Archbishop Desmond Tutu championed the Tutudesk to provide a simple writing surface for schoolchildren across Africa who have no desks. He said, “In Sub Saharan Africa alone, over 95 million children who go to school do not have a desk. Globally, the numbers are even more staggering. The Tutudesk is a simple yet critical part of the school infrastructure which dramatically improves literacy development, access, retention, and learning outcomes wherever it is deployed.”

The Tutudesk is issued to the learner. They write their name on the designed space; it’s their own desk to use. It weighs less than a kilogram and rests comfortable and stably on a child’s lap, providing an even, steady surface to write on whether they’re sitting on a chair or on the floor. The cutout handle makes it easy to carry home for homework and projects.

Tutudesks are manufactured in South Africa from recycled high-impact polystyrene, a high-grade, child-safe proprietary polymer that won’t shatter if dropped. The material is ideal for imprinting educational and social messaging as well as corporate branding. The desks are designed to last each student a minimum of five years and can be recycled at the end of their useful lives as writing surfaces.

Rotary International President Jennifer Jones and her husband, Nick, with Desmond Tutu’s daughter, Thandi Tutu-Gxashe, the Chair of the Tutudesk NGO 

District Governor Suzanne Bragdon, Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe, and DISC Sheila Hurst 

District 5160 Governor Claire Roberts

The cost is $20.00 for each Tutudesk.

Checks for tax-deductible contributions can be made payable to the Redding West Rotary Foundation and can be mailed to

The Rotary Club of Redding West
P.O Box 993928
Redding CA 96099

Please include the name of the Rotary Club and/or individual donor(s) with their contact information including an email address for a receipt and to receive photos of the recipients after the distribution.

The Redding West Rotary Foundation will forward funds to the Rotary Club of San Francisco #2 that has agreed to allow one of its Foundations to receive and hold funds in the USA. These funds will be transferred/wired to a US Dollar account in South Africa that is monitored and controlled by Rotarians. And the Tutudesks will be distributed to children there.

With questions about the Tutudesk Campaign, please email [email protected].


The Rotary Districts of southern Africa are collaborating with the Tutudesk Campaign to bring writing desks to disadvantaged children in schools lacking proper infrastructure.

The Desmond Tutu Tutudesk Campaign is personally led by Archbishop Desmond Tutu with the key mission to provision 20 million Tutudesks to African school children by 2025. An estimated 95+ million children in sub-Saharan Africa are affected by classroom desk shortages, which has a direct, ongoing and extremely negative impact on the development of the child’s literacy development and academic performance. Tutudesk provides children in need with a mobile, steady and stable desk enabling an immediate, las􀆟ng and positive impact on the beneficiary child’s literacy development and overall academic performance.


The project is a collaboration of the Rotary Districts of southern Africa and the Desmond Tutu Tutudesk Campaign. Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu and Nobel Peace Prize Awardee has been Patron of the Tutudesk Campaign since August 2005. His eldest daughter, Thandeka Tutu-Gxashe is the Chief Executive Officer. The District Governors of the southern African Rotary Districts of D9210, 9350, 9370 and 9400 have teamed up to support the project with the help of participating Rotary Clubs.


The collaboration has its genesis as part of the Centennial Celebration of Rotary in Africa. But we see it as more than that. We see a long term collaboration where Rotarians and the Tutudesk Campaign can partner to drive Rotary’s area of focus Supporting Education. This focus aims to strengthen the capacity of communities to support basic education and literacy, reduce gender disparity in education, and increase adult literacy. It is one of Rotary’s seven areas of focus covering humanitarian activities.


The collaboration has three distinct initiatives. The first is to approach Rotarians in the Rotary Districts of southern Africa and worldwide, using the Rotary network to reach as many Rotarians as possible. The second is a targeted approach to corporate sponsors for 1,000 Tutudesks each with their branding and a South African Sec􀆟on 18A tax rebate. The third initiative is a crowdfunding initiative using multiple social media platorms.


The Rotary Districts’ Tutudesk Campaign initiative is initially focusing on under-resourced schools in southern Africa. As more Districts in Africa join the program, so the reach of the program will be extended.


Tutudesks are made from a high-grade, child-safe, proprietary polymer that won’t shatter like other plastics if dropped. A Tutudesk weighs under a kilogram and rests comfortably and stably on our childrens’ laps, providing them with an even, steady surface to write on, whether they are sitting on a chair or on the floor. The Tutudesks are issued to the learner and with the cut-out handle, they can easily be carried home and used for doing homework and projects. They are locally produced in South Africa and the polymer accepts printing that is durable and wear-resistant. This makes it ideal for imprinting educational and social messaging, as well as corporate branding.


Distribution to any school within South Africa is already in place through the Desmond Tutu Tutudesk Campaign country structure.

Donor Distribution to other countries in Africa is being explored through available channels.


The collaboration between the Rotary Districts of southern Africa and the Tutudesk Campaign began in February 2020. The collaboration aims to celebrate its first major milestone in time for the Rotary Africa Centennial Celebration. We hope the Centennial will be a springboard for other Districts to join the project and extend it as an ongoing collaboration into Africa.

Printing & Branding

A concept layout of the desk is shown below. The educational elements will focus on primary school learners to facilitate a basic grounding in reading, writing and arithmetic. The central area will be for Rotary District or Sponsor branding as appropriate. Double-sided printing is possible at a small additional cost.