Southern Africa Youth Exchange launches 2013 exchange programme

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“I now know more about other people’s lifestyles and cultures. I hope to bring that knowledge and experience into my community at home. Maybe that will help us unite as citizens of southern Africa”—Mihlali Mpuntsha, SayXchange participant

The Southern Africa Trust invites young people between the ages of 18 and 25 years to participate in this year’s SayXchange (Southern Africa Youth Exchange) programme. SayXchange 2013 will give 30 young people from different countries in the region the opportunity to volunteer in community development projects in Zambia, South Africa, Malawi or Mozambique.

The closing date for applications is Monday, 10 June 2013. Application forms for this amazing opportunity can be found at www.sayxchange.org.

Youth from Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique will be selected to volunteer for five months in community service projects in South Africa, and South African participants will volunteer in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique. They will live with families in the communities where they are placed between July and December 2013.

SayXchange offers a unique opportunity for young people to experience other cultures of Southern Africa. By living and volunteering in another country, next generation leaders learn more about the region, develop a sense of a regional identity, and get involved practically in civic engagement across the borders of southern Africa. SayXchange nurtures leaders with a regional perspective and encourages youth involvement as active citizens in a way that is open to people from other countries in southern Africa.

For past participants like Mihlali Mpuntsha, SayXchange has been life-changing. “SayXchange has changed the way I think about myself and others. I now know more about other people’s lifestyles and cultures. I hope to bring that knowledge and experience into my community at home. Maybe that will help us unite as citizens of southern Africa,” she says.

According to Katiana Ramsamy, the project’s coordinator at the Southern Africa Trust, the last two exchange programmes were very successful. “Not only did the SayXchange participants learn about other cultures, societies and languages, but they were also motivated to give back to their communities. These young people are beginning to think hard about regional integration in Southern Africa and how this will help overcome poverty in the region.”

At the end of the exchange period participants return to their home countries to carry out local community-based projects at thte same time that they advance their professional career paths.

The SayXchange programme was started following the 2008 xenophobic attacks in South Africa. Through this programme, the Southern Africa Trust is working to build bridges between communities across the region, and to build a shared southern African regional identity.

The Southern Africa Trust is an independent non-profit agency that supports deeper and wider regional engagement to overcome poverty in southern Africa. Apply at the sayXchange website today.

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