Last month two employees from Elim Learning traveled to South Africa for an unforgettable visit with Elim’s International Learning Partner, Up with Down’s.
Three years ago, Elim and Up With Down’s, an organization for children and adults with disabilities, in George, South Africa initiated a partnership. Though half a world apart, Elim and Up with Down’s are united in their common commitment to education, programming, and community engagement for individuals with disabilities.
After several visits from Up with Down’s staff to Elim’s school and adult service programs and connecting with Elim Learning staff through video conferencing for the last few years, Amy Flynn, Director of Learning and Allie Szczecinski, an Educational Consultant, could experience their organization first-hand.
It was a visit steeped in learning – observing in classrooms, playing with the students at recess, working alongside the adults in their vocational program, engaging in after school programming, connecting with staff, and spending quality time at the hostel. Being there, in George, and experiencing their organization, programming, students, country, and culture first-hand allowed Elim’s staff to more fully understand Up with Down’s. Being there, in George, cultivated a deeper connection between Elim and Up with Down’s.
“It was amazing to finally meet the teachers and staff that we have spent so much time collaborating with over the years,” shared Szczecinski. “Up With Down’s is doing incredible work here in South Africa and we are truly honored to have the opportunity to see it in action.”