On Monday, my helper came to work and told me that her niece had won a scholarship to go to a conference in New York. She went on to say that, as is often the case, the scholarship wouldn’t cover everything, and that the family would be holding fundraising events in the village. Starting at the end of this month.
Please help set up a Facebook event and help to advertise it?
Well, of course, I would, I am and shall. I didn’t let it end there (why would I?) and asked a few more questions. I discovered that for Hayley to take up this fantastic opportunity, she needs at least another ZAR 30,000 (about US$15,000). As she subsequently said to me: that’s almost a year’s tuition.
Just for a conference.
Actually, though, it’s much, much more than that.
Who is Hayley?
Hayley was born and grew up in this village: McGregor. There are about 7,000 inhabitants in the broader village and valley. It’s in the heart of the Winelands and surrounded by farms. Until pretty recently, the majority of the more middle class inhabitants were of retirement age and older. The village has two primary schools but no high school To get to high school, children take the bus 20km to the next town. Economic activity – other than agriculture (grapes, wine and fruit) is limited which means that jobs – mostly domestic work – and real opportunities are equally limited. Unless one has the where-withall to work online. Or commute to Robertson, Worcester, Stellenbosch or Cape Town.
Then there’s what Covid has done to the economy, unemployment and poverty rates. Driving the first down and the last two up. Especially in the village where tourism is the other major economic activity.
Hayley comes from a family of phenomenal women – I know because some of them work, or have worked, with me. I don’t know much detail, but I do know – again from her aunt – how proud the family are, of her having gone to Stellenbosh University and graduating with a Bachelor of Arts. Now – in this time of Covid – she is writing her final honours examinations in International Relations. Hayley is on a trajectory to start her Masters degree in 2021; she will focus on gender studies and female empowerment.
South Africa and the world need young women like her.
That’s only part of what makes this a big deal.
What is Change the World?
Change the World is an initiative run by Italian NGO, Associazione Diplomatici which has consultative status with the Economic and Social
Council of the United Nations. The Association’s goal:
… to develop and encourage the participation and the education in active citizenship and to facilitate the understanding of the complex dynamics that run the world. AD offers young students a model of inclusive confrontation based on the respect for every diversity: religious, race and political orientation, training them to transversal competences for the world’s global work. Source
Each year, more than 3,000 young people make their way to the United Nations in New York for an experience that models the work of the world body. For three days they roleplay and debate current geopolitical issues and “do” international relations. In the building where UN Ambassadors conduct their daily business.
This is a big deal
Not only would this be the first (of many, I hope) international trips for Hayley, it will be her first trip to the US and The Big Apple. I’ve banged on, before, about how I lurved Manhattan, but this is not about me. Nor is it really about NYC and Manhattan. It’s about the experience, growth opportunity and most importantly, the networks that Hayley will establish. These networks could well play a seminal role in her future and her chosen career.
Help Hayley to Change the World
If you’d also like to help Hayley to not just go to the UN, but to change the world –
Please contribute to her crowdfunding campaign here.
Please share that link and/or this blog with anyone who will support Hayley in her mission to Change the World.
Let’s help Hayley to Change the World
Until next time, thank you, and be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa
I am doing my best to post every day for November as part of @traciyork’s twice yearly #HiveBloPoMo challenge. This is my third attempt. All my posts are to the the Hive blockchain, but not all from WordPress. Details about the challenge (on the blockchain) are here and on WordPress, here.
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In yet another aspect of my life –
formal grammar, spelling and punctuation
more information here