The Rara Avis Foundation: Initiating Change Through Education

School children reading a book in the school library.

as shared with Shift ONE digital

The Rara Avis Foundation was established in 1996 by Lili Bouwer Niemann, Founder and CEO of the E-Square Education Group. Lili Niemann has always had a passion for education and helping others, which is why she started the Rara Avis foundation. Rara Avis is geared towards generating funds to provide those who come from less fortunate communities, the opportunity to attend quality educational institutions and become the business leaders of tomorrow.

Rara Avis Foundation Helping Those in Need

The Rara Avis Foundation connects those in need with those who are in a position to uplift and specifically focuses on youth who show potential and a willingness to succeed. The Foundation provides hope to those who are academically inclined, as well as sports-focused, music-focused or entrepreneurially minded youth.

Since its inception, Lili Niemann’s foundation has managed to raise a total of R13 million towards bursaries for well deserving learners and fully supported 1 145 students through E-Square’s 1022 courses.

“Showing communities that working hard is, in fact, a way to improve your circumstances is a powerful motivator for those in communities that otherwise feel forgotten,” explains Lili Niemann. “This is another reason why I am so passionate about giving back to South Africans through education and the life-changing initiative that is the Rara Avis foundation.”

Via Rara Avis, sponsored learners are able to pursue an education through E-Square Education, which is a one-stop private education platform providing affordable learning opportunities for individuals aged between 6 to 60, from Grade 1 to Tertiary Certificate, Diploma or Degree level, onsite or online.

The Rara Avis foundation in partnership with E-Square is committed to uplifting people through education and provides the support systems many underprivileged students need to succeed, such as aftercare for students with children or younger siblings.

Lili Niemann has spent the last 25 years redressing the unequal education balance by providing quality education that’s inclusive and accessible to all South Africans.

“My vision is for E-Square Education to become a world-class organisation; a global provider of relevant, quality online learning and an institution which creates entrepreneurs who are job creators, rather than seekers. I strongly believe that education should not be about teaching students for a profit, but about making money to provide quality education for all,” says Lili.

E-Square Education has secured global partnerships with Durham University, the Entrepreneurship Institute, and GeniusU, which connects entrepreneurs online through their web and mobile platform.

Educating the World Through Online Learning

eCUBE is Lili’s latest educational endeavour. The online college (still in development) will offer many quality courses making education even more accessible to local and international learners, students and adults and enabling anyone with an internet connection the opportunity to get an education. Programmes are developed specifically around practical skills which will allow learners, students, and adults to drive their own destinies.

“eCUBE’s offering comes at a time where the need to access educational resources online or from a remote location is at an all-time high, as a result of the world adapting to the impact of Covid-19 and the global digital revolution,” says Lili.

One of the biggest benefits online learning offers learners, students and adults is the ability to manage their own time and is often a more affordable option, making online education perfectly suited to the South African market.

Strength Through Partnerships

Lili Niemann’s passion for education and helping others has inspired many local and international businesses and educational institutions to get involved. Their support has allowed her to continue her efforts in educating those who come from less fortunate circumstances.

“I believe humans are empathetic and caring in nature, I have experienced this first-hand. Since I started the Rara Avis foundation, many businesses and corporates who heard about the work of my foundation willingly contributed. Without their unwavering support we would not have been able to achieve all that we have so far,” Lili says.

“The more organisations that get involved and support our initiative the more lives we will be able to change through education,” Lili emphasises.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela

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