Archive for the 'volunteer stories' Category

a great volunteer story from South Africa

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

Finnish volunteer, Roosa, is a professional in the art of graphic design. She worked for 6 weeks with the  ‘media team’ in Hazyview Digital Learning Campus – and my goodness, her work was hugely appreciated!

“Even with years and years of experience in graphic design, when you ask Roosa if she will be able to help in that field she always replies saying: ‘I will try.’
And then delivers a masterpiece.”

a photoshop session with volunteer Roosa

a photoshop session with volunteer Roosa









why was April 23rd an important day?

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

CIMG1233April 23rd 2016 . . . St George’s Day, Earth Day, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death . . . and, most importantly of course, the day we held our latest volunteer social!  This time we met at volunteer Val’s home near Hemel Hempstead, the weather was kind to us, and we all enjoyed a lovely sociable afternoon catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.  There was a good mix of previous volunteers who could tell us about their placements in a variety of different countries and potential volunteers who wanted to find out all about how people and places works and were keen to learn more about the places where they might volunteer soon.  We try to find venues for our socials in different parts of the country to give everyone the chance now and then to come to a social not too far from home, but some volunteers had made the effort to travel quite a long way to this one, and we must make special mention of the new volunteer who flew in all the way from Donegal!

It is interesting that at some socials the focus seems to be, quite by chance, on the projects in just one or two of the countries where we volunteer.  At last November’s social there happened to be a lot of volunteers who had either just returned from or were just about to go to South Africa, and our different projects there dominated the conversation.  This time the flavour of the month was definitely Cambodia, with new volunteers in particular wanting to know all about the volunteering opportunities there.  They will of course need to go through the matching process to make sure their skills and experience match the needs of the projects there, but it certainly looks as though Cambodia can expect several new people and places volunteers later this year!  You can read more about our volunteering opportunities in Cambodia by clicking here and here.

Thank you once again to Val for hosting this social in her lovely home – we hope your family enjoyed eating up the left-over food!  Our socials are always such an enjoyable way to catch up with each other’s news, and we hope to see many of you again at our next social later in the year.

Watch the latest volunteer interview videos taken at this social here

Watch volunteer Robert talk about why and how he has chosen to volunteer with people and places and how important the volunteer social was in this decision.


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

South Africa: 2 community projects & 1 great volunteer story

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Gosh – where to begin ? Best to let Sonia tell you something of her six months in the townships of Port Elizabeth, where her work involved counselling in both Emmanuel Advice and Care Centre and in Emafini School, which is one of a cluster of township schools supported through the education development programme.

So, in her own words, here are some extracts from Sonia’s blog and volunteer report. (more…)

12th November – our next volunteers’ social in Faversham

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Yes, I know – November’s a long way off, and you’ve only just read Dianne’s report about this month’s social meeting near Hemel Hempstead …

But we also know that everyone’s diaries seem to get busier all the time, so we wanted to give you early notification in the hope that many of you will be able to come along to our volunteers’ social meeting here at ‘head office’ (aka Kate’s home!) in November.

The usual 1-5 p.m format – plenty of time to chat and share news of the projects and volunteers’ experiences, as well as meeting new friends and making plans for the future!

We’ll send out further details later in the year …

Meanwhile please email Kate if you’d like to put your name on the guest list !

local groups: putting you in touch with other volunteers who live near you

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

If you have told us that you would like to be put in touch with other people and places volunteers who live not too far away from you, you should by now have received a contact list of email addresses for volunteers in your area.

We have always encouraged a new volunteer on a particular project to make contact with others who have volunteered there before as a good way of getting to know about that project.  However, meeting with other volunteers who live near you should enable you to find out about people’s experiences at a variety of projects in many different countries.

people and places network

people and places network

Hopefully some of you have already taken the opportunity to meet up with each other.

If you would like us to publicise group meetings in our newsletter or to share any photos or news, please do let us know.

to volunteer as a family takes even more planning – but is so rewarding

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

We love hearing from families who want to travel and volunteer together – especially as we know that, to people in the projects and communities where we work, ‘FAMILY’ is so important !

Tim, Rosalind and Millie  came along to our November meeting here in Faversham to meet us and other volunteers as they begin to make plans for their family volunteer experience in 2017, and it was so good to meet each other!

Kate had something to say ...

Kate had something to say …


This from Tim: “We just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed meeting you, Harold, Sallie, Dianne, Nigel and all the volunteers. The whole session really brought to life our ideas for volunteering so we have much to think of over the next few months.”

and here’s a video of Tim, Rosalind and Millie talking with our very own Harold Goodwin.

Really looking forward to our working together !

our next volunteer social – April 23rd

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

Even as I write this, I can hear you saying “What? It’s not even Christmas yet, and you’re talking about April.”

Saturday 23rd April

Saturday 23rd April


Please bear with us, as there’s a very good reason: April 23rd will be our next volunteers’ get-together, and we know that your busy diaries fill up quickly after New Year, so we’re trying to beat the rush !

Lots of you know that we’ve been hosting November social meetings here in Faversham for years, but thanks to a previous volunteer’s generous offer to host a meeting for us, we’re now delighted to invite you all to our spring meeting – a different season and in a different place: Val’s home in Hemel Hempstead.
Everyone who’s attended any of our previous social meetings knows how useful it is to get together with other volunteers and talk about their experiences and the realities of volunteering overseas, and these informal occasions are always thoroughly enjoyable.

As previous volunteer Bob wrote:
“I was able to talk directly to the staff and to people who had been  before.  These conversations were very helpful.  I also met another volunteer who would be in the school at the same time … so a potential ‘team’ identity was established.”

So, whether you’ve already volunteered with us or you’re thinking about the possibilities of volunteering in the future, you will be welcome to come along.

We’ll send full details early next year, but meanwhile, please let us know whether you will be planning to join us for a spring afternoon in Hemel Hempstead.

As you’ll understand, Val will need a good idea of how many people to expect, so please
email: – by 20th February. Thanks.

We look forward to another opportunity to meet and hope to hear from you soon!

local groups – volunteers get together

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

In our summer newsletter, we floated the suggestion that volunteers in different parts of the UK may be interested in meeting other volunteers in their area … to which many of you responded, both speedily and positively. We know that informal and informative get-togethers are always popular, but our regular people and places meetings in Faversham are too far away for many people.

people and places

people and places

So, we did a little map-making project here in the office and we’re delighted to say that no less than 10 groups have already formed – not quite ‘from John o’Groats to Land’s End’ … but from the Scottish Lowlands to the Jurassic Coast is pretty good coverage!


With Christmas and the holiday season almost upon us, it’s unlikely that any of the groups will manage to meet until the New Year, but we’re looking forward to news. Maybe your group will arrange to meet in someone’s home, perhaps at a local tourist attraction, or at a convenient mid-point cafe or restaurant … the options are many and varied, but will give you opportunities to meet and chat with like minded people about volunteering, about your projects (and to catch up with more local news, of course!)

As this new network gathers pace, you may also want to invite an interested friend or colleague to join you … and when we have new volunteers who are interested in joining a local group, we’ll make sure we share relevant contact names and email addresses with them too. Something that occurred to us since we identified the various local groups, is that you may want us to update you with news from or about particular projects … so we asked ourselves how we could do that most effectively. We’ve come up with the following idea: if each group nominates one person as a primary point of contact, we could send recent volunteers’ reports in time for any meeting you may have planned for your group. All we need to know is the name of your nominated volunteer contact …

Finally, once you have a date for your local meeting, please let us know when and where you’ll be getting together …. and if you’d like to invite any of the people and places team to join you, we’d be delighted to come along if one of is in the area.

7th November – LAST CHANCE to attend our volunteer social meeting in Kent ?

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

It’s nearly the end of September … and a mere 6 weeks until our 2015 ‘at home’ meeting on Saturday 7th November.

Our invitation has already been accepted by volunteers who have worked in South Africa, The Gambia, India, Cambodia, Nepal and Peru  … and Dianne will be here, of course, having recently returned from visiting projects in Swaziland and South Africa …

We’re also hoping that some of our overseas partners may be able to join us, as many of them will be in the UK for the annual World Travel Market in London. in it together

So, if you’re thinking about volunteering at some point in the future, or if you’re already making plans, this is a great opportunity for you to come along and talk with people who’ve already “been there, done it ( and  not “got the T-shirt”we don’t do T- Shirts!) …


We all LOVE these occasions and can promise you a thoroughly informative and sociable afternoon: find out more about the projects; meet some of our local partners; talk with other volunteers; enjoy the stimulating company of like-minded people – of all ages and from all walks of life; share in some sustaining drinks and nibbles … oh yes, and meet the people and places team: Kate, Sallie, Dianne, Nigel and Harold …

Our Faversham ‘at home’ meetings are always popular, so please let us know as soon as possible if you would like to come, and if you will be alone or with friends and family!

email by 10th October at the latest … we need to plan our catering!

WHEN: Saturday, 7th November – 1 to 5 p.m.

WHERE: head office – 1 Naboth’s Nursery, Canterbury Road, Faversham, Kent ME13 8AX (Kate’s Home!)

PROGRAMME: this is an informal occasion – at about 1.45pm, we will give a short presentation and then there will be plenty of time to ask questions and socialise.

“I attended a volunteers’ social event in Faversham in November 2014 and spoke to people who had worked at both projects. I also met Sonia, another volunteer who would be working in the same project and living in the same homestay. It was great to get to know each other before we started our placements.”  volunteer Abbey, 2015

“Please count me in. It will be great to see you and other volunteers and have an opportunity to hear about other’s experiences as well as get a chance to share some of my own.” volunteer Sonia, 2015

You bet I’ll come !!! Can’t wait to catch up and talk to all these interesting people xxxvolunteer Anke, 2013 & 2014