You will have the opportunity to uplift underprivileged communities by supporting a range of community based projects. With this project you will be able to make a real impact and become immersed in the diverse cultures that Knysna has to offer.
By joining our Community Outreach Initiative you will assist us in providing opportunities for members of Knsynas underpriviliged communities to better their lives. Our projects are aimed at empowering locals and moving away from the hand-out sentiment as we believe that this is the only way to move forward and develop a nation. By keeping the empowerment theme throughout our projects, we encourage locals to gain a sense of pride in the projects they are involved in, and hopefully we are creating a brighter future for poorer communities.
This initiative targets the main areas of concern in the local community: Health, Education and Nutrition, and aims to provide an all round service to the poorer areas of the community.
Joining this Initiative means that you will be helping us with the following Volunteer Projects (please note, you will be involved in all of the projects below, but DO have the option to focus on specific projects too depending on your skills and interests):
Recycling Swop Shop
You will be providing an opportunity for children to gain an understanding of the value of working for goods through a recycling exchange incentive scheme. Children of 18 years and under, exchange recyclable materials that they have collected for points with for donated items in the Swop Shop such as clothes & toiletries that they may not normally have the opportunity to purchase.
You role may include: Running of the shop and registering children on the project Weighing and monitoring recycling Calculating points earned & data entry
You will be helping us to build healthier communities using a number of innovative methods.
Your role may include: Assisting with the building of eco-friendly greenhouses Planting and maintaining vegetable gardens in conjunction with the local community. Assisting with nutrition workshops and implementing a vegetable exchange scheme in the local community
Many adults in South Africa have had limited opportunities to gain an education and therefore English Literacy is often poor. Nowadays it is often vital to be proficient in English in order to secure employment; therefore through this project we provide an opportunity for adults in the local community to improve their English Literacy skills.
Your role may include: Assisting with the facilitation of simple weekly workshops Creative input into development of our educational material
Often children dont have support at home to assist with basic homework tasks. You will be supporting the education of local children by assisting them in the completion of their homework assignments, while ensuring that they gain a better understanding of the material.
Your role may include: Assisting young learners with homework assignments Providing extra tutoring in specific subjects (depending on your own skills) Assisting with food preparation for children attending
HIV/AIDS & TB Workshops
You will be an important part of the fight against HIV/AIDS & TB by increasing peoples' awareness and knowledge of this epidemic.
Your role may include: Running workshops and facilitating discussions involved in workshops Further development of workshops Assisting with food preparation for children attending
South Africa has one of the highest rates of TB in the world. In partnership with local health authorities, we have implemented a Screening survey. You will be providing members of the local community with an extremely beneficial service by conducting door to door TB screening.
Your role may include: Visiting homes of local people and conducting TB Screening (involves asking a series of 10 questions relating to a persons health, completely non-invasive and no medical experience necessary) Providing useful information on TB to local people Data Entry
This project was initiated in order to gain an insight into how people in various underprivileged areas feel about their community and the resources that are available to them; to ascertain what local people think needs to be improved; and to establish what various skills locals have. The vital information that you will gather through this project will help to guide the progress of our various community outreach projects.
Your role may include: Visiting individual houses, conducting surveys in the local township Data entry and analysis Further development of questionnaire
We have established various support groups within the local community. Through these groups we are able to provide teenage girls and boys with an opportunity to discuss some of the issues they face in their lives and to develop the confidence and the skills required to make informed and positive decision in their lives.
We also provide a platform for pregnant women and new mothers to discuss everyday problems that they encounter with the hope of improving their understanding and sense of well-being. You can take part in on or all of these groups depending on your interests and what you feel comfortable with.
Your role in these groups may include: Preparing topics and activities for each group Assisting with the facilitation of the groups and running activities Assisting with food preparation for children attending
Many local children do not have the opportunity to take part in art classes. Through this project we give local children the chance to develop their creative skills and learn new techniques and methods in a fun inspiring environment!
Your role in these groups may include: Assisting with the facilitation of the group Development of creative activities Demonstration of techniques and methods (depending on your skills) Assisting with food preparation for children attending
Who should apply?
Specific qualifications are not required although this project would definitely benefit from people working in construction or architectural fields. This project requires volunteers that enjoy being active and arent afraid to get their hands dirty! Volunteers need to be hard working, mature, motivated and able to show initiative. Good health and physical fitness are also required. Volunteers also need to be confident in speaking English. If you have a specific trade such as plumbing, building, tiling etc. then we have plenty of specialist jobs for you!
You will be picked up from the house in the morning by one of our coordinators or drivers and given clear instructions on the days activities ahead.
The days aims vary according to what the school needs but you will be part of the planning and designing of the school (remember all ideas are welcome and no formal experience is necessary for many of the duties!)
After a hard mornings work you will be brought back to the volunteer house for lunch (or eat a packed lunch on site before the afternoons community work commences). The community outreach work includes helping children with homework, helping with establishing food gardens or assisting on any number of our projects which need help at the time. You will usually have a chance to pop into town on your way back from the projects in the evening and be home in time for a relaxing evening on the deck, followed by a cooked supper.
The Knysna volunteer house is basic but comfortable and cleaned daily by our hardworking House Manager. It is full of character and has spectacular views over the mountains. We understand that the work can sometimes be emotionally and physically draining so we ensure that our volunteers have a place where you can relax and unwind. This way we know that everyone will be refreshed each day to put all their energy into getting the most out of their stay.
The volunteer house is also located within walking distance into the charismatic town of Knysna.
Facilities Include: Hot Water Showers & Electricity Communal Kitchen Communal Lounge Area with TV/DVD Player Comfortable Dorm Style Sleeping Arrangements Unlimited WiFi and computer access Outdoor braai (barbeque) area & Hammocks Private & Family Rooms Available on Request
We offer the most comprehensive volunteer experience in Africa. We work very hard to make sure that your stay is as stress free as possible so that you can concentrate on your volunteer projects. This also means that once you have paid your contribution, you will have the option to spend very little once you are in the country.
Includes: Rapid pre-departure support and detailed information The confidence that every effort will be made to ensure your safety and enjoyment during your stay Airport transfers from George Airport (on our set arrival/departure days only- please ask us for these dates), OR airport transfer from Cape Town International (dates flexible) to your accommodation of choice (within Cape town) and a FREE return Baz Bus ticket from Cape Town to Knysna (on our set arrival/departure days only- please ask us for these dates)* See branch information pack for Cape Town activity details. Comfortable, homely accommodation 3 meals a day Safe, reliable project related transport Thorough orientation to the area and our Team Training and support on your chosen initiative A dedicated coordinator to assist you daily Project support and feedback sessions throughout your stay Assistance with optional activities and tours 24/7 emergency support Assistance obtaining a local SIM Card for your phone Work T-Shirt (s) Additional cultural and outdoor activities on Friday afternoons (and some evenings) Free, unlimited WiFi and computer access in the volunteer house Post-project involvement, and an exclusive return volunteer discount
Excludes: Flights and Visas Travel insurance (necessity!) Excursions and optional activities on weekends
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We took part in the Build Our Schools Program on our honeymoon and had the most enjoyable two weeks helping out in the Khayalethu community.
We both loved the hands on nature of the work helping out at the Ikamvu Lethu pre-school. One of our favourite moments was seeing the reaction on the ladies faces when we showed them the completed new doors in the pre-school made out of an old benchtop, they were so grateful. It's hard to describe how big a difference little things like mending fences makes to the school and the community.
Knysna is a beautiful place and this organisation does some amazing work in the community. We would highly recommend the Build Our Schools Program to anyone who wants a change up to their desk job and get their hands dirty.
Thanks to the team for a wonderful experience. In the end our only regret was that we could not stay any longer and help out more, hopefully next time.
The experience was really good out there, however, I believe it was more so because of the Game Lodge and the co-ordinators there.
The programme offers an opportunity to really watch the Big 5 (except for Leopard) from close quarters. However, it could have beeN better with some more planning and more time with the animals. Most of our time was spent in the maintenance work of the park (which ofcourse I dont mind), but I just wish we could have spent more time with the animals. Thats probably the only critical feedback I have to give.
Its definitely a wonderful programme, especially for people who want to make a career in game reserve management / wildlife conservation.
We have just returned from an absolutely fantastic month away in South Africa, where we worked at the Game Lodge.
All the staff were fantastic and the whole trip was so expertly organised with a lot of care and attention to detail. We felt at home straight away and would have stayed if our visas didn't run out!
The project itself involved many different activities from tracking cheetah, feeding the baby cheetah, helping vets to dart, capture and release animals and also a lot of general farm maintenance. It was hard work but very rewarding.
Like all volunteer projects, you get out what you put in to it. There is so much to gain from being part of the team. We have learned so much about Arfican wildlife, flora, fauna and the South African culture. Without a doubt I would recommend The Big 5 Wildlife and Conservation Project to anyone who wants to have an experience they will never forget.
I had a truly wonderful month on the Big 5 project in South Africa.
The project was very well facilitated and I received exactly what I was looking for - a varied, interesting hands-on experience. Participating in everything from collecting and feeding food to the lions and darting and relocating a male wildebeest, to making a new road on the reserve and learning about some of the plants and insects. I also had a chance to see some of the beautiful Garden Route.
They are a very well organised and professional company and looked after every tiny detail.
Brenton Smith - from Australia
Well where to start I had the time of my life .
Dayne and Roger are two very dedicated people not only with animal conservation but land and people infact all of Africa. This wass showed time and time again with the people they work with and the places I stayed and the people and animals they are helping. It was all happy and good, I could not have felt safer or been looked after better everything transport food, people, and projects.
I would not only highly recommend them but strongly suggest any one who really wants a special experience in every way contact them and you will not be disappointed
Georgina - from Australia
For several months i had been looking for a project in South Africa to incorportate into my travel plans. When i found the Rasta Eco Project I knew that was what I wanted to do. As a teacher of conservation and also operating a business doing restoration work, this suited me perfectly.
I spent 2 wonderful weeks assessing, advising and working removing alien weed species, (australian species). (At home I remove South African weed species and this provided me the income to come to South Africa and remove Australian alien species!)
To work on the Khayalethu River Trail was a life changing experience and i was welcomed by all the Judah Square Community and made many wonderful friends. Working with Brothers Maxi and Gene I had the truly enriching and positive opportunity to share and exchange knowledge and information. I was inspired and humbled by the dedication of the community in creating the trail, building the information centre, restoring the Fynbos and environmental education for the future generations.
A real grassroots project which can only benefit the community and the people who visit. Jah Bless!