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Creating an Edutainer

Bright Kid Foundation purchases used 12 meter shipping containers to convert into Edutainers®. A 50 point check sheet is used when purchasing a container, to ensure that they are suitable for use as Edutainers®. Containers are made from 2mm corrugated steel and are extremely strong structures; seven containers can be safely stacked on top of each other.

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Properly maintained containers can last up to thirty years or more. All Edutainers® are provided with maintenance schedules and appropriate paint to touch up. The conversion process is carefully monitored and designed to produce Edutainers® which can withstand most of the weather extremes found in South Africa.

Heat is generally transmitted through the ceiling, so very effective insulating panels are placed inside the Edutainer® at an appropriate distance from the roof. Extra large windows are placed opposite each other for light and to allow for cooling cross-breezes. A heating fan is provided for cold days.

Containers are wire-brushed to remove all old paint and rust resistant metal etch oxide is painted over the entire container. Two coats of enamel are painted on top of this, followed by a further coat of enamel which is used to decorate the container. Steel reinforced concrete foundation blocks are supplied with each Edutainer® to level them and keep them above ground to allow airflow underneath.



The Bright Kid Foundation has carefully designed the Edutainer® to be sustainable, enabling competent teachers to attract fee-paying parents so they can enroll enough children to generate sufficient funds to pay salaries and feed the children.

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How the Bright Kid Foundation achieves sustainability:

  • We work closely with established early-childhood development NGO’s
  • Edutainers® are only allocated to competent trained teachers
  • Edutainers® are well equipped and function as excellent pre-schools.
    Equipment includes:
  • books
  • educational toys
  • furniture
  • This high-quality learning environment attracts fee-paying parents

It is vital for Corporate Social Investment (CSI) to be sustainable. A social investment yields a stream of social benefits which accrue to the individuals directly involved (the pupils and teachers in the Edutainer®) and to the community at large.

An Edutainer® is a sizeable investment, and donors are not expected to provide additional funds over time to keep it operating. The teacher or the community running the Edutainer® need to generate the funds to pay salaries, feed the children, supply educational equipment, and maintain the Edutainer®. Teachers and communities are carefully vetted before they receive Edutainers®, to ensure that they will be able to make effective use of this significant, free capital asset. Edutainers® can be registered as pre-schools, so the school will receive some government grants in addition to the modest school fees they receive. It is very rare that the parents of all children attending will be able to pay fees as there is usually high unemployment in the poor areas where Edutainers® are placed. However, parents practice ‘uBuntu; a form of social responsibility to the community. Fee paying parents will allow a certain number of unemployed parents to send their children to the Edutainer® pre-school without paying fees.

There are always a number of ‘garage crèches’ in the poor communities receiving Edutainers®. These usually consist of ‘shack’ schools without trained teachers and without adequate sanitation or educational toys. The dramatic delivery of the Edutainer®, which is fully decorated on the outside and delivered by a crane truck, is often attended by local dignitaries and the whole community and this delivery provides superb publicity to the Edutainer®, encouraging parents to enroll their children in the Edutainer® school. .They will send their children to the well equipped Edutainer® pre-school in preference to a shack school and the school fees generated help make the Edutainer® sustainable.

In spite of careful planning on the part of the Donor and Bright Kid Foundation, social development investment in poorer communities always involves some degree of risk. Teachers may fall ill, communities may move, and employment creating factories may leave the school area. If the community is re-located, we are able to move the Edutainer® with the community. However, in some cases this is not possible. In a recent survey of the Edutainers® we placed, we found that approximately 3.5% of the units placed were not functioning properly as pre-schools. These were all Edutainers® placed before 2003. In these cases, we remove the container, and completely re-furbish and re-paint it, to make it equivalent to a new Edutainer®. By the time that this process is completed, the costs are the same as our normal finishing of used containers. Once the re-finishing is complete, we are able to re-cycle the newly finished fully equipped container. Containers which have been removed from their original location are marked with an “R” after the location place name in the list of Edutainers® delivered.

MANTAG Certification

Legally, container conversions and prefabricated buildings are classified as temporary structures. This means that they can only be used on one site for 6 months – since plans have not been approved by any Government department. This law is sporadically applied but will be more rigorous in the future. However, because Edutainers® underwent a rigorous 24 month evaluation, Edutainers® are MANTAG certified for permanent use as pre-schools. This means they can be registered as pre-schools for subsidy purposes.