Seven pupils from Harrismith’s Vulindlela Primary School – a Valued Citizens Initiative school – are counting the days until their departure for Paris, France to attend the Fraternity Cup II organised by La Voix de l’Enfant, a French Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) focused on children’s rights.
The Valued Citizens Initiative (VCI) was founded in 2001 by French national Carole Podetti Ngono together with Renault South Africa, its mission, to promote a healthy civil society by engaging learners, educators, principals, social workers and parents in a self-journey to explore South Africa’s constitutional values, leadership principles and ethics.
Ten years on, Renault remains a Platinum Partner of this NGO and according to Xavier Gobille, Managing Director of Renault SA, “we are proud of the small role that we are able to play in steering our youth towards a future driven by values.”
The Fraternity Cup II, organised by La Voix de l’Enfant, will take place between 18th and 25th July 2011 and Podetti Ngono says the decision to nominate pupils from Vulindlela Primary School to attend the event was based on several criteria.
“Vulindlela was up against all our VCI primary schools in Free State and Gauteng and offered a number of positives which swayed our vote,” she says. “Catering for scholars from Grade R to Grade 7, it is a VCI school with over 10 educators committed to our Values in Schools Programme who have also very successfully led a number of Valued Citizens projects. With regard to the application for passports and visas, the school’s proximity to a Home Affairs Department also made it a logical choice.
“These youngsters aged between 11 and 13 (Grade 5 to 7) have been selected because they subscribe to the Values in Schools programme, walk the talk on values and have a real drive to be Valued Citizens and they will be accompanied to the Fraternity Cup II by Mrs Dibakiso Francina Khalipi who is a very enthusiast Grade 4 educator at Vulindlela Primary,” explains Podetti Ngono. “These are confident young people who also enjoy sports, have an interest in cultural activities and are positive role models for their peers.”
Mrs Khalipi’s first introduction to VCI came about at a prayer meeting held by the principal of her school and she says that her exposure to the Values in Schools Programme has been immensely beneficial in assisting her to deliver the curriculum, handling discipline in the classroom as well in enhancing the general wellbeing of her learners.
“As an educator and through VCI, I have learned to believe in myself and take great pride in what I do,” she says. “It has taught me to communicate well with my students and fellow teachers and has given me the skills necessary to mould my learners physically, socially, emotionally and spiritually and also to discipline them with respect and dignity.
“This trip to the Fraternity Cup in Paris is the most wonderful opportunity for us all and I would like to thank VCI for putting Vulindlela Primary School, Harrismith, our community and South Africa on the map! It is going to be a great experience to meet and share with learners from other countries and to make new friends.”
The aim of Fraternity Cup II is to expand the minds and souls of children from the 13 countries that will be attending by sharing their thoughts on constitutional values, children’s rights and responsibilities and to encourage them to learn about Brotherhood and Sisterhood.
By the end of June, the delegation from Vulindlela Primary School is required to write and illustrate a four-page newspaper that will comprise the biography of a South African famous person or important local event, to choose one or two articles from The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and to comment on or illustrate them with drawings, photographs, poems and cartoons, for example.
Culture and diversity will be addressed by way of collages relating to South African traditions, regions and towns, famous monuments, music, traditional dances and food variations. No newspaper is complete without a sports page, however, and this will be covered on the last page where the learners will elaborate on the various sports and indigenous games favoured by South Africans and profile the Rainbow Nation’s most famous sportsmen and sportswomen. The newspaper will then be submitted to La Voix de l’Enfant.
Once in Paris, the learners will enjoy a football tournament and rugby game and also attend three workshops that will focus on photography, fresco painting as well as song, dance and theatre.
“VCI has planted a seed in each of these learners and it’s due to this that these seven youngsters will benefit from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the Fraternity Cup,” concludes Gobille.
“These young people are serious about making their way in life and embracing the role of a Valued Citizen within their working environment and home communities and Renault South Africa is proud and privileged to partner this worthy initiative.”