This project started in 2010 shortly after the xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Sidney and Candi had been working in refugee camps and around peace initiatives; ensuring the safe reintegration of African refugees back into the townships. They wanted to find ways to assist local communities; not only during times of crisis; but on an on-going basis. Hence the start of Projekt Ubuntu Community Projects, which aims to teach young people from around the world the values of Ubuntu, the African principle of humanity.
This social development organization works in Masiphumelele and Ocean View, two townships on the outskirts of Cape Town that deal with a high level of social issues such as poverty, crime, drug, and alcohol abuse, and HIV/AIDS. Ubuntu’s main focus is the Ubuntu Centre, a community center that directs resources to the community and cares for between 60 and 100 children every day. The children are from families that lack the resources to provide them with daycare, and the center offers a safe and educative space on a daily basis. They also offer the children healthy meals. Many of the children have experienced traumas and receive as much emotional support as possible at the center. The organization also supports a number of daycare centers in the township that are run by the grandmothers and mothers of the community.
Volunteers from all over the world join this project. Service to society and volunteering gives one the unique experience of directing one’s own energy in a positive direction. While developing one’s own potential and skills, one also does something useful for both communities.
What to expect as an intern with Projekt Ubuntu?
Through their projects, they are able to facilitate a process where young people can develop themselves, through service to others. Many young people from privileged backgrounds have the education and resources; but not necessarily, the life experience. The poorer community may not have the education and resources, but one can learn through life experience and the wisdom that is there. This organization works with a hand up rather than a hand out approach, which means – they support the people that are leading in their communities, that have the knowledge and the know-how and wisdom to solve their own challenges – they often just like the right support and resource to do what they need to do.
Together with the project directors and coordinators, you will decide upon the role and project you will be working on during your internship. You will have an opportunity to use your initiative and to work alongside a community, you will learn from the children and from their carers, you will learn about the African culture and community development.