Archive for the 'project news' Category

we need your teaching skills – and not only in schools

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

Definition of teach: “cause (someone) to learn or understand something by example or experience.”

Definition of skill: “The ability to do something well; expertise.”

That’s what we are all about in all our volunteer projects

{As an aside we are proud that our programme is a skills-share programme. However, we need to use the term “volunteer” because in this Google search age the vast majority of people use the word “volunteer” when they do their searches – not “skills-share”.}

Many of our “education” volunteer programmes are not based in schools – many are.

All of our programmes need volunteers to share their skills – e.g. teach.

Here are some examples of where we need teaching skills – not only in schools but in community, health and vocational programmes too.

Please read on to learn more about the projects we work with that need and would warmly welcome your teaching skills .

(more…)

caring for vulnerable children – Dianne & local partner Sarah share inspiring developments

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

This article is written jointly by Dianne Ashman, voluntary programme advisor for people and places and Sarah Corley, director of volunteer and student travel at AOA.  AOA is people and places’ local partner in Swaziland.

This is the story of six Neighbourhood Care Points (NCPs) in the Ezulwini Valley in Swaziland. NCPs were first started by UNICEF to provide support and care for children whose families were struggling with poverty and the effects of the HIV/AIDs epidemic. Their over-riding aim is to provide vulnerable children and orphans with the care and support they and their families need to enable them to continue to live within their community rather than being placed in an orphanage.

In 2012, when our story starts, these six NCPs, supported by AOA, were providing two meals a day for the children and very basic childcare.  They were staffed by women from the local community who tried to give the children some basic education but struggled because they had no resources and lacked any form of teacher training – some of them had not completed their own schooling.  AOA maintained the NCP buildings and volunteer groups painted the walls with educational materials such as the alphabet and numbers, but any teaching that did happen simply involved rote learning, with few opportunities for children to learn through play.  Although free primary education for all had recently been introduced in Swaziland the country lacked teachers and schools, so children were (and still are) interviewed at the age of 6 before being given a school place.  Many children from the NCPs were failing to pass this interview, so were being excluded from the education system from the very start . . . and so the cycle of poverty continued.

Now, in 2017, all children who are about to graduate from these six NCPs (102 children) have been awarded school places.  The schools report that they can no longer distinguish between children from the NCPs and those from more advantaged backgrounds.  What is more, the NCP teachers have received training so that they understand various teaching strategies they can employ to help their children learn, and have the confidence to try out various teaching methods through a structured programme of activities which covers the key learning areas of language, maths, art, science and discovery, and physical development.  The focus on holistic child development means feeding and health programmes now form a structured part of the development of these children, and parents are becoming engaged in their children’s learning.

2016 – how many children ? active maths 

2011 – no structured activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What has brought about this transformation, and what has our role been in this?

(more…)

meet three teachers from Swaziland-could you share your skills with them?

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

this from Dianne, just back from working with the NCPs in Swaziland:

I would like to introduce you to three teachers from the Neighbourhood Care Points we support in Swaziland, working hard to give pre-school children the knowledge and skills they need to give them a good start at school. These teachers receive a small allowance but not a full salary – they work more or less as volunteers because they genuinely care about the children in their care. (more…)

Dianne reports on her recent visit to our education and community volunteer programme near Kruger, South Africa

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

I have recently returned from a visit to the project we support at Hazyview, run by our local partners Good Work Foundation.  They have been developing a revolutionary model of learning for rural Africa – Digital Learning Campuses, designed to bring children and young adults from rural areas into the 21st century by showing them how to access to the world’s body of knowledge and opportunities available through digital technology.

I was last at the Hazyview Digital Learning Centre in 2015 . . . and what massive strides forward have been made since then!  I was impressed with what I saw then – about 1500 grade 4 children from eight rural schools in the province of Mpumalanga coming to the Centre once a week to learn how to use computers and to work on apps designed to support their English and Maths in HDLC’s Open Learning Academy, and up to 300 young adults a year graduating from the Careers, Skills and Training Academies designed to give young people skills in the ‘languages of access’, ICT and English, and the opportunity to take this further with career-based courses geared towards employment prospects in the local area.

Now, only two years later, Hazyview Digital Learning Centre is the hub at the centre of further ‘satellite’ centres – the first two, in the rural villages of Justicia and Huntingdon, are open and fully functioning, and the remaining two, at Dumphries and Lillydale will open in 2018.

Huntingdon DLC

(more…)

Cambodia – a volunteer stresses the importance of flexibility

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

people and places’ volunteers have so many skills and experiences to share with local communities – the following from Stephanie, an American social worker with a particular interest in nutrition.

I had an incredibly wonderful experience with Treak Community Centre . I enjoyed my time immensely and was able to quickly integrate into their work in the community! The staff members at  Treak Community Centre were very supportive, kind and welcoming.

Stephanie with local staff, Dara & Pechey

During my time there, I assisted the head teacher with English classes, completed interviews regarding housing and education in the local community, and developed the framework for a nutrition program. I felt I could openly express my thoughts to local project staff members.

I believe the nutrition education program could continue to be developed and implemented within the school. The work I completed merely provided a beginning framework.

(more…)

volunteer in Nepal – new projects and an old friend

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

We are working in Nepal again!

As many of you know we stopped working in Nepal a few years ago – firstly because of the legal issues of volunteers needing ( almost impossible to obtain ) work permits – and then post the devastation of the earthquake we felt it was inappropriate to send volunteers

Well HOORAY we can now announce that we are working again in Nepal.

Our programme causes no problem with work permits because all our volunteers are self funding skills-share volunteers

So take a look at the projects we are working with in Nepal

Education Support

Nursery school support

Business Skills

Business support in Patan

Child development in rural Nepal

Nursery support in Kathmandu 

Community Support

 

 

 

NEW! an easy and safe way to donate to your volunteer project

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

We do not ask or expect volunteers to donate more to the project they work with, other than the initial sum detailed in their placement costs.

But we are constantly humbled by the number of volunteers and their friends and families who wish to give additional support.

We are thrilled that now we have an easy, cost effective and safe way to help with those donations.

Our sister charity, Travel Philanthropy (Charity No 1122270), now enables us to offer this opportunity for each project and community where we work.

We are working with Total Giving – a CSR initiative – no fees are charged – much more money reaches the projects than through other traditional donation sites such as Just Giving.

HOW – simply visit the Travel Philanthropy page on Total Giving

Scan down the page to find your project – click on the image – and follow the donation instruction. Each project has an individual link, so you can give that link to your family and  friends – and they can find out more about the project and donate themselves.

 

Paul was – a gladiator – a huge force for good

Friday, April 21st, 2017

It has taken me some time to put pen to paper – well digit to keyboard –  to write about the horrible loss of my friend and our partner, Paul Miedema.

My first reaction was to write about the loss – huge loss – for his family and friends and colleagues at Calabash; the communities they work with; volunteers; and indeed to me as a friend and people and places as a partner – but I wasn’t comfortable with writing that way –  it took me a while to work out why.

 

Paul was – a gladiator – a huge force for good – a passionate advocate for the people he worked with – confrontational – an inspiration.

For me he was a loyal friend – a teacher – a partner – a mentor.

That’s what I want to remember – what I gained by knowing him – not what I have lost.

When Harold, Kate and I decided we wanted to develop a responsible volunteering programme Harold told me that all his experience in responsible travel led him to believe that Paul Miedema at Calabash had to be one of our first partners. I was quickly convinced……Paul wasn’t….. (more…)

Paul was always my role model….

Friday, April 21st, 2017

by Dianne

The partnership between people and places and Calabash was already well established by the time I

Dianne with Joe Slovo principal Mr. Gqunta -on her most recent visit

came onto the people and places team and one of the first visits I made in my role as education advisor was to Port Elizabeth.  Paul and I worked well together from the very start and it was immediately apparent how much Paul cared about our partnership work at the different township schools and at Emmanuel, and how committed he was to using volunteering and tourism as a force for good.

 
Paul was always my role model for what a local partner should be.  Whenever I have visited other countries to help set up new partnerships I have found myself using descriptions of the way Paul worked as examples of good practice.  Even when I was asking him to do potentially boring administrative work for us, such as updating our support plans for the projects or chasing questionnaires from the schools, he totally understood the reasons for doing such tasks.  With Paul, I feel we had a genuine partnership, all of us on the same wave-length, with each of us contributing our knowledge and ideas to the work we were doing together.

Every volunteer I have met who has volunteered in Port Elizabeth, at Emmanuel or on the Schools Support programme, has spoken very highly of the support they received from Paul and the Calabash team.  They certainly set high standards for others to live up to!  I hope Paul realised how very much he was loved and respected.

It is so hard to believe that Paul is no longer here, but I look forward to continuing to work with our partners at Calabash as we continue his work.

The way Paul conducted weekly meetings so impressed me

 

how I became a volunteer with Paul at Calabash

Friday, April 21st, 2017

(the following is a story from volunteer, Anke)

Paul and I met more than three years ago, when he left a short message on a people and places Facebook post about my volunteer placement in The Gambia. His comment turned out to be the beginning of an exciting chapter of the lives Paul and I shared for a while as colleagues, passionate advocates for responsible tourism and social justice, co-authors, and friends. It seems appropriate telling our story through the medium that brought us together, and adding some bits that sum up a man who truly inspired me and will have a special place in my heart forever.
September 2013-

Paul leaves a comment on Facebook, inviting me to come to PE for my next volunteering trip:

please come to Port Elizabeth

The video of Paul passionately speaking about responsible volunteering at WTM 2012 was the only thing I knew about Paul at that point. He addressed the issues in community volunteering in a way that left no doubt about what irresponsible volunteering looks like – ‘inspirational if a little bit scary’ as Sallie rightly said above.
Watch here, Paul starts around min 26:30:  I should soon experience myself how inspirational and a little bit scary Paul could be…

Paul’s messages, both, from his talk and comment on Facebook stayed in my mind and the idea of working with Calabash started brewing in my head for a couple of month.
January 2014- contacted Kate to see how my skills & knowledge could support Paul and his team. Spoke to Paul a couple of times via Skype to find out what we’d expect from each other during a potential placement. Quickly, we all got excited about the opportunity to be working together for a while. The next thing we know:
9 February 14: 

25 February 2014 – excitement rising considerably, topped by the prospect of spending time with Sallie in PE as well:

 

 

 

Somebody else, the wonderful Sallie, shares my excitement being in SA:

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 March 2014- post from my initial impressions and picture of my first day at work with Paul and the team:

11 March – Meeting with the team at Emmanuel Project, a HIV care initiative Calabash supports:

Same day: Paul as one of the Panel speakers at one of Calabash’s partner schools, a note of the school’s appreciation of support below:

20 March 2014 – my reaction to one of the most productive and beautiful community workshops I ever experienced: 

 

 

 

Sep 14- Paul talks about why he chose to work with ‘people and places’ on his community programme here’s the link 
February 2015 – It us took almost a year until we proudly published an article ‘The Dilemma of Fair Shares in Township Tourism – A Case Study from Port Elizabeth’
(Click on the ‘Download’ link on the left of the page – the article is on Page 4)

The process of writing, providing feedback to each other and rewriting was quite a lengthy one. For Paul, every single word had to be scrutinised for its meaning, and he was really hesitant to adapt to a more academic writing style – typical Paul, he felt it had to be said the way it was. We had planned to write and publish more like this together for others to learn and be inspired by Calabash’s approach to responsible township tourism.
2015 until recent – delighted seeing Paul’s articles being published on Germany’s tourism-watch.de website, seeing him becoming a spokesperson for child protection, continuing supporting township schools and other initiatives by linking skilled volunteers to projects, supporting PhD researchers, and still being passionate about sharing a bit of his world with visitors during Calabash’s responsible township tours.

February 2017- this story of Paul and I ends here. Beyond the memory snippets above, he was great fun to be around, at least most of the time. I never met somebody like him who could drive one up the wall with his passion for a good debate and stubbornness, while at the same time being very generous explaining things and trying to find solutions. I’m sad beyond words having lost such an inspirational mentor, colleague and friend – travel well Paul.