Welcome to our Southern Africa Solidarity Trip blog!
OPSEU has had a long history of solidarity with Southern Africa, in particular with our involvment in the Anti-Apartheid struggle in the 1980s. In 2008, President Smokey Thomas travelled to Malawi and South Africa and while there, visited some of the Stephen Lewis Foundation projects supported through OPSEU's Live and Let Live Fund. He also travelled to Makupo village in Malawi to witness the results of OPSEU project funding there. A highlight for the community was when OPSEU visitors installed solar lighting in the communal kitchen and 12 small village homes. OPSEU has continued its support to this small village which has since developed a farm, a piggery, built two wells and built a hostel to house solidarity groups like ours.
In 2010 the OPSEU Social Justice Fund Board decided that it would like to expose more members to our international solidarity work. Mandated by the 2004 OPSEU convention, the Board is given .48 cents per member per year to fund international solidarity projects and this amounts to approximately $63,000 per year. There is not enough money in the budget to send a group of members on a tour. That's why the Board decided to plan a tour of Southern Africa by 7 members and that these 7 members would be asked to raise their own funds ($5000) for th e cost of the trip. Attached are the biographies of the 7 OPSEU members chosen by our Board to represent their regioin and their union. They are a wonderful group and have done a great job fundraising for their trip. I am sure they will be great ambassadors for OPSEU as they travel around Southern Africa.
We have less than 60 days before we embark on this tour on September 4, 2012. This blog is set up to keep members informed as we lead up to the trip and as we tour the various projects in Southern Africa. Please follow us on our incredible solidarity journey.....