The final function of the Marlene Silbert Youth Interfaith Intercultural Programme (MSYIIP) took place on Sunday the 28th October 2018. We were graciously welcomed by the Deputy Mayor, Alderman Ian Neilson who hosted this special event.
The programme this year has been a great success, with nine schools participating in the Grade 10 and Grade 11 programmes. The monthly learning sessions have allowed learners to forge new relationships on the basis of humanity, equality, and social justice, and to create a greater understanding of self and others, building respect between people from different religions, faiths, cultures, and backgrounds and develop an appreciation of the value of diversity.
As part of the programme for the evening, each school shared a short presentation on what they had learnt throughout the year. Many learners reflected on the experience of becoming friends with fellow learners they would have never normally had the opportunity to interact with. As Programme Facilitator, Sarah Oliver shared,
I think what is so remarkable about a programme like this is the exposure that it gives the students to worlds and lives of fellow young people that they just never would have engaged with otherwise. The intention here is to start to unravel our built up prejudices of ‘the other’, whether ‘the other’ is of a different faith, race, gender, sexual orientation, or socio-economic class.
Moving forward from this final year end event, the intention is that learners will leave this programme with a greater understanding of our countries different cultures and experiences, and be able to apply this in their lives as active citizens. One student highlighted this by saying,
From this programme I have learnt a lot of things that I can apply in my life. I grew as a person and have made new friends. I loved the experience. I have learnt that we shouldn’t judge and make assumptions about people we don’t know without knowing their stories and what made them who they are.
A big thank you to the Programme Founder, Mrs Marlene Silbert, who continues to guide and support the programme with incredible care and commitment. Thank you also to the Programme Coordinator Natalie Simons-Arendse, and lead Facilitator, Sarah Oliver, for their tireless efforts in making sure the programme runs smoothly and efficiently.
This year we have also had an amazing team of young facilitators from the GOAL Trust, who have played an important role in mentoring and guiding our young learners. Thank you Uzair Ben Ebrahim, Izzy, Salwah Salie, Adeeb Fakier, Sherry Tapfuma, Sima Gcora, Phelo Krakri and Xola Maswana.
Thank you also to the programme donors who continue to see the important value of this programme as not only an investment in the lives of the learners, but an investment in building a more peaceful and inclusive society.
Finally a special thanks to all the teachers, parents, and learners for their commitment and willingness to engage in interfaith and intercultural work! Sparkles to you all!