Archive for the 'project news' Category

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.

new projects in Cambodia

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

New projects in Cambodia are on our website.  Take a look and see which project interests you in volunteering here.

Siem Reap, with its close proximity to the World Heritage temples at Angkor Wat, is a popular destination for volunteers.  The projects we currently support there are two community centres, both doing fantastic work at providing education, training and community support for some of the poorest villages around Siem Reap.  They provide worthwhile and enjoyable placements for volunteers who have the expertise to support teachers and childcare workers.  However not all volunteers want to work with children or have the required skills and experience to do so!  So we have now added projects focused on business and on health and social care to our portfolio in Cambodia. (more…)

social meeting – from November to spring 2017

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

Unfortunately, we had to cancel our November volunteers’ social meeting … but fortunately we were able to let everyone know in good time sorry… not with a sky-writer, but with a ‘sorry’ email.

Fear not – there are plans afoot for another social get-together in late spring, hopefully, in a more readily accessible location than the south-eastern corner of England ! Volunteers – previous and future – will be able to chat about their experiences, and the people and places team will have updates and project news to share with everyone.

So, watch this space for an invitation to follow after the Christmas break 🙂

Dianne visits our Cambodia volunteer projects – old and new

Friday, September 30th, 2016

CAMBODIA – PROJECTS NEW AND OLD FRIENDS 

Dianne

Dianne

by Dianne Ashman, volunteer programme advisor

As I write this article I am right at the end of my latest trip, to visit our projects in Cambodia.  I was last here in 2011 working with Michael, founder of ConCERT who are our local partners here.  On the ‘tips for volunteers’ sheet Michael and I compiled in 2011 he asked that volunteers bring a jar of Marmite with them as he and his family love it and it’s hard to get hold of here, so on my arrival at Siem Reap airport I was not at all surprised to see someone holding up a large sign saying

GOT ANY MARMITE?

(more…)

Swaziland volunteer project opens a sixth neighbourhood care point!

Friday, September 30th, 2016

This is such wonderful news from our partners in Swaziland – big congratulations to all concerned

A Neighbourhood Care Point (NCP) is a community-based, non-formal, day care centre offering care and support for vulnerable children of pre-primary age in a safe, protective environment under the care of volunteer caregivers.  Using funds raised by volunteer project donations, along with the support of Swaziland Charitable Trust (SCT) and Cooper Dean Fund, our local partners at All Out Africa were able to work with the community to build a classroom, store room, toilet block and play area for Nkhanini.

cid_image004_jpg01d21279

25 children are now attending and receiving daily meals, learning opportunities

and lots of play time. 

Learn more about how you could volunteer with this programme here

great news for Emmanuel – thanks to volunteer Trez

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Fantastic news from one of our previous volunteers, Therese Bateson – ‘Trez’.

A not-for-profit organisation she is involved in in the UK has decided to part fund the food programme at Emmanuel Community Centre until April 2017.

14045900_563139743810632_6966877624730703396_n   13925306_563138837144056_189238805246539999_n

‘Baby Angels’ aims to: “Relieve poverty among underprivileged children and their families world-wide by financially supporting meaningful development initiatives, aiming to promote positive change within their lives and help build sustainable livelihoods”

Thank-you so much Trez and Baby Angels!

Morocco – high achievers in the High Atlas !

Friday, September 30th, 2016

In the fantastically beautiful High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, EfA (education for all)  is a local  NGO working tirelessly to help educate girls … as EfA say themselves: ‘educate a girl and you educate the next generation’, and the next, etc. ! This is the project where our volunteers work – in the girls-only, homes-away-from home where Berber village girls have access to education, beyond what is available in their villages  …

And just look at the results for this last academic year …

“CONGRATULATIONS to the 12 girls who have passed their baccalaureate (A’Level equivalent)! 8 are university-bound and 4 will go onto vocational college. Everyone of you who has supported EFA is part of this amazing success which is changing lives for generations to come. THANK YOU!”

2016 achievers !

2016 achievers !

These girls are bound for a new stage in their lives, and you could support future graduates, as well as their house mothers, in continuing EfA’s great work …

How’s your  French ? Want to  volunteer ?

a really great visit to Chitardai, the school our volunteer programme support in India

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

DSCN7987I have recently returned from a really satisfying and encouraging trip to India.  I went to visit the school where our volunteers work, Chitardai Upper Primary School, in Rajasthan.  I have volunteered at Chitardai twice myself, in 2010 and 2011, working with the English teacher in his lessons and helping all the teachers to develop their school motto ‘Learn Through Play’ by showing them a number of techniques for active learning – I must confess it’s my favourite of the places where I have volunteered.  Other volunteers have taken a similar approach: bringing books, games and a variety of other resources to show the children (and teachers) that learning English can be fun!  Like all of us who volunteer, I have sometimes questioned whether the resources I took to Chitardai were really relevant and useful to them, and whether the teaching techniques I demonstrated to the teachers would ever be used when I returned to the UK.  So it was fantastic to see on this trip that some of the teaching strategies and resources taken to the school by me and other people and places volunteers are now embedded in the school.  Some examples . . .  (more…)