Whittier Student and Alumna Help to Carry on the Work of Nelson Mandela
Senior Faith Govan spent last fall abroad, studying in Cape Town and working with the Amy Biehl Foundation, an NGO dedicated to providing “transformative experiences for young people in under-served communities” in post-apartheid South Africa.
"I have always been interested in reconciliation processes and South Africa [was] the perfect place to see forgiveness at work," said Govan, whose internship was funded by the Center for Engagement with Communities’ LEARN (Learning Enrichment & Academic Resources Network) fellowship program.
"My fellowship gave me the opportunity to travel all the way across the world and see how teaching tolerance and forgiveness, and the basic foundations of human rights can have an incredible impact on a population. I hope to continue this work for as long as I can all over the world."
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The Amy Biehl Foundation is led by alumna Linda Biehl '65 and is named after her daughter Amy who was killed in an act of political mob violence in South Africa while she was there as a Fulbright Fellow. Linda and her late husband Peter turned the tragic death of their daughter into action by creating the Foundation to keep their daughter’s passion for helping others alive. Based in Guguletu, South Africa, this organization has had a direct impact on the lives of the people there, and serves as a lasting model for social action.
As a result of their involvement in South Africa, the Biehls were with Mandela when he received the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor in 1998.
"He was just this honest, simple person," she said. "He went from being an imprisoned terrorist to a lauded humanitarian. He has this amazing gentleness about him and nothing he ever said was a cliché."
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