Community Engagement & Study Abroad

“We learn together.”

Part of The Umkhumbane Schools Project’s core mission is to be a site for community engagement and experiential learning, as a means of fostering social equity, cohesion, and sustainability. To that end, we actively seek out ways to bring people together to learn from the shared experience of joining in the work of the USP. By working together with others on USP projects -- whether as a teacher or student, or as a South African or a non-South African, or as a person of greater or lesser access to privilege -- we believe that members of our learning community can gain meaningful insight and rewarding personal growth while advancing a broader reality of social transformation and sustainability.

Our experiential learning for Social Transformation projects generally fall into three categories:

Community Engagement

Through our valued working relationships with the University of KwaZulu-Natal School of Education, the USP from time-to-time facilitates the required service learning projects of students working toward university degrees in education.

An especially rewarding example of this was in the work of Cyril Mbeje, an Honours Student at the UKZN Edgewood, who created a program of soccer and personal skills coaching for a group of Grade 8 and 9 boys at Mayville Secondary School as the required project component for his university course on Service Learning. While the coaching project was designed to provide the younger boys with soccer skills, academic skills, and mentoring, Cyril’s own learning and growth was also an important aspect of this project.

International Learning/Study Abroad

Since 2014, The Umkhumbane Schools Project has been a teaching and learning site for the Programme on Political and Social Transformation of the School for International Training, a leader in study abroad programs based in Vermont, USA. In this capacity we have the glad opportunity to welcome groups of undergraduate and high school students from the United States to visit our site as a specific context exhibiting some of the current challenges to education in disadvantaged communities in South Africa. Over the years, SIT students have done their required independent research or study-abroad internship with us.

In August 2019 we will welcome our first high-school international learning group from the Dwight-Englewood School in Englewood, New Jersey, USA for a specially-designed joint environmental service-learning project with our Umkhumbane learners.