The Limpopo Writing Project took place during the first two weeks of January 2009 at the University of Limpopo in South Africa. Eleven teachers joined the two South African Co-Directors and the Director and the two of us from the US for the Limpopo Writing Project Summer Institute, the first of its kind in South Africa. I had gone to teach writing and Mary Lou assisted by teaching computer skills and mentoring the teachers.
The Limpopo Writing Project is modeled on The San Antonio Writing Project. The San Antonio Writing Project is a local, non-profit organization designed to promote the effective teaching of writing in San Antonio area schools ages Pre-K through the University level. Our teachers become San Antonio Writing Project consultants after they’ve completed the five-week Summer Institute. They share their belief that writing is essential for learning in all content areas with their students. Hundreds of children in the greater San Antonio area are receiving better writing instruction thanks to the teacher consultants from SAWP.
I met Dr. Leketi Makalela when he was visiting UTSA with another grant at the university. He had heard about The San Antonio Writing Project and wanted to replicate it at his university in South Africa. He asked us for help. We raised money and received a small grant to bring two South African teachers to the US last summer to participate in the 2008 San Antonio Writing Project Summer Institute. Ngokoana Dikari and Nakedi Mogaba stayed at our house, participated in the workshop and participated in our lives for five weeks. Their professor, Dr. Leketi Makalela joined us for the last two weeks of the SAWP workshop.
Leketi is now the Director of The Limpopo Writing Project and Ngokoana and Nakedi are now the Codirectors. The eleven teachers that participated in the Limpopo Writing Project came from all over rural South Africa. Each day we wrote and shared our writing, talked about writing instruction and shared classroom lessons. We also participated in book discussions. Mashaba, a high school teacher wrote near the end of the workshop,
“Looking back, I wish I could have been in this workshop ages ago, but then it is not too late to mend. From now onwards, I am a good writer and all my colleagues and learners will be good writers, too. Somebody has already mentioned that we are seeds, and seeds bear fruits.”
The San Antonio Writing Project is funded by a grant the National Writing Project receives from Congress. There are no funds available for this work in South Africa so we’ve had to raise the funds ourselves. Last year all the money was donated by our friends and family. 100% of the money went into funding the workshop and paying for the room and board of the participants. Mary Lou and I as well as the Co-Directors and Director in South Africa are volunteers working for free.
We are trying to do everything we can to raise funds for the Limpopo Writing Project. We need about $6000 American dollars to replicate the 2009 Summer Institute. We'd also like to support writing students in the teachers' classrooms. Leketi has shared that $50 could change a child’s life in South Africa for a school year. We’d like to give at least one writing student in each of the teachers’ classrooms $50 which would pay for the school fees, the uniform, and all their school lunches for a year.
Please consider donating to The Limpopo Writing Project. Your contributions are so appreciated. Please send donations to
The Limpopo Writing Project
C/O Mary Lou Daugherty
San Antonio, TX 78213