Collette Foundation and Knysna Educational Trust Celebrate the Opening of Siyafunda School11/30/2010 - Celebration featured hosted BBQ with renowned chef, Patrick Wiese, as part of a special Collette Vacations’ Spectacular South Africa tour group of Canadian travelers.
Collette Vacations, a global leader of escorted vacation experiences on all 7 continents, announced that its Collette Foundation recently celebrated the opening of the newly upgraded Siyafunda School in Knysna, South Africa. Attending the school opening celebration was a Collette tour group of Canadian travelers from Marlin Travel; as well as Collette staff and special guest traveler, Patrick Wiese, former personal chef to Oprah Winfrey. The BBQ lunch and celebration was part of a special itinerary for Collette Vacations’ Spectacular South Africa tour.
Speaking after the school opening, Chef Wiese reflected on the experience. "Being a Chef to me means bringing the passion I have for food out to the people I can touch with the culinary experience. I have always felt a strong connection between my food and the emotions behind it. I have had the most amazing opportunity to be a part of Collette Vacations - and Marlin Travel's - tour through South Africa. On my journey I discovered that being in such diverse, cultural environment gave me an outlook on the true meaning of the South African people. Part of my journey was to go to the small beautiful city call Knysna. There I got a chance to cook for the children of Siyafunda School for an afternoon. The children's laughter, joy and adoration for the lunch I prepared for them will forever hold a special spot for me. I will miss those kids especially - they have touched my heart forever and I will cook with their smiles and laughter in my heart.”
Working with the Knysna Educational Trust, the support from the Collette Foundation and others has allowed the Trust to educate their preschool teachers, enhance the schools with running water, as well as provide one nutritious meal per day to each child. The Trust supports 29 preschools in the Knysna Township area. The Trust aims to protect these children from the burdens of physical and mental abuse, and ultimately HIV by giving them care in a safe and positive environment. The Collette Foundation and Knysna Educational Trust have been partners for 3 years.
Nancy Davids, Collette senior product manager, said, “It was a privilege and an honor to be at this BBQ luncheon celebration and to see the children’s faces lit up with joy over their new school. It was also touching to the see the children taking food to bring back home to their families. Upon seeing this, our group opted to not eat lunch so that there would be more food for them to take.”
The Collette Foundation connects Collette’s employees, partners, travelers and global communities in a shared mission to improve the quality of life for children in the worldwide destinations which Collette explores. Since its inception in 2007, new project sites are continuously added and each is managed by employee volunteers. With Kenya, Tibet, India, Brazil, Canada, New England, Mexico, Peru, South Africa and Ireland among the existing project sites, the Foundation spreads its promise to help children by impacting the communities in which they reside – one project…and one child at a time.
Collette Vacations is a family-owned business headquartered in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and enjoys the distinction of being the oldest major tour operator in the United States. For over 90 years, our team of travel enthusiasts has fulfilled millions of vacation dreams. We offer over 125 programs to destinations on all 7 continents. Travelers can choose from small group tours, educational travel, train journeys, river cruises and vacations that feature a Collette Foundation site visit. With knowledgeable, professional tour managers, an industry-leading cancellation waiver, and complimentary round trip home to airport sedan service with air-inclusive reservations, Collette Vacations makes seeing the world simple and hassle-free.
About Patrick Wiese
- Silver Medal at National ACF Culinary Competition in 1999 - Executive Chef of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business - Food Stylist for Chef Art Smith at Harpo Studios - Personal Chef for Oprah Winfrey - Featured as one of "Nine to Dine Hot New Chefs," Gourmet Magazine 2007 - Two page feature in City Magazine 2007 - Featured Chef on "Chef Talk" segment, CFRB Radio, 2007 - Cooking segments on "Toronto Living" 2007