners and educators.

The initiatives supported by the Oak Foundation grant are:

  • Education Changemakers is a training programme for teachers to gain additional skills and resources in order not only to further the education of their learners but as a means to invest in themselves and their careers in education. In partnership with the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), they provide 50 young teachers from Sub-Saharan Africa with a 4-week training opportunity on leadership and inclusive education. The participants pitch an idea for improving education within their classrooms and communities. Of those ideas, the Trevor Noah Foundation provides funding and business development coaching for the ten most successful proposals. The next cohort of this project will take place from 27 June to 22 July at the Unisa Graduate School of Business Leadership. By 2024, the Trevor Noah Foundation and YALI aim to graduate 200 additional Education Changemakers. Oak Foundation support will focus on implementing this programme and integrating training and programming for educators specific to learning differences.
  • Community-Driven Literacy initiative, in partnership with Nal’ibali (the isiXhosa word for “here’s the story”), is a campaign that promotes learning and literacy in all the native languages of South Africa. The initiative falls under the Trevor Noah Foundation’s Khulani Schools programme. While the Khulani Schools programme has solely supported secondary education, the partnership with Nal’ibali to improve literacy represents the programme’s expansion into foundation phase education. Oak Foundation support will focus on launching this programme and developing the project’s measurement, evaluation, and learning plan.
  • Faranani Infrastructure Project empowers young people with the skills and training needed to construct new buildings and rehabilitate existing assets in their local schools. In partnership with YouthBuild South Africa in 2021, the Faranani Infrastructure Project upskilled 100 youth not in education, employment or training and refurbished six primary schools in Braamfischer, Soweto. In 2022 – 2023, they aim to train an additional 200 youth, benefiting over ten schools. Oak Foundation support will focus on launching this programme and recruiting youth with learning differences as participants.

All programmes and initiatives created or sponsored by the Trevor Noah Foundation, including the Faranani Infrastructure Project, are working in harmony to create a holistic environment that addresses tactical and knowledge infrastructure within communities that enables the expansion and cultivation of education. As it always has been, the purpose is to provide a foundation for skills development and resources for educators to uplift and empower their learners.

As such a young philanthropic Foundation, having a much larger and more established institution like Oak Foundation trust, advocate, and believe in how the Trevor Noah Foundation gives back to communities offers reassurance to the cause. Hopefully, the Trevor Noah Foundation will go on to further inspire through initiatives and programmes in the years to come.

Learn more about the latest developments and projects: or follow us on social media:

Twitter: @TrevorNoahFdn

Facebook and Instagram: @trevornoahfoundation


For further information, please contact:

Karabo Marole

Flume on behalf of The Trevor Noah Foundation

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