Archive for the 'people and places partners' Category

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?

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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

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a chance to meet project leaders and other volunteers

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

November 4th 12.00 to 17.00

Put it in your diaries – more news in a few weeks time.

Saturday 4th November

Come and meet previous, present and co volunteers – and some of our local partners – as well as the people and places team.

A chance to learn more if you plan to volunteer – and a chance to meet old friends if you are a previous volunteer.

We have not confirmed our location yet – and we appreciate that this is important! but we wanted you to get the date in your diaries (we know you are busy people!) as soon as possible.

 

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

 

 

 

donations in Paul’s memory are pouring in-thankyou-here’s how you can help if you wish

Friday, April 21st, 2017

A huge thank you to everyone who has donated to Calabash Trust in Paul’s memory. We know how
important this money is to help Calabash Trust continue the work Paul started.

We appreciate that many of you reading this newsletter may want to do similar  – so here are some ways we can recommend. We know the money you donate will be used well if you use these methods.

Donate to:

Calabash Trust here

AV Bukani School here

Joe Slovo School here

Emafini School here

Charles Duna School here

WB Thsume School here

Emmanuel Community Programme here 

And of course – perhaps the greatest way you could help is to volunteer your time and skills with either Emmanuel Community Care or with the Schools Support programme in Port Elizabeth –

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

 

international accolades for Paul

Friday, April 21st, 2017

“This world is in desperate need of people like you, who always keep asking questions, care for others and are never afraid to say what needs to be said – but now we must soldier on without you.”
Freya Zandatra journalist

“A great guy…I will never forget sharing the panel with him at the WTM Africa conference in Cape Town and he opened his presentation by showing how disgraceful and unacceptable it was for South Africans to be attacking people from other African countries in Jo’burg. He was and continues to be my HERO. We lost a great person and will remember him for his contributions towards the poor and vulnerable.”
Adama Bah, tourism and development practitioner

“He was a pioneer and leader in fighting for social equality and justice through responsible tourism in Port Elizabeth. Through his unwavering dedication and passion he touched the lives of many people in his community and beyond to achieve lasting change for the better. ”
Claudia Eckhaert, tourism consultant

“Paul was a leading light in Responsible Tourism in South Africa – we should honour his memory by redoubling our efforts.”
Harold Goodwin, professor of responsible tourism
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memories of Paul … IN CAPS LOCK !

Friday, April 21st, 2017

We’re proud to have worked with Calabash since the very beginning of ‘people and places’ … and as with any strong relationship, our working relationship was based on mutual trust and learning. Needless to say, our years together had occasional moments of misunderstanding or lack of understanding … but our mutual strength developed by our working through such moments TOGETHER.

The projects’ needs are and always will be our starting point. My role in ‘people and places’ involves working closely with each individual volunteer to ensure that their placement is a match to those needs … and that requires prompt exchanges between me and our local partner to provide the volunteer with plenty of information about their placement. I’m the one working ‘at the coal face’, so to speak …

Let me tell you a story …

not a fairy story !

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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