Friday, 20 September 2013

Volunteering at the Orphanage: Greensleeves Home of Safety

Volunteers running outdoor activities with the kids at Greensleeves and the colourful parachute
Wednesday afternoons can only mean one thing - an afternoon at the orphanage "Greensleeves Home of Safety". With children coming from difficult backgrounds, Greensleeves is a loving place of safety for 26 orphaned children. Every week we head on down there with the volunteers and some fun activities "up our sleeves"!

As soon as the Volunteer Africa bus enters its gates, we see beaming faces and little legs running as fast as they can towards us! Just giving our time and attention, means a lot.

Combining computer literacy, with fun activities and homework help, there is never a dull moment. Adding in the countless cuddles and laughs... it ends up being the volunteer’s favourite day of the week.

Riley working at Greensleeves
“At Greensleeves, the time went so quickly. When we were all outside, reading, jumping and interacting.... I was really happy that we did that.”
Riley, Texas State University volunteer

Since gaining some valuable feedback from Texas State University assistant professor Rachel, we have begun creating a series of creative activities to use with the children; tickling their taste buds and engaging with our little ones. Centering our activities around books has been a great starting point, as the children love being read too! It's great to see their concentration, and patience when they are baking, making and playing in each weeks theme. And their hard work is rewarded, when they get to finally eat their creations (usually biscuits!) with gleeful smiles and messy faces. Here are just a few of the cracking things we have been up to over this school term:

Three blind mice, three blind mice, see how they run, see how they run... After reading this book, we made our very own mouse biscuits! With Smarties for eyes and pasta for a tail, the children were “quiet as mice” washing their hands and waiting to have their turn at icing their biscuits.
Queuing to ice our biscuits!


Delicious "mice" biscuits :)
Viva Italia! Armed with our VA32 guitar, volunteer Paolo descended into Greensleeves for our Italian themed afternoon. We were serenaded and taught some Italian songs (including the Brazilian song Macareennaa!). After singing out hearts out we baked our own mini pizzas with cheese and tomato.
Paolo plays Italian songs

It's time to create some pizza! Yum!
Once upon a time there was a boy called Jack who had some magic beans. The kids listened with excitement as they found out what Jack’s magic beans had turned into. Each child was given their own magic beans to plant, thanks to our kind Community Preschool volunteer Amanda! The plants had their own cups and cotton wool to start growing in. Some beans were given a generous helping of water! Watch this space to see how much they grow.
Volunteer Steffi giving out
magic beans
The poor hermit crab started life without a house over his head. In this story he goes on an adventure with his new shell, discovering many new friends along the away. We made our own hermit crabs using strawberries, butter and biscuits! We had a lot of fun making them and the children couldn’t wait to eat the strawberries at the end of the day.
The Hermit Crab story

Making hermit crabs with strawberries!

The finished article! :)
Who knows what is in store next week? We are always open to new ideas. If you have any ideas or book recommendations please post them in the comments box below.

It's half term next week, needless to say we are very excited for our day at Greensleeves during the planned our half term fun week!

Charlotte, VA32 Volunteer Co-ordinator


  1. Loving these beautiful pics of the orphanage projects which were kindly shared by Charlotte & Laura :) Thanks ladies! xx

  2. "Excellent. These children need all the help they can get, for a decent start in life; it's good to see they are getting a good dose of it." by Paul Whitehead

    1. Thanks for reading the vlog and taking the time to write us a comment Paul! :)

  3. It's great to see such helpful people out there! Have you ever come across African Nest Safaris on your endeavors? They have a great volunteer program. Check it out!