Each year around Easter for two weeks, a number of Transition Year students and teachers from Adamstown Community College travel to the Kayamandi Township in Stellenbosch, South Africa to participate in the Adamstown Community College South African Township Programme. This volunteer programme is part of the Development Studies module offered to students in Transition Year and has been running since the first group of students travelled out to South Africa in 2013.
As part of this programme the College is very proud to be in partnership with Kayamandi High School which is located in the township. The school is a Xhosa-medium school with a student population of 1,000 and a staff of 29 teachers.
As part of the volunteer programme the TY students get to stay in the Kayamandi Township for a week. They stay with either Mama Thandie or Mama Zulu, both of whom own a homestay business and host volunteers from every corner of the globe all year round. The TYs attend classes in Kayamandi High School which gives them the opportunity to interact with students of their own age group. They are also given the opportunity to volunteer in the evenings with VisionAfrika and Songo.info. VisionAfrika is a youth centre in Kayamandi that provides after school tuition for students of the township. It also provides group workshops for teenagers which are aimed at building self-esteem and discussing issues that affect their everyday lives in Kayamandi. Songo.info is a charity that also provides after school tuition for students. Members that attend Songo.info are trained on how to ride BMX bikes and are entered into cycling races around South Africa.
The second week of the programme is spent in Cape Town. Students and teachers stay at a hostel in the city centre and are given the opportunity to experience why South Africa has become the number one tourist destination on the African continent. The activities that students do include a visit to a cheetah sanctuary to pet cheetahs, a hike up to the top of Table Mountain, a visit Nelson Mandela’s prison cell on Robben Island, watch a Stormers rugby match at Newlands stadium, travel to Cape Point, see penguins at Boulder Beach and visit the District 6 Apartheid museum.
Students who have been accepted into TY are asked to apply for a place on the programme at the end of 3rd year. As part of the selection process they are interviewed by a member of the TY team to ascertain their suitability for the programme. Tutors and the wider teaching staff are also consulted during this process. The selected students then have to fundraise €1,100 over the course of the year to cover the cost of their place on the programme. Past events in the school that students have used to cover their costs have included a 1st year cinema days, bake sales, car washes and a haunted house at Halloween. As part of the programme, the College fundraises much needed money for the Kayamandi High School library, VisionAfrika and Songo.info. Past events which have helped raise these funds have included the annual ACC 5k/10k fun run, street collections in Lucan village, supermarket bag-packs and non-uniform days.
The programme has gone from strength to strength since the inaugural trip in 2013. Each year the College has been able to offer more students a place on the programme. Teaching staff from the College have also travelled to Kayamandi during the summer months to volunteer and to see how the money the College has fundraised is being used. In January 2015, two Kayamandi High School staff members, the Vice-Principal Ms. Hani and the Head of English Ms. Matawanie, travelled to Adamstown Community College to further strengthen the link between the two schools. In 2018 it is hoped that four students and two teachers from Kayamandi High School will visit Adamstown Community College on an exchange programme.
Further information about the organisations and charities linked to the programme can be found at the following links:
VisionAfrika - https://visionafrika.com/
Songo.info - https://www.songo.info/