Attendees from Kraaifontein, Mitchell’s Plain, Eerste River, Bellville, Paarl, Wellington and Saron at the High Tea on Saturday 18 January in Brittania Bay made it possible for Joshua Claasen, a Grade 11 learner at Beacon Hill High School in Beacon Valley, Mitchell’s Plain, to tour to the Netherlands.
“In November my husband, Danville, and I read in a Cape Town newspaper about his plight, that due to a lack of funds he won’t be able to take part in the Global Classroom exploration tour to the Netherlands. We are all ex-University of the Western Cape students and established the UWC UAE Alumni Chapter in Abu Dhabi,” says Francis Fourie, the former chair of the organisation. She resigned as chair at the end of last year.
Joshua was selected to be part of the tour from Wednesday 3 to Sunday 14 June and he thought it would only be a dream. The tour costs R22 500 and includes his accommodation, flights, passport, Schengen visa and travel insurance.
“When I told my parents that I was selected my mother, Amanda, was more excited than me. My father, Stephen, was working short time and I knew we couldn’t fork out the money, or the deposit of R10 000 to secure a place on the tour,” Joshua says.
He was one of 12 learners at the school who were selected and all of them were in the same boat; not having the cash to pay for the tour.
“When Joshua told us, my husband said that the same God that is giving him this opportunity will provide the money for him to tour. Today I am humbled by the fact that Francis and everyone that contributed ensured that the money was raised and paid in full,” says Amanda Claasen.
When the Fouries (both librarians) were living in Fredericksburg in Virginia in the United States for eight years, they had to juggle two jobs to survive.
“During that time we met amazing people, American and South African, that came to our aid. When I saw how compassionate they are I made a promise to God that if one day I am in the position to show compassion to others, I’ll do the same by ‘paying it forward’,” says Francis.
“The High Tea for Joshua was my last function and I am glad that he can tour overseas. God blessed me to bless others when I was appointed at the New York University Abu Dhabi,” Francis says.
She shared the story on the website of the UWC Alumni and immediately received a response.
“You know, it is illegal to do fundraising in the UAE and in everything that we do, we make sure we have transparency. We decided to donate the money and with the guidance of the South African ambassador in Abu Dhabi, Saad Cachalia, made sure everything we did was legitimate.
“When I approached Amanda about the money she said that they raised R2 000 and together with the R10 000 from the Alumni, R12 000 was deposited into the account of the Beacon Hill High School. Before the end of the year the outstanding amount was R10 500 and this amount was raised with the High Tea. His dad’s words are now realised – the God that gave Joshua the opportunity also provided the money,” she says.
Global Exploration is a foundation where students travel to other countries and meet other people, other students and explore their cultures.
Joshua says, “The part of the tour that I am looking forward to, is to experience the people and cultures in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. We received an itinerary for the 11 days and each day is loaded with specific activities. I’ll attend school with my local host, visit the Dutch dykes and windmills and learn about the Dutch ‘battle’ with the sea and how they conquered the waves.”
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