Mpaka Peers / Waterford Kamhlaba UWCSA
The Mpaka Peers project brought together UWC students and refugee youth at Mpaka Refugee Camp in eSwatini through academics, activities, and shared passions in order to inspire, aid, and encourage one another.
It began in 2017, before taking part in Young Aurora in 2018, with a group of UWC and refugee students meeting to discuss how their friendship and resources can be combined to create a peer support network for English and communication classes, tutoring and career advising workshops, sports for women and girls, and passion development workshops.
Throughout the school year that followed, UWC students and youth members got together to stimulate and facilitate creativity, improve schooling and career opportunities for the young refugees, and create lasting connections. The goals they set out with were to prepare students to advance in secondary and even tertiary education, create a space for female empowerment and wellbeing through sports at the camp, and encourage young people to explore talents such as writing and music in order to gain recognition and raise awareness for themselves and their families.
Mpaka Peers continues as a student-led project at Waterford Kamhlaba UWCSA today, where new students can join year-on-year to continue working towards the aims that the original project team set when taking part in Young Aurora.