What makes people become volunteers in another country? That was the question that came up when my son, Thiago, was in Africa. At first, I thought the proposal was very strange, after all, in Brazil there are thousands of people who need help. But then, I saw that the wish to know other cultures highly motivated my son to put himself to the test in a different continent.
Then I decided to take the opportunity and go there. That’s when I knew the work of Candi Horgan, of the Prójekt Ubuntu. In her house, Candi receives people from all over the world to work in the communities around Cape Town. With a head office and clusters spread in the communities, the volunteers provide mainly, educational activities to children, also offering orientation and support to their families.
This work’s great differential is that all actions involve recovering and spreading the Ubuntu awareness. This “philosophy”, which have roots in ancient tribes, is based on the concept: “I am, because you are”. Understanding what is the beginning of humanity, the “essence of human beings”, where “the human being belongs to the community, and the community is responsible for the human being”.
“Ubuntu is how much you care, share and look at the people around you, in your life”, Candi says in a more idealistic way. And the idea of working with volunteers from different countries is the way that Candi found to spread the Ubuntu awareness to the world: “One of the main gifts from this project is that people from all nations come here to get to know and learn about the African culture. As they live the Ubuntu, in the future, these youngsters, who will be lawyers, doctors and other professionals, will spread what they learned with the community and its families”, Candi says.
I could know and photograph the children from the Masiphumelele community, around Cape Town. It was amazing to feel the love and respect they have towards Candi and Mone-Mone, who today works with the activities of the Project. Mone knows much about social problems, as she also came from a very similar community. Something that I noted in the children and adults from there, was the “shine in their eyes”, and a sense of pride of being who they are, just by looking at their eyes.
In the talks with Candi, feeling the peace she irradiates, I could understand how small we are in our own world. We are always confined in our daily activities, surrounded by problems, while thousands of people don’t have any basic conditions for living. And which is worse: without any perspective of better days. People like Candi and Mone reach a lot of people with their actions and initiatives. This project has grown up throughout its 16 years of dedication, having a structure to act in the communities, counting on volunteers from all over the world. But the action is simple, it consists in giving assistance to the educational process of these children, i.e., something we could do to the communities close to our houses. I always think about a sentence Candi said: “We should deepen in your roots, in who we are, and where we came from, in order to expand our vision, including all around us”.
So, this is the story of the Prójekt Ubuntu which, by means of educational actions, has contributed to the development of its local community and spread the Ubuntu awareness to make a better world.
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