We recently made a half day tour of the Townships near Cape Town, South Africa with James Fernie, founder and Director of a charitable organization called Uthando (South Africa) Social Development Projects. Uthando is the Xhosa and Zulu word for "love," and this was evident in the way James was greeted in each of the projects he took us to visit. First was a women's craft project in which women were taught beading and other crafts. On the roof there was a garden; the women were very proud to show us around. Next was an agricultural project in which a number of ladies developed a farm on which they grow vegetables to be sold to restaurants in Cape Town. Their hard work was a terrific demonstration of the power of determined women! We then visited a preschool which doubles as a chorus school for young people in the afternoons. It was heartwarming to see how happy the children were, and how modern principles of education were followed in a rather difficult setting. We ended up at a dance school ("Dance for Everyone") which reaches out to the townships to teach young boys and girls various forms of dance. When particularly talented individuals are identified they are invited to a live-in intermediate program where the finer points of dance are learned, and many have gone off to careers in dance around the world. What an inspiration that day was for us. Uthando funds these and other projects aimed at developing self-help among the people living in the townships. This visit as really the highlight of our two week trip to South Africa, and we would recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity.
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