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Eller MBA Program collecting school supplies for South African students. 

In October, Eller Executive MBA students will travel to South Africa to gain international perspective, but they’re also planning to leave something behind. Packed in with their laptops, power adapters, and comfortable shoes will be schools supplies for high school students in Alexandra, a vast and impoverished township on the outskirts of Johannesburg.

Alexandra High School students participate in classes.

Alexandra High School students participate in classes held outside of the Alexandra township. Photo courtesy St. Mary’s School.

“The Executive MBAs will be judging the top five teams from a high school business plans competition in Alexandra,” explains Brent Chrite, MBA Programs director. “We are giving the supplies to the participating schools in order to support their efforts in educating the next generation of South Africans. These materials will also support their interests in entrepreneurship and small business development as a response to extraordinary levels of unemployment and poverty in the region.”

A typical Alexandra street, with

A typical Alexandra street, with Johannesburg in the distance. Photo courtesy Alexandra Renewal Project.


The students’ need is great — many residents of Alexandra lack access to basic services such as electricity and running water, much less school supplies. Officials at Alexandra’s five high schools (Alexandra High School, EastBank High School, Kwabhekilanga High School, Minerva High School, and Realugile High School) have requested up to a thousand each of blue pens, HB pencils, rulers, erasers, basic calculators, clear plastic book covers, tape, and more.

“We have a moral imperative to give the children of the world the chance to make their lives better,” says Harry Rising, program manager for the Arizona National Guard Camp Navajo Industrial Operation and current Executive MBA. “It is a real blessing to have the opportunity to make this difference anywhere we can, especially away from our own homes. It helps to strengthen the ties of fellowship that bind us together as people of goodwill.”

The Eller MBA program is collecting donations in Tucson at McClelland Hall Room 210 (1130 East Helen Street) and at its Scottsdale campus (16425 North Pima Road, Suite 370) now through September 24. Stop by to make a donation between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, or call for more information: 520.621.4008.