From Alumni SEK, we want to share with all our community, the words written by Alexander Sanchez, Alumni of SEK-Alborán after his trip to South Africa through SEK for Siyakula project.

“It has been only a few days since we have returned from South Africa. The memories are still as colourful as paintings in our minds, and our hearts can still feel the loss of a small portion that inevitably got left behind.

These two weeks have been so intense that I could sit and write about them for two months or more.

We ventured out into the desert of Dubai with crazy drivers in flip-flops. We walked around Cape Town and got to know some of its inhabitants. We sailed with whales, and watched as dolphins leapt from wave to wave. We went on a safari and saw some of Africa’s most symbolic animals. We also spent hours in Qolweni Township and made friends and music at the same time.

We also laughed, and some of us cried. And some did both at the same time.

Thats only the tip of the iceberg, but it gives an idea of how action-packed and intense our days were.

As for the small township school of Siyakula, I believe it is always a little better off after our annual visit. They welcome us year after year with arms wide open, and make us feel at home in their community.

Thanks to this harmony and collaboration, this year we managed to do loads of things:

– We tested over 70 children’s eyes, looking for signs of potential problems. Around 10 of these were identified as needing to see the local experts at Plett Optical. Our project will pay for these sessions and any expenses derived from them.

– We held an Easter party for the students in Siyakula, complete with Lindt chocolate bunnies, bubbles, ears and face paint.

– We planted a 1-year old yellowood tree, a much-valued native species. This tree will have a small plaque on it, so everyone will read that it was planted by the SEK Alborán team in 2018.

– As per tradition, we held a Live Skype call with our colleagues in Spain. Connection was great, and Siyakula was able to use their electronic equipment.

– As usual, we also took plenty of photographs and footage.

All of this was completed in a matter of a few days thanks to the extraordinary motivation of the SEK Alborán students and everyone else involved.

Once again we have not only managed to have fun in South Africa. We have also managed to keep building up our project and influence change for this small township school. We have re-kindled friendships and have made exciting plans for 2019 and beyond.

SEK for Siyakula, six years in the running, is more alive than ever and this is evident during the annual trip. The SEK institution, parents, students, local non-profits in South Africa… everyone has a role to play, and helps push the project forward in the right direction.

Thank you, and I look forward to our next fundraisers and activities. Onward!”