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“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” These words from former South African President Nelson Mandela have inspired Amadeus Southern Africa to partner with the People Upliftment Programme (POPUP).

Amadeus has undertaken to sponsor five students to help them complete a 10-week hospitality course, which includes theoretical and practical training. During the course, learners will be taught the basic principles of guest accommodation as well as preparation methods of foods, hygiene principles in the kitchen and how to maintain a safe and secure working environment.

Established at the end of 1999, POPUP takes a holistic approach to the upliftment of underprivileged communities through a fully-fledged skills training and development centre. People are given opportunities to obtain skills which will enable them to find employment or start their own enterprise and rise from the terrible conditions caused by poverty and other circumstances such as crime and addiction.

“Before POPUP, I saw myself as a disabled person, as a defeated person,” says Gift Malope, Business Admin Learner. “I was on the verge of just giving up. After the life skills programme, I was no longer a bitter person, I was no longer an angry person. POPUP changed my life and my outlook on life.”

Luphelo Lucky Buyaphi is a former POPUP learner who lost his parents at a very young age. He became obsessed with getting a lot of money to support his siblings and himself. He got into the criminal world and eventually ended up in prison. After prison, Luphelo chose for POPUP.

“Going to POPUP turned out to be the best choice I’ve ever made in my life. The first two weeks of Life Skills were the best and will always be in my heart. My experience was life-changing. Some of the most valuable lessons I learned were about purpose. I’ve left the POPUP premises and going back to the world, but I’m not leaving the organisation. POPUP will always be in my heart, and I’m coming back to sponsor POPUP in the future. I am confident that going into the world, with the skills I learned, I’m going to conquer every challenge that will come my way.”

“We firmly believe that transformation takes place from a holistic point of view, impacting the heart, hand, and mind of the individual in such a way as to transform them from the inside out, resulting in a changed individual who can positively impact their immediate surroundings; their households, extended families, communities and the country at large,” says Wilma Lindecke, Skills Manager.