Last weekend a group of ten IB2 students from Waterford took part in a two-day service learning summit in Johannesburg.
Eight schools were involved with 80 delegates in attendance. The summit included talks and workshops. The workshops involved “global villages.” In this activity, delegates were divided into smaller groups and then each group discussed and worked on presentations on various social issues being faced by local communities. They were also involved in a community service outing to some of the AISJ projects.
The school's Director of Community Service, Fiona Mills said, "It is always interesting to visit another school and attending the summit has inspired our students to want to run a similar event at Waterford. The Waterford students were incredible ambassadors for the school and our Community Service programme. They impressed the delegates and organizers of conference with their knowledge and empathetic understanding of what service means."
During a detailed interview with some of the students who attended this summit, they mentioned that it helped them to realize how privileged they are to be at Waterford, where they are intensively exposed to community service. “This conference was eye-opening; I realized that we are doing a lot at WK and that service is far more than going to the community; it means making a difference in somebody’s life,” said Gloriana Ye, a student from Taiwan. The students revealed how Waterford is far ahead with community service, compared with the other schools that were represented in the conference. They cherish the fact that at WK community service is part of the curricula and the fact that the school is giving them an opportunity to make an impact in the community, whereas in the other schools community service was done on voluntary basis.
At Waterford students participate in a variety of CAS experiences over an 18 month period. It is recommended that students dedicate approximately 3 – 4 hours per week on CAS. They are involved in projects that help make impact in the community including in neighboring care points, hospitals, local preschools and refugee camp. The students recall how WK’s Community Service Director allowed them an opportunity to help a local community at Hawane in Mbabane, in eSwatini, when they approached her with the idea. “She told us to apply for funding from Go Make a Difference and we got the funding. Now we are working towards building a youth center in that community,” they said. They further mentioned how they were now applying for funding to focus on the education aspect of the youth center.
Zenani Mabuza from eSwatini said the summit helped them to appreciate what they do at Waterford. Her colleague, Phumelele Mncina said the meeting helped them to structure their work. They were all given leadership roles in the various groups during the summit, something they loved them most. “We found ourselves taking the lead and we appreciated the opportunity that Waterford has given us to be able to change people’s lives at community level,” said Abdullahi Abdurrahman from Somalia.