Nienke’s Bobbi Bear Volunteer Story

by Sarah Harris|Apr 20 2017|South Africa
Volunteers in South Africa, Operation Bobbi Bear, Volunteer Abroad with Volunteer Invest

What follows is the testimony of one of our volunteers who came back to Bobbi Bear after they had truly embraced the organisation’s ethos in their first volunteering experience. The strength of Bobbi Bear lies in a true connection with the local community, in its agility as an organisation in tackling the various aspects surrounding the abuse of children and women as well as the complications resulting from it. Her two stays, in 2008 and 2010 for a total of 18 weeks of work, have given her a unique perspective on the importance of Bobbi Bear’s contribution in addressing this crisis.

When did you volunteer with Bobbi Bear? How long were you with them?

There were many different tasks to keep us busy in our time there. We took care of 2 little girls that stayed at Bobbi Bear. We visited police stations, hospitals and courts always to support the victims, in addition to helping out at the clinic. Two days are never the same and you do what you can to keep up. It is a very hands-on organisation and everything you do is appreciated, whether it is sorting the help kits for the rape victims, which you take that to a callout,  with clean underwear,  drinks,  food, tissues, pen and paper, etc.), comforting a child, collecting food/clothes for the clinic or making sandwiches for the support group.

The great thing about working with Bobbi Bear is that they really look for what you’re good at, what your qualities are and they will give you work that suits your qualities and experience, which means you help out where you can really add more value.


How do you feel the experience changed you? In your opinion, should people do volunteering?  

If possible, yes. You contribute to a better world and give yourself an important lesson about life. The experience changed me as a person and it affected how I look at the world. Bobbi bear is a big family and everybody has their own struggles. Together they are one and stand for one goal: the protection and care of children and the community.  

I really encourage people to get out there and help others. It makes you think twice about the things you take for granted and it shows you the importance of contributing and giving back.

Why should someone choose to volunteer with Bobbi Bear?

Bobbi bear is an organisation that will stay in your heart. The dedication to fighting for every child they meet, the importance of every little life and the open heart to help everybody they come across.  I think it’s very important to work with children, they are the future and you can show them what you want for a society as a whole.

Can you name the most impactful moment your volunteering experience provided you?

There were plenty of moments that will stay with me forever. During my first stay at Bobbi Bear, we had a case of two sisters and their little brother who were living with their aunt and were physically abused. They could not sleep in the house but had to sleep in a shed or outside in the cold.

They were severely neglected, the little boy was 3 but could not walk nor talk, as he just crawled everywhere and behaved like a baby just a few months old. The kids were taken from their aunt and placed in a home.  As part of the Honour Programme, Bobbi Bear kept track of the kids and made sure they were doing fine.  When I came back in 2010, I went to that home and saw the little boy again, except now he was happy, healthy,  walking and talking!

The dedication of all the people involved with Bobbi Bear stays with you, as does the love they bear for every child they meet. Every hour of the day is spent working for a better community and building a better life for the children.


Would you like to Volunteer with us or know more?

You can read more about our volunteering programmes in South Africa here. Furthermore, you can find out more about Volunteer Invest here.

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!

Child DevelopmentMental HealthPsychologySocial WorkSouth Africa Testimonials

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