Archive for April, 2010

South Africa first! The Amy Biehl Foundation.

April 17, 2010


We’ll be leaving in about 2 weeks for our first destination, Cape Town, South Africa!

We’ve found an amazing organization to volunteer with — The Amy Biehl Foundation: http://www.amybiehl.org/. Here’s a little bit about their history:

Amy Biehl was a gifted and dynamic young woman committed to making a difference. After extensive work and service throughout the continent, she chose to dedicate her 1993 Fulbright Scholarship to the establishment of a multiracial democracy in South Africa. Amy worked tirelessly with members of the ANC at the UWC Community Law Centre and helped register voters for the country’s first free elections.

On August 25th, 1993, Amy Biehl’s life was tragically cut short in an act of political mob violence in the Guguletu Township outside of Cape Town. Four young men were convicted and sentenced to 18 years imprisonment for her murder. When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established, the young men applied for amnesty. Determined to honour Amy’s love of South Africa and her belief in the truth and reconciliation process, Amy’s parents participated in the Commission’s hearings and supported amnesty for the youths; the four were granted amnesty and released from prison in 1998.

In 1997 the Amy Biehl Foundation in South Africa was born. Over the years the Foundation has flourished in its mission to ‘Weave a Barrier Against Violence’ by emphasizing social, cultural and economic empowerment through its programmes. Currently, two of the young men who were convicted of Amy’s murder and granted amnesty work for the Foundation to make these programmes a success. They are a living embodiment of the values, such as forgiveness, reconciliation and tolerance, which we strive to teach the youth of Cape Town through our work.

While we must never forget Amy Biehl and the life lessons that her and her parents have taught us, our focus needs to be on helping the children of South Africa. The Foundation is not only about a tragic story, but about programmes and schools, and restoring hope in disadvantaged communities so that a bright future can be had by all.

The Foundation’s mission is to prevent youth violence through a holistic approach to community development in socio-economically disadvantaged communities in and around Cape Town. The Foundation works to empower youth by providing opportunities through education. It is our belief that empowered youths are not likely to commit violent acts which rob others of their human rights.