Dreamcatcher Sustainable Growth Model Inspires Entrepreneurial thinking for School Curriculum

The Dreamcatcher Foundation, spearheading training and inspiring women and youth in South African townships to become tourism and its peripheral services entrepreneurs since before 1994, formed a collaborative partnership recently with South African curriculum planners and ‘Onderwijs Maak je Samen’ (Education is achieved together), a Dutch NGO. It is the first time that the Dutch NGO brings out a group of teaching learners to interact with South African counterparts. The event was hosted by Afrika Tikkun at Emfuleni in Cape Town.

The partnership gathered to explore the challenges and strengths found within the South African education system and to consider innovative methods to inspire entrepreneurial thinking at school through the curriculum, and to deepen understanding and the potential of the South African education landscape in terms of entrepreneurship. The majority of the participants were school principals within the South African education system who shared their own experiences of teaching entrepreneurial skills.

The group further included the representative of the Netherlands Consulate General, Mr. Claude van Wyk, Afrika Tikkun CEO Marc Lubner and representatives from Afrika Tikkun. Also in attendance was a delegation of 10 members from the Dreamcatcher Foundation, comprising tourism enterprises, mentors, Dr Jean Penny a volunteer from the United States helping out on the Dreamcatcher programmes and Dreamcatcher founder, Anthea Rossouw.

The “Kamammas” as they are fondly known, served the guests some of their special food which has now become the hallmark of their branded experience “CookUp with Kamamma, ’in true Dreamcatcher Kamamma style, acting as perfect rol models for future tourism entrepreneurs on how to offer tourists a true South African experience. Local school leavers also shared their pathway to entrepreneurship and the positive impact on their vision for their own future. The lunch had delegates cueing up for “seconds” and received applause for its high quality and taste.

Adding sustainable practice and content to theory and the discussions, a group presentation by Dreamcatcher, shared the ‘Wasteland – Graced Land – Melkhoutfontein” socio-economic growth model. Dreamcatcher’s innovative approach to job creation and enterprise development, which addresses local problems and challenges by turning them into the solutions for sustainable development, received a standing ovation from attendees. The unique model which uses sustainable living through tourism and the environment as the economic driving force, took Dreamcatcher over a decade to develop and trial for impact.

Though the project is still in an exploratory phase, the objective of inspiring entrepreneurship at school level fits into the vision of all the partners involved with each group bringing contributing values to the discussion. The Dreamcatcher ‘Wasteland – Graced Land – Melkhoutfontein’ model is earmarked to serve as a case study for sustainable socio-economic development. It is envisaged that the next collaborative partnership event will take place in 2018.

Says Anthea Rossouw: “ Unemployment among youth and women is problematic in South Africa”. We are honoured to share our model of social and tourism innovation, with the potential to contribute to improved quality of life through enterprise creation in communities. As a collective, we may indeed have found an alternative that works for socio-economic development. We look forward to continued collaboration in the partnership to help inspire future entrepreneurs before they leave school.