The challenges are immense: schools built of mud, overcrowded and collapsing classrooms, unsanitary toilets, inadequate water supply, insufficient electricity, and a painful lack of science labs, libraries, computer access, and sports fields. For years, our partners in South Africa, Equal Education (EE) and Equal Education Law Centre (EELC), have fought for safe, quality schools—and won many important victories. Now a new short film is documenting their ongoing work, sharing the stories of affected students and highlighting how community activism and creative lawyering can bring about real change.
EE first launched its infrastructure campaign back in 2010; a hard-won court victory against the Minister of Basic Education led to the promulgation of binding norms and standards for school infrastructure in 2013; and by November 2016, all schools across the country will be required to have running water, basic sanitation, and electricity, while no schools can be built entirely from wood, mud, metal, or asbestos.
The film, made in partnership with Adam Stofsky’s (JD ’04) New Media Advocacy Project, documents infrastructure problems in the Eastern Cape in particular. Students, teachers, parents, and principals speak about the devastating impact that poor facilities have on learning outcomes. The piece is an inspiring testament to the power of storytelling and to the movement that EE and EELC have built. Our Clinic is proud to have supported it since 2012.