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Living Sustainability . 2013

My time in Germany was nothing short of awesome. I arrived in Germany in September 2013 and stayed with Gabriela and Michaela. I immediately felt safe and welcomed. I was told before that I would be in for a culture shock but I never realised to what magnitude.

Things in Germany were totally different from what I am used to. I spent my days with different people at the Welthaus and each day was more interesting than the last. I met a lady named Anne whom I spent a few days with at the schools that she works in, amongst others, working in schools I was so impressed with the time and effort these ladies put in teaching the youth about the environment: learning at an early age about living sustainability. Birgitta, who at the time was the manager of Ecological Centre at Welthaus, explained to me more in detail what the project was about. Their job was it, to work together with the schools and educate people about the environment.

I stayed in Germany for two and a half months and I must say I met with so many people from so many different organizations but I it felt like they all had one theme: „Living Sustainability“ – whether it was a day in Monschau with Gisela, a visit to “The Tafel” or going to a theatre and watching a show on „Waste“ with my hosts. I learned the importance of living within our means and reducing the impact on the earth’s natural resources. In Cape Town, progress is still slow with regards to living gardens, most people believe that you need to have a lot of space to plant fruit and vegetables and therefore do not bother at all. And because they cannot always afford to buy fruit and veg from the shops they resort to unhealthy eating and the cycle continues …. however change is happening everyday slowly but surely, in townships and in schools thanks to the Aachen-Cape Town Partnership. The Partnership changed my way of thinking forever, my outlook on life and my role as a citizen.

Shonelle Williams

My name is Shonelle Williams, in 2013 I was invited to Germany to do a course in project management in living sustainability. We were a group of 7 people representing 6 different countries: South Africa, Mexico, Namibia, Nicaragua, Togo and Germany.

During my time in Aachen I met up with different organisations at Welthaus: Greenpeace, Ecology Centre, Friendship-Aachen-Lampaseh (Indonesia) – to name a few. I also spent a lot of time at Spielhaus Kennedypark.

The Exchange Programme opened a whole new world for me. I started to see things differently and realised that change is happening and everyone has a role to play. I believe by changing ones mindset a lot can be accomplished in making a difference in someone else’s life. I’ve learned so much about sustainability, biodiversity and co-existing.

„Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no-one thinks of changing himself“ – Leo Tolstoy