Rebuilding the Collapsed Village Preschool

Several weeks ago, a preschool in Makuleke Village was destroyed in a horrible storm; the roof blew off and a wall collapsed. Since then, young children have been learning outdoors, under the shade of a tiny tarp that STL provided the preschool several years ago.  STL has raised money from supporters in New York, Connecticut and California to help rebuild the preschool. Thanks to the generosity of many, the rebuilding begins this week!



“Ubuntu: It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can’t be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality – Ubuntu – you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Handmade Toys and Instruments by the Children of Makuleke Village

The Makuleke people are resourceful; they create the environments around them from found materials.  Community members build homes to live in, simply with soil, grasses and water.  Children of the village create the toys and games that they wish to play with.  They visit local dumping sites and find discarded materials, such as old wires, shopping bags, soda bottle caps.  They transform these old materials, giving them new life.  What was considered waste by one person becomes a treasure to another.  The Makuleke people have something to share with the world: a lesson that we can live – in fact, we can be satisfied and happy – with little.

In this photo: a handmade kite, a mask made out of cardboard, a wire car, two dolls made of vegetable sacks, 6 soccer balls made from plastic bags, and musical instruments.  Some of these objects were on display at the Museum of Art this year.

Cultural Immersion: Connecticut Magnet School Partners with Makuleke Community

Sabin, principal of Global Experience Magnet School (GEMS)  in Bloomfield, Connecticut, greets children at the Makahlule Village Primary School, South Africa.  GEMS is partnering with Sharing to Learn to create a model global education program, rooted in cultural immersion and service-based learning.  This spring, a group of students and teachers from GEMS will be returning to the Makuleke & Makahlule villages to extend our programs.

Makuleke Artwork at the Museum of Modern Art, NYC

Sharing to Learn has teamed with the Museum of Modern Art to bring toys from Makuleke, South Africa — crafted by hand with found materials — to the museum for inclusion in their ambitious Century of the Child exhibit, which runs through November 5.

Children in Makuleke begin creating their own toys at an early age. They scavenge for old wires at dumping sites scattered around the village, finding precious materials with which they construct playthings.  What they want and need, they make – with their very own hands.  And their innovations are not just functioning toys, but also beautiful works of art.  Sharing to Learn was proud to lend 6 of these works of art, including a wire car made by Tuki, a 16-year old child from the village, to the MoMA.  We were elated that the exhibit would provide a platform for thousands of people from all corners of the globe to discover what we already know: there is poverty in Makuleke village, but also talent, innovative problem-solving, and unfettered imagination.  The objects on display at the MoMA are brought to life through a video installation, which showcases children and teachers in Makuleke creating their toys.

In July, Sharing To Learn sponsored Tuki’s trip to NYC, so that he could see his work of art, and those of his friends, on display at the MoMA.  He had never been to a museum in his life; that his first experience was at the MoMA admiring his own artwork, s proof that dreams do come true.

A Makuleke Preschool Teacher holding handcrafted dolls, one of which is on display at MoMA.

Click below to see a short video produced by BBC News, covering Tuki’s arrival to NYC, as well as his visit to The Museum of Modern Art:

Click this link to see the video of 11-year old Kuhlula making a wire car, which is currently part of the STL video installation at the MoMA.

The Century of the Child closes on November 5th, but you can still explore the exhibit through MoMA’s website (skip to the end if you want to see the work from the village first!):


Virtual Exhibit of MoMA’s ‘Century of the Child’ – Click to see Makuleke Artwork on Display!

Check out the MoMA’s interactive website for Century of the Child – if you can’t make it to the exhibit, this is a great way to see the show virtually.  Click the link below to enter the virtual exhibit and see the beautiful wire car, made by children in Makuleke Village.

Friendship Around the Globe: Kids Supporting Kids


We are so proud of 8-year old Sarah, of New York City, for raising the money to help support her new friend Adolf, of Makuleke Village, South Africa!  Sarah has been saving money for over a year to raise the funds to sponsor an orphan from Makuleke.  When Sarah realized that she would be connected to an 8-year old boy in the village, she exclaimed with joy, “I’ve always wanted a brother and now I have one!”  The money she raised will go towards Sharing to Learn’s Mentor Program for orphaned and vulnerable children.  With Sarah’s support, Adolf will receive a nutritional food support each month, as well as clothing and shoes to attend school.  More than that, it is an opportunity for Sarah and her family to build a long lasting relationship with a deserving child on the other side of the globe!

Sarah counts the money that she has saved to sponsor a child in the village.

Sarah wrote a letter to Adolf introducing herself; she is also sending him one of her favorite stuffed animals!

Like Sarah, Adolf is also in Grade 3 and loves math!  We are hopeful that one day they will meet in person!

What is Love?

“Love is to be loving.” by: Hlulo, age 4, Jamela Preschool, Makuleke Village, South Africa

This masterpiece is Hlulo’s very first painting.  We are honored to bring educational resources to the children in Makuleke.


Yesterday, while working on the LitWorld Initiative ( to set up a community library for the  Polo Grounds Community Center in Harlem, I had the great pleasure of having some great help from Remsy.  He had volunteered to come down from his after-school class and help me prepare new books.  He was the only one that wanted to come and help and I was so lucky that it was he who wanted to be there with me.  Quiet at first, and serious about doing his work, he quickly warmed up to me and my quirky comments on everything about life.  I considered myself so very lucky to not only have much needed help in preparing the books, but also to have the opportunity to get to know this child and have him share his life with me.  I asked Remsy for his opinion on our book order selection for adolescents.  Did he think other boys would like to read books about sports, mysteries or scary stories?  Did he think that it was a good idea to have books in Spanish at our library?  What kinds of books did he most like to read?  Why?  He told me he loves to write stories; he likes writing the stories about his own life.  I told him I would love to read them. Over the course of an hour, Remsy shared his thoughts and ideas with me and worked very hard to help me.  He took the time to be with me and he reminded me again and again of the importance in spending one-on-one time with a child, letting them know that their thoughts are important, that they themselves are important.

Friends & Books

The children at the Polo Grounds Community Center in Harlem, New York, begin to immerse themselves in the endless joy of a good book.  We are helping LitWorld set up a little library for this community.  Its been an empowering experience for all. This photo represents why we do what we do, why we fight for all children (and adults) to have access to books and education.  This photo represents the sheer excitement, and the deep bonding effect, which can come from the simple act of reading.

For more information on the wonderful organization, LitWorld, please visit their website: