Training & jobs for 90 unskilled African women

by SA College for Tourism
Graduating class of 2016
Graduating class of 2016

On 11 November, 89 young women from rural southern Africa graduated from the SA College for Tourism with national certificates in hospitality services. These qualifications will allow them to work in the region's burgeoning tourism sector, enabling them to better not only their own lives, but also those of their families. To date, 92% of graduates of the college have been employed.


On behalf of all the graduating class of 2016, we thank all our donors for supporting the SACT Hospitality programme. Your support has empowered these young women to lead active, productive and successful lives, counteract inequality and positively impact the lives of generations to come.

Students at Vuyani Safe Haven
Students at Vuyani Safe Haven

A highlight during the 2nd semester was the student’s participation in Mandela Day. The ladies offered a soup kitchen at Vuyani Safe Haven for Vulnerable Children and prepared and served their own home-made soup and freshly baked bread for children currently at the home. Cooking for these special children was a great opportunity for the students to put their practical skills to task, and give back to the local community in Graaff-Reinet. It was a fantastic morning and the students walked away from their experience inspired to make EVERYDAY A MANDELA DAY in their communities.

More practical learning opportunities presented themselves during the semester when the learners catered for a Birdlife SA weekend held at the College and the Drostdy Hotel, the latter forming part of SACT’s operational training area and seat of the original plates (paintings) utilised in Robert’s Birds of South Africa book. In addition, students catered for a local school Matric Farewell function, serving a four course meal to 120 guests.

It truly has been a busy period for the students as they become fully immersed in the practical and theoretical learning experience offered at SACT. On behalf of everyone at SA College for Tourism, we thank our generous donors for making this opportunity available to the beneficiaries. With every contribution you make, you leave a legacy of hope and change.

Some of the class of 2016 during a lecture
Some of the class of 2016 during a lecture

On 18 January, 90 young women from across Southern Africa reported for orientation at the College in  Graaff-Reinet.

By the time formal training commenced on 1 February, they had been joined by two Zimbabwe students who were delayed due to visa problems. In addition, the College is hosting for the first time a physically disabled learner.

During orientation the local hospice held an HIV/Aids and TB seminar. The local branch manager from ABSA bank presented a personal finance seminar guiding students on better banking options. Capitec and First National Bank also participated

Formal training commenced on 1 February.

Hospitality students hosted two large functions during February namely a wedding reception on 20 February for 160 pax and a seminar/evening functionfor the Wildlife Ranching Association of SA and their 100 guests. During March the students catered to 160 guests at an 80th birthday function and to a further 60 wedding guests.

Update on previous graduates:

  • Twenty two members of the graduate class of 2015 commenced their learnership year at Drostdy Hotel towards the end of January. They were joined by 10 interns.
  • Learnership and internship workplace orientation with Drostdy Hotel staff was held between 11 – 15 January and the handover was completed between the 2014  SACT learner- and internship group and the new group (2105 graduates) on 15 January. This was followed by learnership and internship orientation with the 2016 group.
  • A farewell luncheon for the 2015 learnership and internship group (2014 SACT graduates) who successfully completed their year-long learnership and workplace experience (internships)  at Drostdy was held at the hotel on 14 January. All but two of the group has been placed in permanent jobs.
  • Faith, the 2014 top student, who is currently employed by Drostdy Hotel where she completed her learnership year in January and will be heading to Italy in June for a three month work experience visit to Portofino, Italy, as part of her top student prize, held a motivational talk for the Class of 2016 in early February. Faith created great interest in the Drostdy Hotel Learnership Project among her audience members.

SACT would like thank all its long standing donors for their continued support. Without your encouragement and generosity, the College would not be able to afford these young women, this life changing opportunity.

Students learning the art of making breakfast
Students learning the art of making breakfast
The graduating class of 2015
The graduating class of 2015

SA College for Tourism ended its Crystal Anniversary Year on a high note on Friday morning, 20th November, when it celebrated the graduation of 89 young women from rural southern Africa with national certificates in hospitality services. The celebrations kicked off the night before with a dinner hosted by Mrs Gaynor Rupert, Chairperson of the college company for her guests who were addressed by His Excellency Marcus Cornaro the Head of the European Union Delegation to South Africa.  Ambassador Cornaro attended the graduation celebrations with Mrs Cornaro and the  Deputy Head of his delegation, Ms  Sofia Moreira de Sousa.  

Guests were welcomed to the graduation ceremony by Mrs Gaynor Rupert, Chairperson of the college company. Congratulating Team SACT on achieving this milestone, Mrs Rupert paid tribute to the donors, supporters and friends of the college and thanked them for making it possible for the college to go from strength to strength year after year.

Ms Minnie Dlamini, one of South Africa’s most up and coming TV personalities and who is said to have the largest Twitter and Facebook following among young people in the country, delivered the keynote address. Minnie congratulated the young women and men on having taken the risk to come to the college to study and to better their lives. This she said boded well for success in future.

Mrs Anu Saxen, Deputy Head of Mission of Finland which has been supporting SA College for Tourism for half a decade, brought the day’s proceedings to an end with her closing remarks, encouraging fellow donors and supporters to continue to support the college and wishing the graduates the very best in their future endeavours.

A special touch to the celebrations was a personal message to all involved with SA College for Tourism and to this year’s graduates from HRH Prince Irene of the Netherlands.







Candle light tribute for Nelson Mandela
Candle light tribute for Nelson Mandela

July was a quiet month at the hospitality training division of the SA College for Tourism with most of the students on mid-year break. The second semester training commenced again on 20 July.

A highlight for the ladies was the visit by a large group of motorcyclists from Mandela Foundation in Graaff-Reinet. “Bikers for Mandela Foundation” was founded by Dr Nelson Mandela’s former personal assistant Zelda la Grange and as part of their response to Dr Mandela's call to action for people everywhere to take responsibility for changing the world into a better place. The bikers travelled to George and Beaufort West where they kick-started a community development project for the poor in each town on the 16th and 17th of July. This was their 5th annual Mandela Day celebration road tour.

On Saturday, 18 July, the bikers overnighted at Drostdy Hotel where a candle light tribute was held for Madiba on the steps leading to the hotel. Students of the College, joined by the SA Police Academy choir, sang an African prayer at the start of the proceedings and later teamed up with well-known South African singer and songwriter, Karen Zoid, entertaining a large crowd who had gathered in celebration of Dr Mandela's life.

Ms La Grange who delivered the tribute, advocated greater awareness of the abuse against women and children prevalent in South Africa and urged the town to join hands to protect each and every woman and child in Graaff-Reinet.

The students left the event contemplating: “What can I do to make every day, a Mandela day.”


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Organization Information

SA College for Tourism

Location: Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape - South Africa
Website: http:/​/​​Content_1050200000_SA+College+For+Tourism.htm
Project Leader:
Claire Binneman
Senior Fundraiser
Stellenbosch, Western Cape South Africa
$445 raised of $703,610 goal
15 donations
$703,165 to go
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