Community service and development, core elements of the SAWIP curriculum, were expressed through individual and team projects on Saturday 8th September 2012 at Marian High School in Cape Town South Africa. At the SAWIP orientation camp held in March, the 2012 Team was informed that we would be tasked with putting together a group community service project. As a team, we hold our communities and education close to our hearts. We are passionate about empowering youth and giving back to the very communities welcome from. We aim to be the seed of hope, leadership and positive change.
On the 8th September, the SAWIP Team of 2012 conducted our community service project. It was held in Lavistown, Cape Town at a girls’ school, Marian C. High School. We used skills gained from various avenues, previous SAWIP events, themed discussions and workshops over the last five months. After much reflection on the SAWIP journey and engagement in Washington DC, debates, research, and many proposals, the team drew on each other’s strengths and networks. We sourced help among ourselves, community leaders and businesses. The process and planning building up to the community service project was aligned to SAWIP’s beliefs and values of encouragement and of personal and professional development through rigorous community service and outreach.
As the opening ceremony, the team presented a newly-cleaned and well-stocked school library and reading room to Marian High School. Later in the morning, learners and members of the community signed up for various skills workshops. The SAWIP 2012 Team delivered workshops for Curriculum Vitae’s and business plan writing, as well as sessions providing tertiary and higher education advice. Experts and prominent business women and men joined us to inform the school learners and members of the community about furthering their education. This included how to apply to various educational institutions and obtain funding. These community leaders, together with the SAWIP Team of 2012, also ran the CV and business plan skills development workshops offered that morning. The culmination of the day took place in the form of an accountability discussion with members of the Lavistown community. Their thoughts, pressing issues, pleas and suggestions were handed over to their local ward councilor (community political leader).
Often people in the Lavistown community do not pursue further education due to a lack of funding, understanding, guidance and the hampering conditions of poverty. The SAWIP Team of 2012 dispelled these barriers and instilled a positive mind-set in all those who attended our event.
SAWIP’s mission is to “successfully address transformation challenges in our post-conflict society in order to strengthen a sustainable, efficient democracy with active citizens”. Thus, one of our main objectives during the community service project was to have empowerment for the youth by the youth, and involve an entire community in transformation and development. We felt our community service project was the platform for these citizens to be the seeds of difference in their communities and in their country, South Africa.
Parveen is currently pursuing her PGCE at the University of the Western Cape with a strong interest in business and education curriculum development. She is passionate about education, writing poetry and short stories. She is currently an entrepreneur and in her spare time does voluntary tutoring. During her university career, Parveen has participated in programs through the UWC Office of Student Development and was selected as one of South Africa’s Brightest Young Minds in 2011. She advocates for sustainable development, skill development and education, and is serious about the economic future of South Africa. She would like work on education curriculum development in South Africa, and aspires to complete her BCom honours in 2013.
The South Africa-Washington International Program (SAWIP) is a six-month leadership, service and professional development program that recruits 15 high-potential South African students from three top South African universities each year in pursuit of its mission to inspire, develop and support a diverse new generation of emerging South African leaders from multiple disciplines.