We caught up with Bath University second-year psychology student Nele, on her return from volunteering at Nkosi’s Haven in South Africa over the summer.
“I really enjoyed it and I was completely involved in it. I believe I made the most out of it because I ended up taking over the baby day-care for two or three weeks and I offered to help with CV and job applications for the mums, and that was all taken on really really well, everyone was really happy with that.”
“I had quite a lot to do, there were different ways to handle the whole situation.”
‘I’m just going to do what I can’ attitude, it gave me the motivation to find something to do and we got to observe some play therapy which actually happened with one of the kids that I had in day-care which was incredibly interesting and I really enjoyed it, I genuinely thought I got a lot out of it and I was very sad to leave in the end.”
Nele was able to work with other volunteers in creating a workshop for the children at the centre:
“we did a workshop on sexuality and transgender themes with the teenagers. One of them even came up and asked questions afterwards. They wanted us to go talk to the mums even though it was such a zero-tolerance society. The people were great, the kids were great”
Nele was also able to go outside of Nkosi’s Haven to see how other NGOs function in the country;
“We organised and went to a creche in Soweto so we made use of the time and we explored South Africa and Johannesburg, it was a great experience and I loved every second of it.”
The day trips were a great idea, every time we did on I had an amazing time. Gail organised for us to see the Teddy Bear Clinic which was incredibly interesting and it was really nice to see how other organisations in South Africa work.
“Gail is one of the most hardworking women I have ever met, everyone knew who she was. It was great to see that we are working for a cause that was so useful and well known. I was really really attached to the kids and loved building something that will last.”
I think psychology can be involved under very specific circumstances, we’ve seen the places that Nkosi’s works with, which could definitely involve psychology aspects like, life skills workshops and psychology workshops.
We suggested things like movie nights and dance nights to help boost the children’s self-esteem. There is also opportunity to participate in play and art therapy.
Despite the challenges Nele finished by saying
“I cried when I left, it really is what you make of it. I loved working for a project that is doing such good work in the community”
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