Cape Town is one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Located at the southern tip of South Africa, the city is situated between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, with the Table Mountain range running through the city and down the Cape of Good Hope. Cape Town is both a cosmopolitan city with visitors and residents from around the globe, and a city dealing with problems many developing nations face, such as poverty and rapid urban growth.
South Africa is culturally diverse and still creating a future for itself in the aftermath of apartheid. Cape Town offers music, art, and theatre; it is home to many important historical and cultural sites.
Students arrive just as the wonderfully temperate summer is beginning, and travel to some of the most interesting landscapes in Southern Africa. Students can visit the African bush to see wild animals, hike along stunning terrain, go surfing, enjoy great food, and meet interesting people.
Cape Town projects typically focus on sustainable community development in lower-income areas, including “shanty towns,” where people live in shacks and without adequate provision of basic services. Many exciting projects have been completed with local partners on themes such as sustainable water and sanitation, energy, early childhood development, micro-business, multimedia communications, urban planning and mapping, and sports and recreation. Students often work closely with community members and other teams to share insight and plan innovative, integrated solutions. Some projects involve hands-on construction activities. This project center is for intrepid, hardworking students eager to work in challenging environments to help “make a difference” in South Africa.
Each year, students contribute to a Cape Town Project Centre report and website that describes each team’s project and some of the Centre’s innovative community development strategies. The Centre has been supported by the GE Foundation and others in its efforts to work with local partners to strengthen communities by growing change in incremental steps that support learning, local decision making, job creation, ecological sustainability, cross-cultural engagement, and fun.