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

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. Read the rest of this entry »

a new guide for turning good intentions into effective results

We at people and places have been asked to advise on many volunteer guides in the past – here is one we can wholeheartedly recommend.

 You can buy The Essential Guide to Volunteering Abroad direct from the publishers here.

The Essential Guide to Volunteering Abroad offers a powerful and transformative new approach to international volunteering. The “learning service” model helps volunteers embrace the learning side of their adventures—and discover how cultivating openness, humility, and a willingness to reflect can enhance help them do good better. It’s not a lightweight ‘how-to’ handbook, but a thoughtful critique, a shocking exposé, and a detailed guide to responsibly serving communities in need.’ (Bennett et al)

We are proud to have been a part of it.

trade not aid – we need your business skills

“trade not aid” we hear this all the time from so many development experts but what does it mean?

Should I volunteer abroad?

For us at people and places it’s pretty straight forward – we have worked hard to ensure that our business support programmes give the communities we work with the skills they want and need to earn money – and we all know in our own lives that thats what we need to do – it’s all about the money.

No we are not talking about fundraising – nor are we talking about grandiose business plans – we need volunteers that can share skills such as

building spreadsheets

simple cash accounting

researching opportunity and risk

building a blog

holding a meeting

making sure  my product has a place in the market ( we grandly call this marketing – but sometimes it’s as simple as is the soap my village cooperative sells the right colour for the tourist hotel we hope to supply – can we produce enough lettuce for the big restaurant or should we be building a relationship with smaller organisations

Often when we talk to potential business volunteers they are sceptical about how they can help – we need to explain that it is all about transferable skills

Here`s an example …volunteer Marvin contacted us – he is a insolvency accountant – he wanted to volunteer – he wanted to do it responsibly – he wanted to share his skills but he felt his “field” was just too narrow and inappropriate….we ( well Kate) suggested a project in The Gambia which would “turn your experience in insolvency on its head. And although it is a cliché I really liked the fact that she was able to think outside the box.”

Kate discussed with Marvin that he knew all about businesses going bust – so he knew a lot about why they went bust – so Kate said  let’s take those skills and use them to help people avoid going bust…..that’s exactly what he did in The Gambia

So please -if you have business skills we can and will use those skills….

here are a few programmes we work with that need your skills – there are lots more

Building livelihoods in The Gambia

Business development support for businesses in Siem Reap, Cambodia

Business development support for young adults in a learning centre near Kruger Park

 

 

volunteer socials – “everyone…so helpful and enthusiastic”

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

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

exceptional service for disadvantaged young people royal accolade for our partner in Saint Lucia.

We are so proud to work with Delroy and the team at  Sacred Sports Foundation

Recently received this recognition “Delroy Alexander, of St. Lucia as the 16th Commonwealth Point of Light in honour of his exceptional service leading sports development programmes for disadvantaged young people across the Caribbean.”

Delroy Alexander is the Chairman of the ‘Sacred Sports Foundation,’ which helps disadvantaged young people aged 6-25 through inclusive sports development programmes. Delroy works in low-income areas to help young people access sport, specifically targeting women and girls, children with additional needs, and youth offenders on probation. Partnering with the ‘St. Lucia Football Association’, Delroy has trained 70 sports coaches in St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada, helping them to mentor local young people and improve their skills and confidence through sports.

Read the whole article here

and PS we just want to say – bravo Nova too – we know that your support is so important for Delroy

read about one of the programmes we work together with SSF here

Visiting speakers – thanks to everyone

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

Dianne’s travels in southern Africa continued . . . on to Port Elizabeth

My recent trip to South Africa culminated in two thoroughly enjoyable weeks spent in Port Elizabeth, working with Calabash, our wonderful local partners.  As always, they could not have been more friendly and welcoming – I immediately felt part of the team and we had a really great time working together.  Port Elizabeth is a fantastic place to volunteer – really worthwhile projects where you will spend your working day, a very supportive team to take an interest in what you are doing, look after you and make sure you have a good time, and lots to do in your free time.

Read the rest of this entry »

so proud of our partners -Tiger Mountain, Nepal

We are thrilled to announce that our partners at Tiger Mountain Nepal have just won a prestigious award that recognises their commitment to the environment and the communities they work with and in.

Well done and well deserved all at Tiger Mountain

To learn more about the volunteer programme we work on in partnership with Tiger Mountain – take a look here 

Fatima’s journey to school in Morocco

When you watch this short video about one girl’s journey from school to her village, you will understand why we support this life changing initiative. The boarding houses are so important. (**switch on subtitles**).

 

no more words … we will let Fatima explain

but if you want to learn more about how you can support girls like Fatima take a look here.