Psychology - Durban

The Psychology Placement is for current and alumni psychology students, professionals and alumni who want to live in a different social and cultural context in the heart of local communities in South Africa. This placement is designed to give essential practical work experience to apply to degree related travel and career progression, while giving back to communities affected by HIV/AIDS.

Operation Bobbi Bear

A community-based response human rights organisation based in Durban, South Africa. Bobbi Bear support children’s right and children who have been victims of sexual abuse. Victims of sexual abuse are thrown into a criminal justice system that is ill equipped to enable them to communicate about their ordeal in a way that safeguards their well-being. The added trauma of children struggling to communicate with police officers who are not trained in working sensitively with abused children means that justice is often not done for the child.

During your stay you’ll be able to apply your research methodologies, gather insights and understand how people’s way of life has developed in South Africa. In addition, you will deal with everyday cases that come in, as well as follow up with closed cases and community outreach programmes. where you’ll be involved as a supporting member of the team.

This is a great programme to acquire research for a third year dissertation or to simply apply your degree education in communities in need. You can research while volunteering based on your academic interests and dissertation topic. Please ask us about your ideas.

Psychology topics to consider;

● Development from infancy
● Psychology, Crime and the Criminal Justice System
● Society, Politics and Prejudice
● Society and Communication
● Child development Psychology
● Social Research Methods
● Social Psychology
● Clinical Psychology and Mental Health

 

“This is an incredible project to volunteer with. Those who practice or are studying social work, counselling, psychology, child development, youth work or anthropology, I believe can gain a lot from this experience. Working within a different cultural framework, understanding the challenges of that environment and learning how NGOs work to overcome them can deepen your understanding of a subject and enable you to broaden your approach to it.” 

 

For more testimonials from students and volunteers, visit our blog or contact us to discuss your research and volunteer plans. 

 

*Please be aware, that places are limited, and in the summer months, fill up fast as this are very popular and unique placements

 

Go to emergency call-outs and support the Operation Bobbi Bear Child Safety Officers (CSOs) throughout the abuse cases that come in during your programme.

Visit local police stations, hospitals and the High Court to assist with trauma recovery and support victims throughout the process.

Be closely involved with the rescued children when they come to the rescue centre, and/or support on site where the case is attended too on location, this will include comforting them, counselling them and loving them, using your experience and knowable working in this field.

During your stay you will shadow the Bobbi Bear staff and support where needed. You will give guidance, listen and learn about the different cultures and policies within them.

You will gain insight and experience the social welfare system of South Africa

You will participate in lectures at rural schools to raise awareness about sensitive issues such as HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse and sex education through the use of the ‘Edu-Toy’

Attend ‘The Tree’ clinic and help develop outreach programmes that bring rural communities together to share stores and empower women and children.

You will learn about the ‘Bobbi Bear bear’ a toy used to support the case building from first contact to prosecution.
Bobbi Bear Example Volunteer Schedule *Please note that Bobbi Bear is an emergency response organisation, sometimes you will be shadowing staff, other times you might be required to hold a child's hand whilst waiting to see a doctor, or take care of a child at the centre.

4 week placement
First Day: On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with. You will be taken to your accommodation and given a meal.
Training: 2 Days
The training will begin the day after you arrive. This consists of 2 days with a Child Safety Officer, the founder of Bobbi Bear, important history, Bobbi Bear operations and current cases.
Weekends:
Friday: Mum’s and babies at the Illovo Tree
7.00am – 2pm
Saturday: Children’s Day at the Illove Tree
7.00am – 2pm
Sunday: (This could be rotated if Sunday is a required working day)
Free time

Weekdays: Volunteers work for approximately 3 to 5 hours per day. A typical schedule is as follows:
7.00 AM – Breakfast at the volunteer house. Debrief of current cases. Allocation of buddy/mentor for week 1 (2 weeks of shadowing if 4 week placement)
7.30 AM – Volunteers travel with their buddy for the day. Start time and daily workload depends on the project that the individual volunteer is participating on.
1.00 PM – Volunteers break for lunch. Volunteers either travel back to the volunteer house or eat a packed lunch at their placement. After lunch, volunteers continue with their volunteer work (where applicable).
3.00 PM – 4.00 PM – Work with the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to return to the volunteer house, plan for the following day’s activities or use their free time as they wish.
7.00 PM – Dinner at the volunteer house.
AIRPORT PICK UP
Bobbi Bear is around 40 minutes drive from the Durban airport. A member of the Bobbi Bear staff will meet you off your flight and take you back to the airport.

TRAINING
Bobbi Bear
A long serving member of the Bobbi Bear family will guide you through everything you need to know about working with Bobbi Bear during your stay. You will learn about the history of HIV/AIDS in South Africa, how they use ‘the bear’ and what procedures you will need to go through when a case comes into Bobbi Bear HQ.

ACCOMMODATION
Bobbi Bear has a beautiful and very secure volunteer house with garden and all amenities. You will have your own bed, hot shower, wifi, fridge/freezer in room, air con, kitchen and tea/coffee. You will stay with other volunteers. A great way to bond and make friends.

FOOD is not included, there is a foodhall/foodmarket next to the volunteer house where you can purchase all necessary food.

SUPPORT
You will be guided through every step of your volunteer programme. You will be assigned a member of staff to answer any pre-trip questions. You will also have a member of staff at the project to help with anything whilst you are in South Africa.
You will have some time off to explore South Africa. Please look at the Optional Extras for additional trips and adventures.
We want you to have the experience of a lifetime. You are a VIP after all.

Although this is not a holiday but an opportunity to invest into an amazing charity working with some of South Africa’s most vulnerable children, we want you to have the full South Africa experience. That is why we can arrange extra trips for you during your stay at Bobbi Bear. These can be arranged once in S.A. with the team at Bobbi Bear, or before through your support officer.

Cooking an authentic African meal
Zulu home visit
Church visit
Fishing trip
Beach trip
Farm visit
Safari
Sky diving
The price starts from ****€560 per week**** and reduces the longer you commit.

This fee is set to cover your living costs (Accommodation, WIFI, cleaning, kitchen use, aircon rooms, travel to and from the airport, pre-trip support, on the ground support and aftercare) We have built in a direct donation for the organisation you will volunteer. There is more info in the 'Included' tab.

We are a fundraising charity organisation encouraging sustainable international development with all of our project partners. Therefore we have built in a direct 100% donation to the host organisation to support their running costs and included your living costs (accommodation, 3x meals per day, airport transfers, pre-departure support and aftercare)

We encourage you to fundraise for your fee’s, flights and spending money and can advise you on methods and bursaries available. We have over 30 years joint fundraising experience and we see fundraising as an additional bonus skill for career development for each student.
Visas

South Africa does not require visas for UK passport holders. If you are from outside of the EU please let us know and we will find out details for you. You will need a visa if you plan to stay longer than 3 months.

Flights

Flights from the UK range from £400-£600 depending on your time of travel. SkyScanner and Kayak are great ways to search for the lowest fares.

Injections

You will need to check with you doctor to find out what injections you require. Everyone is different, so please check. Although this is a safe area of South Africa, some injections may be required before you travel.

Optional extras

These can be arranged at an addition cost. These are not expensive costs and will undoubtedly be less that a tour operator.

UK travel to and from the airport

We can help you plan your journey, but we cannot pay for it. Just ask.
There booking conditions form an important part of the contract for your placement so please read them carefully before confirming that you agree to them. All placements advertised on our website are provided by Vocational Impact or as agents for receiving partner, and are sold subject to the following conditions.

Booking & Fees
Placement Fees

The deposit and total fee for the Vocational Impact Placements (referred to as ‘Vocational Impact ’) shall be as published on the Vocational Impact website – www.vocationalimpact.org
All prices are accurate at the date published, but we Vocational Impact reserve the right to change any of those prices. Prices on our website are updated regularly. Before you make a booking Vocational Impact will give you the up-to-date price of your chosen placement including the cost of any peak-season supplements, upgrades or additional facilities that you have requested
Your fees will be payable by way of a deposit and placement fee as follows:
Vocational Impact Placements
A deposit is due upon acceptance of your application and upon receiving your 1st invoice, by Vocational Impact, onto your selected placement.
A first payment for the deposit of €300 is required to confirm your place on the volunteer placement
The final instalment of the placement fee balance is due:
60 days prior to your date of departure.
You must be 18 years old or over and possess the legal capacity and authority to make the booking and accept these booking conditions. If you are currently under 18 years old you will be required to have a parent/guardian sign a copy of this agreement.
If Vocational Impact as the agent for our receiving partner accepts your booking we will confirm and then a contract will exist with us as agent for a disclosed principal.
It is imperative that you advise us at the time of booking of any condition, medical or otherwise, that might affect your or other people’s enjoyment of the trip.
You must be completely honest with Vocational Impact throughout the application process and all information contained on any form completed must be accurate. Any false, deceptive or withheld information on your application or documentation, or any behaviour deemed by Vocational Impact as inappropriate or prejudicial, during, or after, your acceptance to a Vocational Impact placement may be grounds for immediate cancellation from the placement with, or without, refund of fees, all at the absolute discretion of Vocational Impact .
Unless otherwise specified on www.armsaroundthechild.org the advertised placements do NOT include any air travel. It is your responsibility to purchase your own flights.
A booking is accepted on the strict understanding that;
You undertake to comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange, drug and all other regulations of any
You comply with your chosen placement’s rules and behaviour guidelines, which are intended to ensure your safety and enjoyment of the placement. You will be advised of any specific placement rules either in your pre-departure information, or during your orientation. If you commit any illegal act when on the placement or if in the reasonable opinion of the leader your behaviour is disruptive, threatening or abusive or is causing or likely to cause danger, distress or annoyance to others we may terminate your participation on the placement without any liability on our part.

Application & Documents
For your application to be complete you must complete and submit the online application form and the necessary documents, within the required timeframes, as outlined below.
Documents Required:
You are required to fully complete the Vocational Impact online application form and upload a photograph of yourself.
You are required to submit to Vocational Impact a copy of the picture page of your current, valid passport. It is your responsibility to check the passport requirements for the country to which you are travelling to ensure your passport is valid.
You are required to return and sign the relevant documentation included in your Welcome Pack.
Medical History:
Please disclose any medical conditions that may affect your participation in the placement.
Travel Insurance:
You must have valid travel insurance before travel and provide Vocational Impact with a copy no later than 30 days prior to your departure date
Flight Itinerary:
You must provide Vocational Impact with a copy of your confirmed flight itinerary no later than 10 days prior to your departure date and you agree to advise us of any changes that may be made to your arrival details at the earliest possible opportunity.
placement Specific Documents:
You may have to submit additional documentation such as, visa documentation, certifications or qualifications, CV/resume and references. You will be given specific timeframes for submission of each.
Vocational Impact reserve the right to postpone or withdraw your application if you have not completed and/or submitted all the necessary documents within the required time frames.

Health & Travel Insurance
It is your responsibility to ensure, at least one months prior to travel, that you obtain proper and detailed medical advice for the latest health requirements, recommendations for your destination and any costs. Where you do not do so and either are not allowed to enter any country, or suffer personal injury or death as a result, we have no liability to you for any cost, loss, or damage which you suffer, nor will we refund you the cost of any unused portion of your travel arrangements or Vocational Impact placement fees.
You are required to make Vocational Impact aware of any pre-existing medical conditions and you may be required to submit an additional letter from your doctor.
It is your responsibility to advise Vocational Impact of any special dietary requirements.
If you are a pregnant woman, or have recently visited other countries you should check requirements with your general practitioner.
You must insure yourself against any possible risk that may occur and in particular to ensure that you have sufficient insurance in respect of expenses, injury, illness, death, repatriation, cancellation and curtailment and dependent relatives. You are required to carry proof of insurance with you and produce it if reasonably requested by our employees or suppliers. You should ensure that there are no exclusion clauses that limit cover for the type of activities included in your placement.

Visas, Passport & Travel
Whilst Vocational Impact are able to provide basic advice to you regarding passports, visa or travel requirements, you should check with the appropriate Embassy, Consulate, British Foreign Office and/or airline for the exact requirements for your chosen placement and date of travel
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct passport and visas to gain access to any country/region included in your travel arrangements. If you are travelling overland to certain destinations you may need to also pass through controls of other countries en-route so this should be allowed for with any passport/visa applications. If you fail to do so, Vocational Impact have no liability to you for any cost, fines, loss or damage that you suffer, nor will we refund you the cost of any unused portion of your travel arrangements.
Should your chosen placement require a visa, Vocational Impact is not in control of the processing time or success of your visa application. If your visa is delayed, thus affecting your ability to travel or meet your placement requirements, or if your visa application is denied/rejected, your application will be cancelled and the charges contained within the “Booking Amendments, Cancellations and Refunds” section will apply.
In some cases, countries will refuse entry to clients who have criminal records. Should you be concerned about this, please check with the embassy or consulate of the countries to which you are travelling.
When assessing whether tours or expeditions will operate we use information from our receiving partner in conjunction with advice from the British Foreign Office and other relevant government bodies. It is your responsibility to acquaint yourself with the travel advice provided by these government bodies.
Should you arrive outside the agreed start date/time for your placement, or do not advise of your correct arrival details, you may have to cover any additional costs.

Your placement
Please be aware that any accommodation, food and facilities that you will be provided with will be of a local standard and these may differ to the standard you are accustomed to. You may be required to share a bathroom and/or bedroom.
You are expected to satisfy yourself prior to booking that you are fit and able to complete the itinerary of your chosen placement as described. If you suffer from mobility impairment, illness or disability or undergoing treatment for any physical or medical condition you must declare the true nature of such condition at the time of booking and make arrangements for the provision of any medication or other treatment which may be required during the placement.
We are agent for receiving partners in each of the destinations that we offer placements. They are responsible for offering you in-country support while you are on your placement. Full contact details of the receiving partner will be given to you prior to departure. In country partners are responsible for your orientation and they are there for any emergency support and emergency issues and to resolve any such issues you may have regarding your placement. If you have any problems or complaints during your placement you must inform our receiving partners and the relevant supplier of the service immediately.

Complaints and Disciplinary
If the Student Volunteer wishes to make a complaint in relation to the Project, he/she shall bring the complaint to the attention of the Project Manager or the representative in the host country, who shall use his/her reasonable efforts to resolve the complaint within a reasonable time.
If the Project Manager or the representative in the host country is unable to resolve a serious complaint, and the Student Volunteer leaves the Project before the completion date, the Student Volunteer shall provide the Project Manager or the representative in the host country with a written version of events prior to the Student Volunteer’s departure.
No compensation shall be given to the Student Volunteer, unless there are extreme circumstances, which shall be determined at the sole discretion of Vocational Impact. The Student Volunteer agrees that under no circumstances shall Vocational Impact be liable for damages or compensation arising from any claim related to the assessment of inconvenience, disappointment, discomfort or loss of enjoyment.
Should Vocational Impact be unable to resolve a serious complaint, it shall be referred by Vocational Impact to a legally binding arbitration service, at the expense of the Student Volunteer, which will be refunded should Vocational Impact be found in the wrong.
Vocational Impact reserves the right to:
deny a Student Volunteer from participating in a Placement; or
expel a Student Volunteer from a Project where that Student Volunteer is in breach of any term of this Agreement.
Without prejudice to the generality of the clause above the following (non-exhaustive) list of acts will result in automatic expulsion:


the possession, taking or supplying of illegal or illicit substances. The question of whether the substances are illegal or illicit is to be governed by the jurisdiction of the state where the acts take place;
displaying cruel, thoughtless or rude behaviour or committing acts which could injure or harm another Participant, a Program Manager, a member of staff, or any other person;
disobeying Vocational Impact’s, the Project Manager’s or the Student Volunteer Coordinator representative in the host country’s instructions in relation to health and safety;
committing an act or displaying behaviour which could jeopardise future Vocational Impact Projects within the host country or lead to the souring of relations between Vocational Impact and the host communities or country; and
breaking local laws.
Expulsion will be carried out by the Project Manager at Vocational Impact’s own discretion and is not subject to appeal.

In the event of expulsion for any reason, the Student Volunteer will not be entitled to any reimbursement from Vocational Impact, nor will Vocational Impact be responsible for any additional costs incurred by the Student Volunteer as a result of expulsion.

Booking Amendments, Cancellations and Refunds
If you change your booking more than 4 weeks prior to departure:
Vocational Impact will charge £150 to facilitate the change if a change can be made.
A further deposit may be payable as well as additional placement costs if your new amended itinerary is more expensive than the one you originally booked.
If you cancel your booking after payment of the deposit has been made (changes to your booking within 4 weeks of departure will be treated as a cancellation of the original booking) OR Vocational Impact withdraws your application due to non-compliance with any of the terms and conditions contained in this agreement, then charges and conditions are as follows:
Vocational Impact ment placement
Deposit is non-refundable
Within 30 days of departure: total placement fee is non-refundable
Any refund issued, regardless of the circumstances under which is it being issued, will incur a 5% transaction fee
If your booking is changed or cancelled
In the event that our local operator chooses to do so, Vocational Impact reserve the right to cancel your booking or change any of the facilities, services or prices described in our brochures or website. Vocational Impact will endeavour to advise you of any changes known at the time of booking. Vocational Impact also reserves the right to switch receiving partner.
Our receiving partner and Vocational Impact as agents for the receiving partners plan the arrangements for your placement many months in advance and may occasionally have to make changes, most of which are minor.
If a major change becomes necessary, Vocational Impact will advise you of the change as soon as possible. Whether a change is ‘major’ depends on the nature of the trip and may include a change in the type of placement or the country of destination for reasons beyond our control.
Compensation will not be payable if Vocational Impact are forced to cancel, or in any way change your trip for reasons of consolidation due to minimum numbers not being attained or force majeure. Operation of all trips may be dependent on a minimum number of persons booking the trip. If that number is not achieved, Vocational Impact reserves the right to cancel the trip. Circumstances amounting to “force majeure” include any event which Vocational Impact or the supplier of the service(s) in question could not foresee or forestall such as (by way of example and not by way of limitation) war, threat of war, riot, civil strife, industrial dispute, terrorist activity, natural or nuclear disaster, fire, acts of God, adverse weather conditions, and all similar events.
When a major change occurs prior to departure, you will have the choice of either accepting the change, or accepting a replacement trip from us of equivalent or closely similar standard and price, or cancelling your placement, in which case Vocational Impact shall refund you in full less an administration charge of £50 per person on the booking.
Vocational Impact strongly recommend that you make no travel arrangements to your point of departure, arrange any connecting travel that is non-refundable or non-changeable or incurs penalties or incur any costs in respect of visas or vaccinations until such time as your travel itinerary has been confirmed.
Vocational Impact strongly recommends that you take out insurance that includes cover against irrecoverable cancellation costs.
If your placement fees include insurance, you will remain responsible for the full amount of your insurance premium and this will not be refunded in the event of your cancellation. You may however be able to transfer this cover to another placement
Vocational Impact reserves the right to withdraw your application, without refund, if unable to make contact with you at the contact details provided; if you are late with any paperwork or payments; or in any other circumstances where Vocational Impact is unable to obtain required information from you.

Our Liability, Conditions of Carriage and Limitations
Our obligations, and those of our receiving partners providing any service or facility included in your placement, are to take reasonable skill and care to arrange for the provision of such services and facilities. You must show that reasonable skill and care has not been used if you wish to make any claim. Standards of, for example, safety, hygiene and quality vary throughout the transport and destinations that your placement may involve. Sometimes these standards will be lower than those that would be expected in the UK. The services and facilities included in your placement will be deemed to be provided with reasonable skill and care if they comply with any local regulations that apply.
Our liability, except in cases involving death, shall be limited to at most the cost of your travel arrangements. In any event if less than this our liability in all cases will be limited in accordance with and/or in an identical manner to the contractual terms of the companies that provide the transportation and/or placements for your travel arrangements. These terms are incorporated into this contract; and any relevant international convention. Vocational Impact are to be regarded as having all benefit of any limitation of compensation contained in these or any conventions.
Vocational Impact shall have no liability where the cause of the failure to provide, or failure in, your placement or any death or personal injury you may suffer is not due to any fault on our part or that of our agents or suppliers or receiving partner, because it is either attributable to you, or attributable to someone unconnected with your placement and is unforeseeable or unavoidable, or is due to unusual or unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control, the consequences of which could not have been avoided even if all due care had been exercised, or an event which neither Vocational Impact , nor our agents or suppliers could have foreseen or forestalled.
If you purchase any optional activities that are not part of your pre-booked itinerary, the contract for the provision of that activity will be between you and the activity provider. The decision to partake in any such activity is entirely at your own discretion and risk. If you do have any complaint about, or problem with, any optional activity purchased in resort your claim should be directed to the activity provider and not to us. In the event of there being a successful claim for costs against a third party or a suitable insurance policy or policies being in force, Vocational Impact are entitled to recoup from you the costs actually incurred by us in giving any assistance.
Vocational Impact may operate placements in regions where standards of accommodation, transport, safety, hygiene, medical facilities and other infrastructure may, at times, be lower than those you normally expect. Your booking is accepted on the understanding that you realise the hazards involved in this kind of placement, including injury, disease, loss or damage to property, inconvenience and discomfort. The whole philosophy of this type of travel is one that allows alternatives and a substantial degree of on-trip flexibility. Changes in itinerary may be caused by events such as (by way of example and not by way of limitation) local political conditions, flight cancellations, mechanical breakdown, weather, border restrictions, sickness, or other unforeseeable circumstances.

General
You consent to your image and any comments, photos and videos uploaded to our website being used for marketing purposes.
We will have the right to terminate this agreement in the event that you breach any of your obligations and termination will result in the loss by you of all monies paid and also render you liable for potential damages arising from that breach.
We shall be entitled to assign the benefit or part of this Agreement to any third party, but shall remain primarily liable for the obligations hereunder.
Nothing in this Agreement shall constitute you as our agent.
Nothing in this Agreement shall be deemed to constitute a partnership or joint venture between us.
You agree and accept that we are not providing you with any service that could be construed us as an employment agency or running an employment business. You agree that all payments to us are as agent and all fees we earn are paid by our receiving partner.
The parties believe that VAT is not chargeable on any monies changing hands hereunder. In the event that for whatever reason this is not the case then you agree to pay VAT on all sums previously paid and authorise us to debit your credit card with this amount.
This Agreement together with all documents referred to herein constitute the entire understanding between the parties with respect to the subject matter hereof and supersedes all prior or contemporaneous agreements in regard thereto.
This Agreement cannot be amended, superseded, cancelled or any of its terms and conditions waived except by an agreement in writing signed by authorised representatives of both parties or in the case of a waiver signed by an authorised representative of the party waiving compliance and specifically referring to this Agreement.
If any of the provisions of this Agreement are or become to any extent or in any circumstances invalid or are ruled illegal or deemed unenforceable for any reason under the current applicable law from time to time, then to the extent or in those circumstances it is the intention of the parties that this shall not affect the validity or enforceability of this Agreement or of any of the provisions of this Agreement and if such provision would be valid if some part of the provision were deleted or modified, the provision in question shall apply with such deletion or modification as may be necessary to make it valid provided that the operation of this clause would not negate any commercial intent and the purpose of the parties under this Agreement.
This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English law and you submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts in relation to all disputes relating to the Agreement. We submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts in relation to all disputes relating to this Agreement and shall be entitled to commence proceedings against you in such other jurisdictions as are appropriate.
Any notice to be given under this Agreement shall be in writing and shall be deemed duly given if signed by or on behalf of a duly authorised officer of the party giving the notice and if sent by first class post or delivered by hand or sent by facsimile transmission to the address of the recipient as may be notified from time to time. Any such notice or other communication shall be deemed to be given:
by post on the day (not being a Sunday or public holiday) falling 48 hours after the date of posting;
if served by hand at the time the same was handed to or left at the address of the party to be served; and
in the case of a facsimile transmission at the time of transmission, and in providing service of the same it will be sufficient to prove in the case of a letter that such letter was properly stamped, franked, addressed and placed in the post and in the case of a by-hand delivery that such letter was delivered to the proper address and in the case of a facsimile transmission that such facsimile was duly transmitted to a facsimile number notified to the other party for this purpose.
You agree to abide by all lawful rules and regulations of our local operator and the location you visit and to fully indemnify and hold us completely harmless from and against any liability, obligation, loss and expenses including court costs and legal fees incurred by us or a third party resulting from any injury, loss, property damage or expenses that you directly or indirectly cause or to which you contribute.


How much money do you think I will need to bring? How much do you think food, travel etc. cost?


This is dependent on what you would like to do around your volunteer programme. There are options to go on a Durban night tour, Tala the local game reserve (safari). There are also options to go to a local Zulu church, street market, township. These will all be relatively cheap. I would say £200 extra per month. Regarding food, there is a supermarket next to Bobbi Bear HQ, so base this on your current daily food budget.


Is it still possible for me to visit friends/adventure away from Bobbi Bear during my programme?


Yes. Operation Bobbi Bear can offer advice on day trips and how to visit places you may wish to go. We will help you plan your itinerary. We would like to highlight that as a volunteer, your time is very precious to the Bobbi Bear team. If you want to travel further afield/throughout South Africa, this may best be done, before your programme/after.


Should I organise anything else to do with my time or will I be occupied most of the time?


You will be busy, but the nature of the charity means that sometimes you will have free time to yourself. Operation Bobbi Bear is an emergency rescue centre, so it can be hard to predict when you will be very busy, and when you will have some down time. Our advice is to expect the unexpected and be flexible.


The average week is usually busy in the mornings, and then more quiet in the afternoons/evenings. There may be children living at the house with you, and there will be morning and night requirements. Helping them up, have breakfast and general playing. Then Friday and Saturday will be ‘The Tree’ and the community projects. Therefore we ask if you do want to arrange trips, in the week is a better time.






Do we know yet what I’ll be doing while I’m at Bobbi Bear? Is there a set plan or is it more of a day-by-day schedule?


We can give a rough plan but there may be changes. You will go with staff on cases to support victims at the police station and hospitals. You will visit townships and victims for post- trauma counselling. There will be an element of routine, but there will also be times where everyone has to jump in the cars and attend emergency situations. There may or may not be children staying at the house, so this will depend on the time you are there.


Overview


Go to emergency call-outs and support the Operation Bobbi Bear Child Safety Officers (CSOs) throughout the abuse cases that come in during your programme.

Visit local police stations, hospitals and the High Court to assist with trauma recovery and support victims throughout the process.

Be closely involved with the rescued children when they come to the rescue centre, and/or support on site where the case is attended too on location, this will include comforting them, counselling them and loving them, using your experience and knowable working in this field.

During your stay you will shadow the Bobbi Bear staff and support where needed. You will give guidance, listen and learn about the different cultures and policies within them.

You will gain insight and experience the social welfare system of South Africa

You will participate in lectures at rural schools to raise awareness about sensitive issues such as HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse and sex education through the use of the ‘Edu-Toy’

Attend ‘The Tree’ clinic and help develop outreach programmes that bring rural communities together to share stores and empower women and children.

You will learn about the ‘Bobbi Bear bear’ a toy used to support the case building from first contact to prosecution.




Are there any projects that you would specifically like me to raise awareness of in the follow up to my trip?


One of the most useful things you can do is document your experience. How you are feeling before and during your programme, what you are hoping to gain, what were your biggest challenges, what gaps for improvement are you able to see?

A Bobbi Bear diary is a great way to remember your programme too.

Your experience and story will become key in future volunteers supporting the work of Bobbi Bear. Volunteer Invest can provide guidelines for this, week by week to help you record your time with Bobbi Bear. Another very useful thing to do is tell your network and community about your experience through social media. Don’t forget to use our #volunteerinvest so we can share.


Is there anything specific you think I need to bring other than basic necessities? Eg does Bobbi Bear have any particular clothing policy? Is there anything I shouldn’t bring for security reasons or is the house fairly secure?


The house is very secure. We advise volunteers to take some long skirts, for example, the Zulu church requires long skirts to be worn by the women. It can be hot in the summer, so dress for this. There is aircon, so do take cardigans. Also, July is their winter, so trousers, shoes and jumpers. You will also be provided a Volunteer Invest T-shirt.


How are volunteers trained? What is the process?


We assess each application separately, looking at their reasons and motivations. We are approaching phycology students and therapy courses because of the nature of the South Africa project at Bobbi Bear. We don’t want to decide for people, only giving them the core information and allowing them to decide if it’s right for them. We aren’t a big company we are a small charity looking to build a sustainable model in the charity sector and offer reliable income for the Arms Around the Child projects on the ground in India, Ghana and South Africa. We will keep our size small to stay personable at all times. We want to build a community of like- minded people, who want to gain and give in different ways.

During your stay, you will be given orienteering and training with the staff on the ground. These are people who have been dedicated and working with the projects for a considerable time.





How do you maintain a relationship with the organisation after your volunteer programme is complete?

Many of the volunteers have such a life changing experience that they want to help share their stories, which we put on our blog, and send out to out networks via email. We believe the experience will be so powerful that word of mouth will enhance the volunteer numbers. An organic growth process is our aim.


Do returned volunteers recruit new volunteers?


This isn’t intentional, but it happens. We don’t force anything onto our volunteers. If they want to tell their story, and share then of course we will support this. But it’s not an aim, more of a coincidence. The nature of the programme means that we do have repeat volunteers and referrals. We love expanding the community of like-minded people.


What are the programme outcomes for the volunteer and partner organisations?

The volunteers will gain valuable experience working with vulnerable children and communities. They will experience the inside workings of a busy charity on the ground saving and supporting children affected by austerity. They will gain valuable perspective on different cultures and customs.


For the organisation, they gain a stable income to support their work, doing what they do, and not have to worry about how to turn on the lights or feed themselves. They also gain physical support and they learn a great amount from international volunteers. You can see interviews with all the project founders on our YouTube channel, talking about the impact to their organisations from receiving international volunteers.


How are you supporting volunteers whilst on site?


We have volunteer coordinators at all sites and we are in constant communication with them while they are there. We know the teams on the ground very well and they too give us daily updates. We do everything we can to help them have an amazing time, knowing they are supported. But we are also aware that we don’t want everything to be too processed. We are here to help guide the whole process, from early engagement, during, and after.
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