These testimonials are from fantastic people who volunteered with our partner – the Volunteer Centre – over the past year. Their volunteer experience equates to that which we offer in the Youth Program.
Hercules Kuster – Volunteer in 2014
“Although it’s very cliché… I can’t start this without saying that this trip was one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It completely changed my point of view about so many things! Including what Africa really means. At a certain point I felt more part of the African Culture than by my own country. I sincerely fell in love by everything… from the lifestyle to the project. And I can say… that was one of the best situations for me. Understanding the situation and being able to help made my heart more complete than ever.
The Volunteer Project was able to provide me a certain type of an unexpected love that I never felt I could be able to receive. In the project I was able to help providing all type of assistance. From cleaning to playing and teaching. People have got to understand what an amazing job it is! Being able to help… (even with small steps) can change totally somebodys life! And I could see that in the project! Kids developing their character by our help! Also, I could never forget about Cape Town. This Mother city was able to give me everything I needed.. I got astonished by everything.. including natural beauties! I can’t lie… I’m definitely coming back!”
I worked with a partnership of two organizations – a gender one and a labour rights one – and I had a wonderful learning experience. It was great to be able to work on the ground in South Africa, learning about the local issues here and interacting with the people who were facing them. My advice is to be open to every experience to learn as much as you possibly can while you’re here. Cape Town is an incredible place to live and learn!
Nick, Cape Town Refugee Centre – Volunteer in 2013
Let me tell you a little bit about my internship. I worked at the Cape Town Refugee Centre. At first I was playing a small role within the organization, which was normal since I had no experience and did not know what my role was exactly. But with time, I leaned how my department worked and what our mission was. Once everything was well understood, I started playing more roles, bringing ideas to the table during meetings, but also working on different projects. Therefore, my supervisor started trusting me more as well as giving me more responsibilities. At the end of the day, I gained a lot from this internship and I took full advantage of it. So if I had to give you any advice, I would say what you put in is what you get out! Good luck!
My work placement was at PASSOP – People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty in Wynberg. It is a refugee activist grass-roots organization that focuses on community development and legal services. I started off doing paralegal work and preparing appeals against the Department of Home Affairs, essentially asking 2 questions: Why have you come to South Africa and why can’t you go back? I then started to get really involved in the LGBTI refugee project. I am very happy with the time I spent learning the paralegal work, and the focus on LGBTI issues really highlighted to me their extra vulnerabilities of living in homophobic areas. Besides learning about the vulnerabilities of being a refugee, I have learnt valuable working and communication skills with my very open work place. Going to work was always fun, and extremely productive – something I thought would always collide. During my three months, I was even able to reconnect with family members – for which shed light on the different family dynamics I have been experiencing for years back home. I’m sad to be leaving this beautiful city, and promise to return for a longer period than 3 months one day. See you Kaapstad!
I completed my internship with Black Sash, a human rights organization which has been fighting for social justice and equality for more than 50 years. I have spent most of my time with the Cape Town Regional Office, which has the mandate to conduct educational outreach activities on human rights within the disadvantaged communities throughout the Western and the Northern Cape. It has been such a great opportunity for me to participate to the essential work accomplished by this organization across South Africa. I’ve truly loved my experience in Cape Town and can’t wait to have the opportunity to come back again one day!