In line with SMEC South Africa's commitment to support community development projects across a range of areas such as education and early childhood development, the team has donated funding to South African-based Non-Profit Organisation, Entrust Foundation.

Founded in 2016, Entrust Foundation focuses on early child development, education and innovation programmes in underprivileged primary and secondary schools, along with in-community youth and women empowerment initiatives.


South Africa grapples with a significant inter-generational cycle of poverty, exacerbated by the current challenge of poor education standards for the underprivileged and youth unemployment. The country has one of the highest youth unemployment rates globally, standing at 46.5% for youth aged 15 to 34. Recognising the urgency of the education crisis from preschool age onward, the foundation is working to address the issue of insufficient proficiency in reading and mathematics, as well as children dropping out of school prematurely.


Operating in rural, township and inner-city disadvantaged schools and communities across all provinces of South Africa, Entrust Foundation and their implementation partners employ MiniChess and MindCo game-based training-innovation programmes as tools. The play-based engagement – which can be applied across age, gender, culture, language and physical abilities – not only develops critical thinking skills but also resilience, creativity and emotional intelligence. The foundation invests in the training and mentoring of local women and youth to serve as programme implementation partners in their communities, a model that has worked well to date.


The award-winning MiniChess and MindCo programmes were developed by the founder of Entrust Foundation, Marisa van der Merwe, and are now being implemented in nine countries as well as online. Through working with MiniChess, Entrust Foundation has reached over 250 000 learners through their creative play-innovation and over 1 300 teachers/in-community partners have been trained.


More details on how the funding provided by SMEC South Africa to Entrust will be utilised will be released over 2024.