We recently had a chat with Ryan, who volunteered at Nkosi’s Haven for a month.
Ryan had worked in business development for several charitable organisations, including Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, which has a strong relationship to Nkosi’s Haven.
This helped him get involved as a volunteer and put his experience as a fundraiser to use at the project centre. As he explains:
“Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS is the fundraising arm of the Broadway industry and community. Each year, they raise close to $20 million, mostly through fundraisers and donations related to the Broadway shows.”
The money is then granted out to AIDS service organisations, mostly in the US, but they do have a very special grant category that goes to South Africa.
That’s because the Lion King is one of the longest running Broadway shows, it’s phenomenal, and a huge number of the actors in the show and the dancers come from South Africa.
“The Lion King also helps raise millions and millions of dollars for Broadway Cares. So, years and years ago, they decided it was only right and only fair that a considerable amount of money be given back to NGOs in South Africa. They have about 20 different grantees in South Africa that get money from Broadway Cares. Nikosi’s Haven is one of the most well-known, most beloved ones, and for good reason. It’s got heart.”
“So when I was travelling, I decided I wanted to spend about a month volunteering. Nikosi’s Haven came to mind, so I got in touch with Vocational Impact and they welcomed me with open arms.”
“I arrived with some idea of how I wanted to help, and instantly helped Gail create a direct mail campaign to their existing donors.”
“We also built something called Nikosi’s Angels, which is a programme for people to give at a moderate level and become Angels. In the evenings, I spent about two hours doing tutoring with some of the older kids.”
While Ryan was discussing his work, he also mentioned the freedom the project offers volunteers:
As we all know, no volunteer opportunity is perfect. Ryan also informed us of one of the more difficult aspects of volunteering at Nkosi’s Haven.
“When they’re on campus, it can feel a little isolating because you don’t have a car there. You can get Uber, and I would recommend getting Uber so you can take it to the nearest mall if you just need a break. But I was so busy with helping that I got stuck right in and the time actually went by really quickly.”
However, at the end of the day, Ryan said what made the Haven the perfect fit for him was how he immediately felt at home
“I was in touch with Vocational Impact just by email for a month and a half or two months before I went. They prepared me with documents and background information. This meant I could make a start almost instantly. Everyone who walks in those doors is fully embraced by everyone, by the students, by the kids, by the staff.”
Would you like to Volunteer with us or know more?
Questions? Would you like to participate? That’s great – feel free to email us or call/whatsapp us on: +44 (0) 7704 129 816
Alternatively, complete an application to begin the process of volunteering, and we’ll be in touch with more details!