Tacoma Sister City visit to George

SOUTH AFRICA (June 2016) – Twin towns or sister cities are a form of legal or social agreement between towns and even countries in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.

Dr Willie Cilliers(George Business Chamber Chairperson) Mr Elrico van Rooyen(Youth Café leader-George) Ms Lois Bernstein(Tacoma Delegation Health/Hospital Rep) Ms Melannie Cunningham (Chairperson of Tacoma Twin Sister city Committee) Jalean Peek, Paul Mc Grath (Tacoma High Schools Rep) Ms Brenda Vorster (George Business Chamber Vice-Chairperson) Ms Carla Santorno (School District Superintendent) Ms Rosalind Medina (Financial Officer-Tacoma Twin sister City.)
Dr Willie Cilliers(George Business Chamber Chairperson) Mr Elrico van Rooyen(Youth Café leader-George) Ms Lois Bernstein(Tacoma Delegation Health/Hospital Rep) Ms Melannie Cunningham (Chairperson of Tacoma Twin Sister city Committee) Jalean Peek, Paul Mc Grath (Tacoma High Schools Rep) Ms Brenda Vorster (George Business Chamber Vice-Chairperson) Ms Carla Santorno (School District Superintendent) Ms Rosalind Medina (Financial Officer-Tacoma Twin sister City.)

In recent times, town twinning has increasingly been used to form strategic international business links between member cities.  George is the twin sister city of the City of Tacoma, Washington.  The relationship between these two cities began in 1997, and recently George again welcomed a delegation from Tacoma.

In 1997, one of the strategies that Tacoma City had adopted was to form a relationship with a city that has similar characteristics to their city. When identifying their sister city population numbers, business activities, infrastructures and organisations (public and government) etc. were taken into account. It also included similar challenges that both cities encountered such as cultural diversity, education challenges, health systems and relationships with Government Organisations. The City of Tacoma then invited George to be its “Twin sister city”.

The Phambili Battered Women’s Refuge Centre is only one of the success stories to emerge from this relationship. Since its establishment this organisation has saved many a life and relationship.  The focal point of the most recent visit of the Tacoma delegation was to engage with Education and Health organisations and businesses in George with a view to revive the mutually beneficial relationship of almost 20 years. The delegates from Tacoma were: Melannie Cunningham (Chairperson); Carla Santorno (School district Superintendent); Rosalind Medina (Financial Officer); Lois Bernstein (Health & Hospital Manger); Paul Mc Grath (High Scholl Youth Councillor); Debbie Bruce (George based Twin Sister City Liaison).  During the course of the visit a number of meetings were held, various towns in the region were visited including Uniondale and a few potential projects were identified.

For more information about the Tacoma/George relationship contact Debbie Bruce, one of the original committee members, on 083 280 0547.

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