The Rendezvous Society
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|Founded||1985, Cheltenham, England|
The Rendezvous Society is a British charity organisation (UK Registered charity 293357). It aims to promote care for the environment and the development of inter-cultural ties through linking of schools and communities. The Rendezvous Society enables individuals and communities, both in the county of Gloucestershire and beyond, to learn about other people and cultures. For example, through the friendship link with Kisumu (Kenya) or the twinning link with Sochi (Russia). Global Footsteps is the name of the charity's programme of activities. Each event is a footstep towards a fundamental goal.
The Rendezvous Society is an educational charity founded in Cheltenham, England in 1985. Its mission is to help local communities to engage with people of other cultures in the interests of creating mutual understanding between them with an overall aim of creating a fair, friendly and fruitful Earth for the generations that follow.
The Rendezvous Society's method is to encourage friendship links between diverse and distant cultures, linking individuals, civil society, local authorities, sports, colleges, schools and environmental associations, leading to dialogue and co-operation between them.
For example, links have been established between Gloucestershire (UK); Kisumu (Kenya); Sochi (Russia); Toruń (Poland); Göttingen (Germany); Trabzon (Turkey), Saint Ann, Jamaica; Västerås (Sweden); Cheltenham, Pennsylvania (United States); and Râmnicu Vâlcea (Romania); by means of study tours, youth exchanges, school and college links and internet dialogue. An annual series of global gatherings has brought together youth from such diverse regions whereby they share experiences aimed at tackling the threats to their respective environments.
The charity's major roles are: Thinking Globally - through helping local and distant cultures make friends for the benefit of both communities; Acting Locally - Bringing together various stakeholders within Gloucestershire to help build a sustainable future.
The Rendezvous Society provides an information and social centre based in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in England. This helps people of all ages to learn more about other cultures and about environmental issues. Its purpose is to help create an equitable and sustainable Earth. The centre also provides language classes and other aspects of cultural education.
Kisumu Rendezvous SUPAKEN
The Rendezvous Society also provides an information and educational centre in Kisumu, Kenya (the friendship link town of Cheltenham). It was initially known as Kisumu Rendezvous, and effectively known by the name of Kisumu Links Self Help Group. In December 2006 it revamped its image with a new committee and new name, Kisumu Rendezvous SUPAKEN. For many years, it operated the School Fees Scheme, which helped to pay for the education fees of local orphans. In 2006, the School Fees Scheme was wound up.
The following are linked communities that are included in The Rendezvous Society network.
- Annecy, (France)
- Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, (United States)
- Gloucestershire, (United Kingdom)
- Göttingen, (Germany)
- Kisumu, (Kenya)
- Navsari, (India)
- Râmnicu Vâlcea, (Romania)
- Roanoke, Virginia, (United States)
- Saint Ann, Jamaica
- Sochi, (Russia)
- Strabane, (Northern Ireland)
- Toruń, (Poland)
- Trabzon, (Turkey)
- Trier, (Germany)
- Västerås, (Sweden)
- Weihai, (China)
The Rendezvous Society today works on these issues:
Global Footsteps organises educational programmes around the world. These include study tours, youth conferences and youth exchanges among Gloucestershire and its linked communities around the world. It aims to promote inter-cultural linking and environmental education. In 2009, Global Footsteps launched a new project called Global Ventures in which young individuals embark on personal life-changing and enriching ventures.
The conferences organised by Global Footsteps are aimed at youth aged 18 to 25 from any of Gloucestershire's linked communities around the world.
Past conferences include:
- Footstep 6 'Footprints from Afar' - Kisumu, Kenya in 2001
- Footstep 7 'Youth's Global Vision for a Harmonious Earth' - Sochi, Russia in 2002
- Footstep 8 'Creating Tomorrow' - Toruń, Poland in 2003
- Footstep 9 'Our Future Starts Today' - Göttingen, Germany in 2004
- Footstep 10 'Creating Tomorrow, Together Today' - Cheltenham, United Kingdom in 2005
- Footstep 11 'Shaping and Sharing the Future' - Saint Ann, Jamaica in 2007
Recent positive action arising from Global Footsteps conferences include:
- The provision of water collection and storage tanks for three rural communities in Kenya which is vital to ensure these communities have access to clean water.
- Collaboration with the British Council in Kisumu and Sochi to let internet facilities be made available to young people in the communities who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford access to the latest technology.
- Supporting young Russian women on a fact-finding mission to visit homelessness projects in the UK, to help them with the setting up of a shelter in Russia.
- Enabling musicians from other countries to perform in UK schools to promote cultural understanding and providing positive contributions to the Citizenship curriculum.
In July 2007, Global Footsteps organised its latest International Youth Conference Footstep 11: Shaping & Sharing The Future at Moneague College in Saint Ann, Jamaica. The principal theme of the event was Consumerism and its impact on the natural environment.
Youth participants aged between 18 and 25 represented linked communities in countries as diverse as Jamaica, Kenya, Poland, United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, Turkey and newcomer Brazil. The youth took part in active workshops, field trips and activities with the aim of educating the youth, so that they could then share their knowledge with their local community and achieve sustainable development in a spirit of global citizenship.
Global Footsteps has organised educational study tours to many of the linked communities. In recent years, these have been concentrating on Sochi (Cheltenham's Russian twin town) and Toruń in Poland. These study tours are aimed at educating people about cultural understanding on a local level.
Between 1985 and 2000, Global Footsteps ran a successful youth exchange programme between Gloucestershire, England and Kisumu, Kenya. Youth from both countries took part in productive environmental and educational activities. They also gained a vast knowledge of different cultures, mainly helped by staying with local families.