Julia Willand berichtet in der folgenden Email von Ihren Erfahrungen auf einem Kurs der Organisation Educo, die hervorragende Arbeit in der Kapregion leistet. Die Email ist an Ihre Kollegen des Vorstands bei Educo gerichtet.

06. Januar 2011

Hello and happy 2011 to you all!

I promised to give you a little bit of feedback on my participation in an EDUCO course in the mountains. I thought I was going to do this over the holidays, but I actually could not get myself to sit at a computer unless absolutely forced to. So today is my first day at the office, and here goes.

I took part in a Women’s course for a group of dancers/singers/performers from Khayelitsha that has been part of MaAfrika Tikkun for many years. They are 12 women between the ages of 18 and 21, many of whom have been part of this group called “Iqala Ngam” (It starts with you) since the age of 9. Iqala Ngam does performances around the topic of sexual violence and with the aim of raising awareness in the communities and of empowering girls and women to stand up against it. Their teacher/mentor/”foster mother” Lizeka is a women in her mid-thirties who also took part in the course. The group was to be dissolved by the end of the year, and the course was intended to make the transition out of the “Iqala Ngam” environment (family, really) into the real world easier. The amazing facilitators were Sphesh and Linda.

Ok, so I love the outdoors and I love interacting with young people from all walks of life, and I was desperate for a break from the office. So perhaps I am not entirely neutral in my judgment, but the week in the mountains was just absolutely fabulous. It was fabulous in all the ways I had hoped it would be:


  1. Personally, I was given some time to reflect and – just like the participants - to get away from the daily pressures of life. Being stripped of watch and Blackberry for an entire week was quite a lesson for me and it took some time for me to ease out of agendas, structures, plans and deadlines into just following the sun and the flow. I found it very liberating.
  2. As a guest/onlooker, I was so privileged to be able to spend time with these impressive young women, to watch and learn from and really engage with them. Seeing them do the game with the limited number of mats (ie resources) to be used to get across the “poisonous river” (those of you who were at the board retreat would remember), their resilience and absolute will to succeed in the face of desperate and seemingly insurmountable challenges was inspiring.
  3. And most importantly, as a board member, I got an understanding of this organization that I could not have gained through 50 years of board meetings, through learning all annual reports off by heart and probably not even through engaging with staff. Witnessing how within 4 or 5 days the young women moved from a point of resistance, fear and denial to a point of self-confidence, individual planning and hope was truly fascinating and showed me how Educo’s programmes work in practice. I also had a long conversation with a lovely Tsiba student from another course that returned to base camp at the same time as us. It was the third time that she had gone on an Educo course and she was raving about how the courses had changed her thinking and outlook on life. Over the Christmas holidays I spent some time with a group of friends and told them about my involvement in Educo, and in contrast to people’s reactions when I used to talk about the organization, this time they were all fascinated and inspired and I am sure will keep Educo in their hearts. I also had good conversations with Sphesh and Linda, and these triggered some thoughts and ideas that I will still take to Mark.


So, I am sorry for taking up much of your scarce time. This was not meant to be so long, but I clearly got carried away. What I want to say is that it really is worth taking the time out to participate in a course and, if at all possible, one that takes place in the mountains. I envy all of you who are still to go.

See you on the 4th of Feb, take care


Julia Willand
Director / assessor iuris / Immigration Practitioner