We thought that it would be a good idea to let you know how things are going in Port Elizabeth.  We are now into our second week in the school.  Inevitably there was a lot to learn during week one but, with a refreshing week-end of rest and some sight-seeing, we were ready to face the challenges of the second week. 

 

a win-win situation

a win-win situation

We had a very useful meeting with Paul last Friday and he has helped sort out a few teething difficulties, underlining the fact that we are here to work with the teachers rather than instead of them. It is a bit of a culture shock when teachers walk in and out of the classroom with some frequency! We also did some target-setting (e.g. organising meetings with parents and teacher groups).   

We are so glad that we have made it here after so many delays.  A month appears such a short time now to make an impact but we are getting there and everyone, especially the new principal, is extremely welcoming and helpful.  

Best wishes to you and all your P & P colleagues.

This from Latifa, house mother in one of the residential houses for girls in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, where we work with Education for All:

“It was helpful for the girls who made a small progress on French, which is good compared to the time that Pat spent with them. It helped the youngest girls, spending their first year in the house, to express themselves and be more confident. Pat brought a good atmosphere into the house. She was always smiling and always available for the girls or for me.”

Pat spent 4 weeks in Asni, Morocco, and as a fluent French speaker was able to help the girls with their French and English, as well as with their maths, where Sudoku proved to be popular with some of the girls.

To find out more about the project, click here !

just had to share this with you because it reinforces my (Kate) firm belief in that every single person CAN make a real difference … for themselves and for others …

this is without doubt a POSITIVE beginning with one small physical act, the results have unquantifiable positive results … watch and listen … I defy you not to get goosebumps …sunshine 2

We are very excited to announce a new opportunity for  educators,  business people and those with practical skills  to volunteer with us in Peru.

Students at The Institute

Students at The Institute

 

This project is located in the town of Salvación, capital of the Manu Province, and is based at the local further education college, the Instituto de Educacion Superior Tecnológico Público Manu. The Institute is the only source of further education in the Manu Province, but teaching staff lack support and training, and resources are limited and out of date.

The aim of the education programme is to transform the Institute into a centre of excellence in Sustainable Land Management and Responsible Tourism by supporting teacher capacity building, practical skill development and school enterprise. Building the capacity of teachers is vital for long-term success and help is needed to improve their skills, techniques, and resources, particularly in English and industry-specific skills.

The Manu Biosphere Reserve encompasses almost the entire watershed of the Manu river, from tributaries that start high in the Andes down to the lowland Amazonian rainforests that stretch to the Atlantic. Its geography, biodiversity and indigenous communities not only make it a compelling destination but also a valuable cultural, scientific and economic resource. The Manu Biosphere Reserve has remained relatively protected because of limited access routes.

Read more about how you could become involved here

This was first published way back when – sadly – it still holds true!

Here at people and places we are constantly struggling to get enough volunteers for our programmes – there are other sending organisations that manage to attract thousands of volunteers every year – we don’t  and I now know we have got so much wrong - so here’s my proposal – I’m sending it off to our advisory board tonight: time for change

1. We’re going to start talking about our projects – after all, how could they possibly run without us?

2. Forget about getting informed consent from the projects that volunteers will be working with – we will save a huge amount of hassle for ourselves and volunteers if we just send them – and hey – the projects are poor so they’ll be grateful for anyone.

3. From now on, the most important skill any volunteer can possibly have is the ability to give us their credit card details

4. In future, all the expenses of travelling etc., incurred by those of us in the UK, will be allocated to “project development” – how would the projects develop without us – and all marketing will be called volunteer recruitment – and we need volunteers to develop projects so it’s project development – SIMPLE

5. We are discontinuing the bespoke screening and preparation process for volunteers – a one size fits all application form and a pre departure pack has  been developed – we caused too much confusion before – and we are the best ones to judge after all.

6. We aren’t going to allocate any of the fees to pay our local partners on the ground to care for the volunteers – we have 24/7 cover with our UK mobile numbers.

7. In fact we are going to do away with local partners – who needs  ’em? We know all our projects are “community driven” and we got local consent years ago.

8. We are not going to insist that volunteers sign up to and comply with child protection policies  - of course we have the best interests of children at heart – so why complicate things?

9. work permits – don’t worry – you can slip in under the radar on a tourist visa – who will know?

10. talking about work, who cares whether volunteers have the right insurance or not? Insurance is only a problem when there’s a problem.

11. What a time waster all that work we put into ensuring that volunteers are contributing skills the projects needs – so what if the 1000th volunteer is singing “head, shoulders, knees and toes” for the unmpteenth time with the children? They’re all having fun aren’t they? And building programmes – we are going to start those – obviously local people don’t know how to rebuild a bridge or a toilet block over and over again.

12. And most important of all – all children should be loved and hugged – by anyone

13. and finally – perhaps our biggest mistake – none of our volunteers get a T-shirt that says “I saved the world” … well I’ve just put an order for 2000 in – so come on down!

(and I must do a hat tip to Justin Francis at www.responsibletravel.com who wrote a piece many years ago explaining why he was turning his back on responsible travel – sorry Justin can’t find it – if you do Im happy to link to it here!)

Great to see 3 of our volunteer programmes featured in The World Travel Guide

 12 Ethical Experiences for 2015

- and pleased to say that we are in great company!

“Despite the market being swamped with capitalist ventures masquerading as morally sound institutions, there are a number of ethically conscious organisations out there offering both beneficial trips and meaningful volunteer placements.”

worldtravelguide

 

Click here to read the full article.

You can read an article Kate was interviewed for

This review from a responsible travel expert makes us proud!  PF_i-feel-proud

I decided to volunteer again with people & places because you are a truly responsible company that delivers to its promises. From the minute I spoke to you about the possibility to go to South Africa until now I felt supported, well advised and appreciated for the skills I could bring to the placement. The fact that you maintain an excellent network of people who share the same values and ethics in regards to responsible tourism makes your company stand out amongst other volunteer companies. You DO care and this gets reflected in every aspect of the experience, before, during and after the placement. Keep up the great work you’re doing!

people and places placements director, Kate, has been interviewed by World Travel Guide for an article about the plusses and minuses of choosing to volunteer abroad …

Should I volunteer abroad?

Should I volunteer abroad?

 

 

“We believe that a carefully placed, thoroughly screened, well-prepared, skilled volunteer can – and does – have a positive impact,” says Stefanko. 

All volunteers through People and Places have to apply for a position. Then, if accepted, the volunteer is matched with a … project that can benefit from their skill set.”

 

read the full article here

“I think that the whole process of arranging the placement had a very personal and intimate feel to it. It was really made very simple, but there was no sense that anything other than the utmost care was being taken in making sure that the placement benefited both volunteer and host.” volunteer Teri who volunteered working with marginalise youth in Saint Lucia in October.

291 CARE Odsan

 

How very encouraging! Our initial email to a new volunteer applicant, Linda, was met with the following reply:

“I am especially pleased to answer the questions because it assures me that the organization is doing its part in making a “match”.  I like that … 

My motivation for pursuing volunteer work at this stage in my life is simply to continue to give and to learn—what schools and classrooms cannot teach.

helping hands

helping hands

 

I would defer to those making placements to find a match for my skills and interests and the needs of the organization … my preference is to work where I can be of most assistance; and my schedule for participation is flexible.”

Thanks Linda – I’m already enjoying working with you!