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Community Children's Project

This historically disadvantaged but none-the-less vibrant, multi-cultural rural township community in the greater Plettenberg Bay region, has been supported by this project since the early-2000's. The community has been particularly hard hit by the impact of Covid as local business operations cut back on their activity levels and general unemployment soared to worrying new heights. From necessity, much needed feeding schemes were set up to help sustain the hard-pressed community through the very uncertain times. And although the worst of times appear to have passed, the community remains in need of valued support on a variety of fronts while it slowly rebuilds.
Flexibility as to the communities needs and the ambition to really make this world a better place, is the duty we look in our volunteers during times like this.

Community Childrens Project

Overview:

Location Kurland Village, Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
Duration From 2 - 12 weeks
Dates from late-January to end-November
Requirements
  • You must have an upper intermediate level of English
  • Special skills: You need an evident affinity for youth where a smile and patient understanding helps bridge gaps
Minimum Age: 18
Your impact
Documents required Enrolment form, curriculum vitae, letter of motivation, passport copy, proof of medical insurance, police clearance certificate
Day of arrival Sunday
Day of departure Sunday

Highlights

  • Make a meaningful difference by bringing joy to the lives of adults and young children alike while working with inspirational people from the general community. 
  • Get acquainted with the local cultures of rurally based Afrikaans and Xhosa speaking people who share English as a common second language.
  • Experience the many areas of natural beauty in the immediate Plettenberg Bay region and broader Garden Route district.
  • Choose from a long list of outdoor and adventure activities to add to your experience – including the world’s highest bridge bungy, swimming with seals, marine safari’s, river-rafting, sky-diving and many more.
  • Enjoy a comfortable, busy yet supportive home-stay environment (with all needed mod-con’s), surrounded by open agricultural pastures and indigenous forests away from the usual routine of urban living.
  • Make new friends from all over the world.

Project information

The community also has two long-established non-governmental youth-care facilities, one registered for 100 and the other for 60 pre-school children. Both facilities, driven by concerned, passionate individuals who provide basic day care and formative developmental programmes for children aged between 2 and 6 years old, have, as a direct result of Covid and related lockdown level conditions, also experienced phases of closure and restricted access. Consequently, both facilities are operating at a vastly reduced capacity level but are hopeful of returning to former numbers as the pandemic eases.
Participation in their routines of youth development and care activities cannot be taken for granted but will be subject to the applicable access rulings in place at the time.

Under 'normal non-Covid' conditions, the volunteer will have an immediate, hands-on involvement lending support to routine daily activities in the classroom and outdoors, as well as with the daily feeding programme, plus outdoor play and rest periods. You will be encouraged to participate in the activity planning process, making use of available resources and/or those newly acquired. While your volunteer experience could include rotation through two vastly different child development centres, your involvement will make a real and meaningful difference where it is most evident and required – helping prepare the foundation needed by village children for their eventual transition to the more formal public sector education facilities.

The children’s home language is mainly either Afrikaans or Xhosa (although there are some other minority languages) but English, as a common second language, is increasingly understood from age 5 years upwards.

Your role

Covid has substantially disrupted what was once taken as 'routine' but also introduced new needs and opportunity to the community. Under existing circumstances the volunteer routine is widely varied around the feeding, vegetable growing, facilities upgrades and commissioning plus the mentor-centre activities, so a great degree of flexibility is required.

As the pre-school centres return to 'normality' volunteers will again be participating in processes so will be expected to assist with and supervise the children engaged in developmental activities such as joining dots, colouring in, improving manual dexterity by using scissors to cut and paste, building models, learning the alphabet and to count, recognising script, singing, dancing, group activities and outings to the play-park. They will also assist in meal preparation, meal dispensing and tidying up thereafter, and also maintaining discipline when it’s group activities or quiet-time.

A routine programme from Monday to Friday could be as follows:

  • 07:00: Breakfast.
  • 07:45 – 07:50: Transfer from your accommodation to the project.
  • 08:00 – 12:30/13:00: Participation in morning routine activities of the currently operational feeding scheme and mentor-centre, and when Covid regulations permit, the pre-schools according to their programme.
  • 12:30 – 14:00: Finalisation and distribution of meals, tidying up and lunch-time break.
  • 14:00 – 16:00: Afternoon programme activities (mentor-centre, sport or any other hands-on activities) and then transfer from the project to your accommodation
  • 16:00/16:30 onwards: Leisure time.
  • 19:00 – 19:30: Dinner with the team and leisure time.

Weekends:

  • Friday evenings: Traditionally, a braai (BBQ) takes place on Fridays with the meal served around 20.00.
  • Saturdays & Sundays: Enjoy some time off (note that shops, but not supermarkets, close at 13.00 on Saturday and Sunday)

Any public holidays, whether falling on weekdays or weekends, will follow the Saturday/Sunday routine.

It is important to note that this description serves as an example only. The daily tasks and challenges depend on the volunteer, the time of year and the work that needs to be done. The final job description can therefore vary substantially from the above.

Accommodation

The accommodation is set in a 5-hectare small-holding amidst indigenous forest and open grazing pastures in The Crags and about 25 minutes from the main town of Plettenberg Bay.

You are accommodated in fully equipped, shared two-bed rooms, with bedding & towel provided, so might be sharing with another volunteer of the same gender. There are numerous bathrooms for communal access and use. Volunteers have full use of the well-equipped kitchen plus the two verandah areas - with large fire-places. It is here that guests and hosts gather for social interaction and where evening meals are served for all to enjoy.

A large group entertainment area complete with an under-cover combination plunge-pool/hot tub, a bar facility plus an outdoor braai (BBQ) area are provided. Friday is officially declared as “Braai day” with local residents visiting for sundowners and a braai to mark the end of the week with the team and guests. The property also provides a golf practice putting green and a proper boule/petanque track.
Free WiFi is available at the main homestead and entertainment areas only.

Three daily meals are provided. You will make your own breakfast and lunch. Both vegetarian & vegan options, as well as any special dietary requirements, are available.

Testimonials

Good Hope Volunteers Amani Martins

"I chose South Africa because I've never been here, so it was a great opportunity to meet this amazing country. I loved the most being with the kids, receiving their love and playing with them. I'll never forget the hugs of the children. I would recommend GHV for anyone because they care about your well being and for me it was a great experience”

Good Hope Volunteers Tim Strenger

"I just had a great 3 months here. The project was cool, I enjoyed helping the children and the school on a daily basis. I think I made a change and left a good spirit there. I also made friends for a life time, and I sure enjoyed it!”

Good Hope Volunteers Stephanie from Belgium

"I came to the Community Children's Project to soak up the South African optimism and energy. I'll be leaving behind a new family at the accommodation, a beautiful area filled with amazing hikes, views and sights and of course a school of children with ear to ear smiles. I've been filled with energy and the simplicity of life and nature has pulled me back to reality. Coming here was certainly a highlight of my life story. Thanks to all!"

Good Hope Volunteers Santiago from Colombia

"My experience was better, because in my first couple of weeks I went to different places within the project. I was introduced to the children, the elderly and many of the different projects within the community. I have more opportunities to create some projects in different contexts. Mac also helped me to visit the kindergartens in the area and the library. It’s good to know you can stop when you need a break at the Pepper Mill Cafe. I had the most wonderful experience and I am so glad I did this."

Good Hope Volunteers Rikke from Australia

"This was the most amazing, challenging and fulfilling experience. I have learnt a lot about myself especially when having to initiative in situations that I would never have even considered. I came here wanting to experience the real South Africa and I’m definitely feeling as though I have."

Good Hope Volunteers Laura from Brazil

"Working here in South Africa and the kids for five weeks was the best experience I have ever had. It was all about coming here with a wide open heart and bringing live and happiness to the children. I hope that I made a difference in their lives as much as they did in mine. They are so lovely."