The focus of Bantfwana Phambili will initially be to provide scholarships to students in grades 6-8 and continue to support the student at least through secondary education. These scholarships will be granted to students based on both merit and need.

For annual student selections, the students first provide applications to the local school officials. From this group, nominations are made by the principal or other school official in South Africa and presented to the board of directors of Bantfwana Phambili. A volunteer application review committee then reviews and provides recommendations to the board of directors to select the scholars for the year.

History of Bantfwana Phambili

    During their service in the Peace Corps, Thomas (Tom) Junker, founder of Bantfwana Phambili, and his wife Charyl saw first hand that many bright students had to forego an education to help their family survive. Upon their return to the United States, Tom has worked with Rich Wilkin, former Peace Corps Volunteer who worked at schools in Limpopo to organize and lead Bantfwana Phambili. In our first three years, Bantfwana Phambili has been able support 16 students while creating a multinational organization that hopes to not only provide scholarships but also mentors and a support structure for the students that will encourage a desire for learning.

What does “Bantfwana Phambili” mean?

Bantfwana Phambili means children first in siSwati, one of the 11 official languages of South Africa. Bantfwana Phambili is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organized in Minnesota, USA.

What is the purpose of Bantfwana Phambili?

To assist young students with tools and resources to enroll in school and complete their educations. We provide scholarships and mentors to help further this goal. Bantfwana Phambili also provides educational opportunities to those interested in learning more about South Africa and their educational system.

Why did you choose South Africa?

We are fortunate to have 2 co-founders who were able to experience first hand the struggles of getting an education in South Africa. This personal experience led both to create Bantfwana Phambili to provide opportunities to get an education that may not otherwise be available to these students. An organization our size has significant limits with regard to how many students we can support, particularly because we rely heavily on an on-site support team for students. In the future we hope to support a larger group of 

How much does it cost to per student?

For as little as $100 US Dollars per year, we can provide a scholarship that will cover the tuition and other fees for a child to get a secondary education.

How do I know what my donation is used for?

The annual report including the financial information detailing both the scholarships and operating costs are located in the Financials section of the Our Mission tab. Our objective is to minimize annual operating expenses to maximize the number of students we can support. To this end, all board members are volunteers and do not receive any compensation.

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Our Mission

 The mission of Bantfwana Phambili is to assist qualified, select student in need to assist them in furthering their education and to foster a desire for learning among students in South Africa. Bantfwana Phambili means “Children First” in siSwati.

Bantfwana Phambili has focused its attention on predominantly rural communities with little industry other than agriculture and some mining. If you'd like to learn more about some of the areas we work in and how we work in them, Click Here.

The primary and secondary schools in South Africa have student fees to cover the costs of education. Many students throughout South Africa cannot afford the “luxury” of an education. This is especially true in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces that currently experience an unemployment rate in excess of 80% — twice the national average. Many children who should be attending school cannot afford the fees or are forced to work to help support their families. As Bantfwana Phambili expands, we hope to expand our reach to a greater number of students in South Africa.

Lots and Lots of Information!

© 2017 by Elam Noor, Donated by Joy from the Heart

Mail us: 

PO Box 754
Stillwater, MN  55082

Photo Credits:
Dylan Thomas / UKaid /Department for International Development