Aside from attending the exciting SITE International Conference in Beijing an uplifting experience in itself from China comes the extraordinary news that the dynamic Somewhere in Africa team has collected a coveted SITE Crystal Award!
The Crystal Awards were designed to elevate the global standard of motivational experiences and honour creativity and excellence, says Blanca Delgado, Co-ordinator, SITE Chapter & Member Services. No other program serves to recognize program planning and execution for experiences individuals would not be able to create on their own.
Were so thrilled that our collaborative project a day of community service for the Nutrimetics Incentive Group – has been chosen as a 2012 Site Crystal Award winner in the category Responsible Experiences, says MD Susan van de Merwe. This recognition is a great compliment and kudos to all involved!
Initiated by an opportunity brought to us by Australian incentive house, Unique Group Travel, in July 2011 we set out to create a sustainable community service programme that would make it possible for the women in Khayelitsha (South Africa) to tell a different story – a story that includes pride, self esteem and financial independence, explains van de Merwe. Through the Khayelitsha Sewing Project, Somewhere In Africa and has provided a project that enables both international visitors and local businesses to touch the lives of others in a very real way, leaving not money, but a legacy, she says.
This opportunity has spawned a wonderful, multi-faceted community enterprise and our vision is one of creating cultural understanding and tolerance through integrating contributions to and participation in the project, into all our inbound itineraries, says van de Merwe. The long term sustainability of this project, together with the financial success and independence of each of the women in the programme is an integral part of our bigger vision and company mission statement.
Thanks to the interest expressed by Unique Group Travel in a genuinely enriching experience in South Africa, we believe that The Khayelitsha Sewing Project and the Nutrimetics Community Service day proved beyond a doubt that social responsibility goes beyond financial support, says van de Merwe.
Suggesting that guests collect and bring items from their own country, providing the opportunity for them to work in the soup kitchens, serve the homeless, clean out and plant seedlings alongside the locals, tutor the local women on business and marketing – all these elements worked together not only to support the community of Khayelitsha, but to open up a path for cultural exchange and understanding between citizens of the world.
SOMEWHERE IN AFRICA BACKGROUND
Somewhere in Africa has been established by a team of Southern Africas most respected and knowledgeable professionals, each driven by an unyielding passion for the regions people, places, culture and wildlife, says Susan van de Merwe. In her role as Managing Director of the South African operation, Susan is supported by directors and partners, Susan and Barry Wallace of Nemonic Concepts, based in Sydney, Australia. From two to 2000, we handle a broad spectrum of customized travel requirements from individual, leisure travel to MICE projects, including business, incentive and leisure groups, says van de Merwe.