International accolade for Uthando

Regular readers will know of James Fernie and his brilliant upliftment-through-tourism project, Uthando (www.uthandosa.org) – and now the world is going to know about them, too, thanks to our very own Skål International

Earlier this week – at the 73rd Skål International World Congress in South Korea – Uthando was named the winner of a prestigious Sustainable Development in Tourism Award  in the category ‘Cities – Villages (Community and Government Projects).’

The news is so hot, in fact, that I can’t tell you much more – I haven’t received the media release yet – but if you look at only a few of the things about Uthando’s work that James highlighted in a mail he sent out shortly after the announcement, you’ll see why Uthando really deserves this accolade:

“I want to thank all the friends of Uthando who have supported our work over the years. We are extremely grateful for your love, kindness and support. There is so much news to report on and so many things happening at the projects, a more detailed newsletter will be sent shortly but please see below some points on which I couldn’t wait to report.

“The Safari Awards 2012 – Uthando has emerged as a finalist in the 2012 Safari Awards to be announced on the 5th of November in London.

“Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2012 – This week Uthando received a certificate of excellence from Trip Advisor for the feedback received from guests on our tours.

“Official opening of Kiddies Educare this Saturday 6 October – We are very excited that the official opening of Kiddies Educare is taking place this Saturday. Margaret has run her day care centre for over a decade out of a terrible little shack with limited basic facilities. Together with SAEP, Uthando has transformed her shack into a brand new building. The contributions from Uthando’s side come largely from Nico and Corry Hooijmaaijer and the Mitialto Foundation in Belgium. Thanks also go to Kevin and Christine Jeras for their investment in the jungle-gym.

“The Mount Nelson Hotel selects Uthando as their official Social Development Project – The Nellie has come up with a very innovative way of raising funds through its guests, and the money raised will go to the Hout Bay Music Project (a youth development project teaching children to play classical music). Members of the top management of the hotel have now visited several projects with Uthando and I am extremely grateful for their time, enthusiasm and commitment. (Watch a video of the Hout Bay Music Project Performing Live in Maastricht below.)

“Thokozani Brothers Youth Development (Choir Group) – The Rotary Club of Kirstenbosch has selected The Thokozani Brothers Choir (which comes  from the modest informal settlement of Town Two in Khayelitsha) to perform the opening act in front of 6,000 people at Carols By Candlelight on Thursday, December 13th, in the amphitheatre at Kirstenbosch Gardens.

“This is remarkable recognition of the choir’s incredible talent, and this is the quality of talent of all the projects with which Uthando has the great privilege and pleasure of working.

“Much love and gratitude from Uthando.

“James”

Visit Uthando at http://www.uthandosa.org/ and on Facebook  http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_212073008812776&ref=ts and follow James on Twitter http://twitter.com/jamesferniesa

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2AfU3EqYuGs[/youtube]