REVIEWS AND FEEDBACK
Anuj Chahal (British):
"Woah! Where to begin?! It was the first time living away from family, and I most definitely felt somewhat homesick during the first couple of days. It would be difficult to relate to the current housemates as conversation often revolved around past events and people, which you would not know anything about! But as soon as you became intergraded into the house, the housemates became your family, and homesickness dissipated into nothingness.
I feel my ability to relate and communicate to people has much improved. Having people of different ages in the house was definitely a benefit. Originally I thought it would be difficult for teenagers to get along with people 24 years and above. In fact it was enlightening being with these people, through talking about their past experiences, and having some of their maturity rub off on you (I hope at least!).
I was so taken back by the children. They showed so much affection at the school. Indeed it is very difficult at times to carry out a teaching role. But it was also very rewarding at the times when the children show an understanding of what you have said. It soon dawned on me that kids just love having fun, so some of the sports lessons I took were just a huge mess about with the boys and girls. I think those are the lessons that are most memorable, spinning the kids around, picking them up upside down and the kids playing with our hair, holding our hands and hugging us non-stop.
The smiles and love that they all radiated was immense. To think that some of these kids have so little in terms of material possessions, and the hardship some of them face, it just astounds me that they can be so happy and good individuals.
I had such a fantastic time and so did the other volunteers around me. Indeed we all looked forward to getting back home to see family and friends again, but we didn’t want to leave either since each day brought about a new adventure, leaving little time to be idle or become bored. So yes this placement has my full recommendation, and I believe a couple of my friends will be pursing it in their gap year next year."
Mark Horridge (British):
"During my stay I took over the football team where I hosted training sessions, picked the team and more importantly organised friendly matches against other volunteer schools. Needless to say we won which ensured a close volunteer relationship and a good time had by all.
Having returned home from Africa I have since acquired a donated full football kit that I will be shipping out shortly. Also during my stay I organised a fund raising fun day for the school where we all basically had a big party on the local playing field. The non-school aspects of your trip will provide as many memories as your time at school.
Knysna is a lovely little town which gets very busy with tourists from time to time and has a good night life to let your hair down at the weekends. My biggest surprise was just how developed Knysna was, and my decision to bring everything with me in a rucksack was instantly regretted as soon as I drove onto main street and past KFC and shops just like Boots and WHSmiths.
During the week we would hire many DVD’s, visit the cinema, go to the beach or visit the town. There is enough on offer to keep anyone with an ounce of personality going and if you get to Knysna I am confident you will fully enjoy it.
Your trip to South Africa will be as good as you want it to be. If you are enthusiastic, motivated and can use your initiative you will have the time of your life, but if you want a holiday with a permanent base this is not the place, as the first priority is the children and not yourself.."
George Lawton (British):
I would recommend this project to anyone with an interest in sports teaching because
you do so much in a day. I am now working with the grade 3 cricket team at the school
so these boys have basic hand eye co-ordination and helping them develop is really
This project would suit anyone who is interested in both sports and teaching.
No improvements could be made whatsoever to my placement, it has been catered so
I do as much sport as possible and I’m loving everything.
A TYPICAL DAY:
7.00 AM – wake up, have shower breakfast etc.
7.30 AM – Sharon [Volunteer Coordinator] picks us up and we leave for work, dropping
the other volunteers off on the way or getting dropped off first. Arriving at the
school at approx 8 AM.
8:00 AM - On arrival at the school the bell usually goes and the children get ready
for there first class which is maths. (in which I take no part in and I use this
time to check emails etc.)
8.40 AM - Math finishes and I will go and get my first class where I will collect
the students and take them to the yard/field and start my lesson.
9.25 AM - I take the students back to there class and I then go and get the next
class and I repeat the lesson till 10.10
10.10 AM - Break time.
10.35 AM - After break it is reading time for 35 minutes, I go and assist Mrs Jenneker
(the teacher I do English with) if I can before my next lesson starts at 11.10
11.10 AM - I repeat the lesson again with a different class.
11.50 AM - I repeat the lesson again with a different class.
12.30 PM - Break time.
12.50 PM - My final lesson of the day before finishing at the school at 1.30PM.
1.30 PM - Sharon [Travellers Volunteer Coordinator] picks me up and drops me off
at the ‘sports school’ where I will stay till approx 5.15 where I will be doing
various cricket exercise which both the under 11s team and the under 13s.
5.15 PM - Iain drives me home from the sports school.
This is normal Tuesday or Thursday, on Mondays and Fridays I assist in the English
classes, once on a Monday and 3 times on a Friday.
Sharon [Manager, South Africa] goes out of her way to make sure we have
a good time."
VOLUNTEERING WITH CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE ADULTS
As well as protecting all our volunteers, Budget Volunteering is committed to all our projects and dedicated to practices which protect children and vulnerable adults from harm.
LOCATION - KNYSNA:
Knysna is approximately 500km from the beautiful capital city of Cape Town and
voted South Africa’s favourite town 4 years in a row! Its mountainous backdrop,
impressively sized estuary and indigenous forests really give the town a natural
feel to it. Although it still has that ‘small-town’ feel, Knysna is growing rapidly,
and has all the amenities you could ask for such as banks, hotels, internet café’s,
cinemas and shopping malls.
Knysna nestles on the banks of a beautiful lagoon in the heart of the ‘Garden Route’
of South Africa. It is surrounded by a natural paradise of lush indigenous forests,
tranquil lakes and golden beaches, making it a real natural wonderland.
Knysna is a vibrant town, buzzing with creativity and energy, and the pulse of good
music. It's a place where the you can enjoy the mellow atmosphere of street cafes,
watching the world go by. The main street is very leafy with trees along the pavements
and it has a wonderful holiday atmosphere with sun umbrellas everywhere.
Most cafes have outdoors seating areas overlooking the street or on the pavements,
with colourful sun umbrellas - a perfect place to sit with the sun on your face,
watching passers-by ambling along, sipping a steamy cappucino or staving off the
heat with a cold drink.
About 20-30 minutes' drive away from Knysna you'll find Plettenberg Bay (better
simply as Plett), which is a bit smaller than Knysna, but equally stunning.
pure white beaches stretch as far as the eye can see and there is a lot to do,
whale and dolphin watching, to hiking trails and awesome nightlife.
The Garden Route is famous for all sorts of activities from adrenalin sports such
as bungee jumping, skydiving and shark cage diving to more relaxed pursuits such
as hiking, quad biking in the forest or visiting one of the many animal sanctuaries
in the area. Your local Travellers liaison will be happy to assist you in finding
interesting things to do and places to see so make the most of it!
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