Study abroad in South Africa


South Africa

EMEP (Extra Mural Educational Project) is a not-for-profit development organization that strives to help educators overcome obstacles like over-crowding and lack of resources by developingschools into 'community hubs' through extra-mural activities. Founded in 1993, EMEP's primary goal is the holistic development of the school as a dynamic, well-managed hub of good quality, lifelong learning, art, recreation, environmental and support services for its learners, teachers, support staff, parents, and local community.



Britney Kummerer

Spring 2008 South Africa Service Learning participant

My placement through EMEP has been at a school in Lavender Hill called Hillwood Primary. Lavender Hill is a colored community that was relocated from the streets of District Six. In the month I have been working at Hillwood I have found that it exists in a very close-knit community but because of poverty and lack of resources, crime is a dangerous reality for the school and community members. The school has fallen victim to numerous robberies that have crippled the further development extra-mural programs and ordinary school improvement plans.

My role at Hillwood consists of developing the literacy and writing skills in the Grade R students in the mornings, then again with two students from grade 5 after lunch. Then, after school, I coach the volleyball team. I have been challenged tremendously in heart and spirit while learning and working with the students and teachers of Hillwood. The spirit that members of Hillwood work with is astonishing. Many of these teachers deal with less than ideal classroom situations but find ways to motivate themselves and members of the community to stay dedicated to the children. The children can be sweet and caring despite their harsh surroundings. Hillwood is a challenging site but leads to incredible insight and knowledge about the South African situation.

E-mail Britney for more information!

Mary Kate Wagner

Fall 2007 South Africa Service Learning participant

As a service learner at EMEP, I have been placed at a primary school and am involved in three programs. My mornings are consumed by Grade R, or kindergarten, students working on the alphabet. In the afternoon, I work with five students ages 10-14 on literacy. After school, I have been coaching 5-7th graders hoping to start a volleyball team for next year. The work done with EMEP will help you to reap personal rewards that cannot be expressed in words. These children are so hopeful and eager to learn. They truly allow you to become a part of their lives. The staff at EMEP are some of the most dedicated people you will ever work with - their energy is contagious. Throughout the semester, I will be helping to revamp their newsletter and at the end of my time in Cape Town, I will submit a report based on the work I have done with the school. This report will aim to establish successful ways to implement extra-mural activities in schools.

E-mail Mary Kate for more information!

Cassie Brownell

Spring 2007 South Africa Service Learning participant

Since July, Marquette Service Learners have been aiding Hillwood Primary school through EMEP.  Last semester, Diana Turner served as a basketball coach and this semester I am working to develop a literacy program for the Grade R (kindergarten) learners. EMEP hopes to track the students I am currently working with for the next few years to see how the extra-mural programs are affecting their lives. EMEP hopes to be able to infuse a process of healing by working with students from an early age.

Hillwood is located in Lavender Hill, a historically colored township named after a street in District Six. Many of the children speak both English and Afrikaans, but there are some learners in the school who speak Xhosa or Zulu. There is a large Muslim population in the school as well.

Historically, Hillwood has had a great number of break-ins. In the past year, the school was burglarized five times and there was an attempted burglary last week on Tuesday. The school has limited resources already and the burglaries leave both the office staff and teachers unsettled.

Despite these hardships, both Principal Ray Classen and many of the teachers are working to improve the school for the learners. All of the educators I have met in my three weeks at the school are extremely dedicated to their learners. Teachers have helped to establish extra-mural programs and sports teams and have even used their own cars and petrol to transport the learners to tournaments on weekends and after school.

Through conversations with Principal Ray and several of the teachers, I have learned a great deal about dedication and hard work. I have also witnessed a school striving to do better with the limited resources provided by the government.

I encourage you to consider a placement with EMEP as it has been both a challenging and rewarding experience, and one I would highly recommend for anyone interested in education.  Working alongside the teachers of Hillwood has been inspirational, and I am extremely thankful for the opportunity.

E-mail Cassie for more information!

Peter Burke

Fall 2006 South Africa Service Learning participant

Working at EMEP is personally rewarding because you will be actively involved in the organization while also immersed in a school community environment.  My task for the semester has been to establish an Ultimate Frisbee team at a local high school; however the range of activities to choose from is virtually endless.  Art, drama, dance, sports, study support and tons more would all fall under the realm of “extra-murals.”  However, whatever you choose, there must be a focus on sustainability and one of the challenges is making sure your work has a lasting effect in the school and community.  Research will also most likely play a large role in your time at EMEP and you will be expected to turn your experiences in the field into meaningful information regarding the status of extra-murals in South Africa.  EMEP is a wonderful place to work. The staff is dedicated and supportive and it offers the opportunity to make a real difference.

E-mail Peter for more information!

Diana Turner

Fall 2006 South Africa Service Learning participants

EMEP has trained teachers to arrange extra-murals in schools, however, they need more man/woman-power to run activities.  EMEP is in the process of starting an internship program to both help in schools and do more macro research.

As an EMEP intern, I have been linked to two schools in different areas of Cape Town.  In one school, I am running basketball practice, and in the other, I am coaching girls cheerleading.  They are pretty flexible with activities you may want to start. My time is spent both in the field and doing research.  In the office, I am researching the affect after school activities have on girls.  At the end of the semester, I will create a binder and a conclusion to my research.  I hope to create pamphlets, or distribute this information in another way.  I am also helping the organization with their newsletter and communications.

E-mail Diana for more information!



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