Meet Zara, a Grade 11 student at The American International School of Johannesburg (AISJ), who is deeply burdened by the fact that quality education isn’t accessible to all children.

“Education is very important to me. I don’t find it right that some students get better education than others, because they were born in different families and parts of the world.”

After moving to Johannesburg over two years ago from the Netherlands, Zara recognised that access to quality education was highly dependent on socio-economic status in South Africa, of which there is a significant disparity. She felt disheartened, but this motivated her to believe in the possibility of a different future.

“My dream for the future of education in South Africa is that every child, no matter the skin colour or neighbourhood they are from, has access to good education.”

Zara discovered The Philile Foundation through the AISJ Service Learning Programme and is the student leader of the team that visits the Philile Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre in Diepsloot. On a weekly basis, the AISJ team engage in a variety of exercises with the children. They play with them, teach them English and maths, art and sports, and show them love. However, while this is an outreach for AISJ, Zara acknowledges that the children teach them as much as they teach the children.  

“The Philile children also teach me and the rest of the service team. The children make me realize to be thankful for everything I have. Every time I see the kids they are always happy. Everything they do, they give 100 %.”

These encounters are highly impactful on the children at Philile Diepsloot. They are exposed to resources they would not have had access to and a marked difference has been noticed in their ability to speak English.

Zara and her team, partner with Philile Diepsloot to help the ECD Centre thrive. They are dedicated to raising funds for Philile Diepsloot and are also implementing sustainable development projects within the school.

Zara went above and beyond last year when she chose join #TeamPhilile and #RideForAPurpose in the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge to raise funds for Philile. Her goal was to raise R6000 and she ended up raising R20 323! This was the highest amount raised by a single cyclist on Team Philile in 2018. The entire team of cyclists raised over 100k and Zara’s comment on this was:

“Together we did it!”

When asked about her dream for the future of Philile Diepsloot, Zara explained:

“My dream for the future of Philile is that they have a vegetable garden, so they become more sustainable and the children would become more aware of their health and healthy food. Also doing more sports and organising little tournaments with other preschools would be fun. In the end, I hope that Philile becomes bigger, so more children have access to good and special education. I hope that I would stay in touch with Philile my entire life. I still want to help Philile after I leave South Africa next year.”

Zara, The Philile Foundation is so grateful for you and loves your heart for children and education in South Africa. You have come alongside partners who share the same dreams for the future! Together, we are building the future generations of South Africa!

The Philile Foundation at AISJ

Fun at the AISJ campus

Philile 2005/011533/08
PBO no. 930033037
NPO no. 085 - 986

Black Beneficiary Status:
Black, SA Beneficiaries: 80%
B-BBEE SED Recognition: 100%


Tel + 27 (0)72 984 7217


245 Pritchard Street, Johannesburg
North, South Africa

Bank: First National Bank  |  Branch Code: 254 405
Acc Name: Philile Foundation
Acc Number: 62352506227