As parents, we want the best for our children. We spend oodles of time telling them to reach for the stars and work towards their dreams but, in reality, how can they do this? One project, the brainchild of Joe Public, called One School At A Time (OSAAT), aims to do just that – put the stars within reach of South African children.
On 17 April 2015, One School At A Time brought the pupils of Forte High School in Dobsonville a little closer to the skies. Pupils gathered in the school hall and tuned in to a radio broadcast where Cosmonaut, Gennady Padalka, who is currently orbiting the earth, addressed them from the International Space Station. The recorded broadcast from space to address South African pupils is the first initiative of its kind and magnitude – a giant leap to improve our education system. Padalka shared his inspirational story of how he studied and worked hard to achieve his dream to, quite literally, reach the stars.
The initiative forms part of a series of ideas by OSAAT, that aim to inspire children to dream bigger than ever before – to reach for the stars. Since its establishment in 2008, OSAAT has been committed to creating a world-class education system in South Africa, by supporting and motivating students in township schools, starting with current partner schools Forte High in Soweto and Itirele-Zenzele High in Diepsloot. The initiatives by OSAAT have led to Forte High’s matric pass rate increasing from 52% in 2008, to 93% in 2014.
“This is why we came up with Project Space – an initiative that aims to inspire our children to believe that they can do great things, no matter what their background or circumstances,” says Bronwyn James, Managing Director of OSAAT.
“We contacted Space Adventures, and they connected us with the Russian Cosmonaut, Gennady Padalka, who is currently part of the International Space Station Expedition 43/44,” says James, “Padalka agreed to record a radio message whilst in space about how he achieved his dream of becoming a Cosmonaut. We approached Ultimate Media, who bought Talk Radio 702 onboard as partners to broadcast the message to Forte High.”