DTZ as part of the Sherry FitzGerald Group in Ireland was instrumental in establishing the ‘Amawele’ initiative, which means ‘twin’.
Mark FitzGerald was the driving force behind Amawele. As a parent in Kildare Place National School in Dublin, and from his children’s involvement in a twinning project, he saw the potential from Irish schools engaging with schools in another country. Working with Amawele’s staff, and board, Mark’s vision is to develop meaningful partnerships between school communities in South Africa and Ireland, enabling the learning, sharing and experiencing of local knowledge and issues. Through Mark’s support, he has facilitated meetings with interested parties, has created funding opportunities for the organisation and has established a fundraising committee.
Amawele facilitates partnerships between schools in Ireland and South Africa, to promote cultural and educational exchanges between the two countries. Each school is twinned with one other, and the students and teachers exchange information to gain insight into some of the practical realities facing their counterparts.
Amawele is currently working with nearly 100 schools in the Eastern and Western Capes, that are now twinned with schools in Ireland identifying needs and supporting them through developing facilities, materials, training, food and healthcare.. The main focus is on raising the number of young people in South Africa who have access to properly structured education at both primary and second level.
Amawele´s aim in Ireland is to give Irish young people the opportunity to grow in understanding about the world in which they live and to develop a confidence about the difference that they as individuals, and their communities, can make in the world and in their own lives.
When a school builds a partnership with a school in another culture, it gains access to a whole new range of ideas, thoughts and experiences. Classes, sport, facilities and timetables are suddenly seen through a different set of eyes to those of that school’s pupils and teachers.
By helping to twin South African and Irish schools, Amawele is fostering a greater awareness of global issues, through real people and real experiences. We believe this enrichment of a curriculum benefits pupils and teachers from both communities – culturally, morally and socially.
Life is about people. Amawele’s twinning programme is about celebrating young people’s lives, broadening their horizons and fostering global citizenship.
Amawele does not simply consist of ‘Irish’ and ‘South African’ schools. Each school within the growing community has its own circumstances, location and story to tell.
Primarily, Amawele is a channel of communication. The primary resources Amawele offers those schools, therefore, are the website, liaison between schools, information and the administration resources of the Amawele offices.
Outside of the actual school network, Amawele will be helping young South Africans to access and benefit from education. This support ranges from facilities and materials within schools, to teacher training, and to food and support structures within the home.
DTZ continues to support AMAWELE by providing office space for the charity in Dublin.