Say Yes, to go on a community service exchange programme
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What is sayXchange about?
- What type of volunteers are we looking for?
- Who is driving the process of sayXchange?
- What did the 2010 sayXchange participants learn from the exchange?
- What was the feedback from the hosting organisations, hosting families and participants about the SayXchange programme in 2010?
It's a five-month exchange programme for young people between community-based and non-profit organisations in South Africa, Mozambique and Malawi. The programme seeks to promote people-based regional integration and a southern African regional identity amongst young people. It aims to build bridges between communities and boost intercultural understanding. It will help nurture the development of leaders in southern Africa with a regional perspective by encouraging youth engagement in civic affairs across borders.
For the initial phase, applicants for participation in sayXchange must be South African, Malawian or Mozambican citizens between 18 and 25 years old who are currently resident in their home country. Applicants may be male or female and must already have completed their secondary schooling. Applicants may be tertiary students or have completed a tertiary qualification. Ideally, they are or have been volunteers in their community and should demonstrate potential leadership abilities. Applicants must have a valid passport or have applied for a passport by the time of applying to participate in sayXchange. Participants will be selected through a process of personal, group and home interviews.
When the SayXchange participants returned from their exchanges in December 2010, they maintained that they:
- Became more tolerant to situations that are confusing and open to different interpretations
- Realised why stereotypes can by harmful and hurtful to others and themselves
- Would like to visit another southern African country again
- Have greater sympathy for the struggles of international students and immigrants as a result of their experiences
- Have a deeper understanding of the common problems and issues that confront all human beings
- Have a greater awareness of political, economical and social events occurring around the region
- Are aware that cultural changes can have unexpected outcomes
- Understand their own strengths and weaknesses
- Have a greater sense of responsibility for other people
- Have more respect and appreciation for their natural families
- Need fewer friends but more deeper friendships
- Have a greater appreciation for what they have
Despite the challenges of adjusting to new surroundings, different cultures and different languages, sayXchange participants and hosting organisations felt that the programme will achieve its aims in the long run. Hosting organisations were eager to host again because of the value that sayXchange participants brought to their organisations and the participants gained a wealth of knowledge during the exchange. Participants learnt new things about themselves as individuals and about the organisations where they were placed. They emphasised the importance of being familiar with languages and cultures, the importance of self-worth and fighting for what one is entitled as well as not taking things for granted. The participants agreed that a common regional identity and regional integration were goals that they will continue to promote. As a result, they indicated that they will promote and recommend sayXchange to their peers.