Volunteering Solutions provides affordable and meaningful opportunities for those who are keen on volunteering with children in the Port Elizabeth region of South Africa. The program is located at the Walmer Township, a relatively calm and easily accessible area. Poverty, child neglect, alcohol abuse and a high unemployment rate are some of the many challenges this community faces on a day-to-day basis. The diversity of needs and great lack of services for this community shows in terms of a shortage of educational institutes. There are only 2 primary schools and 1 high school available to the children of Walmer.
Being a volunteer for the childcare project, you'll be playing a crucial role in the lives of the little ones who have to deal directly or indirectly with HIV/AIDS. They are for example orphaned and are living with family members (e.g. grandparents) because their parents died of AIDS-related diseases. The number of absentees at school is high due to a lack of guidance, family support, and financial means. Volunteers are expected to guide and support these children through mentorship and social support.
While this would be a challenging task, it'll be equally satisfying as well. Shower the children with utmost love and care, teach them basic lessons, help them dream and also guide them to live a happy & healthy life.
This volunteering program would be perfect for high school and college students as well as gap year travelers and backpackers who are eager to be a part of social change through some active contribution.
Your role will vary depending on the kind of work you choose. Volunteers joining this program can opt for any of the following, according to their interests and preferences:
Dancing Program: Assist Florence Mtengwana, a local traditional dancer who's working with children of the township and offering them a positive way of learning about their own Xhosa culture. There will be about 30 - 35 children who attend Florence's classes every day, and she aims at offering the children a fun way of dancing, learning about their culture and to stimulate their creativity. Florence also hosts workshops at day care centers and several crèches. Being a part of the Dancing Project will enable you to understand the culture more deeply while handling these little ones, and of course, you can also pick up some dancing skills!
Preschool Program: Volunteers can help at different preschools or crèches caring for 20-30 children between the ages of 3-6 years, by giving individual care and assistance to the children. It sounds so simple but with the daily individual attention, you can really help these children. You can for example; teach them the English alphabet, how to count or to learn about animals. Organizing and playing games can also be a part of your tasks. As a volunteer, you play a big part in the individual development of the children.
Primary School & Sports Program: There are 2 primary schools in the township where volunteers can work with children between the ages of 6-12 years. Due to inadequate teaching staff, these kids don't get enough attention. Hence, your major role as a volunteer would be to guide these children and help them learn basic English & Maths. There will also be sports classes from Monday to Thursday for about one and a half hours, where you can coach the children. On Friday we offer a swimming program for children between 6-9 years old and we provide transport to a heated indoor swimming pool in winter or an outdoor swimming pool in summer where we give basic swimming lessons.
This depends on which project you will be working at. Normally we work weekdays from 8:30 am until 3.30pm, Friday until 12 noon and weekends are off. Some projects, however, might start earlier and in the summertime, due to the heat, hours can change. You'll be notified for the same once you join the program.
The program starts on Monday and the volunteers will have to arrive that day. You will be picked up at either the airport or any accommodation in Port Elizabeth on Monday morning, after which you will have time to settle in and explore the area. Tuesday will be your introduction day at the project. If you arrive before Monday we can assist with accommodation at a backpackers or guesthouse for you.
Note: Participation is per full weeks only and the project will be closed for about 3 weeks over Christmas and New Year’s every year.
Volunteers are picked up from the Port Elizabeth Airport on the program start date i.e Monday and dropped off back to the airport after their project stay is over. Daily transportation to and from project placement to the accommodation is also included in your program fee.
Upon arrival all volunteers are given a detailed welcome pack with information guide, free sim card, maps etc. Volunteers are also given an introduction to the program as well as a tour of the area around before starting their program.
The volunteer house lies in the popular beachfront area of Humewood and is only a five-minute walk away from the beach. Shops, beachfront cafés, restaurants, and access to other facilities are all within easy reach. It’s the perfect location to enjoy the beach after work or during weekends.The volunteer house offers spacious living conditions and is shared with other volunteers who work on the other projects making it the perfect place to enjoy your stay with other volunteers from all over the world.
It is fully furnished and has all the facilities needed and more; two kitchens, two washing machines, a dining room and TV lounge with satellite TV, a garden with a swimming pool to cool off, great views of the ocean and 9 bedrooms offering a variety of sleeping options. Wireless internet is free; just bring your own laptop or any other device to access the Wi-Fi network.
Note: If you would like to have a private room, we will gladly see if we can arrange that for the small surcharge per week. Couples and older volunteers will have a preference for private rooms if available, but if you want to be guaranteed a private room we will have to charge this extra fee. Let us know if you want more information.
Our full time cook will provide all meals at the volunteer house on a daily basis. This means you will be able to enjoy great South African home cooked meals, learn how to cook some of these specialties and have a House Mother to comfort you when needed. Our cook is a lady with a warm heart and even bigger embrace for those that need it and she will look after the house and the meals to provide the best possible.
We believe in participation, so volunteers will not be sitting back and get served, they still need to help her cook at times, chop vegetables, clean dishes and warm up the food for dinner themselves.
Our cook will create weekly menus offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as alternate meals like stews, curries, stir-fry, soups, pastas and other wholesome options. Meals will be prepared and cooked from Monday to Friday, where on weekends volunteers will only have to heat up a meal or make their own similar meals.
There will be free coffee, tea and cordial juice available at any time. For breakfast, you will have toast, fruit, yogurt, cereal and/or eggs. For lunch, you can have sandwiches with cheese, marmalade, cold meats or other spreads. Please tell our coordinators about any wishes, vegetarian wishes, and allergies concerning food.
During your Free Time
You will have the weekend free wherein you will have time to explore other locations in South Africa as well.You can choose to fly into Cape Town for the weekend and explore the city or just spend the weekend chilling at the volunteer house with other likeminded volunteers from around the world.Other activities that you can get involved in include sandboarding down the giant dunes, having close encounters with peaceful pachyderms at Addo Elephant Park, hiking in the lush coastal countryside around Port Elizabeth…and much more
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