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Educating South Africa's kids, one by one

José Bright’s “Saturday school” helps poor-but-promising schoolkids – and their parents – to succeed.

To address South Africa’s huge education gap, José Bright helps students achieve, one by one.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff

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When José Bright arrived in South Africa in 1994, he felt daunted by the task ahead. After all, as director for regional affairs for the mayor of Washington, D.C., he had been asked by South Africa to help transform its schools, designed to benefit the white minority of 4 million, into a system to educate the 40 million black majority as well. [Editor’s note: The original version referred to Jose Bright as a consultant]
Nobody would have blamed him if he'd simply declared victory, turned, and run.
But after several short-term projects here, Mr. Bright stayed. He's now a lecturer the School of Economic and Business Science at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg. He has dipped into his own pocket and donated his free time to ensure that a handful of poor but promising South African middle-school students make it through high school. [Editor’s note: The original version referred to Jose Bright as a consultant and misstated his position at Witwatersrand University]
Bright's nickname is Teboho, the Sotho word for "gift." Awarded to him by local elders, it means, "thank you God for giving us this person” – a gift.
Thus the Teboho Trust was born.

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