The Girls Scholarship Program (GSP) was co-founded in 2006 by Lynn West and Jennifer Getz under the umbrella of a partnership between eSibonisweni Primary School in Esicabazini and Mark Day School in San Rafael, California. Lynn is a former international lawyer and consultant who has worked with several nonprofits supporting girls' education in Africa. Jennifer worked in education in her home country of South Africa and in the U.S., both at Mark Day School and also promoting exchanges between disparate schools worldwide. Lynn and Jennifer worked with faculty from both partner schools to launch the GSP fully in 2007.
Launched and run initially with private donor funds, the GSP has been supported for the past decade primarily by Mark Day School community families and fundraising events, in coordination with founder Lynn West who still manages the program as U.S. Director. These activities are organized by various members of the school community under the leadership team of Joe Harvey (Head of School), Fernanda Pernambuco (Director of Cross-Cultural Partnerships & Community Engagement), and Lisa Becker (1st grade teacher). This team works with committed parent and student volunteers to raise awareness of the need for the GSP and to fund its operations.
Since our founding in 2006, the GSP operations in South Africa have been implemented by teachers at eSibonisweni Primary School under the leadership of Simangele Ntshangase. Over the years, she has been assisted by various teachers, primarily Pearl Mdluli since 2011. These teachers develop the annual budget; purchase and distribute the uniforms, shoes, bags and other supplies provided to the girls each year; organize monthly program meetings; mentor the girls; monitor their grades; collect reports cards and create quarterly reports for the GSP sponsors. They also coordinate with our Johannesburg partner and communicate regularly with the U.S. Director.