TESTIMONIALS

Here's what Knowledge 2 Share alumni say about their experiences.

How would you describe your most memorable moment during the project?

Isabelle van der Schaft - ambassador February '19

"My most memorable moment of the project I experienced during the final workshop, when one of the participants suddenly stood up to give a speech. In this speech, she told all of the participants they shouldn’t wait any longer to follow their dreams and start up their own business. It was special to me, as she usually came across as really shy and speaking in public wasn’t her favorite thing to do. However, she told us that we managed to give her the confidence she needed to finally start up her own take-away restaurant. She couldn’t be more happy to follow her dream, and neither was I."

How would you describe your most valuable learning experience during the project?

Myrte van Westenbrugge - Amabassador February '19

"The most valuable learning experience that I have gained during my time in Cape Town is that I really became aware of culture and daily life in the township of South Africa. Don’t get me wrong, it is not like I was unworldly or had never been abroad before, but it was the fact that we were completely absorbed in the culture of our students that made this experience so unique. We ate, slept and partied with our host family. This way we truly encountered the struggle, happiness, ups and downs of being a coloured or black in a disadvantaged area of Cape Town. Education and safety are one of many things that I now know I have taken for granted in my life. However, in the townships of Cape Town this isn’t a given. For me, this made me realise that in the careless life we live, we must give back to other who are less fortunate. During my project I experienced that we are the ones that can give them a helping hand towards a brighter future. We can provide them with the self-confidence that they are capable of starting up their own company. They just need to believe in themselves, because only then they can find the strength to pursue their ideas."

Did you apply for the project with friends or did go there alone and were assigned to a group?

Jan Penning - ambassador July '18

"I applied for the project on my own, because I wanted to meet new people. In the end I went to Cape Town with three other ambassadors and it was one of the best adventures I've been on so far. The group I was in was fantastic. We laughed so much and explored South Africa together, which was great fun. I definitely recommend others to apply to the project either on their own or with a friend. You are guaranteed to share some extraordinary experiences together if you go!"

What was your most memorable moment about the project?

Julia - Ambassador March '18

"My role in the K2S project was the student engagement role, therefore, I was going to organize the graduation ceremony, during which all of our students would receive their diploma.

Of course, my K2S experience is full of memorable moments, but if I really need to choose, the graduation ceremony has to be on top of the list. 

 

All of our students attended the graduation ceremony, they all dressed up beautifully, and many of them were ready to perform a pitch about their business plan, which we helped them to prepare. 

However, speaking in front of the public was something most of them had never done before in their entire life, therefore, not everybody was so sure they would really perform that evening. However, despite this fear, almost all of them managed to do the pitch. They put in all the effort they could, as well in this pitch as in their business ideas and this would not have been possible if their ideas and dreams were not so beautifully big."

What was the influence of the water shortage in Cape Town on your stay?

Frank - Ambassador March '18

" “If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.” This was written in clear letters in all the restrooms in Cape Town. When my group started the Make-a-Difference project in February 2018, the first “day zero” was predicted to be on the 12th of April 2018. Thanks to the water-saving efforts of many Cape Town residents, by March 2018 the city had reduced its daily water consumption by more than half, causing day zero to be postponed to next summer at the earliest. 

During our stay in Cape Town, everyone was noticeably concerned and taking adequate action to reduce their water consumption. Think of things like washing clothes only once a week (or month), dishes once a day and limited toilet flushes. The municipality also took active measures; some areas had their taps turned off when they exceeded a certain amount of water and other people were fined instead. The limit at the time was 80 liters per person which was actually more than enough. At the Hive, the office space where we spent most of our working time, they organized meetings to talk about the problem and to think of possible solutions to contribute as an individual. Seeing everyone being so involved and actively helping was inspiring to see and I hope that Cape Town can find a solution soon!"

What was your experience with the different NGOs?

May - Ambassador August '17

"My experience with the different NGOs was that the contacts of the NGOs informed us quite well and had the equipment available. We worked with three different NGOs in our project. Two of them were pretty structured and well organized. However, there was one NGO that was a bit messy regarding setting up the equipment.

My impression of the students we had at the NGOs was pleasant. They seemed eager to learn and asked a lot of questions in the one on one sessions. The level did differ per NGO and unfortunately most of the times some students were missing, which meant that the classes weren't complete. The outcome was that not everyone was able to graduate."

Did the project meet your expectations?

Frits - Ambassador August '17

"Initially, I planned a surf trip along the coast of South Africa for a couple of weeks and maybe do a safari. After a while, I found that the best way to explore and get to know a country wasn’t by staying at the coast and only surf. By applying for the Knowledge2share summer programme I could combine my passion for surfing and bring my study into practice, which for me was great.

At first, I did not know what to expect from the Knowledge2Share programme and the country, since it was my first time in South Africa. Luckily the training provided by the Knowledge2Share board members helped me to prepare the courses and the South African way of life. They told me everything about the culture and the lovely host family where we ended up staying for six weeks.

When I look back at my time as an ambassador in South Africa I cannot help to smile. The programme completely exceeded my expectations because the experience of living at a real African family and helping in the townships was truly unbelievable."

What were the nice things you did in your spare time?

Floris - Ambassador August '17

"In our spare time, we mostly engaged in fun and exploring activities in and around Cape Town. For example, we went surfing, hiking or climbing the Table Mountain. The scenery is very beautiful in and around the city, so we did a lot of sightseeing activities. With the whole group, we also went on a 4-day tour along the south coast, from Cape Town to Knysna. Some of the highlights of that tour were the safari track, the ostrich farm, and bungee jumping (at one of the highest in the world)."

Did you experience a culture difference compared to the Netherlands?

Dani - Ambassador August '17

"The culture in Cape Town was very different compared to Dutch culture. While in the Netherlands everyone is quite strict and punctual, in Cape Town I experienced the opposite with most people. Personally, I found this a positive aspect of the South African culture since it contributed to a very calm environment and friendly people. Moreover, I feel there was a greater sense of community and brotherhood within the townships we visited compared to the more individual based mindsets you might encounter in the Netherlands. Our host family was big, with a lot of different family members living in the same house, and all being part of the local community through the church, sports, and school. This allowed us to really get absorbed in the local culture. Of course, there are also some culture clashes, for example, the standards of living are low compared to the Netherlands due to the high poverty in South Africa and this will mean you will have to adjust accordingly. However, I feel the K2S team prepared us well during the introductory workshop and I would recommend anyone to participate in the programme; not despite, but because of the cultural differences."

Did you get a lot of guidance from the board during your project?

Pauline - Ambassador July '17

“Starting the project, we had a presentation to prepare us for the life in Cape Town, tell us about the history of South Africa and about teaching the students. We were told there were different roles for everyone in our group and we were connected to our ‘buddy’ in the board that could help us with questions about our specific role in the project. I was doing the student engagement role, for which I was responsible for the graduation ceremony. Arranging the venue, food, guest speakers and other types of entertainment was something that did not seem to be possible for a Dutch girl for her first time in South Africa. However, a lot of students were planning on starting their catering company, and therefore, this was a perfect way for them to show themselves and for us to tick food of the list of things to worry about. I talked with my buddy weekly and when I was not sure about what kind of entertainment to arrange, he gave me some good tips. So the guidance we got was good, not too much, but just the right tips when needed.”

Are you still involved with the K2S foundation and in what way?

Annemijn - Ambassador July '17

"After completing the Knowledge2Share project in Cape Town I couldn’t believe it was already over! During the 6 weeks in Cape Town, you work so intensely and with such fun on the project and individual roles that I wanted to extend this experience. When offered the opportunity to join the board I didn’t hesitate a minute! As such, I’m still very much involved with K2S Foundation with its Finance and managing projects from the Netherlands."

What made the project special to me?

Imke - Ambassador October '16

"Unemployment is one of the challenges South Africa’s society is dealing with. As such, many people (especially in disadvantaged communities) have to create their own opportunities. They do so by starting their own business. However, having belief in oneself is an important prerequisite to persevere and actually reach this goal. Unfortunately, not all our students were convinced they possess the right capabilities to establish their own business. During the project students got challenged to do things they had never done before, such as giving a presentation (about their business plan). Although they were terrified to stand for a room of people, they all did it. The fact that they overcame this challenge shows that they are capable of much more than they think. The moments of smiles and proud faces were the moments that made this project so special to me. "

What made the project special to you?

Thomas - Ambassador July '16

"The knowledge 2 share projects gave me the unique opportunity to interact with people from different cultures and backgrounds. Experiencing these new perspectives was a valuable and special aspect of the project which I will cherish forever. Another unique aspect of the projects is that I got a lot of freedom and responsibilities to exploit my own ideas for expanding or improving the foundations. Participating in a project is definitely more than just doing volunteer work in a foreign country."

What was your most valuable learning experience?

Marnix - Ambassador July '16

"Small changes make a huge impact! Getting the chance to help entrepreneurs build their own enterprises in the townships of Cape Town was the reason I signed up for the K2S program. What I did not know was how big of an impact you can make when helping the students with small changes. Even if you’re only giving the students a little more self-confidence, you’re making a difference. Because you’re building a base for them to further their learning in a way that they may not have had before. This has been one of many valuable learning experiences for me during my time in Cape Town."

What did you like most about Cape Town?

Fleur - Ambassador July '16

"Cape Town is a very vibrant city in which there is always something to explore. What I liked most about the city is its contrasts. There are a ton of really cool bars and restaurants to go to for amazing food and cocktails, but on the other hand Cape Town also has great nature with awesome hiking tracks. To be honest, I couldn’t have wished for a nicer city to make an impact." 

How did you experience the host family?

Dirk - Ambassador July '16

"The host family was and is very special to me. Desiree, the mother of the house, took very good care of us from the moment that we arrived at the airport until we left a week after the graduation ceremony. The house also feels like home, there are always family members or friends around that treat you like you are part of the family. I hope to come back one day and see my South-African family again!"

How did you experience the South-African culture?

Daaf - Ambassador May '16

"Spending time in Cape Town made me highly admire the sense of community that lives within the people I have encountered. The South-Africans are proud people; proud of who they are, and where they came from, even when times are tough and life is hard. With all they have, they care for those who are close to their heart. And realize, maybe more than we do that: “great things are done together, not alone."  

What is your most memorable moment from the project?

Alexander - Ambassador May '16

"My most memorable moment during the make-a-difference project was the graduation ceremony. After weeks of hard work of both the students and ourselves, we celebrated the end of the project with an official ceremony. After the students received their certificates we arranged a big party. Red Bull managed to set up a DJ booth and after a while the students shared their musical talents. Some student were preforming their self-made rap songs, others presented their poems. In the end, the entire group was singing and dancing."

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