Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Saint Lucia – volunteer Amanda fitting right in !

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Amanda talks about her daily journeys to and from work … and how she’s “starting to feel like a local”.

“The trip to work on the bus and wandering through Castries City has become the norm for me now. Yesterday I stopped to remind myself this is a temporary lifestyle. One that I will look back on with fond memories. A reminder to absorb the sights, sounds and feelings… and this is what happened…”

tranquil sunset over Rodney Bay

 

(more…)

Master’s student & volunteer – Lisa’s placement was a clear ‘win-win’

Friday, September 30th, 2016

people and places has facilitated several such placements – Master’s students who need ‘in situ’ experience to complete their research & assignments. The key for us is that such placements will also be of benefit to the communities / projects where volunteers such as Lisa are placed … Lisa’s report shows how this can work, and what we mean about this being a ‘win-win’ volunteer placement.
Lisa

Lisa worked in Port Elizabeth (PE) with our local partners at Calabash in one of the township primary schools that we support.

(more…)

NEW local partner, NEW project, NEW volunteers

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

It’s so exciting: a new local partner and project near Kruger National Park … about to welcome NEW volunteers! The latest addition to our programme is about to welcome their very first ‘people and places’ volunteers.

Ray and Catriona recently took early retirement from full-time work in training and mentoring, as well as business and hospitality management … so, what better match for their placements than in the amazing Hazyview Learning Centre in South Africa?

enthusiastic young adult learners

enthusiastic young adult learners

Needless to say, Ray and Catriona know perfectly well that they are the first ‘people and places’ volunteers to work in this project, and although their placement outlines provide clear areas of input for their work, both are approaching their placements with a very real willingness to be adaptable and flexible … as well as excited anticipation.

Ray will be helping in the conservation academy, working with the staff as well as with 2nd-year students going into Kruger National Park as part of the ‘wildlife conservation’ course.

Catriona’s primary focus will make use of her expertise in the hospitality industry, working with staff and students in the ‘hospitality’ course, as well as assisting in career planning and guidance.

And we’re already working with the next volunteers to whom Ray and Catriona will ‘pass the baton’!

 

from one volunteer to the next

from one volunteer to the next

So – “watch this space”, as the saying goes … there will be updates about their placements in our next newsletter, as well as any interim posts in our blog

volunteers’ work in India shows clear results !

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

LOVE this news about successful volunteers’ skills-share and achievements in Chitardai primary school in India. Dianne regularly re-visits projects and local partners to assess achievements and future needs … this just in:

“Now I am about to leave Chitardai, I just want to say how pleased I am both with the level of support given to the current volunteers by the teachers at Chitardai and with the quality of their teaching and focus on the job, both of which are much improved from when I was last here.

current volunteers, Yvonne & Sue at the Mahal

current volunteers, Yvonne & Sue at the Mahal

(more…)

appreciation of our volunteers in The Gambia, from The Gambia !

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

Volunteers Susie and Chris have been working with ASSET in The Gambia since the end of October – dealing with the inevitable challenges of any volunteer placement … but their hard work and dedication is most definitely paying off and appreciated !

This from our local partner, Tejan, today:

“I want to say that Susie & Chris have done a good job during their short stay with us. They have gone beyond their terms of reference both in terms of time spent, use of personal resources among others.
One most important qualities that I find in them is openness, sense of humour and friendliness which made them adopt to the Gambian society so quickly. 

project appreciation for the work of volunteers

project appreciation for the work of volunteers

Many thanks once more to Susie and Chris for the good work done, its well appreciated.”   

Sheikh Tejan Nyang , Head of School ,Institute of Travel and Tourism of The Gambia

 

 

and here’s a link to news of one of the innovations where Susie and Chris have been instrumental: the ASSET Masquerade and Fanal Festival

 

planning & preparation for volunteer visitors … and then …

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

Well … “best-laid plans” and “circumstances beyond our control” combined to create an interesting volunteers’ get-together here in Faversham on 7th November!

We love our ‘people and places’ social meetings and had done as much prep as possible ahead of time so that we could enjoy our guests’ company and lots of time to talk with each other. Lists, signs and name badges had been printed off the day before; food and drinks had been purchased, and with volunteers due to arrive at 1pm, Dianne, Sallie and I (Kate) were enjoying a leisurely start to our day.

Kate

Kate

Dianne

Dianne

Sallie

Sallie

Our morning’s preparations were well-planned over coffee with final tasks allocated (planning and preparation are very important to us here at people and places, you know!) so we were feeling well and truly ready for a lovely afternoon … but then, at about 8a.m. the power went off. No worries – “this isn’t The Gambia”, we joked, “the power will be on again very soon” …

(more…)

volunteer in a learning centre close to Kruger National Park

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

We are thrilled to announce that we are now working with a very special programme in South Africa.

Here is what Dianne wrote about it after her visit.

To learn more about how you could work here take a look here

2

Good Work Foundation, led by their CEO Kate Groch, have set up Digital Learning Centres in four different rural communities, with a fifth due to open next year. They believe that traditional education methods are failing people in rural communities, largely due to enormous class sizes and overcrowded, poorly resourced schools. Their aim is to set up ‘Centres of Excellence’ for these rural communities, leapfrogging traditional teaching methods and jumping straight into the digital age. Their digital learning centres provide education through computers, laptops, tablets, data projectors and interactive whiteboards, and more importantly teach how to use this technology, with the aim that their learners will be able, like everyone else in more privileged communities across the world, to access the enormous body of knowledge and expertise which is now so easily available to us all online.

3They work with two groups of learners. At Hazyview, their main centre and the place where our volunteers are likely to be based, about 1500 grade 4 children (aged about 10) come to the Centre for about an hour every week. They really look forward to coming – it was a pleasure to see children running to get to class. Through the use of carefully selected apps they learn English, Maths and some Science (focused on conservation), as well as learning how to use the computers. All teaching at the centre is in English, and this is also important as up to grade 3 children are taught in their own local language (in this area siSwati or Xitsonga) but in grade 4 teaching of all subjects goes into English, so this is a year where many children struggle and any additional exposure to English really helps them to manage at school.

The Centre has only been open for three years but the first school to send children to them has already recorded a massive 35% improvement in English scores in national tests. Their second group of learners is young adults. Many of them have completed grade 12 at school, but have little idea of what options are available to them next or of how they could go about achieving any ambitions they do have. At the Centre in a bridging year course they teach what they define as the ‘languages of access – digital and English’. Students study for the International Computer Driving Licence, an internationally recognised computer course which covers, among other things, the use of all branches of Microsoft Office. Their English studies follow a recognised South African adult learning course and focus on oral work as well as written. Within this course they learn skills such as how to present yourself at interview and how to write a good CV. They receive Careers guidance, both through formal lessons and on an individual basis, and at the end of the year, if they wish, they can continue to study at the Centre on courses specifically designed to provide employment opportunities in their local area. Tourism is one of the main employers, so there are courses in Hospitality, Media, Music, advanced IT and Conservation. I was privileged to attend one of their graduation ceremonies, as Sallie was last year, where about 60 students received their certificates and celebrated the successful completion of their courses. Their pride in their achievement, and their families’ pride in them, was palpable and the staff at the Centre were rightly proud of what they had achieved, giving these students not only internationally recognised qualifications but a belief in themselves and their ability to achieve whatever targets they set themselves in life.

Before I went I had researched GWF and my fear was that they are so well organised that they would have little need of any skills or expertise that we might offer. This is not the case – there’s lots we can contribute, ranging from people with teaching experience to help the facilitators develop their teaching skills (GWF ‘grow their own’ staff and few of them have formal teaching qualifications), to careers advisors, to people with business skills to help adult learners find possible areas for employment, and lots of other areas too – check out our website for specific details of what is needed here.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to GWF, both for the project itself but also because it was such a comfortable experience and set in such a lovely part4 of South Africa, the country recently voted the most beautiful in the world. Our local partners could not have been more welcoming and helpful, and they have a lovely house they rent for use of volunteers, so I loved having my own home for the two weeks I was there. Hazyview is within 10 minutes drive of a gateway into Kruger National Park. I went in twice, once with a group of school children as part of their conservation work (and although they live so close none of these children had been into the Park before), and once as a tourist at the weekend. Our local partners were able to get me a cheap seat with an established game drive company, so for just the cost of entry to the Park (about £15) I had a 6 hour game drive with an experienced guide, and we were lucky enough to see 15 different species of animals, including all the Big Five, on the one drive. Those of you who know me well know how much I love cats, so it was wonderful to have a really good view of a leopard sheltering in the shade of a rock and a lion so chilled out it was more or less sleeping in the road.
Do think about offering your skills and expertise to volunteer on this project – they would be delighted to have you and I know the right volunteers could do a lot to help them move forward on this really worthwhile project – and you would have a great time as well.

Sallie and Adama talk about being changemakers

Thursday, November 5th, 2015

Sallie and Adama ( our partner in The Gambia) were asked to talk about their  experience of and advice for change  at a recent conference.

( Adama goes first and Sallie is last at about 43 minutes in)

Watch it here

 

Sallie and Adama

Sallie and Adama

‘ubuntu’ – the mutual rewards of volunteering !

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

It’s really important to us that each volunteer placement is a good match between what the project needs and what the volunteer brings … that’s the starting point for people to gain mutual rewards from their time together.

volunteers with Principal Thambo and Ace Lamani celebrating together

Volunteers Eileen and Larry made their first volunteer trip to A.V.Bukani School in 2008 … and have just returned from their FIFTH  volunteer trip in this rural South African school.

teaching skills-share

Eileen and Larry’s original placements focussed on improving literacy for learners through skills-share with local educators … bit by bit and little by little, things have developed … music, a school and community library, parent-teacher meetings, home-support for learners …

Mofu family

The following two quotes give you an idea the mutual rewards involved:

I am the product of what you have brought here since 2008 … you taught me the strategies I needed so I could learn.” a Grade 7 student to volunteers Eileen & Larry

“This … opened our eyes to the impact our work has had. And inspired us to continue. Yes, there are still challenges and we need to take the long view. But we can revel in a celebration of what these students have gained in confidence, knowledge, and skills. We could not be prouder of them.” volunteers Eileen & Larry as their 5th placements ended

And you can read the full story of Eileen & Larry’s 2015 placements here.

“Ubuntu – I am what I am because of who we all are”

happy friendship day to all our volunteers and partners abroad

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

and we just want to say thankyou

and what better way than this –  some wise words and our favourite photo (courtesy of  The Kugler Family)

Crpped birthdayhug

 

friendshipquote