Kids Haven has limited space to accommodate 4 - 6 international volunteers for between 3 and 12 months in our Village, living alongside the children. The volunteers are from many different countries and bring youthful energy and fresh eyes to the different ways of connecting with the children. They come with many talents for music, drama, sport, chess ... - all of which they are able to share with the children and teach new skills to the children while they are here.
The volunteers spend all of their time helping wherever they can with the children and are also directed into specific programs such as the Bridging School education program at the Shelter and in the Community Preschool. They are a real asset to Kids Haven while living here because they are a willing, ever-present extra pair of hands that can be depended upon to do what is needed when it is needed. They become important 'full time' childcare workers while at Kids Haven.
Kids Haven supports the volunteers who also want to take some time off to see this beautiful country. We understand that there is a give and take relationship between the Organization and the Volunteer and that their time with us cannot be all work and no play! While under no obligation to do so, some of the volunteers have even invited small groups of our children to go camping in the Drakensburg or visit the Kruger National Park with the approval of the childcare manager. This has been a wonderful opportunity for the children to see how rich and diverse the country is. There is even a term created for sightseeing while volunteering called "voluntourism"! It makes a lot of sense to us to see young people helping the children of South Africa while getting to see parts of the country while they are here. Several of the young volunteers have returned to SA at a later stage on holiday or have encouraged families and friends to visit this country as a result of their volunteering. A handy site to help volunteers travel to South Africa and around the country is the flight and travel comparison site Webjet South Africa which assists individuals traveling to South Africa, to source the best travel and flight deals online .
Voluntourism is helping to meet local needs while introducing South Africa as a destination of choice for the future. If YOU are interested, please email Terri to discuss possible opportunities: mailto:email@example.com
Kids Haven has also been able to send a few of our own children overseas to volunteer in Germany as part of their own personal development. So far 3 children have had this experience including 1 girl who has extended her stay so that she can learn German and enrol in University there.
Kids Haven has enjoyed much support from local volunteers who have been able to provide regular reliable help over months and even years. The greatest challenge with local volunteers is that they have 'full time' lives too and come to help at Kids Haven in their precious 'free' time. We could not do without them! While the International Volunteers are available every day, the local volunteers have to fit volunteering into their busy lives.
Our greatest demand is for regular and reliable volunteers. Then we can depend on that person always being here to do the assigned job. It becomes very difficult to manage, if the Volunteer says that he/she is coming but doesn't arrive. While we understand that interruptions can derail plans, it becomes difficult for Kids Haven to explain to the children that someone is no longer coming or to find a substitute to take responsibility for the volunteer's activity.
That being said, Kids Haven would never manage to do what we do if we didn't enjoy help from the local Volunteers who do come so willingly every time. We have seen great improvement in the children's project work and homework which translates into improved marks at school because of homework volunteers who are always there to help. The Kids Haven preschool could not manage without Lorna who sorts and tidies and displays and prepares the themes and items for learning every week. Her dedication to these little children is constant. And the Kids Haven Bridging School has grown and improved under the watchful eye of Zelda who is closely involved. Kids Haven is also able to rely on Di and John who are retired but have more energy than most. They have shown us that Retirees bring experience and knowledge that is hard to find.
Corporate Volunteer Days
Kids Haven has also enjoyed wonderful days with visitors who are able to donate just one day or a few hours to spend some time here. This kind of volunteering focuses on fun or on simple projects that have a defined start and end point. For instance, some of our best photographs have been taken by professional photographers who have been able to give up a few hours to take pictures of daily life, while almost every room in our houses at one time has been painted and refreshed through volunteers who come to paint for the day. Kids Haven does not underestimate the value of these single 'once off' activities. One of our children demonstrated a huge about-turn in his attitude to school because he was inspired to take education seriously by a volunteer who attended a Corporate Volunteer Day.
It is impossible to measure the benefits of the fun, positive interactions and great role models who drop into our lives and can effect change through a well-timed conversation, or the 'sweat equity' that improves the children's environment and gives them cause to dream broadly.
Kids Haven would love to hear from you if your Company or team would like to get involved. Please contact Susan mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Board of Directors
Kids Haven is privileged to have a handful of dedicated volunteers who sit on the Kids Haven Board and bring wisdom and guidance to the Organization. The Board of Directors are all leaders in the community yet willingly donate their time and expertise to ensure that Kids Haven has sound governance. Thank you to these men and women.