Since 2006, South Africa Partners has led an annual education tour to South Africa. Over the past six years, the trip has introduced a total of 56 educators to South Africa through visits to cultural and historical sites, schools, other organizations doing work in the community, and conversations with South Africans. The Annual Tour takes place each summer at the end of July.
The 2011 Education Tour was held between July 19th and August 2nd, 2011 as a group of nine educators from the United States toured South Africa. The group visited Johannesburg, East London, and Cape Town. The participants visited many cultural and historical sites including Constitutional Hill, the District Six Museum, and Robben Island. A new addition this year was a trip to the Cradle of Humankind and Sterkfontein Caves.
Participants also visited several schools, ranging from the primary to tertiary level. The educators were very inspired by the schools they visited, among them the Kliptown Youth Project in Johannesburg, the A.W. Barnes School in East London, and the LEAP School in Cape Town. One participant said of the Kliptown Youth Project, “It’s an amazing program and it gave me a lot to think about both personally and professionally in terms of service, privilege, and ways to make change.”
Participants had the chance to visit several other community projects, such as the Khusela Project, whose goal is to improve the quality, availability, and uptake of comprehensive prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services in the Eastern Cape Province. Another project participants visited was the Etafeni Centre, whose aim is to build capacity in the local community in Nyanga, Cape Town to sustain and support the community in their holistic care for children affected by AIDS.
Even more memorable were the impromptu visits and conversations throughout the country—including a spontaneous, inspiring tap dancing performance in the streets of Soweto by the Diepkloof Tap Dancers, a group of young tap dancers with the goal of teaching other children to dance. These impromptu visits and conversations are a mainstay of the South Africa Partners Education Tours and give participants a chance to engage with South Africans on an informal level.
The group was very moved, both personally and professionally, by the enthusiasm of those that they met and conversed with. Said one participant, “I was most impressed with their optimism, their passion for education and their constant effort to recognize and address challenges.” Said another, “I was so struck by the energy, passion, and vitality of all South Africans we met—they all have stories to tell and want to tell them.”
In 2012, a participant from the 2006 Education Tour said, “The trip with SA Partners changed me, my outlook, my teaching, and my life in so many ways. We continue to use many of the resources developed on that journey when teaching about this great country.”
South Africa Partners is now accepting applications for the 2012 Education Tour, to be held from July 17 to July 31, 2012. Participants will visit Johannesburg, East London, and Cape Town. The trip will include visits to schools and other educational institutions and meetings with local educators, as well as guided tours of sites in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The trip cost of $2900 includes twelve nights accommodation, two meals per day, ground transportation and guides, event admissions, and the flight from East London to Cape Town*. Please note that this cost does not include international airfare.
To request an application form, or learn more about the trip, please contact Brenna DeCotis at 617-443-1072 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.
*Additional internal flights will be booked as part of your international airfare.