In southern Africa more than 40 million girls and boys do not attend school. Nearly one in two children do not have the chance to learn literacy and numeracy skills. The children from the poorest families, girls and AIDS orphans are especially disadvantaged. Here education is the only opportunity to break the vicious circle of poverty, ignorance and illness. “Schools for Africa” was jointly launched at an international press conference in Cape Town on 6 December 2004 by the Hamburg Society, UNICEF and the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The former President of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Nelson Mandela personally supports the “Schools for Africa” campaign, and addressed the public in a video message to ask for support for the project.
Because of the calamitous tsunami in December 2004, the three project partners agreed that “Schools for Africa” could not start on 1 January 2005 as planned. To give the campaign a new impetus in spring of 2005, Hamburg ship owner Peter Krämer decided to make a public promise to double every donation in Germany to “Schools for Africa” up to a total sum of 3 million euros. Peter Krämer gave this undertaking in the presence of Frau Eva Luise Köhler, spouse of the German President, at a press conference in Berlin on 20 May 2005. Up to date a worldwide total of around 30 million US dollars has been raised worldwide for “Schools for Africa”, of which Peter Krämer contributed euro 3.8 million. In the context of the child-friendly “Schools for Africa” campaign, UNICEF is working with governments, local authorities, communities and other partners initially in six of Africa’s most needy countries including Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and South Africa to build and rehabilitate schools, to construct schools that offer a safe and protective environment where children can learn and play, to ensure that children have access to clean water and sanitation facilities, including separate latrines for girls and boys, and that they receive exercise books, pens, other school and sports materials as well proper school furniture; to ensure that teachers are trained to provide children with quality education and basic life skills and to ensure that children are informed among others on day to day hygiene, health issues and HIV prevention; to create schools that are gender sensitive. “Schools for Africa” is a long-term campaign jointly run by UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Hamburg Society for Promotion of Democracy and International Law. It was started by the Hamburg ship owner Peter Krämer who donated 1 million dollars to launch the project.