Hōkūle‘a crewmembers and a delegation of Hawai‘i students, teachers and families visited St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School near Cape Town, South Africa to present 50 Tutudesks featuring artwork inspired by the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage. An additional 1,000 desks will be delivered to township schools in the Durban, South Africa area in early 2016. The donation of desks will support the campaign’s goal to provide 20 million desks to 20 million children by 2020.
“These Tutudesks will help students have space at home to do their homework. Even in the classroom, it’s going to help teachers do individual work with each child,” said Vuyiswa Lebenya, principal of St Mary’s Catholic Primary School.
Following the presentation, Ke Kā o Makaliʻi – a group comprised of teachers and students from Kamehameha Schools and Hālau Kū Māna Public Charter School – offered hula and mele celebrating the past voyages of Hōkūleʻa. Students from St. Mary’s then followed with their own local songs and dances before inviting the Hawaiʻi delegation to participate.
“When I saw them dancing together, that is what global peace looks like. It’s finding that rhythm that’s down deep inside that allows us to be completely the same, to be respectful and caring of everyone,” said Nainoa Thompson, President of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.
The Desmond Tutu Tutudesk Campaign provides portable school desks to children in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than 95 million school children do not have the benefit of a classroom desk. This shortage affects the development of literacy and overall academic performance.