Volunteer with a Rural Community in South Africa

Company : Hamba Africa
Location : Hoedspruit
Duration: 2 weeks to 6 months
Approx Costs: 250 to 1000 £ Pound (UK)

Live and work as part of an NGO and the Shangaan community it partners with.

You'll be playing an important role in various projects each encouraging a more sustainable livelihood and economy for permanent, long term improvement focussed primarily on community uplift and conservation.

Five pillars of development: education, conservation, tourism, economic development and sustainable farming. Each area has its own projects and goals.

You can get involved in all of them or just the area your particularly interested in, let the charity know; together with the charity and the community, you will be able to put your passion and skills to effective and welcome use.

Become a part of the community: The Shangaan people are warm and welcoming, living and working alongside the community you’ll quickly become one of them. Taking part in fun and rewarding activities both relating to the projects themselves such as working with the children at the creche school or helping with the arts and craft movements as well as other activities the charity and community organise, such as tours of the area or even near by safari activities.

You won’t just be helping the community but experiencing an extraordinary travel experience, getting to know new cultures and incredible environments.

 

Charity & Mission

The goal of the charity is to invest in and develop the community, giving them the tools, education and resources to have greater financial opportunity, not only increases their happiness, health and livelihoods but helps to prevent otherwise potentially unsustainable and negative practices such as poaching or mis-managed agriculture.

 

What Will You Be Doing?

There are various different projects that the community and charity actively develop; from creche schools and educational programmes, sustainable agriculture, arts and crafts and much more. You will have the opportunity to get involved with those you find most important, rewarding or that your talents and skills best complement.

 

Why Volunteer?

Volunteering isn't just a great way for you to travel, providing an unbeatable, authentic African experience, it is so much more... you will live with and get to know new people and cultures whilst enjoying the rewarding work that you will be a part of; you will feel a special sense of achievement knowing you are helping to break the poverty cycle, uplift and improve these communities.

 

Duration

You can volunteer with the community for any length from 2 weeks up to several months at a time.

 

What is Included

The cost of your placment as well as supporting the community includes:

  • Accommodation during your stay
  • Airport transfer to and from the community
  • Meals when on site (excludes personal extras)
  • Programme and activity participation
  • 24-hour emergency onsite support
  • Meet and greet events in the UK
  • List of fellow volunteer contact list prior to departure
  • 100% financial security with your booking

 

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa and Immigration requirements
  • Vaccinations and health screening/checks
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Optional activities (these booked during your stay)

These are your personal responsibility and proof that all requirements are met must be sent ahead of your arrival to take part.

 

Requirements

  • To be above 18
  • Have valid travel insurance
  • Booked return flights
  • Any relevant travel and Immigration documents
  • Any relevant medical checks and vaccinations

 

Optional Activities

During your time with the community take part in various activities in the area. Talk to the community staff or discuss your choice directly with a member of the Hamba Africa team to arrange any activity.

 

The Five Pillars & How You'll Be Working​

Education

Education is vital for anyone to have the ability to better themselves and is a crucial part of the charity’s mission. There are many different ways to get involved.

The charity operates its own independent creche  for young children unable to attend government run schools, usually due to the family’s limited financial situation. Children are able to come to the creche both to learn and to play in a safe and supportive environment.

For older primary school children, the after school program offers pupils the space for homework help or to learn about anything from environmental issues to arts and craft skills.

The charity also provides meals for the schoolchildren, and for many young people, this is often the only meal they will have each day.

 

Conservation

Living in an area that is surrounded by stunning natural beauty and wildlife, helping the community to love and safeguard its heritage and resources has multiple benefits: it both improves the community’s long term livelihood prospects and helps protect the environment itself;  the community becomes its guardian rather than its poacher or abuser.

Working with and educating the community, especially the children who are its future caretakers, is crucial to promote sustainability and to mitigate human wildlife conflict. The charity has many projects and encourages children to become wildlife ambassadors in an atmosphere of fun and experiential learning about nature.

Hamba Africa guides routinely visit the community to give talks or conduct surveys engaging both children and adults whilst helping locals learn about wildlife and teaching them new skills. We sponsor wildlife centers encouraging animal ambassadors to the community, raising awareness, promoting interaction and understanding and developing respect for wildlife.

Volunteers are welcome and encouraged to take part in these activities!

 

Tourism

The magnificent natural beauty of the surrounding area attracts tourists from all over the world. The charity and community are developing new ways to showcase this vibrant community to travellers passing through.

Visitor tours operate throughout the community and surrounding area and there are plans to launch a local restaurant and food store for tourists and visitors to experience local culinary delights.

 

Economic Development

As is often the way, the economy generated by tourists and conservation enthusiasts passing through the area, is not evenly distributed. There are high levels of unemployment and poverty as a result. Working together through cohesive initiatives, the community, entrepreneurs, volunteers and Hamba Africa, can effect change and improve the local economy and lifestyle for its population.

Developing arts and crafts projects such as recycling waste and plastics into functional, practical objects, or crafting original art and sculptures for sale, offers the potential for new skills to be taught, utilising local resources and generating new income streams for the local community through artisan and cottage industry growth and development.

 

Sustainable Agriculture

The charity and community invest in various agricultural projects offering fantastic benefits; some enable locals to upskill, others help produce greater supplies of foodstuffs for children at the community school.

The charity cultivates its own Moringa Tree orchard, which produces leaves that are considered a super food. Native to Africa and Asia the highly nutritional leaves are 25% protein and contain additional minerals and vitamins, often eaten by the local children and volunteers. In addition to their nutritional value they also boost the immune system, help bone growth and have various other pharmacological properties that medical groups are currently researching.

The charity teaches the community to produce lip balms and face scrub products from the tree to generate local industry and sell these unique products to lodges, tourists and other groups.

A newly developed aquaponics system is being introduced, helping to recycle organic waste into food. The charity also runs and operates a vegetable garden and even rears chickens teaching the children and community useful cultivating skills, not to mention providing healthy nutritious food for and a possible extra source of income selling the extra eggs and vegetables.

 

Itinerary

Typically you'll spend between 30-40 hours a week working on the projects at the community, with the average work day lasting from 8am to 5pm in evening.

Evenings will be spent socializing with the other volunteers and members of the community as well as planning the next activities to get involved with

Weekends you'll have free and you'll get a chance to go into town to visit supermarkets to stock up on snacks or other necessities like toiletries and other items.

You'll also be able to take part in optional activities throughout the area, like safari drives into near by nature reserves, panorama tours, visiting local wildlife centres and a lot more thats on offer in the area.

 

Accommodation

You'll be staying at the charities Eco-Village and Libary along with other volunteers, members of staff working for the charity and as various members of the local community.

 

Where

The community can be found in the rural regions of Mpumalanga, North East South Africa. This stunning part of the country includes mountain escarpments open savanhas and bushveld. The community itself is bordered by agricultural land and game reserves meaning an abundance of wildlife.

 

The Rooms

During your time volunteering you'll be staying in 2 person shared rooms, although you'll be living in the rurals of Africa each room has a fan which is vital in the summer, mains electrics and power to charge any electronics such as phones or cameras, single bed and storage space for your belongings such as cloths so you will have all the necessities for a comfortable happy time. 

Although the rooms themselves do not have bathrooms there are communal bathrooms and out houses that you, the other volunteers and charity staff members will share

 

Kitchen

The eco-village has a fully equipped kitchen and various communial dinning areas you and the other volunteers and staff members can make use of.

During your stay you'll leaise with the resident cooks and other volunteers to decide what kind of breakfast, lunches and dinners you would prefer as well as if you want to cook for yourself, as a group or let the cooks do what they do best. In addition to the indoor cooking area theirs also outside fire pits for you to experience the favorite meal of rural South Africa, The "Braai" or BBQ as we know it and dine by the fire under the stars.

 

Communal

Theres various communal areas with sofas, seats, books, art (some made by the local artists) maps and information about the local area. Perfect places for you to relax and spend your down time be it reading a book or getting to know the awesome people you'll be living with.

During your freetime after a hard days work or over weekends you'll usually spend your time socialising and relaxing with other volunteers, staff members and community memebers you've been living and working along side.

Theres little in the way of TV or Internet at the community but board games and cards are all great ways to have a bit of fun and pass time. Feel free to bring your own board or card games that you find most entertaining!

Sports and ball games are hugely popular locally with children and adults alike. Theres a football pitch as well as plenty of space to play any sport you wish, football is one of the nations favorites but anything from cricket to frisbee is always enjoyed. Again your more than welcome to bring and share your own favorite ball, racket or equipment.

The charity has just finished constucting its own pool on site which for anyone volunteering during the African summer will be a prime spot to enjoy a hot summers days with new friends.

In addition to the various communal areas theres also a communal bar which you and the other volunteers and charity staff members can make use off. A great place to socialize and swap stories. Town trips will give you the chance to pick up a few drinks of your choosing and stock the bar with.

Please remember although it is common in South African to enjoy a beers or two on the weekend after a weeks work to do so safely.

 

Wi-Fi and Phones

Due to the remote location of the community there is no regularly avalible wifi or internet.

During weekends or any trips into the town of Hoedspruit there is internet avalible at most cafes or resturants for you to make use of and help upload photos, videos, catch up with friends and family and tell them of your exploits.

Signal around the community and eco-village is relatively good so for those wishing to purchase a pay as you go South African sim you will be able to create and connect to your own mobile network. Pay as you go sims will be avalible both at the airport when you arive as well as from the local town of Hoedspruit.


Laundry

Their are onsite laundry facilities where you will be able keep your cloths fresh and clean, ready to get dirty again during any projects or activities


Rules and respect

You will be working with and staying around children. Please be aware of that and your behaviour accordingly.

During your time with the community it wont just be the home of the people your living with but also temporarily yours! Please feel relaxed and comfortable while staying there but make sure to treat the place and any other volunteers, staff or the people who live there with respect.

 

Cost 

The volunteer placement costs around £300 per week or £1010 per month, all inclusive. 

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