Experiential learning and travel are at the heart of Khwela: we believe seeing the world from a new perspective, reflecting on the experience and telling your story can be transformational and promote the growth mindset needed for social mobility.
Where our journey started
Khwela means “to climb” in isiXhosa, one of the wider spoken languages of South Africa, and the mother tongue of one of Khwela’s co-founders, Asanda Daraza. What started off as a brainstorming session on a couch in Cape Town in 2017, soon became a reality when Khwela won an international competition with Booking.com to run a pilot project. The idea? That travel is truly transformative, and that through travel and reflective practice women from under-resourced communities in Cape Town could shift their world view, embrace a growth mindset and learn from experience and skills training how to work in the tourism industry. In the first two years, 80% of the Khwela participants on average went from being unemployed to finding work in the tourism industry.
As the pandemic shook the globe, the travel industry fell to its knees as people stopped travelling. Khwela took a pause, as we considered how we could continue to self-empower women in a time where physical travel and learning was not allowed. Through this time, Khwela Womxn was born. Experiential learning and the power of sisterhood remained key to our purpose: that we believe womxn have the power to change communities, but we had to re-design the program for a low-touch, high impact, post-COVID-19 world.
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