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University of Geneva student Estelle Fischer (22) spent four months volunteering with Projects Abroad in Cape Town at the beginning of 2013.
Her curiosity piqued by ‘lots of documentaries on Africa’, Estelle wanted to experience the historically-rich country of South Africa for herself.
‘I wanted to get as far away from Europe as possible – to witness the complexities of a third-world country first-hand. Driving from the airport, the first thing I saw was the township of Khayelitsha. No television footage could prepare me for the misery and squalor of the area.’
Estelle is particularly concerned about the vast socio-economic divide that is so obvious in Cape Town. ‘It’s crazy how there are so many rich white people living in areas like Camps Bay, Hout Bay and Sea Point, seemingly oblivious to the suffering that goes on in the poorer areas. Back home we have rich and poor, but the majority of us are middle-class and the divide is not as obvious.’
Estelle considers it pertinent for foreigners to visit the more impoverished areas of Cape Town and South Africa in general in order to hear and share stories ‘across the fence’. ‘There is so much large-scale assistance that is needed, but sometimes people just want their stories to be heard. I am lucky enough to be able to travel but most of the kids in the townships will probably never be able to leave South Africa, and we are their only window to the rest of the world. Volunteers and locals give each other so much just by being so different and accepting those differences.’
Estelle is glad that she came to South Africa for herself instead of just believing everything she had heard about the country and its ...
On Thursday, March 28, 2013 Tanzania Country Director, Glory Matoi, received the Young Achievers Award during the Tanzania Women of Achievement Awards held at the Serena Hotel in Dar Es Salaam.
The Tanzania Women of Achievement Awards (TWAA) pays tribute to the most exceptional and achieving women in the country who have not only achieved success in their own respective fields but who have made a significant difference in their communities and society as a whole.
Glory took over the role as Tanzania Country Director in October 2012. She previously worked as Desk Officer and Program Coordinator after joining Projects Abroad in June 2010. The Young Achiever Award is given to women under the age of 30 who have played a remarkable role within her given field and achieved great results. Glory is passionate about introducing volunteers from all over the world to Tanzania and has demonstrated a sincere commitment to the growth of the offices in Arusha and Dar Es Salaam.
In addition to the Young Achiever Award, other categories included Woman of the Year, Agriculture, Social Welfare, Science and Technology, Sport, Public Sector, Health, Education, Information and Communication, Business Entrepreneurs, and Arts & Culture. There were three nominees in each category however, only one woman received the award. The TWAA received over 500 nominations.
The Awards provide a wonderful opportunity to recognize and applaud women who are helping to reshape Tanzania for the better. The ceremony was not only inspirational but the schedule allowed time to make new contacts as well as a chance to enjoy a series of presentations to celebrate successful women.
The award will be followed by a mentorship program that will pair young emerging women leaders with women executives in business ...
Andrea is from Germany and she has now been a medical volunteer with Projects Abroad Sri Lanka for 3 months. She is a ‘pre-med’ (what we call our medical volunteers with no prior medical experience) and she came here to get some experience in this field.
While in Sri Lanka, Andrea was living with the Arjuna family. This family live within 5 minutes from the hospital where Andrea works and the host parents are both doctors at this hospital. This is great because the host parents provide so much support and advice for the volunteers during their time with us in Sri Lanka.
Below are some pics of the Arjuna family and Andrea’s emotional farewell. There are three children in this family, but unfortunately one was at school when these pics were taken.
laert af dem, intet er saa slemt at det ikke er godt for noget. I ojeblikket har jeg vaeret her en lille maaned og har valgt at flytte til Kandy de sidste to maaneder. Det skyldes hverken min vidunderlige hostfamily eller de skonne born i tsunami campen, men bare det, at jeg kan prove mig selv af paa en ny maade. I Kandy vil jeg skulle arbejde med handikappede born og aeldre paa et bornehjem, og det er en helt ny udfordring, som jeg gerne vil prove. Paa den maade er Projects Abroad ogsaa enormt fleksible og endnu en gang er jeg blevet glad for at jeg valgte at rejse med dem.
Naar jeg ikke er paa mit placement, hygger jeg mig med de andre frivillige. At rejse saadan her giver ogsaa et stort netvaerk paa tvaers af jordkloden, og jeg har faaet venner fra naesten alle kontinenter. Saa vi tager afsted sammen i weekenderne og oplever oen paa en helt anden maade, end som almindelig turister. At vi har laert lidt sinhalesisk gor saa at lokalbefolkningen elsker os, naar vi kaster os ud i at sige hari-hari eller taelle til ti.
Det har allerede givet mig oplevelser, som jeg aldrig ville have faaet ved bare at rejse rundt. At jeg saa har valgt at rejse alene har blot gjort mine nye venskaber staerkere og gjort mig mere selvstaendig og fri. Sri Lanka skal helt sikkert opleves som frivillig!
- Ditte-Marie Gronlund, Sri Lanka 2013
(Undskyld de manglende danske bogstaver! Det skal nok lige rettes igennem)
Bosco Sevana is in the sleepy seaside town of Bopitiya, around an hour drive north of Colombo, near the international airport. We sent our first volunteer here in January, meaning that it is one of Projects Abroad Sri Lanka's most recent placements.
Bosco Sevana is an orphanage for boys, and young men, who have been effected by a psychologically disturbed past, so the main job for our volunteers working here is to try and help the boys attain a bright future with a career focus. The orphanage is run by a few Catholic Fathers and Brothers and they assist our volunteers throughout their placement. These guys are a real inspiration to meet and one can learn so much from working with them. They have donated their lives to help these unfortunate boys. They are also a right laugh and like to have a bit of a banter!
It is difficult to say whether Bosco Sevana is a care or teaching placement because to be honest it can be both (or either or, depending on what the volunteer would prefer). The volunteers who work here can be very flexible with what they do. Most of them teach English, or, I.T, during the day and play sports with the boys when it gets a bit cooler. This includes cricket, volleyball and football, which are all played on the beach. Additional activities include cooking for the children, playing games or just simply assisting the Brothers and Fathers with their every day work. All in all, helping the boys attain a bright future after their extremely dark past is an extremely rewarding experience for the volunteers and the boys. Projects Abroad are very proud to be assisting with this.
In this photo album Nol Van Loon (our dutch volunteer) is having a footy match with the Brothers and Fathers (apologies to you Americans but being an English man I ...