Preliminary Results from the South Africa Initiative

Researchers at the University of Pretoria in South Africa are in the process of gathering data from students and teachers who participated in the Memory Bridge Dementia Immersion Training program. Initial feedback has been reported from the April 15 — May 23, 2013 Memory Bridge training, in collaboration with the Department of Social Work at the University of Pretoria. University of Indiana awarded the Creative Paths to Peace grant to Memory Bridge to train seven select teachers and seven high school students in South Africa in empathetic communication aptitudes and methods.


All teachers involved in this training committed to implementing and introducing the program in their schools over the next eighteen months. The teachers had an opportunity to deliver their initial feedback to the Department of Basic Education of the Tshwane South Region, Gauteng Province in South Africa. Common themes reported from the experience concerned the immense local potential for the Memory Bridge program, how students developed a better understanding of themselves and others, and how the teachers deepened their understanding of the students and themselves as facilitators of learning. The buddy visits were highlighted as an especially transformative educational experience. The long-range goal of Memory Bridge’s work in South Africa is to establish secondary schools sites across the country for the ongoing expression of the Memory Bridge Initiative in select secondary schools, and to begin training teachers within those site schools how to facilitate the program.

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