Archive for the 'volunteer stories' Category

volunteering – the right people in the right places

Monday, September 17th, 2018

I (Kate) just LOVE my job and I thought you’d like to read these snippets from 2 recent volunteers about how ‘people and places’ works closely with volunteers, right from the beginning – doing our utmost to put the right people in the right places:

SOPHIE
‘I was very impressed (and grateful!) that when my original allocated project proposed a job role that didn’t quite align with my experience, People & Places organised for me to change to Treak. This was a perfect fit and I’m glad I ended up there!’
ELLIE
‘Kate and the team at People and Places were very helpful, accommodating and efficient in
organising my time volunteering. I got in touch hoping to get away as soon as possible with short notice and they were able to make it work for me whilst managing my expectations. I appreciated Kate advising me on the country that might be best suited to me and she put me in touch with others whilst she was away so that the process could be sped up!’

stories from the field – by volunteers

Monday, September 17th, 2018

Elsewhere in this newsletter, you’ll be able to read Dianne’s full report from her own recent volunteer placement in Port Elizabeth.  

At people and places, we firmly believe that sharing volunteers’ reports, before and after placements, is vital in helping everyone to appreciate their own role in a project’s development and sustainability.

Here are some extracts from 2 more volunteers who also worked in South Africa this year, though on a different project from Dianne – in Kruger. Husband & wife team, Paul and Jacky, worked on different project needs and for different periods of time, while sharing each other’s company and experiences as residents of the lovely (and safe!) volunteers’ accommodation.  Read more about this project here. (more…)

back to Port Elizabeth as a volunteer – not as p+p’s programme advisor!

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

Emmanuel Advice Care Centre in one of the Port Elizabeth townships is a project people and places volunteers have been supporting for many years now.  I (Dianne) was last there in October 2017 in my role as programme advisor, but that did not give me enough time to do any meaningful volunteering work myself, so I returned this spring for four weeks as a volunteer.  Here is my report.

Placement outline

This placement was slightly different to a normal volunteer placement in that the idea for what I should do came from us at people and places rather than coming directly from the project and our local partner, which would be the normal approach. However I had visited Emmanuel several times in my role as programme advisor for people and places and knew that what I was proposing did fit in with one of the project’s stated aims on the support plan, ‘to support the staff at Emmanuel in their work with children in the crèche and preschool, helping them develop appropriate play and educational activities for the children.’ The plan for my placement was see if the curriculum project for pre-school children we helped to set up in Swaziland, which has been so successful there in raising children’s achievement and developing teachers’ skills, could usefully be transferred to Emmanuel. Although the Swaziland project is set in a rural area and Emmanuel is in the middle of one of the townships, the communities have many similarities. They are both very economically poor communities, with high levels of unemployment and ill health, largely due to the high incidence of HIV/Aids and TB, and the projects in both countries aim to provide holistic family support to vulnerable families.  In addition, the structured programme now offered in Swaziland has enabled our local partners there to use unskilled volunteer groups in a much more useful, relevant and focused way, and our hope was that if a more structured programme was offered at Emmanuel this might provide our local partners in Port Elizabeth with an additional project, focused on responsible tourism, for the school and university groups they often host. (more…)

volunteer socials – “everyone…so helpful and enthusiastic”

Friday, June 22nd, 2018

A good time was had by all at our recent volunteer social, held at Leicester University.  New volunteers were able to chat to people who have volunteered in the past, hear about their experiences and learn about what it is really like to be a volunteer on one of the projects we support.  People who had volunteered together years ago were able to have a good catch up chat,

and people who had volunteered on the same project at different times were able to meet up and share experiences.  We were delighted to welcome a good number of possible new volunteers and look forward to taking their applications forward and matching them to appropriate projects.

We have received a number of emails from people who attended the social – here are some of their reactions:

‘We both enjoyed meeting everyone on Saturday and finding out so much more about the projects available. Everyone was so helpful and enthusiastic about people and places.’

‘My thanks to you, Kate and the whole team for the excellent day on Saturday. It was really good to explore some options and meet some previous volunteers.’
‘I’ve come back very much determined that, in some way or another, I will be volunteering.’
‘We really enjoyed it and appreciate the efforts you all went to.  We’re looking forward to exploring possible opportunities.’
‘It was lovely to meet you and see Sallie and Kate again – I continue to admire all that you all do at People and Places and your genuine desire to provide responsible tourism so keep up the good work.’
‘Was nice to be able to attend the social in Leicester and great to catch up with Chris! We corresponded a few times last year but hadn’t actually met before.  I really enjoyed volunteering with people and places and would like to do it again at some point. I think your team does such a good job and I would recommend you all 100%  responsible volunteering is the way forward!’
Our next social will be in reading in October – please email kate@travel-peopleandplaces.co.uk to book your place
PS had to share this picture of Sallie – being shy and withdrawn as she welcomes everyone – and Kate ….what is she thinking?

volunteer junkie

Friday, June 22nd, 2018

This article was written for the Leicester press just before our recent social at Leicester University.

SHE’S KNOWN AS GRANDMA ALL ROUND THE WORLD

Do you think volunteering in the developing world is something just for young people?  If so, you should talk to Yvonne Coulson!  Yvonne, who lives in Lutterworth, is 77 years old and has been volunteering since 2007.  In that time she has completed ten volunteer placements, in six different countries – South Africa, Nepal, The Gambia, Kenya, India and Swaziland.   (photo with Lisong Bah  Early education expert The Gambia)

Yvonne has built up good relationships with local people in all the countries where she has volunteered.  She is still in contact with many of them, and many of them still remember her as ‘Grandma’ – she says she now has adopted grandchildren all round the world!  Yvonne says, ‘I would recommend volunteering to anyone – you are giving of your time and talents but gaining a wonderful insight into the cultures and diversity of our world’.

Yvonne plans to volunteer in Kenya with us later this year – take a look at the programme she will be working with here

Before her retirement Yvonne was a teacher and all her volunteering placements have made use of her teaching skills and experience, working in local schools and helping to train local teachers.  Her specialist subjects are Maths and Science, especially in the primary sector, and this has been invaluable to teachers in the developing world where their access to resources is often very limited; Yvonne says ‘The practical Science I have introduced has been to show how the subject can be taught without proper lab equipment.  One of my strengths is the ability to make do and mend and the recycling of everyday objects into useful teaching equipment’.  She has also helped teachers with more interactive methods for the teaching of English, which is often the main language of education even for children who speak other languages at home, and her interest and skills in Music and Drama have been welcomed in all the countries where she has worked and have added a new dimension to children’s experiences as these subjects are rarely a formal part of a school’s curriculum.

Yvonne volunteers with people and places, an award-winning organisation which sends volunteers of all ages on tailor-made placements which match their skills and experience to locally identified needs, in 10 different countries in the developing world.

Watch Yvonne talking about her experiences

Visiting speakers – thanks to everyone

Friday, June 22nd, 2018

It’s hard to find a good speaker, or so I’m told by people faced with the task of booking different speakers for the social groups they belong to.  Well we can help!  A number of people who have volunteered on people and places projects, including myself, regularly give talks to different social groups such as the WI, church and U3A groups – I was once even invited as speaker (to talk about volunteering) to the local gardening club!  This is a wonderful opportunity to tell people about the countries where we volunteer and about the various projects we support and the inspiring work done there.  Those of us who regularly give such talks find people are always very interested in our volunteering experiences and enjoy the different perspective on travelling that we can give them.

We would like to take every opportunity to expand this work, and are looking for opportunities to get onto speakers’ lists in different parts of the country.  I personally have pretty well exhausted opportunities local to me (although several groups invite me back regularly) but am willing to travel more widely in order to talk about volunteering to people who may not have thought of doing this before.  Who knows – maybe some people are sufficiently inspired by hearing someone talk about their volunteering experiences to try it out for themselves!  So if any of you belong to any groups that invite visiting speakers, please give them our contact details – we will be happy to find a good speaker for them.

And finally – a huge basketful of thanks to all of our volunteers who get out there and spread the news – there is no better way for us to promote our work than by volunteers telling their stories.

Dianne Ashman

time to get together again – Saturday 24th March – Leicester

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

… we’re delighted that we’ll be holding our next volunteers’ social meeting in central Leicester … more accessible for more people, whether travelling by road or rail !

volunteers’ social meeting

Saturday 24th March – 1.00 to 5.00 p.m. 

Come and meet previous, present and co-volunteers, as well as the people and places team, of course !

This is a great opportunity to learn more about the projects if you’re planning to volunteer, and to meet old friends if you’ve volunteered with us before.

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

Please email Kate if you would like to come and join us for the afternoon – and don’t be shy: the more, the merrier !

Full details to follow early in the New Year.

“passing the baton” – volunteers and projects working together

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

When any new volunteer placement is accepted and agreed, we send previous volunteers’ reports and encourage our new volunteers to get in touch with those who have been to the same project before. This is a vital in enabling continuity of project support and placement roles – and also avoids volunteers “re-inventing the wheel”.
Individual placement roles differ according to volunteers’ individual skills and experience – whether in education, training, practical skills, social care, nutrition, health care, social work – but the fundamental skills-share approach applies with each and every placement.

The following extracts, from several volunteers as well as from the projects in Cambodia, demonstrate the interconnected nature of placements and “passing the baton” … 

 

so, Cambodia projects … teaching, training & education, practical skills, horticulture, health & social care (click on the link to find out more)  (more…)

how exciting – a volunteer has written a book about her experiences !

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

volunteer Jenny has written a book about her experiences – which anyone can buy – and all proceeds will help to support the work of our local partners, Calabash in Port Elizabeth!

Hello Mrs Jenny

check it out here … Mrs Jenny Welcome

A great read – the realities of a volunteering experience !

 

 

Kenya – a return to familiar territory – this time, as volunteers !

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

The following extracts are from volunteer Kathy’s report following her 2 month placement at Gede House – a school for children with special needs.

My son, Joe, and I decided to volunteer for different projects in Kenya this year and we were lucky

Precious, Pauline (me) and Peris

enough to come across People and Places through our search for potential placements. Joe worked at Sita Community Snake Farm on a conservation placement and I volunteered at Gede Special School. The whole process and experience was very well supported and organised with friendly, professional and personal one to one guidance. For me, as a teacher, it was important to know that we were being ‘screened’ appropriately and that we were expected to go through a proper application procedure, complete with references and disclosure checks. Not only did this reassure me of the organisation’s ethics but also gave me a genuine sense of trust and confidence that the projects would match up to expectations and would suit our individual skills and vocational interests.

(more…)