As the Programme Director of the Zero Dropout Campaign, Merle is responsible for bringing our vision to life and leads our team of implementing partners. Merle is committed to making visible the large number of learners who disappear from the school system each year by advocating for a proactive response to reducing the rate of school dropout. She is a trained social worker and holds an honours degree in Policy and Management. Merle has worked in the civil society space for more than a decade, largely focusing on education and philanthropy.
Pumza is the Project Lead for the Reading for Meaning programme. Concerned about a lack of access to quality education for marginalized communities, she is determined to find ways to ensure young people can access the resources they need to succeed. Pumza has extensive experience in strategic community development and sustainable solutions for youth and early childhood development. She has an advanced certificate in Project Management and is currently working towards a BA degree in Social Science. Pumza has been working in the development sector for over a decade, designing training content and working on youth development initiatives.
Colin is the Communication Lead for the Zero Dropout Campaign. Inspired by the Campaign’s advocacy and aims, he is working with the team to sound the alarm on this education crisis and seek solutions. He holds degrees in Political Communication from the University of Cape Town and Screen Media from Birkbeck, University of London. Colin has worked on and led communication campaigns in both the public and private sectors for over a decade. His work in the education sector began in 2020 where he helped various organisations and institutions overcome new challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and respond to the international Movement for Black Lives.
Claudia is the Mentor Manager for the Reading for Meaning programme and works to implement quality systems and processes for the programme. With over a decade of experience in education, her dedication to literacy and learning is extensive. She holds a joint Master’s degree in Public Health Education and Natural Remedies from Sahmyook University in Seoul, South Korea, and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of the Western Cape. In her free time Claudia serves as a board member for Edtech Global Africa, with a focus in using technology for teaching and learning. Her involvement on the board emphasises her commitment to advancing educational opportunities through technology.
Kendra is driving the Zero Dropout Campaign’s digital strategy as the team’s Communications Officer. She graduated from UCT with an undergraduate degree in Film and Media and an honours degree in Media Theory, awarded with commendation and distinction. While completing her studies, Kendra also gained experience in marketing, media, social media and film. She helped an NGO, Fix Forward, showcase their social cause online, and in doing so built a loyal following for the brand. She further volunteered her storytelling and videography skills to The Zoe project, producing educational videos for their expectant mothers. She is inspired by the power of provocative storytelling and content creation for social impact.