Peace Corps Commemorates a Decade of Service in South Africa

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA, Sept. 27, 2007 - This week Peace Corps celebrated 10 years of cooperation and partnership with South Africa. After a decade of service, the Peace Corps continues to build strong relationships and promote cultural exchange with the people of South Africa.

As a United States government non-profit volunteer organization, Peace Corps sends Americans to developing countries to provide technical assistance and improve cross-cultural communication. Currently there are 145 Volunteers serving in South Africa. The Volunteers serve South Africa in two developmental areas: the Schools and Community Resources Project and the Community HIV/AIDS Outreach Project.

Over 450 South African and United States government officials, Peace Corps employees and Volunteers, as well as invited guests, attended the ten-year commemoration of Peace Corps South Africa on September 20, 2007. As a part of the ceremony, Peace Corps Regional Director for Africa, Henry McKoy, swore-in 84 new Peace Corps Volunteers ranging from 21 to 74 years of age. With the enrollment of this group, the historical number of Peace Corps Volunteers who have served in South Africa increased to 917 Volunteers.

The ten years have passed as a twinkle in the eye, said Alice M. Williams, who served as a member of the second group of Peace Corps Volunteer in South Africa from 1998 to 2000. It seems that it was only a few years ago that I stepped off the airplane.

During their service, the majority of Peace Corps Volunteers in South Africa live in impoverished areas of the country, most of which are former apartheid homeland enclaves. In their respective communities, Volunteers work closely with their country counterparts to help the lives of their neighbors.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 46-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Since 1961, more than 187,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served. Peace Corps Volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

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