Today’s XO LAB is about See Saw Do. For the occasion I’ve interviewed owner and founder Xanele who kindly accepted to answer my questions.
What is See Saw Do all about?
See-Saw-Do is a design studio that re-designs child environments. Our scope of work includes mural makeovers, classroom upgrades as well as designing and installing educational multi-sensory play spaces. We also facilitate corporate team building events where companies send their staff to be a part of a makeover. We get our largest pool of funding in this way. We’ve also worked with government and other NGO’s who have funded projects.
Why are your projects important for the children of vulnerable communities?
There are many needs in child environments based in vulnerable communities. We address a variety of needs that have an impact on both the children and the care givers/teachers. With our mural makeovers, we brighten up their spaces with inviting and friendly imagery. The mural designs are always based on an educational theme. It’s been proven time and time again that colour has a significant impact on children. We always use bright colours for exterior walls and calm/neutral colours for interior spaces. Our interior upgrades create clutter-free and serene spaces that are conducive to learning. We design custom furniture and storage solutions and add decorative elements that turn a classroom into a comforting space that children love being in.
See-Saw-Do is currently busy designing inclusive and accessible multi-sensory play spaces. Einstein said that play is the highest form of research. Play is absolutely crucial for child development. We are extremely excited about the positive impact that these play spaces will have on children.
How is a corporate involvement event structured? What is the result of such an event?
Each corporate event is structured according to the client’s need. See-Saw-Do does all the heavy lifting beforehand. When volunteers arrive on site, we have all the equipment and activities laid out for them. We guide them through a fun facilitated process. On the day, we have different work stations that they can be involved in such as painting or assembling furniture. If we do a mural makeover, we match the size of the wall with the available budget and the time the volunteers have with us. When the volunteers leave at the end of the day, they can walk away and see the difference that they made. See-Saw-Do always ensures the highest impact solution with the available budget.
What is the most significant project that has been accomplished during a corporate event since the creation of See Saw Do?
We feel extremely passionate about all of the projects that corporate companies invest in. It’s difficult to single one out! A recent project that stood out was our classroom makeovers at our long-term beneficiary, Eldene Primary. If one looks at the before and after photos of these classrooms, the impact is undeniable. Often schools do not have the budget to invest in upgrading classrooms, the result of which are layers of paint flaking off and broken furniture. Children can focus better in environments that are not over-cluttered with visual content. We re-paint the classrooms, add subtle decorative elements and de-clutter the environment.
See-Saw-Do’s role at Eldene is to focus on infrastructure. Infrastructure includes re-designing and upgrading classrooms and selectively beautifying walls with murals. Our upgrades up to this point include 5 classrooms and 4 murals.
During the year and a half we’ve been involved we’ve invited various partners to get involved. By including a variety of companies and NGO’s to achieve the bigger vision, so much has been achieved. Forty trees have been planted, an organic vegetable garden was installed and the kitchen was re-equipped.
What do you think are important projects to be achieved in the future?
One project that we feel very passionate about is an ongoing one with Eldene Primary School in Elsies River. Our approach is to collaborate with corporate companies, social organisations, the school and the community to address a wide spectrum of needs in a holistic manner. We really want to make this space an amazing environment for the learners and the teachers. We’re super amped about what lies ahead for the space. We aim to re-design all of the 10 remaining classrooms and install multi-sensory educational play spaces.
What is the most rewarding thing about working with See Saw Do?
Our passion is ensuring that whatever we design makes a significant impact on children’s development, environment and education. After all, they’re our country’s future! It’s also a great motivation to always give our best and ensure that we deliver high quality work. Nelson Mandela once said .” We’re privileged to spend our days designing for change.