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Volunteers' Stories




Teaching Drama to Township Children on a voluntary placement in Knysna, South Africa

I am absolutely loving this experience. I feel like I am really making a difference at my school placement and at the same time feel that I am benefiting from being there just as much as the students are from having me there!

There's so much opportunity for extra involvement as well. For example, as well as teaching dance and drama at the school I am also directing a play and giving private dance classes at lunch times. The volunteers also get the opportunity to visit and help out at a soup kitchen and orphanage in the township which we go to a couple of times a week after school. This is great fun and also a very humbling experience. I don't think I could actually define my "best experience" as one moment.

What with teaching at the school, rehearsals for my play, the dance classes, soup kitchen, orphanage, hanging out at home with the other guys, going for a drink, the worlds highest bungee jump, trips to the beach, and countless other activities we really are spoilt for choice. I have been here for over 2 months now and I can honestly say there has not been 1 day that I haven't enjoyed!!

I would definitely recommend this placement to others. It is an amazing experience with a lot of opportunity to make a difference. The area is beautiful and travelling is easy. The house we stay in is lovely and the Travellers staff are such kind, loving people which really makes it feel like a home away from home. What with all the other volunteers and the travellers staff it really does feel like our own little family.. well our own very big family I suppose!!!!

This placement would suit someone who has an interest or passion for teaching. You must also realise that Africa is a completely different way of life - far more laid back than I was used to back in England. A person considering this placement would need to be the kind of person who can make the most of situations, stay positive and use their own initiative to achieve the goals which they feel on completion would benefit the students the most.

Can you describe a typical day?

The bus picks us up at 7.10 for an 8 o'çlock start at school. School finishes at 2pm and then we have the choice of going to the orphanage, soup kitchen or hanging out at home or in town. We usually all eat together at about 6/7pm. Obviously the days are quite different on the weekend when we go on trips and out in the evenings etc.. there's also the opportunity to get a gym membership, play sports, fish and other activities which I enjoy doing throughout the week. Also, of course, some time is spent planning lessons and activities for the students.

I am incredibly happy with my placement and am glad I chose to do 4 months instead of just 1 or 2 as I am just really getting my teeth into the program. Really am just LOVING this experience!

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