SAEP (USA) is dedicated to supporting work in an environment where poverty is unacceptably high and education levels are worryingly low. SAEP (SA) works mainly in Philippi, one of the largest black townships in Cape Town. In Philippi, only one-third of the population has passed grade 12.

Philippi faces many social problems, including lack of education, violent crime, substance abuse, environmental degradation and high levels of HIV/AIDS. The average monthly household income is $250 or less, indicating that many residents are unemployed, hold low income jobs or live on social grants. Successful graduates often move away from the township, leaving learners with few positive role models and little motivation or belief that they can make something of themselves. Schools in Philippi are typically overcrowded and under-resourced, with low pass rates and with few extra-curricular activities available to students. Lack of information, networks and opportunities trap many into continued poverty and under-productivity.

Even though it has been over two decades since the end of Apartheid, black children with whom SAEP works, still face these serious educational disadvantages and social problems. In May of 2011, National Public Radio (NPR) in the US did a story about the struggle that black students have to succeed at the University of Cape Town. SAEP (SA) works with students just like these in helping them prepare for university, and then providing the necessary support to help them succeed once they are there. You can listen to the NPR story here.