Carnegie Mellon University

Chakana Mentore

Chakana Mentore

Class of 2011, Major- Global Studies, Minors- Psychology; Creative Writing


Chakana Mentore spent the summer between his junior and senior years (summer 2010) in Cape Town, South Africa, with Arcadia University's Community Development Summer Study Abroad Program.  Chakana's community development seminar at the University of Cape Town provided him the opportunity for service learning and reflection through a combination of seminars- both theoretical and experiential- and daily community service. Chakana's community development experience with SHAWCO (Students' Health and Welfare Centres Organisation), an NGO founded and governed by the students of the University of Cape Town, focuses on education and health in the community.

Highlight from Abroad

June 30, 2010

So far it's been amazing here in Cape Town! It's an amazing place that is in many ways defined by contradictions. The same things that have torn it down and continue to plague it are also the things that have made the people here and their connections stronger and more unique. The program I'm in integrates both class work and lectures on various aspects of community development, with a service learning project based out of the township of Khayelitsha.

This project is through SHAWCO, a student run NGO based out of the University of Cape Town. It provides IT training for adults, as well as math and english tutoring for grade 8 and 9 students from the township, a community of several thousand people living in steel shacks at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder.

So far this summer experience has been one of the greatest of my life. My family is from South Africa, but this is the first time I, or anyone else in my immediate family has have been back, and the experience has trully awakened me to a history and connection that I never appreciated before.

Not only have I grown tremendously intellectually, but also personally. I can say with all honesty and all humility that I will leave Cape Town a better student, a more conscientious American, a proud South African, and a stronger person because of my time here.