Thursday, 28 February 2013

What it is to Volunteer in South Africa

by Paula, Brazil

Me and my fellow volunteers by the VA32 office in Chintsa
 As I stand here on my last day of this amazing experience I try to get it to sink in, what all this means and why it matters so much. My experience in South Africa has really touched me in a lot of ways.

For you to have the confidence to decide to invest your money, time and love to come all the way to this amazing country, Africa, is very special. For me, Africa has always amazed me and travelling is my big passion so coming to volunteer in Chintsa was a dream come true in many ways. How can you not be touched by the unfairness faced by people here everyday, by the misery that touches so many lives and by seeing the consequences of actions made in the past, that still affect the people here's all there, you just have to open your eyes to see it.

As I arrived here in South Africa, like anyone new to the country, I didn't know what to expect, but then I started getting to know my fellow volunteers, people from the community and from VA32, and I started to understand the meaning of the projects here in Chintsa.

I volunteered on the Community Preschool Project and was lucky enough to have the opportunity to work with the most amazing woman called Phumla. Phumla teaches in the Chintsa East School creche where I helped her every day. She has inspired me with all her strength, kindness and devotion to help to turn this township into a better place, especially for the children who live here. With her work and with the work of projects run by VA32 and the Friends of Chintsa, a lot has been achieved.

I helped to teach volleyball and other sports to the younger kids at a
Sports Initiative which we ran twice a week
It's not all hard work - we had a free activity
one afternoon every week and
Mike and Tobz took us out on the boat one week!
In the preschool I worked with 44 children between the ages of 3 and 6 years old. I was totally surrounded by the kids and, of course, fell in love with all of these special children. As the days on project passed I started to see the children learning and evolving - it's such an amazing feeling to be involved in that development and it makes everyday on project special. I found happiness in every day at school when a kid smiled, laughed, hugged or kissed me...and every time I arrived or left the preschool and heard "Molo Paula" or "Paula, bye-bye!"...I found happiness right there.

I found the Community Preschool Project amazing because I think that education is the most important thing, it gives the possibility for these kids to have better opportunities and achieve their goals as they grow.

Finally for me, the most important lesson was love; to have love for your family, neighbors, friends, the environment around you, yourself and others...The love that I gave and received on this project has touched me, inspired me, changed me...


To find out more about the Volunteer Africa Community Preschool Project which Paula was a part of visit our website. 

1 comment:

  1. I lived, for 3 weeks with this special girl!!!!
    The children of the school also had the luck to spend their mornigns with her.
    I'm sure all the love you carry in your heart, my dear Paula, you also has left with those beautiful kids and with our lovely Phumla!!
    I miss our life in community! Love you!