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 🙂

Saint Lucia – a volunteer story

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By Kate Stefanko | Filed in newsletters, volunteer stories | No comments yet.

Volunteer Amanda has been in Saint Lucia since mid-October, working in C.A.R.E. (Centre for Adolescent Renewal and Education) with work-related training for young people.

Amanda has been embracing all aspects of her time in Saint Lucia – from organising workshops and sharing her skills with local staff, to enjoying all that the island offers during her time off !

Here are some extracts from her story, so far …

Arrival 
Well this is a first…blogging and St Lucia that is…It’s 3am and I’m wide awake, thinking about my first day here which started when I landed at 1.30pm yesterday.
I was met at the airport and driven to my new home from home – passing cocoa trees, grapefruit trees, banana plantations, a local guy selling crabs on the roadside. It’s beautifully luscious and green here. The rich countryside, colourful houses dotted in the hills, kids immaculately presented in their school uniforms, colourful roadside shacks selling creole bread and fruits. …

sunset at Rodney Bay

sunset at Rodney Bay

Rodney Bay is on my doorstep and the beach is literally across the road. … Read the remainder of this entry »

people and places was founded to make volunteering a better experience for volunteers and the communities they work with – we decided the best way to campaign for better was through example.

We believe in the power of well matched and well prepared volunteers – we believe the overwhelming majority of people want to do good….but we also see the damage being done in communities where poorly thought out, managed and monitored programmes are being run. We believe volunteers and the communities they seek to serve are often exploited – and they deserve BETTER.

Our plan was always to campaign FOR not AGAINST

but

….and it’s a big but….. Read the remainder of this entry »

In November, we received sad news about volunteer Dudley who had worked with his wife, Carole, in a Port Elizabeth school this year.

Carole sent us the following message: “We had a short service for family and a few very close friends followed by a celebration of life ceremony in our village … and we were able to remember Dudley’s life and achievements in a very fitting way. We suggested that donations in his memory could be made for the school and we will be in touch with Paul about this in due course.”

 

 

 

 

And here’s a lovely portrait of Dudley on Scafell Pike, celebrating life.Dudley

 

 

 

Thank you, Dudley and Carole, for your valued and valuable work.

Kate and the ‘people and places’ team

We all enjoy our volunteers’ social meetings – a lot – and November meetings are especially popular because one or more of our local partners is usually here in the UK and are able to come along and join us. This year, we’re delighted to announce that both Adama Bah from The Gambia and Michael Horton from Cambodia will be here in Faversham!

Adama Bah

Adama Bah

Michael Horton - Cambodia

Michael Horton

Date & Time: Saturday 12th November – 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Our invitation is to ALL volunteers – previous and future – why not come along and meet Adama & Michael, as well as the  ‘people and places‘  UK team.

Please let us know A.S.A.P. if you plan to come too, as we have rather limited space here at ‘head office’ (i.e. Kate’s home!)

Just email Kate – kate@travel-peopleandplaces.co.uk – to book your place !

Looking forward to meeting many volunteers, both ‘new’ and ‘old’ (!)

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?

Read the remainder of this entry »

TO CAMPAIGN OR NOT TO CAMPAIGN – WHY I HAVE DECIDED TO GET INVOLVED

Dianne

Dianne

by volunteer programme advisor Dianne Ashman

As you will know, there are two connecting strands to the work

people and places does.  We send volunteers on placements where their skills and experience have been carefully matched to local needs, and we campaign for responsible practice in volunteer tourism – and both these categories have been reflected in awards people and places have won, for Best Volunteer Organisation and

Best for Responsible Tourism Campaigning.

Up until now I have preferred to focus my time and energy on the volunteering side of things, helping our local partners identify needs and helping to prepare volunteers to do their bit to meet these needs.  I have not wanted to get involved in the campaigning side of our work as I am personally uncomfortable with the rather negative and critical connotations of some forms of campaigning (not necessarily ours) and I prefer to focus on the positives of trying to make our volunteer placements as successful as possible for all concerned.  However I have always taken an interest in the issues raised through our campaigning, particularly those involving children and child protection.  I have therefore followed with interest all the publicity around the negative impact of volunteers working in, and foreigners supporting, children in orphanages.  One of the articles published as part of a recent ‘blogging blitz’ on the dangers of orphanage tourism really made me think.  The writer of the article was talking specifically about student volunteers going to orphanages as part of a gap year experience, and he made the point that we are wrong to criticise these young people for taking part in a misguided form of volunteering because we have never taught them that it’s an inappropriate thing to do.  As a teacher that really struck a chord, and fits in exactly with my views – I don’t want to criticise bad practice but I do want to raise awareness about what some of the issues are and how to make good choices when volunteering or supporting people in developing countries.

 In fact, having once thought this, I now feel it would be irresponsible of me to know something about the issues and not to spread the word.

“The challenge is certainly not to stop supporting children in developing countries – the need has not decreased – but to make sure we are doing this in ways that genuinely help and are not designed simply to make us feel good – and that requires real thought.”

Read the remainder of this entry »

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.

Read the remainder of this entry »

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.

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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

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.

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‘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!