Monday, 5 October 2015

Top 3 Outstanding Volunteer Program - Global Youth Travel Awards 2015

Volunteer Africa 32 degrees South (VA32) are proud to announce being awarded third place in the Outstanding Volunteer Program category at the 2015 Global Youth Travel Awards, announced in Cape Town last week. We entered the category in collaboration with project partner International Student Volunteers (ISV) whom we have built a solid working relationship with since 2009, when their volunteer groups were first hosted in Chintsa.

“The past two weeks have opened up my eyes to new people and new cultures. I gained friends and knowledge about South Africa and the beautiful communities. This experience with ISV and VA32 is on that cannot be topped” – Emily Carmack

The Ubuntu Building Project - Outstanding Volunteer Project 2015

The Ubuntu Building Project which, since 2005, has seen volunteer groups taking part in high impact two week building projects, has made a real difference in Chintsa and surrounding communities, fulfilling larger-scale building and infrastructure requirements at rural South African schools and community centres, which have been identified by local stake holders and VA32. Often these projects arise from a lack of funding to provide essential facilities.

“Another life changing experience for me. ISV is an amazing organization. I was engrossed in the culture and the community. Will miss so many great people and kids. The leaders at VA32 are all amazing people to work with. Wish it was longer than 2 weeks.” – Lauren Engibous

Volunteering on the Ubuntu Building Project

VA32 run the volunteer project from arrival at East London airport where each group is met by their local project leader and transferred to Chintsa and the volunteer house. Our "vollie house" is just minutes from the beach and is managed by local mother Nomakwezi who, as well as keeping hungry volunteer bellies full, keeps an eye on the general running of the household.

The view form the "vollie" house

Beach games and a bit of down time on local Chintsa beach

Once settled in Chintsa volunteers are taken through a comprehensive orientation - designed to make the transition into SA life as smooth and quick as possible. This includes team building through beach games - both volunteers and staff getting to know each other and the area. VA32 staff run volunteers through the routine of the house and day, language and cultural guidelines, general health and safety as well as a walk through the Chintsa village to see past projects completed, get a feel for the area and begin to meet the community. The first evening over dinner, ISV and VA32 leaders work together to begin going into detail about the groups current project in more depth.

After in-depth health and safety talks and demonstrations on site, it's time to get stuck in! Past projects completed by volunteer groups include:

- Building and maintenance of jungle gyms and safe children's play areas at nine local schools, preschools and communities
- Building of two crèches
- Conversion of three shipping containers into a classroom, medical centre and soup kitchen
- Building, renovation and upliftment of around fourteen classrooms
- Upliftment of kitchen and lunch area to support Friends of Chintsa school feeding scheme
- Building of community sports ground including soccer field, volleyball and netball courts and a club house
- Creation of three community and school gardens designed around food security
- Building of ablution blocks in two schools

Community Sports Centre built over two seasons
on the Ubuntu Building project

The beginnings of a third new classroom at
Wild Coast School Silatsha
The development and upliftment of school
kitchen and eating area at Chintsa East school

Fencing of a Wild Coast School play area
Building and maintenance of a jungle gym at Somila
Daycare Centre

Volunteers are expected to work hard physically - tasks can include digging, mixing cement, moving materials such as cement, sand, stone, water, bricks and wood, laying bricks, planting poles, plastering, painting, drilling, hammering, sanding and much much more!

Nthuthukweni Pre-school
completed by volunteers
Chintsa East Pre-school maintained
by volunteers
African Angels children playing
on the jungle gym built by

Other Highlights of the Project

Due to the physical nature of the work volunteers are doing, we allow for two afternoons off. During this time volunteers see some of the highlights of our area including the Morgan's Bay cliffs, a visit to Mama Tofu (South Africa's oldest registered tour guide) and a beach hike. Volunteers are also encouraged when time allows to take part in some of VA32's other initiatives which run alongside the Ubuntu Building Project - for example the Community Kids Sports Initiative which volunteers facilitate two afternoons a week in Chintsa village. This opportunity allows extra time to spend with local children in the community and is often a great highlight for our participants.

Chintsa East community soup kitchen completed in
2015 by several groups of volunteers
“It immersed me in a culture so different from mine, and opened my eyes to the ample opportunities I have to make a difference. My time here in South Africa has been an amazing journey – one that ill be telling to my children and their children. VA32 welcomed me as their own and ignited my passion for travelling and service to a world that has given me so much.” – Thu Anh Nguyen (Cathy)

Project Expectations

Ubuntu Building Projects are designed around a two week duration. Volunteer groups need to understand that they may not see the start or end of the project in person, but every single task completed is vital to the entirety of the project.

At VA32 we understand the importance of communicating the context, history, current state and future aims of each particular building project. Our group leaders are experienced and knowledgeable and volunteers will be added to a mailing list post-project to keep up to date with project development and progress. In recent feedback from ISV volunteers the VA32 leaders were rated 4.7 out of 5 for explanation of project goals and 4.9 for professionalism.

2015 Global Youth Travel Awards

To be considered the third top outstanding volunteer program in the Global Youth Travel Awards 2015 is an honour. VA32 is proud to work in partnership with ISV in providing outstanding volunteer experiences which are authentic, community driven and develop rural communities as well as enriching the lives of volunteers and community alike.

Volunteering is a two way teaching and learning exchange – the more you put in, the more you get in return. Africa is not a charity, you cannot change the world in a few weeks, but a few weeks will change your world

To find out more about the Ubuntu Building Project or inquire about bookings, please email or visit our website

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