Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Travel Tips - How to Get to Chintsa, South Africa

It's always super exciting to have made the decision to volunteer and journey to an unknown country to find your next adventure. If you're thinking of booking and you need to know the price of flights and what flights to book or you have confirmed your volunteer placement and are now looking into booking your travel - this blog is for you!

Here are our top travel tips to help you book your travel to South Africa (and Chintsa) and make the journey here as easy as possible:

Booking International Flights

Chintsa is in the Eastern Cape, the nearest city is East London (approximately 40km away). If you're coming from outside of South Africa you need to fly into either Cape Town or Johannesburg international airports and then book a domestic flight from there to East London.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Community Preschool Volunteer Project

VA32's Community Preschool Project has been partnering with local preschools for over 5 years. The schools that we work with change from time to time depending on where the biggest need is currently identified.

In 2016 we will be partnering with two local schools - the African Angels School foundation phase and Acacia Tree Nursery School.

About the Schools

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Sponsor A Lifeguard: Friends of Chintsa Project

Just over four years ago, the UNSTRESSED Surf School was established by a team of local surfers and with the support of key international donors. Inspired by the want to engage young people in Chintsa in a healthy love for the Ocean, in an amazing sport and in learning the skills and experiences surrounding being a part of something so pro-active.

Four years down the line UNSTRESSED is mentoring both junior and senior surfers - a hand selected team of individuals who show commitment to being a part of the initiative as well as enthusiasm for surfing.

Most recently four of the senior surfers - Lulama (19), Sandile (19), Gana (18) and Anele (18) have begun the journey into becoming qualified as life guards - a qualification which can not only lead to them being employable as lifeguards can also lead to further qualifications such a Surf Instructors and more. In line with their passion for the sea the qualification is quite a challenge with the guys having the swim strongly in the sea, communicate in hand signals and understand weather and wave patterns both theoretically and practically.

Friends of Chintsa is calling for assistance in getting these four young students through their training. It costs £895 per student to cover the cost of their training, transport to and from East London to swim, equipment and (lots and lots) of food to keep their bodies and minds nourished.

Read more about the campaign on the crowdfunding page. And remember, every little helps. If you can't afford to give a donation please share the cause and encourage others to assist.

Friends of Chintsa

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Computer Geek Club 2015: Texas State University Volunteers

17 participants. 13 Texas Student University (TSU) teaching volunteers. Five days. A whole host of multi-media technology to get to grips with.

Now, five days may not seem a lot, but do not underestimate the powers of  TSU volunteers and their professor Lori Assaf. Following the success of Geek Club 2014 and prior to the arrival of the group, Lori and I discussed how to not only match but also extend and ignite passion in the abilities of our talented young geek clubbers. We wanted to engage not only the young people of Chintsa, but also get them thinking about their own community and how they interact with it. Last year, saw the same participants research their dream careers, along the way they met and interviewed guest local speakers about different careers - from Dr Madeleine Muller to our very own Thobs the tour guide. We ended up with some fantastic presentations.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Teaching English & Computer Skills in South Africa

 The final blog in our series of experiences shared by Texas State University teaching students who volunteered in the Wild Coast Schools for three weeks during July this year. This blog was written by Bri who volunteered at Bulugha School teaching computer literacy and English. Bulugha School has been receiving weekly computer lessons from VA32 volunteers since 2005. It is interesting to read about the difference in experiences from Bri and Emily (whose blog entitled "The Challenges of Volunteering in Rural South African Schools" can be read here), who completed the same projects but in different schools. The level of English speaking, creative thought and competency on the computer equipment is higher at Bulugha School where volunteer presence has been sustained and consistent, and makes teaching in Chefani School a bigger challenge where support is intermittent and the learners have not had as much exposure to technology or experience in the English language.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Volunteering with Preschool Children in South Africa

Meagan - a teaching student from Texas State University who joined VA32 for 3 weeks during July this year, shares her experiences working in a rural Wild Coast preschool. Foundation phase education in the Eastern Cape of South Africa is one of the most challenging areas to work in. Generally the preschools and day care centres are under-staffed and under-resourced with few facilities and a lot of children!

"Our first day at the school I, myself and the rest of my peers at that school, met the principal and all the teachers in the computer lab. After we all met, the teachers left the computer lab and shortly after, I went to the crèche where I would be teaching to meet the kids. To my surprise though, it was just the kids, Pumi (the teacher) was nowhere to be found.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Volunteering in the African Angels School

As a follow on to our previous blog "The Best Part of Me", volunteer Brittney shares her thoughts and experiences teaching at the African Angels Independent School.

"My first day at African Angels I was a little reluctant to do anything with the classroom full of 1st graders… With a teacher in the room I wanted to help, but I didn’t want to step on any toes or disrespect her. However after I asked one question she opened up completely and told me to let her know if I had ANY plans for her class. I immediately lit up and started to think of a plan.

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

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Volunteers Help to Build Chintsa East Soup Kitchen

Children lining up for a hot meal at the soup kitchen
Local hero in Chintsa, Temie, is an inspiration to many in our small town. Temie recognised that during weekends and school holidays, many children in Chintsa East village went without food - during the week this need is covered by school feeding schemes such as the Bulugha School scheme which is run and managed by the school, and the Chintsa East Feeding Scheme which is managed by Friends of Chintsa. Temie took it upon herself, with the help of a few friends, to try to alleviate this problem and provide disadvantaged children in the village with at least one hot meal per day during days when they are not at school.

Temie's Soup Kitchen was born!

Friday, 28 August 2015

"The Best of Me" by African Angels Students

As a part of the Texas State University student blog series, Brittany put together a movie of the project "The Best of Me" which she worked on at the African Angels Independent School. Grade 1 learners were tasked with picking their favourite body part, describing what it was and why it was so important to them. Here's a hand selected few of their projects in a stunning movie by Brittany:

By Brittany

Volunteer on the Wild Coast Schools Project, South Africa
Teaching Student at Texas State University

Thursday, 20 August 2015

The Challenges of Volunteering in Rural South African Schools

VA32 are lucky enough to partner with Texas State University who bring a group of teaching volunteers to Chintsa annually to support the Wild Coast Schools Project. The students volunteer in various rural schools including Bulugha School which is on the outskirts of Chintsa and gets consistent support from volunteers in their permanent computer lab, and Chefani School which receives intermittent support when volunteer numbers allow.

Learners at Chefani School
Volunteer teacher Emily took the time to share her experiences and the challenges that she faced while teaching at Chefani School. This is the first in a series of blogs and movies shared by the Texas State volunteer teachers:

Working in Chefani (a rural school on the Wild Coast of South Africa) was such a meaningful experience! In the beginning, it was quite apparent that the learners here were not too familiar with working with volunteers. This made the first few days quite difficult. I felt that a majority of the children were apprehensive of us being there and teaching them something new, which made it difficult to establish a connection with them. This improved, however, over the next few days as they became more comfortable with us even just being in their surroundings. What sealed the deal in establishing our relationship with these kids was playing games with them before we began our work. This allowed them to loosen up and become much more comfortable with us as a group and as individuals.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Volunteers Build New Loo's in Rural Schools

A completed toilet black
in one of our partner
Wild Coast Pre-schools
It goes without saying that schools need loo's! Yet in many rural pre-schools in the under-developed Eastern Cape of South Africa there is a lack of sanitary facilities. VA32, with the assistance of volunteers from International Student Volunteers, have begun to tackle this issue in partner preschools in the wider Chintsa area.

Volunteer groups have been working with VA32 project leader Milton at Mzwini and Somila Day Care Centres at the Southern end of the Wild Coast of South Africa.

The toilets are built on the long drop design which is a particularly popular solution in rural areas where there is little access to running water.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Hygiene Friendly "Tippy Tap" Built in Rural South African Pre-school

Running water is something we take for granted every day. Every time we flush the toilet, wash our hands, rinse a cup, need clean clothes or fill a pot of water to cook... it's there.

I have, during my time in South Africa, experienced a few occasions of having no running water; it's really scary. To turn a tap on and nothing come out and to not know when it will is a feeling that makes ones life feel quite out of control of your own life. To have to collect water from a tap down the road, a river or dam to wash your pots and plates, to not be able to wash your hands, body or clothes clean for a day or two - if you've ever experienced it you'll know the feeling.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Playtime at Somila Daycare Centre, South Africa

It's high season here in Chintsa! The 16th May marked the arrival of our first group of "impact" volunteers. By "impact" we mean - short term with an immediate and measurable outcome. Our impact groups stay for two weeks and are challenged with either completing an entire small project within that time frame (for example building a jungle gym) or being a part of a longer term project (for example building a classroom which could take a whole season).

This season there will be nine groups of volunteers taking part in various Community Development projects in the wider Chintsa area.

The first and second groups were based at Somila Daycare Centre. This project works in partnership with Caring for Orphans in Rural Areas (CORA), a South African organisation which works together with rural communities in improving daycare facilities by creating or uplifting centres, establishing feeding schemes, playgrounds and vegetable gardens, assisting in training and mentoring the management of centres amongst other support, in the wider Wild Coast area.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Monday, 2 February 2015

A New Classroom for Silatsha School - The Beginnings!

Introduction to the site and other work done at the school
During January we had a great team of volunteers from project partners EDventures International & Pangea Trails. Group leader Tobz was tasked with supporting the team of eight Aussie's and their co-ordinators on a long term project at Silatsha Primary School in Mooiplaas. 

The project is building a new classroom at the school where currently several grades share the same classrooms with very limited space and facilities. 

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Volunteering with VA32 in South Africa - Mandela Park Crèche

To put my first week as a volunteer in South Africa in a few paragraphs is near impossible. I’ve learnt more, been challenged more and met more interesting people than I have in my twenty one years of living.  My initial expectation of the trip was that I would feel an overwhelming sense of satisfaction from helping those who needed it.  However I was soon to realize I also was in need of help. A different kind of help.  The kind that opens your eyes and mind, and allows you to feel things you have never felt before.