So you’re thinking about volunteering in South Africa, but you still have a few questions…………
You may be wondering what your day-to-day work will be like on the Criminology and Law Vocational Impact placement, how safe South Africa is, or if you will have time to explore outside of volunteering.
While Vocational Impact are happy to answer these questions or any others you may have, it’s sometimes best to hear from someone who’s been there themselves.
This volunteer is a recent Criminology graduate who is now furthering her education, studying business management and international law.
She spent six weeks at the Vocational Impact placement in Durban during her summer after graduating and wanted to share her own experience with potential volunteers.
The project was a great experience for me and getting to practice what I’m studying, so going to court was great for me.
Doing the therapy sessions, even when we went with Meredith to just watch her give the therapy sessions was a big thing for me.
When we arrived from the airport, there was immediately an emergency case where we had to take a child into the house with us from the first night on.
She stayed with us for four weeks, and then we gave her back to her parents because they managed to get a home and take care of themselves. Just that moment really stood out to me because of the appreciation from the parents and the little girl. She wasn’t that easy to handle but then she really appreciated us for taking care of her.
We also went to the tree, a community outreach initiative that the project run every weekend. That was also a great experience because you get to see the direct reactions of the children you help. You see that they’re happy you’re playing with them, that you’re making time to be with them, and that’s just from you being there.
“We took some time off while we were there. We went on a safari trip. We also visited the homes of the staff, they really wanted us to do that and they’re really open to it. We got to see how they really lived. Jackie’s husband even guided us on our safari trip.”
I felt safe in South Africa because Vocational Impact prepared us before we departed and we had training when we arrived.
I think the second day we were there, we took a tour of Durban with an officer and he told us the safe neighbourhoods and the less safe neighbourhoods, so then we knew when we went by ourselves a week later, we knew where we could and could not go. They really took care of us, and that’s why I really felt safe.
I also made good friends on the trip. We meet two or three times a year and stay at one of our houses for a weekend or something, I live in Belgium and they’re in Holland. It was six really intense weeks, so we really bonded and became friends.
My advice would be to go with an open mind. I went with a really open mind which I think is really important, because there was one other girl who was there with me who had frustrations over not having something to do some days.
But I was more open minded and that helped me be more open to doing smaller things. I think it’s difficult to say to new people to be open minded, but for me it really helped.
WATCH CRIMINOLOGY GRADUATES DISCUSS WHAT THEY DID ON THEIR CRIMINOLOGY PLACEMENT DAY-TO-DAY
Would you like to Volunteer with Vocational Impact 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!