PAB’s new USA interns

2019-06-18 06:00
Students from the United States of America (USA) and volunteers at Philisa Abafazi Bethu are working with children from Lavender Hill and surrounds to empower the youth and the greater community. PHOTO: Racine Edwardes

Students from the United States of America (USA) and volunteers at Philisa Abafazi Bethu are working with children from Lavender Hill and surrounds to empower the youth and the greater community. PHOTO: Racine Edwardes

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Partnerships formed by Philisa Abafazi Bethu (PAB) with organisations from the United States of America (USA) have created an impressive eco-system for the creation of community-improving programmes.

PAB is a Lavender Hill-based organisation that runs youth development programmes, advocates for children and women’s rights, supports the abused and has for more than 10 years attempted to empower the community.

Greg Philander, the organisation’s programme manager, explains that PAB aims to empower local and international communities by sharing knowledge through their volunteer programmes.

“The organisation, for the last three or four years, has had a partnership with the University of Texas and the result is that students from Texas come over and volunteer their services – some for one month, some for three – and are placed at Philisa Abafazi Bethu,” he says.

Each of the volunteers is placed strategically based on their skills and area of studies. They are then able to infer skills from their learnings at home onto the community, but also to take away valuable teachings from PAB.

“We’ve each been working on different aspects that help expand their programmes. My particular project is a newsletter,” says volunteer, Dazia Briscoe who is looking to expand the organisation’s networks and support systems, in order to create more awareness of the work they do.

Katy Roberson, one of the volunteers from the USA, aims to forge more valuable cross-border partnerships between US-based organisations and PAB. “I’m working on a spreadsheet of all the universities in the USA that have women in gender studies programmes. Once I get all the details I’m going to start sending emails asking if they have a study abroad programmes to send volunteers here,” Roberson explains.

Volunteer, Laura Lopez-Ortis is also planning to implement a long-term project. “I’m trying to put together a spreadsheet to contact battered women’s homes in the USA to see how Philisa can collaborate with them in terms of their programmes, and how they can better help those women,” she says.

While the volunteers stay in Cape Town only until Tuesday 25 June, the volunteer programme requires the students to create programmes that can continue to operate once they’ve left. The group is excited about what they’ve learned and seen in South Africa and will use the knowledge in their studies as well as to better their own communities who face similar challenges at home.V To find out more about Philisa Abafazi Bethu visit https://bit.ly/2Wz1LW7

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