Bambisanani Partnership South Africa Visit 2017

St. Mary’s Visit to South Africa Exceeds Expectations

South Africa Visit June 2017

South Africa Visit June 2007 gallery (600 photos)

Fourteen St. Mary’s students embarked on a journey to South Africa this summer to deliver a leadership programme to a high school in one of South Africa’s poorest rural areas. The multi award winning Bambisanani Partnership, founded by former Assistant Headteacher Mr David Geldart, is now in its eleventh year, and continues to develop its pioneering work with Mnyakanya High School and other organisations in the KwaZulu-Natal region, using sport as a catalyst to promote education, health, leadership and global citizenship.

This year’s visit was led by Mrs Chattoe and Miss Jackson, with support from Mr Hamill and two lecturers from Leeds Trinity University, Mr Chris Howley and Mrs Diane Maguire.

St. Mary’s students Ewan Copsey, Tadhg Collins, Laurence Patterson, George Powell, Larissa Meggitt, Pauline Hall, Rosie Egan, Lorna Gilroy-Turner, Ezra Cheng, Megan O’Connor, Phoebe Kendall, Niamh Devine, Natasha Cooper and Katie Fearnley had prepared for eighteen months for what would prove to be an amazing adventure and a significant learning experience.

Developing leadership through sport and education is one of the key aspects of the Bambisanani Partnership and throughout their ten day visit, the St. Mary’s students, supported by students from Eshowe High School, mentored twenty Mnyakanya students through the Bambisanani Leadership Programme. The programme aimed to provide the Mnyakanya students with the necessary leadership skills and confidence which would enable them to organise and deliver both a Sports Festival and a Reading Festival for over one hundred pupils from Ntolwane Primary School. As part of this process the Mnyakanya students were taught how to play, teach and organise competitions in rounders, netball and rugby. The leadership course was a tremendous success as was evident when the Mnyakanya students delivered two quite unbelievable festivals. It was a learning process that empowered students from both countries in a real spirit of teamwork and mutual respect.

Additionally, as part of the visit, the St. Mary’s students also delivered lessons in a wide range of diverse curriculum areas ranging from History to Biology to classes full of enthusiastic Mnyakanya learners. Teachers from both counties praised the students for the ‘exceptional high quality’ of the lessons.

At a special presentation ceremony and partnership celebration, Mnyakanya students received their much deserved Leadership Awards and students from Mnyakanya and Ntolwane Primary school were presented with a series of annual awards from the John Paul II Foundation for Sport and the Lawrie McCauley awards for football and writing.

Ten days of intense hard work and learning culminated in the St. Mary’s students volunteering at the Zulufadder Orphanage for AIDS orphans and vulnerable children. Here the students organised a variety of sports, games, singing and ‘story sacks’ which all proved to be a tremendous success.


The visit had a remarkable impact on St. Mary’s pupils.

“I’ll never forget the overwhelming sense of positivity which the Mnyakanya students demonstrated. They were so grateful for the time we had spent with them and I was equally grateful to them for opening my eyes and teaching me how to be fearless and show enthusiasm in all aspects of life as they do.”
— Laurence Patterson, Head Boy
“Everyone who has previously been on the visit to South Africa had said it was a life changing experience, and for me it really was. Since we have come back from South Africa, I have had a much more positive outlook on life and it has given me the thought that when I’m older, I would like to do humanitarian and charity work. We have collectively been coming up with ideas to visit again or fund-raise for the Sports Leaders we worked with to come over to St. Mary’s because we cannot overcome the withdrawal we have had, leaving such a wonderful place. We all had our expectations of the visit and it 100% exceeded them.”
— Natasha Cooper, Head Girl

“The 2017 visit to South Africa was a tremendous success. It was clear from the reports of the teachers and students in both countries that the Bambisanani Partnership is making a significant difference to the lives of many people. We saw students and teachers from both countries working together for the common good: the very essence of The Bambisanani Partnership. Everyone involved has grown, achieved and developed a wider view of the world. Bambisanani is such a positive project which continues to go from strength to strength. There is so much more to do and we intend to keep going.”
— Mrs C Chattoe, Bambisanani Coordinator at St. Mary’s
“Catherine and the team deserve tremendous praise, not only for this visit but for events that are going on throughout the year which provide a wealth of opportunities for groups in the UK and South Africa to ‘work together and learn together’. The students from St. Mary’s and Mnyakanya never cease to amaze me; they give me tremendous faith in young people and are just the kind of principled young leaders that the world needs. We have ambitious plans for the year ahead and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our supporters in both countries.”
— Mr Geldart, Chair of the Bambisanani Partnership Charity

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