KZN eye doctor selected to represent South Africa at youth leadership programme in Antarctica

2014-01-30 00:00

FORMER Durban Girls’ High pupil Dr Sandika Baboolal is the first South African to be chosen as part of the Antarctic Youth Ambassador Programme for the International Antarctic Expedition 2014.

Baboolal (28), an ophthalmology medical officer, is part of a select group, among 30 from all over the world, embarking on a unique expedition that aims to take youth to the Antarctic with legendary explorer Robert Swan.

There, they will learn about the unique ecosystem and represent their countries in the “Leadership on the Edge” programme with an emphasis on sustainability. Each participant will also create a project of their choice during that time that will be executed the year following the journey.

“What I hope to accomplish from attending this expedition is to return to South Africa and inspire change.

“Due to the knowledge transfer that will be taking place during the expedition via various debates, lessons and workshops, I hope that I will be able to bring that experience back with me and, consequently, hold presentations, workshops and seminars on all that I have learnt during my journey to Antarctica.”

Baboolal said the expedition will provide a great opportunity for her to promote and represent South Africa to various international experts and fellow members in the AYAP.

The Antarctica Youth Ambassador Programme (AYAP)is a part of the International Antarctica Expedition (IAE), planned by the “2041 Organisation”, which brings together 30 selected youth from around the world in order to spread awareness and educate them on critical aspects of the environment, climate change and leadership by taking them to the last untamed wilderness: Antarctica.

Members of the AYAP are set to return to their countries as ambassadors; to spread awareness in their local communities on topics such as leadership, sustainable development, climate change and renewable energy.

“Ever since childhood, I have been involved in leadership, youth empowerment and environmental advocacy projects.

Baboolal said the Ambassador Programme is a unique opportunity for South Africa to be involved in a programme that has international recognition and exposure.

“It is an honour to be the first to represent my beloved country and share with others the African leadership philosophy of Ubuntu on an international platform, with phenomenal inspiration such as Nelson Mandela as a model.

“It is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be able to learn more about an environment that is harsh and remote, but one that also has intimate relevance to South Africa and the rest of the world.”

In March 2014, Swan and the 2041 team will lead an international team of corporate leaders, environmentalists, entrepreneurs, teachers and young people on a journey for two weeks through the Antarctic Peninsula, visiting incredible locations and sharing insights and personal experiences of this unique continent along the way.

The programme will focus on leadership, sustainability, improving communication skills, and team building, utilising the experiences of Shackleton, Scott, Amundsen and other early explorers.

By enhancing personal and leadership skills, AYAP will work to create strategies for successful individual and team development.

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