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Posts Tagged ‘vsaff’

SA project Manager Vimbai was in Vancouver for the past two weeks. Part of her visit included promoting the Vancouver South African Festival, as well as raising awareness of Education without Borders and its work in the Cape Town Gugulethu area.

Vimbai spoke to festival goers throughout the weekend, and concluded the event with an emotional and inspirational talk about the realities of South Africa, the country’s large income disparities, crime and violence, and what it is like to work with young people facing so many challenges. Vimbai’s talk, sobering at times, also drew wonderful examples of how despite such adversity, Education without Borders is making a difference in the lives of so many students.

Besides the film festival, Vimbai also spoke to various community groups while here in Vancouver. Organizations in the area of dance, music, and the local media got to learn first hand how Education without Borders is working to improve outcomes in the area of education. How we are working in english, arts, and math education, and how we are drawing on local talent to find local solutions.

Vimbai, it was wonderful having you here with us! Keep up your hard work in South Africa, and we look forward to hearing more news from you, Courtney, and the students.

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This past weekend was the second annual VSAFF. The event included the opening gala fundraiser, as well as a host of other films from South Africa.

The event has been for the most part a success, with us raising lots of dollars (rands) through ticket sales, the gala, sponsors, and one off donations from film patrons.

My role in the festival has consisted largely of setting up the ticket management system – hardly a simple task! The system saved us a considerable amount of time as it handled all of the pre-event tocket sales for us, and also helped expose the festival to a wider audience; however, the back end of the ticket site was nothing short of a nightmare, and then add the fact that it took on a mind of its own once the event started….

Anyway, the opening gala had over four hundred patrons, and despite all the problems with the ticket system, we still managed to get everyone happily through the doors and into their seats! – pheww!

Tickets and galas aside, I had the chance to meet Vimbai. Let me say she is amazing, and has everyone so impressed. We are so fortunate to have such a motivated, intelligent, and creative young woman doing such great work on the ground in Cape Town – students, Vimbai is your role model!

Vimbai and I will meet up next week to have a chat about arts projects, books, and how to get students more involved in getting their creative work out (stories, photography, drawing, painting, poetry, music, etc). Looking forward to this!

Well, gotta go, Johnny Clegg film is playing, and I’d like to sneak in and see a bit of it.

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I’ve been a bit absent for the past month or so trekking mountains in Southern Chile and Argentina. For those who know me, I have had a long attachment to Chile, a country I was introduced to many years ago by a dear friend of mine. I have visited both Chile and its neighbour Argentina many times, taken up by the region’s stunning landscapes and diverse peoples . 

In the weeks leading up to my trip, and while I have been away, a team of us have been working on putting together the next edition of the Vancouver South African Film Festival. Our festival team, led by Ian, Marc, and Lianne has put in many hours to bring together a selection of leading South African Films.

Once again, all the revenues from our sponsors and ticket sales will be going towards supporting Education without Borders’ projects on the ground in South Africa. 

For those of you interested in seeing some amazing South African film and culture, buy your tickets here at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/producer/134216.

 

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This evening, after leaving the office late, I was tempted head straight home and go to bed early. This past week I’ve had very little sleep; the unfortunate juxtaposition of my obssession with early morning starts, and my partner’s obligation to study well into the morning hours for his Ph. D. Call it burning the candle from both ends.

An early Friday night seemed awfully tempting on a cold and rainy winter’s night, but in the end I stuck to a promise I had made myself earlier in the week, that I would go to synagogue to practice my Hebrew and connect with my community. Now don’t get me wrong, I am about as religious as an apple can be an orange; however, religious event aside, there is something special about being part of a community, being connected to people of similar backgrounds and interests.

Community is important. It connects people together to a common project to better their lives and the lives of the people who live around them. Education without Borders’ mission is to empower parents, teachers, and students to build a community around their schools. The long term objective is not just education, it is also to create a community around the schools EwB supports.

Yet EwB also indirectly helps build community amongst South Africans living abroad. Our NGO achieves this by offering meaningful cultural and fundraising projects (such as the Vancouver South African Film Festival) that bring expats together in a common cause to help improve the lives of fellow South Africans.

In the end everyone is looking to belong somewhere. We are all in search of a community where we can contribute, and where we feel we belong, and where we can be better human beings. Projects such as EwB help build that sense of community for so many people, whether in  Gugulethu at the start of another school year, or here in Vancouver on a cold raining night.

 

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