Leah - 2017 Challenger, 2018 Team leader
In what ways has South Africa Challenge changed your outlook on life or world view?
South Africa has significantly changed my outlook on life, it has made me re-think what's important in life and my values. An example of this is it has made me realise that I can achieve beyond what I have imagined and I will continue to hold this mindset going forward in my life and future projects. It has also enabled me to be more positive and be more grateful for my life and what I have.
On reflection, what did you learn about yourself, others, or South Africa?
I learnt that self-doubt and fear can prevent you from reaching your full potential, reducing this negative self-talk can unlock hidden capabilities. I learnt that although there are some people in the world that cause suffering and pain, that the majority of people are kind hearted and want to help in any way they can. I also learnt that in South Africa the people within the communities are highly resilient and although there is not a lot of support in regards to mental health, they look for what they can be grateful for in life.
Which parts of the South Africa Challenge did you enjoy the most?
It is difficult to choose a part that I enjoyed the most as I found all of the trip to be valuable and inspiring. One part I enjoyed the most was delivering workshops within the schools, meeting the young people and being inspired by their determination, gratitude and knowledge. I enjoyed finding out more about South African culture, for example in the Vuk Africa trip were we visited the valley of a thousand hills, was a part of a traditional Zulu dance and stayed overnight in a township with a family. We also got the opportunity to visit different parts of Durban such as the beach and safari and these were both amazing experiences. I have to say that another part of the trip I will never forget is the friendships that I build with the other members of the South Africa Challenge and members of the community in South Africa.
How do you think South Africa Challenge will influence what you do in your future? Or how has it already influenced you since returning?
Before the South Africa challenge, I had never been known anything about social entrepreneurship, it is something that I would like to continue to be involved in, as the experience brought into my awareness how important it is to tackle social issues. It has also re-ignited my motivation and passionate for the work that I am already doing in mental health. It has improved my confidence and changed my thinking style, I am able to creatively problem solve and this will be beneficial for all I do in the future.
What would you say to future participants?
I would say embrace every challenge that comes your way, it is called the South Africa Challenge for a reason but in order to be better and move forward you need to step outside of your comfort zone, when this happens you will begin to realise your full potential.
If you had to summarise the South Africa Challenge experience in one paragraph, what would you say?
South Africa Challenge has been the the journey of a lifetime for me and one that I will always remember. It has been a journey of fun, laughter, early mornings, late nights, making friends, facing challenges, discovering a culture, sharing knowledge and empowering each other.