Archive | July, 2011

Updates on Jolandie’s Travels

25 Jul

Here is what Jolandie has been up to since she got back on the road:

Jolandie did two inspirational talks at AS Steenkamp Primary School (Thursday 14th) and MH Greeff Primary School (Friday 16th) in Windhoek… both sponsored by FNB radio. Jolandie said that:

“The talks were just what I needed! It was so uplifting being surrounded by such positivity and excitement. To see those kids light up like that and be so receptive, was really amazing. They were so eager to interact, ask questions and willing to learn. Their enthusiasm gave me a renewed will not to give up.”

Jolandie gave talks at AS Steenkamp Primary School
Jolandie with the kids at MH Greeff

Sat 16th: Saturday’s leg was from Windhoek to Okahandja – 73km. A fine day on the road. Re-starting the journey was certainly tough on Jolandie’s muscles! She camped out, at the Kings Highway Rest Camp next to the road, with Luna happily sleeping next to he. Jolandie is really looking forward to crossing into Angola!!

 
Luna with a Namibian flag
 
Sun 17th. On this day Jolandie conquered a couple of Category 2 climbs. A Cat 2 climb is in simplest terms a climb of 500-800 meters. Well done Jolandie!
 
The last week has been a tough journey to beat the clock so she can cross over to Angola in good time. Make sure you tune in every Thursday to Jacaranda FM to hear the latest updates of Jolandie’s journey.
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Farewell My South Africa – Again!

11 Jul

The road calls! And so I go.

I will be back in Namibia by tonight!
The time I have had to spend with my nearest and dearest at home, has been a true blessing.
But now I really need to get a move on. The time restrictions that my visas for Angola, DRC and Congo place on me, will force me to have to push really hard for the next few months. I have to uphold a daily average of at least 75 kilometers, or else I won’t make it to each border in time.

Back to Luna in Namibia!

Whilst on the road, it is not always possible for me to update my blog on a regular basis.

Hanret Snyman, one of my nearest and dearest friends, has been my ‘ground control’ support whilst on the road and the person who I am in constant contact with. (Also the person that puts in an amazing amount of effort behind the scenes in helping me live my dream). She will be posting regular updates when I am not able to.

So be on the lookout for updates from “La Domestique“.

Be sure to listen in on JacarandaFM every Thursday for LIVE updates! (I will send out a notification as to what time)

And if you’d like to get involved and sponsor a country: Click here for more information.

A big thank you to FNB Namibia for sponsoring the Namibia leg of my trip!!!

Reflections on Higher Education in Africa

11 Jul

The article naming Jolandie Rust as Huffington Post’s ‘Greatest Person of the Day’  was a great kick-start to Jolandie’s tour as she heads back to Namibia tonight to continue onwards on her Cycle for Education. Jolandie’s trip – as we are all agreed – is a challenge that will present physical and mental obstacles for Jolandie along the way, but it is an important journey that will highlight the Iduka’s cause of higher education in Africa.

Jolandie on her Cycle for Education Tour

Some of the comments posted in response to the HuffPost article however, were a little disappointing and, frankly, narrow-minded to say the least. Unfortunately there are many individuals in this world who are not able to expand their world view and embrace positive humanitarian actions when they are faced with them. Moreover, such people often cite false stereotypes in defence of their arguments. I think it is important to challenge these misconceptions about Africa, and about Jolandie’s tour, head on. It is also crucial to look behind the act of Jolandie’s Cycle Tour of Africa, and embrace the rich opportunities that higher education can offer African peoples.

Firstly, Africa is a vibrant continent, combining cultural diversity with warmth and welcoming spirit… Each country offers inspiration and opportunity in unique ways.

  • Jolandie has experienced spontaneous acts of kindness from strangers throughout her journey so far already, even though it is still so early in the tour. On her way to Windhoek, Namibia, a stranger by the name of Raymond Spall made sure Jolandie had a hot cup of Milo waiting for her at a pit stop along the way.
  • In terms of education opportunities, inclusive organisations are inspirational gems. The Undugu Society of Kenya (a country yet to be travelled by Jolandie) has been empowering deaf children and young people from the slums and streets of Nairobi since 2008. These deaf children and young people have enjoyed increased opportunities with such an organisation, including: accessible primary education with their peers, advocacy skills, and widespread integration (as they can teach their friends and teachers how to sign).

Iduka wants to build on these important foundational levels of education and increase opportunities for these disadvantaged youths in higher education.

Hot cup of Milo from Raymond Spall

Also, it is undeniable that Africa is a continent that has faced its share of conflict… but which continent hasn’t?

It is important for high-profile figures like Jolandie, organisations like Iduka and Undugu, humanitarian individuals like Iduka’s volunteers, and – most importantly – students like Iduka’s scholarship recipients, to continue to champion unity, education and equal opportunity. Crucially, it is these sorts of individuals that make up the majority of Africa’s population – kind, intelligent individuals that care about the educational development of their continent.

  • One of Iduka’s scholarship students, Neville Albert, is a keen film-maker and has been involved in film projects that have highlighted the plight of disadvantaged individuals in Nairobi. Neville continues to work on ground-breaking film projects for Iduka – an African student championing African causes.
  • Iduka’s in-country partners Kisima of Kenya (led by John Ndegwa) and AID-SL of Sierra Leone (led by Sylvanus Marray) are dedicated local organisations that promote education and equal opportunity in their respective localities. Such organisations spring out of the care and compassion of their creators.

    John with a Kismia volunteer

     

    Sylvanus with AID-SL students

Furthermore, Higher Education is a building block that will help make countries strong and nations great. It is not a lack of will or educational apathy that has prevented higher education expansion in Africa, it is simply down to a lack of opportunity.

  • This fundamental difference is what drives inequality in each country and stifles the development of all nations (even in the UK, 15% of boys in the lowest socio-economic bracket do not attain the qualifications required to attend higher education. Such low attainment contributes to wider economic disparity between the rich and poor).
  • Lack of opportunity has severe consequences. Studies have shown that mortality is highest among children born to illiterate mothers and illiterate fathers.
  • Jolandie herself was unable to pursue a future in higher education in South Africa as it was unaffordable for her family – this is an opportunity-limiting factor that Jolandie is fiercely campaigning against in her Cycle for Education with Iduka.
  • Importantly though, success stories are plentiful and increasing. In March of this year Somali-civilsociety.org reported that Somalian women in increasing numbers are being allowed to stay in school until their late teens. One of these school success stories is that of Harfo Primary School run by Galkayo Education Centre for Peace and Development or GECPD, a local NGO. Iduka, with its ever increasing number of volunteers, partners and student applications, is another one of these success stories. Opportunities ARE increasing, and it is down to individuals to be part of this change.

Of course this list of African educational achievements and future targets is not exhaustive – with a continent so diverse I don’t think any list or one article will encapsulate what it really means to follow education in Africa. Nonetheless, it is vital to keep celebrating successes, challenging inequalities, and opening opportunities in whatever way possible – and this should all be done with a positive attitude!

 

Students enjoying a class in Kenya

HuffPost Names Iduka’s Goodwill Ambassador “Greatest Person Of The Day!”

9 Jul

Jolandie approaching Clanwilliam on route to Namibia.

We knew all along about the greatness of Iduka’s Goodwill Ambassador, Jolandie Rust, but yesterday The Huffington Post named her its “Greatest Person of the Day.”

The article starts with Jolandie sharing her views on education in Africa and Iduka’s campaign to raise funds for local students.

“A lot of these kids don’t get the opportunity to attend the university of their choice,” Rust said. “I would love to see an Africa where everybody has equal opportunity to get post-secondary education. That’s the only way forward. It has such an importance.”

Read the full post here as Jolandie talks about her Cycle For Education tour of Africa.

Back to Windhoek!!

6 Jul

FINALLY!!!

I will be flying back to Windhoek on Tuesday, 12 July!
I hope to be back on the road, officially, by latest Friday – 15 July.
That gives me little over a week to make it to the Angolan border, then a month to get through Angola.

So you can expect more ‘exciting’ updates pretty soon!!

“The road calls”

In the meantime, check out an article about my trip on Jacaranda FM!! There’s an audio interview as well that you can listen to.

I had a meeting on Monday with Managing Editor, Denzil Taylor, at Jacaranda FM. I’m very happy to announce that they have come on board in a big way!
Now you’ll be able to listen in LIVE for weekly updates. I’ll be chatting to the team every week to keep you all updated on where I am and how things are going.

A big thank you and a very warm welcome to the Jacaranda FM team!

I’ll post an update as soon as we’ve sorted out the more ‘nitty-gritty’ details.

In the meantime: Check out their Website.

News in Cote d’Ivoire: ‘Back to School’ Initiative Launched.

1 Jul

Cote D'Ivoire, West Africa

The five month political crisis in Cote d’Ivoire (West Africa) came to an end in early April; however a humanitarian crisis has increasingly spread. The Office of the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that hundreds of thousands of civilians are STILL displaced, more than two months after the former President Laurent Gbagbo surrendered.

Almost a million children have been affected and over 15% are still unable to return to a stable education institution– many schools were looted or destroyed during the fighting. Moreover, many teachers fled the violence and have still not returned to their classrooms. There is a desperate educational need growing in the country.

Exacerbating the problem is the underlying fact that the education system in the country was weak in the first place. One million children in Cote d’Ivoire have never even been to school. Of the schools that have re-opened and are functioning in the Central, North and West areas, 83.1% do not have the required numbers of desks in classrooms and most lack sufficient latrine capacity, and potable water.

Children in a class in Abidjan*

 

UNICEF and the Ministry of Education have recently launched a ‘Back to School’ initiative which is attempting to address these problems. In conjunction with Save the Children, they are targeting one million children through social mobilisation efforts, by improving learning environments and investing in infrastructure. It is a promising project that should begin to lay the foundation for post secondary education in the country – only children that finish primary and secondary school can progress to a higher education future. We applaud UNICEF, The Ministry of Education and Save the Children in their efforts and we will continue to promote the post-secondary education message throughout Cote d’Ivoire and the rest of Africa.

 

Image Source: Zenman, Wikipedia.org

News Sources: UNICEF and Allafrica.com

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