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Interfaith, Intercultural School Exchange Project Based on the Learning to Live Together Programme - South Africa

A two-year interfaith, intercultural school exchange project is currently being organized by the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative in partnership with the Blackburn College in Blackburn, United Kingdom. The educational programme is based largely on the aims and objectives in the  Learning to Live Together. An Intercultural and Interfaith Programme on Ethics Education.Read more The objective is to create an opportunity for pupils to engage in meaningful dialogue with peers from different racial, religious, cultural, social, economic, and ethnic, backgrounds, and thereby break down stereotypes and develop an appreciation of the value of diversity.

The project aims to promote respect, empathy, peace, social cohesion, reconciliation and social activism, both within school environments and the broader community. The selected participants have committed themselves to strive towards achieving these objectives. Three Grade 10 pupils have been selected from each of the following schools to participate in this project: South Peninsula High, Islamia College, Manyano High, Herzlia High, and Phoenix Secondary. This is a pilot project and it is envisaged that this project will be expanded and include other schools in the future.

The project has commenced with monthly sessions that focus on identity, self-awareness, cross-cultural dialogue, prejudice and discrimination. These sessions are facilitated by the project director, Marlene Silbert and the co-facilitator, Joleen Lasker. The group, together with one selected teacher from each school and the two facilitators, will travel to the UK in July, where they will participate in a week-long twinning programme with 15 pupils from five selected schools in Blackburn and Liverpool. After their return to Cape Town the pupils, with the assistance of their teachers, are expected to introduce a sustainable extra-mural programme at their respective schools, and if possible collaborate with other schools in order to promote social activism and fulfill the above-mentioned aims and objectives of the project. In July, 2012 the group from Blackburn and Liverpool will visit Cape Town and participate in a week-long follow-up programme. Thereafter, a new group of pupils from five other local schools will be selected to participate in furthering this innovative Interfaith, Intercultural Exchange Project.

The project is being funded by the Blackburn College and donors from our local Cape Town Community.

Marlene Silbert, a participant at the Train the Trainers course on the Learning to Live Together manual, is the Project Director.

Prepared by:
Marlene Silbert, Project Director
April, 2011