Thandi Tutu-Gxashe Shares Her Story With FOA Students

Five Oaks Academy was honored to welcome Thandi Tutu-Gxashe, CEO of Desmond Tutu Tutudesk Campaign “Tutudesk Campaign 2020”, on Monday, November 26. Ms. Tutu-Gxashe is the daughter of Desmond Tutu, a highly influential leader of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. She has lived, worked and been educated in the UK, Swaziland, Botswana and the USA. Ms. Tutu-Gxashe echoes her parent’s vision of equality and the importance of education. Her sincere, warm, and gentle nature instantly captivated her audience of FOA elementary and middle school students.  She shared her passion for education and her drive to address the issue of the vast shortage of desks in sub-Saharan Africa. Our students were stunned to learn there are over 90 million students who had no hard surface to write on and who are literally working on the floor of a classroom or under a tree.

The “Tutudesk Campaign 2020” aims to address the shortage of 90 million desks in sub-Saharan Africa, by providing 20 million Tutudesks to 20 million children by 2020. The Tutudesk is an environmentally friendly, light, portable desk that children can use at school or at home, in regular classrooms or under a tree. The organization’s goal is to improve the lives of African children, their communities and countries, and to make Africa a more globally competitive continent by impacting education and literacy. Ms. Tutu-Gxashe gifted FOA with 3 Tutudesks for our Five Oaks students to use. For more information and to make a donation, please visit In addition to education, Ms. Tutu-Gxashe is passionate about many public health issues, especially in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

We are so appreciative of the time Thandi Tutu-Gxashe extended to our students. Her dedication and drive are such an inspiration to us all!  A special thank you to Upper Elementary student, Charles A., for contacting Ms. Tutu-Gxashe and coordinating her to visit FOA.