Aurora Humanitarian Project for UWC: Waterford Kamhlaba

Aurora Humanitarian Project for UWC: Waterford Kamhlaba

The Aurora Humanitarian Project for UWC Schools and Colleges (AHP) aims to encourage students from all UWC schools and colleges to set up or further develop service projects that tackle humanitarian issues geographically local or relevant to the ethos of the specific school or college. The AHP is part of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative which was set up to raise public awareness around humanitarian issues and was inspired by the stories of bravery, survival and compassion during the Armenian Genocide. Wanting to celebrate the strength of the human spirit and generosity a century later, the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative wishes to recognise projects that demonstrate dedication to achieving meaningful impact - and since 2017 includes the AHP to focus on UWC schools and colleges. Three UWC colleges were chosen to proceed to the final round of the Aurora Humanitarian Project for UWC Schools and Colleges. The finalists are: Waterford Kamhlaba UWC of Southern Africa in Swaziland, UWC Robert Bosch College in Germany and UWC Mahindra College in India. Below is the executive summary of the project by Waterford Kamhlaba UWC.

BraveGirl Camp

BraveGirl Camp is a student-led gender equality initiative; a week-long camp taking place on the Waterford Kamhlaba UWCSA campus in mid-August 2017. It targets academically competitive girls completing secondary education around the capital city of Swaziland. The project combines a five night girls’ residency camp, which includes a day-long job shadowing experience, with a preceding pre-camp training for teachers from those secondary schools and camp counsellors. BraveGirl takes a holistic approach to women’s empowerment, moving from a focus on personal goals and health towards the outside context of empowerment in Swaziland.

BraveGirl aims to inspire dialogue surrounding issues of gender inequality among promising urban women, at a pivotal point in their lives. In the ‘safe space’ on our campus - away from the social pressures of their communities - the girls will have an opportunity to discuss topics such as college plans, confidence building, and personal healthcare. We intend for the girls to create their own unique solutions to problems they face in their communities—connecting deserving girls with opportunity and information.

UWC Waterford Kamhlaba has always had close ties to its surrounding Swaziland community through its active community service program. Local Swazi students make up a significant percentage of our high school/international baccalaureate program.  Gender equality and girls empowerment, especially regarding educational advancement, are crucial to Swaziland. Brave Girl will build critical capacity among these stakeholders and will help to cement Waterford Kamhlaba’s commitment to advance this important cause.

By inviting girls onto our campus under our supervision, we become liable for all aspects of their safety and wellbeing for the duration of the camp. Emotional wellbeing especially is an area of concern for us; being untrained minors we do not have the ability to address emotions borne of sensitive topics that we may discuss with the girls - which can lead to harm rather than empowerment. We have sought the advice of professionals and relevant organisations to address this issue. Regulating our conduct to the girls, in this and in generally avoiding any offensiveness - is our main anticipated challenge.

Aurora prize money would contribute towards the expenses of implementation of BraveGirl Camp. Branded goods (and providing the girls smart shirts for their day of job shadowing,) medical care, and the graduation banquet (to which the girls’ relatives will be invited) are some of said expenses, the biggest of which (56% of our budget) will be the accommodation and food costs for those residing on our campus during BraveGirl.

Team members:

1. Ella Pang; second year student, team leader, Chinese-American

2. Ike Njoroge; second year student, team leader, Kenyan

3. Anna Corriero; second year student, team member, Italian

4. Shannon Borrel; first year student, team member, Swazi

5. Kgomotso Magagula; alumni of UWC Costa Rica, alumni advisor, Swazi

6. Kate Doyle; Deputy Principal of Waterford Kamhlaba UWCSA, staff supervisor, South African

7. Ella Rockart; first year student, team member, American

8. Nomonde Nyathi; first year student, team member, Zimbabwean

9. Phuthu Nxumalo; first year student, team member, Swazi

10. Simon Lowry; first year student, team member, South African

11. Julia Hope; first year student, team member, South African

12. Vuyo Kobokwana; first year student, team member, South African

The project proposal by UWC Robert Bosch Collage is available here.

The project proposal by UWC Mahindra College is available here.