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GROUP VOLUNTEERING PROJECTS
Organising Voluntary Projects Overseas for GROUPS since 1994.


AN EXAMPLE OF A TRIP ARRANGED FOR A GROUP STUDENTS AND TEACHERS FROM ARGOED SCHOOL:

About the trip:
Argoed High School approached Travellers Worldwide to put together a school trip that would enable their students to coach a variety of sports to underprivileged children, combined with conservation volunteering.

The school group consist of 26 people, this included 23 students and 3 teachers.

This trip was assessed based on the policies and procedures of BS8848:2014. We provide the school and their LEA with written risk assessments, contingency reports and much more.

With our expert team we tailored a special and unique programme for them in Knysna South Africa.

This was their amazing trip to SOUTH AFRICA!

Day 1, Tuesday: Arrival

Arrive at George Airport. Travellers' local In-Country Manager, Sharon, met the group at George airport and transferred the group to our accommodation in the Volunteer House in Knysna, for their induction.

Along the way they were driven through the town itself to give them a short tour of the local sights. Then they relaxed and explored the area.

A welcome braai (barbecue) was planned for the evening to give everyone a chance to wind down after the long flight and introduce them to one of South Africa's staple form of entertainment - a down-home barbecue with friends!.

Day 2, Wednesday: Township Tour and Sports Coaching
  • Township Tour – Collection and drop off from Volunteer House
  • Sports Coaching (various) with Knysna Sports School/Chris Nissen school

Posted by ARGOED HIGH SCHOOL on JULY 20, 2016
"Day 1 of our adventure saw us go on a local township tour. Our local guides, Ella and Mario (mother and son) did an unbelieve job in showing us the area and local culture. A morning of this saw us visit the houses, shops and library before spending time at a local pre-school. The students were surprisingly excitable and could not get enough of showing our Argoed students a warm South African welcome.

After this we visited Ella’s home where she, and two friends, gave us a demonstration of the traditional music and the had us join in!! We also learned some lingo before Ella spoke to us about her incredible and very humbling journey.

The afternoon saw us do our first session at the Chris Nissen Primary school. We had over 75 students ranging from 3 all the way to 13!!!! Al of this way done on a dirt rugby pitch. Our students were fantastic and were a credit to everyone involved.

Tomorrow is the Elephant park, which we are very much looking forward to!

A final quote from Mr. Hanson “I’m sure that the students had an absolutely amazing time on this phenomenal tour!!!”

Due to poor wifi connection pictures will be uploaded on Twitter."

Day 3, Thursday: Knysna Elephant Park and Cultural Enrichment Activities
  • Visit to Knysna Elephant Park with a tour around in the morning
  • In the afternoon, volunteering at the Elephant Park, working on Elephant Enrichments

Posted by ARGOED HIGH SCHOOL on JULY 21, 2016
"Today saw the 26 of us travel the short distance to Knysna Elephant Park. The research centre was established in 1994 to help two Elephants originally, Sally and Harry. This has grown to 9 today all of which are rescue elephants, either orphans or elephants that have been mistreated.

Upon our arrival we were greeted by Researcher, Doctor Debbie and her green team. Our first task was to feed the elephants! This involved us all getting in to small groups to feed an individual elephant. We placed our palms out flat and the elephants would pick up the fruit and vegetables with their trunks before placing in their mouths! The trunks actually produce a saliva type liquid which is similar to us salivating!! Very, very messy!!

After this was an opportunity to interact with the elephants. Here we were able to stroke and walk with these majestic animals whilst allowing for photo opportunities.

The afternoon saw us take part in enrichment activities where our students made “melon-men” for the elephants to later devour! In addition to this we made pellets which were placed on the sleeping area but hidden for the elephants to hunt down!

After this Doctor Debbie spoke to the group about the amazing work the research centre does, she also passed on some very sad statistics that overwhelmed and shock our students. By 2025 ALL wild elephants will be extinct from poachers. Because of this our students have decided to promote the #saynotoivory hashtag.

Once again a truly insane, memorable experience which they will never forget."

Day 4, Friday: Soccer Training at Youth Development Centre and Sports Coaching outside Knysna
  • Morning: Soccer Training camp at the Youth Development Centre in Khayalethu South.
  • At 1pm fetch the group at the Youth Development Centre and take them to Karatara Primary school in Karatara for 2 hours of sports coaching with the children
  • At 4pm Leave Karatara Primary school at and return to the accommodation.

Posted by ARGOED HIGH SCHOOL on JULY 22, 2016
"Friday Coaching Day: Today saw our students head out on a morning and afternoon of coaching. The first venue was Sinethemba Youth Development Centre. The centre hosts students who have not attended school or are school drop outs. Most of the student have had a negative experience in life and so it was an opportunity for our students to see first hand how education from whatever source can impact people’s lives.

There were 15 at the centre this morning and the first thing we were involved in was a Youth Centre initiative, the morning check-in. This is an opportunity for the students to discuss how they are feeling that morning and talk about any problems as a group. Once this was done we went into a range of games and sports with the group. They took this in their stride and were fully involved in the session.

A hugely successful morning where the interaction between both groups was brilliant. We travel back there next Friday where we are going to be taught by the group on their interests!

This afternoon took us to Karatara Primary School, a rural school about 45 minutes outside of Knysna. This venue took our students by surprise due to the boisterous nature of the students they were teaching. After settling the groups down though and working hard to establish a positive relationship things began to take shape.

A particularly nice touch was seeing the rugby coaches adopted a very serious nature to the session and have two teams both singing the national anthems before going into the game!!!

All in all, a fantastic day full of sport, adventure and learning. Tomorrow sees our students at Percy Madala High School.

Checking in, Argoed High School!"

Day 5, Saturday: Soccer Training at Youth Development Centre and Sports Coaching outside Knysna
  • Morning: Sports Workshop at Percy Mdala High School.
  • Afternoon: Sports Workshop at Percy Mdala High School

Posted by ARGOED HIGH SCHOOL on JULY 23, 2016
"Today saw us spend all day at the Percy Madala High School. Starting at 10am our students has time to set us on the school grounds for a day of festivities which included a BBQ, music and of course our sporting sessions.

Our students were immense during the whole day. Each sport was delivered with enthusiasm and a great amount of knowledge. The talent from Percy Madala was excellent and our students were extremely impressed with what they could achieve over the course of the day.

5 hours in total of coaching and our students were fantastic throughout. The day was finished off in traditional Sputh African style, a braai!

Tomorrow will see another whole day of coaching, this time in the township of Hornlee."

Day 6, Sunday: Sports Camp with local Children
  • All day: Weekend ‘Sports Camp’ in the Township (coaching various sports)- Hornlee sports ground

Posted by ARGOED HIGH SCHOOL on JULY 24, 2016
"As our first week nears its end, we finished at the fantastic Hornlee Sports ground. The facilities here were the best we have had with tarmacced basketball and netball courts, a rugby pitch and a football pitch.

Numbers were low to start given that most of the children were at church. But this soon picked up with each group having an increasing number of children attend.

We had a number of events running over the course of the day with rugby, football, netball, rounders, basketball and handball all on offer.

The weather was perfect for the day!"

Day 7, Monday: Game Safari at Plettenberg Game Reserve. Coaching Sports at local schools
  • Morning: 3-hour game drive on a Game Reserve near Plettenberg Bay.
  • Afternoon: Sports Coaching (various) with Knysna Sports School/Chris Nissen school
  • “Evening meal at Spur Burgers #yum @TravellersWW thank you for organising!” Argoed High School

Posted by ARGOED HIGH SCHOOL on JULY 25, 2016
"Saw our earliest rise of this trip this morning with us all up and ready to go at 8:15am! A few weary looking students considering we are into the 6 weeks holidays!

After the hour journey we arrived at the Game Reserve, we split into two group for our open top 4×4 safari. The reserve homes a number of animals, some of them endangered; these include: lion, cheetah, wild dog, rhino, elephant, giraffe, buffalo, wildebeest, blue crane, springbok, impala, hippo, ostrich, waterbuck, pyjama donkey and mongoose amonst many others.

The two hour trip saw our students see all of these, which, considering it is winter is a rare feat; according to our guides.

The highlight of the day for most was the big cats and the wild dog. The wild dog are actually more endangered than rhino with less that 5000 in the wild. So to see these in their natural habitat was incredible.

The afternoon saw our second return to the Chris Nissen Primary school. Even with the rain numbers were good and our students coached admirably given the conditions. Some really pushed themselves out of their comfort zone to make the experience exciting and enjoyable for this joining us.

The evening saw the troop head out for one of two evening meals. This one saw us down at the harbour front at Spur Burgers. A thoroughly enjoyable meal which allowed us all to relax outside of the house and experience a very popular Knysna restaurant. The food was delightful with many tucking into the desserts as well! Needless to say we all slept well that night!

Unfortunately due to dangerous swells in the ocean we are not whale watching today but instead have an Eco-your around the lagoon with a cable car trip to the top of the local mountain to witness the exceptional views that the Eastern Cape have to offer before a hike back down."

Day 8, Tuesday: Eco-tour (to replace an ocean dolphin watch) and Sports Coaching
  • Morning: For safety reasons and because the waters were dangerous, the dolphin watching boat trip was cancelled. However, Plan ‘B’ kicked in and we arranged for the group to go on the Featherbed Eco-Tour. Needless to say the had a fantastic time!
  • Afternoon: Sports Coaching (various) with Knysna Sports School/Chris Nissen school
  • “Some awe inspiring views and coaching today. Truly breath taking!” Argoed High School

Posted by ARGOED HIGH SCHOOL on JULY 27, 2016
"With the Indian Ocean being too dangerous the group were instead given the opportunity to go on the Featherbed Eco-Tour. We got the chance to still cross the Knysna estuary, also known as the lagoon by locals. The estuary is home to hundreds of different species of fish and the crystal clear waters can reach temperatures of 25degress in the summer making it a prime location for swimming and water sports.

The boat brought us to the western side of the lagoon where were were given information about the entrance to the lagoon. There is only one way in and out and it is where the eastern mountain range meets the western; this point is locally known as the heads. There have been around 300 major ships trying to dock in Knysna and of these 49 have wrecked at the entrance forcing the lagoon to ban trade and the large ships.

Once we disembarked from the boat we passed through the restaurant on the beachside. It could only be described as a giant tree house! We then boarded a vehicle that took us the 2.2km up the mountain. When we got to the top we were treated to spectacular views of the lagoon and the surrounding mountains.

The 2.2km walk down allowed us to get the opportunity for some outstanding scenic pictures for individuals and as a group. It was a lovey walk down where we found out about the name of the mountain range. The name came from the old sailors who couldn’t sleep out on the ocean due to the rough tides and swells. They would then move in a smaller boat to the mountain range where they would sleep. It was so much comfier that they named it featherbed and it has been known as that since then.

The afternoon saw our second visit in two days to the Chris Nissen playing field. The weather had taken its toll on the dirt field during the night and so patches on the field were more bogs than playing field! Our students took this in their stride though and once again delivered an immersive and enjoyable session for all there.

The next time we are there is Saturday where it will be a full day of activities. Let us hope for a nice few days to dry the ground out!"

Day 9, Wednesday: Cultural and Adventure Activities tours - Fun day!
  • All day: Visits to Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary, Monkeyland and Birds of Eden sanctuaries at the Crags, Plettenberg Bay
  • “Jukani safari, monkeyland and birds of Eden today. Cracking day of exploring SA.” Argoed High School

Posted by ARGOED HIGH SCHOOL on JULY 28, 2016
"A jam packed day today where we visited 3 different sanctuaries. The first saw us take a 45 minute drive to the Jukani Predator Park. This is a sanctuary park for animals that were in need of rescuing from their previous life.

The park itself had 72 animals all together ranging from cheetah, lion, wild dog, hyena, Siberian and Bengal tigers, white lion, cougar, leopard, caracal and mountain lions. All of which were acquired by the park from a life that was not suitable for the animals previously, for example the circus. Walking round we were informed that due to human imprinting non of these animals could be released back into the wild as the would not survive. The only exception though was the wild dog which they are trying to repopulate in the wild as they are close to extinction.

One of the saddest stories was of a lion cub who was 18 months old. A woman use to own it but wanted to keep it “small” so kept it in a suitcase, feeding it only bread and bananas. As a result it’s growth was stunted and has a calcium deficiency which meant its shoulders were damaged. When she still became too big for the owner they tried to sell it on the Egyptian market.

The park is doing some amazing work but unfortunately is full to capacity which still shows a lot needs to be done to help these animals.

The next stop was Monkeyland, a giant rainforest enclosure for monkeys and apes which, again had been rescued from a previous life. This venue had no enclosures so the monkeys were free to roam wherever they pleased. The opportunity to see them interact in natural, free surroundings was fantastic. Our tour saw us taken through their habitat, we were able to see how they interacted with each other and see them enjoy life free from restricted living! There were a multitude of different spices and the park had over 550 monkeys there. During the tour we definitely saw how the phrase “cheeky monkey” came about!

Our final place to visit was the Birds of Eden park. Once again a sanctuary for these birds to be free from enclosures, the park is a huge mesh container for these birds covering a few acres of land! There were a huge range of species of birds, ranging from parrots to flamingoes. All of which, like the other two were rescued. The tour saw us take a tour through the rainforest seeing the different species of birds. The colours were fantastic to see; from the pink flamingo to the golden pheasant. They birds came from all over the world too, not just South Africa.

Although no coaching, a very rewarding day in which our students has the chance to see what people are doing to help other creatures on this planet!"

Day 10, Thursday: Tsitsikamma National Park:
  • All day: Lunch, hike and visit to the Tsitsikamma National Park. On the way back stop at the World’s highest bridge bungee for viewing
  • “Visited Tsitsikamma National Park where we saw Whales! Then the worlds largest bridge Bungy. Well done Miss W & J” Argoed High School

Posted by ARGOED HIGH SCHOOL on JULY 29, 2016
"On our final day of excursions before three days of coaching we found ourselves heading to the Tsitsikamma National Park. The park is located in the Eastern province of South Africa and is home to the mountain range of the same name. From Knysna to the National Park these ranges stretch over 80km and then the go further north as well, 30km. Our tour saw us travel along the mountain where it met the Indian Ocean. This forest area allowed for some breath-taking scenery. The tour, which lasted 2 and a half hours was capped of with a walk across the spectacular Storms River suspension bridge, ranging 77m it connects the main tourist path with a smaller beach area. It gave us the opportunity to spend some time getting pictures and relax at the waters front with the waves lapping in front of us.

The highlight of the tour though has to have been seeing the Southern Right Whale out in the Indian Ocean, although we do not know how many there were we treated to some water breaches seeing their tails out of the water before a little showing off with one breaching the water with half of its body and crashing back down into the ocean. These giants of the ocean can reach up to 18m in length.

This afternoon we visited the world largest certified bridge Bungee. A sheer 216m drop is enough to turn even the most harden of stomachs, most notably Mr. Hanson’s. But not for Miss Jones and Miss Williams, both of these fearless teachers took the plunge. All 216m of it! We are all certain it was a very exhilarating experience!"

Day 11, Friday: Soccer Training at Youth Development Centre and Sports Coaching outside Knysna
  • Morning: Sports coaching at the Youth Development Centre - Cricket
  • Karatara School, coaching mixed sports

Posted by ARGOED HIGH SCHOOL on JULY 30, 2016
"Our final Friday saw us travel back to the Youth Deveipment Centre. One of our best experiences on the trip so far. The group wanted to show us what they do with the students who they work with and so delivered a number of different sessions. It was incredible to see how they work with their students and the impact that it has on them. A truly amazing set up which has helped many people and has given us a true appreciation of what hard work can do for yourself and for others.

After a number of ice-breakers we went into a game of tin can knock down which showed our students that even with limited resources games can be created from nothing which are engaging and fun. Our students fully immersed themselves in these games and ice-breakers and by the end you could not tell who was from which school!

The Sinethemba Develoment Centre do an aweful lot for their students and it was a fantastic opportunity for our students to take this away with them. Thank you to Sonia, Nash and Mano for being so welcoming, friendly and inspirational.

The weather was not on our side so infortunately we could not visit our second location due to waterlogged pitches."

Day 12, Saturday: Soccer Training at Youth Development Centre and Sports Coaching outside Knysna
  • All day: Sports Tournament held in the Township - in the Field below Chris Nissen

Posted by ARGOED HIGH SCHOOL on JULY 31, 2016
"An incredible penultimate day. Rain, sun and lots of mud. Hard to believe this is a school playing field. Argoed High School"

Day 13, Sunday: Weekend ‘Sports Camp’ in the Township
  • All day: Weekend ‘Sports Camp’ in the Township (coaching various sports) - Hornlee sports ground

Posted by ARGOED HIGH SCHOOL on AUGUST 1, 2016
"Perfect end to a life changing trip. 14 days has flown. Its been very humbling. Proud of the students diolch. Argoed High School"

Day 14, Monday: Departure - and lots of tears!

“So. That's it. An unbelievable trip with unbelievable people. Thank you all involved one last time this is Mr Hanson signing out #a-way” Argoed High School

WHAT THE TEACHERS HAD TO SAY ABOUT THEIR PROGRAMME
“I will always travel to learn more now. I have learnt that people are amazing and wow I have met some amazing people! Some of the nicest, most welcoming people in the world are in Knysna and I hope to be just a little bit like them. The days have been fantastic and I cannot believe how fast the weeks have gone. Sharon will do anything for anyone. Nothing is too much trouble. The trip has been fantastic and I can’t wait to come back here again. And I will!” Teacher (Stephanie Jones)

WHAT THE STUDENTS HAD TO SAY ABOUT THEIR PROGRAMME
“Learning to not take necessities for granted, let alone the luxuries we have as well. I need to appreciate everything. As part of the coaching team from Argoed we received an overwhelming insight to the world though coaching and the excursions we went on. It was a real eye-opener.” Student (Georgia Louise Wilson)

“I really enjoyed the whole project and I feel that it has made a change within my life and has made me view things differently and in a more positive way.” Student (Joe David Dunn)

“Everywhere we went we were welcomed also no matter what condition the kids where in they were always smiling. This always made be happy to be there.” Student (Filippo Mastropietro)

“My biggest positive impact was the children’s faces after we coached the children for the first time.

When we touched the elephants and fed them it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever experienced. Also when we were really close to the big cats at the wildlife sanctuary. However the best memory I have and will have for a long time is the reaction and enthusiasm on the children’s faces.” Student (Jessica Ireland)

“Every single day has been jam packed with activities and things to do. Being able to touch and interact with elephants was an insane opportunity as well as going to Monkeyland and Birds of Eden sanctuary. My favourite part was the township tour as we found Ella’s story so inspiring. The youth centre was also incredible as I didn’t realise how much people rely on them, they made us feel so welcome and we really bonded with them.

Thank you all so much, Sharon, Pretty, Robs, Daniel, Rustin and everybody who made this adventure possible for us, it has been so amazing and been a real eye opener for many of us.” Student Rhiannon Katie Ridding)

WHAT THE PARENTS HAD TO SAY
“@TravellersWW @argoed_PE Thanks for sharing and for giving him such a brilliant experience. He loved it.” Parent

“@argoed_PE Thanks to Mr Hanson, Miss Jones and Miss Williams for giving them all such a good time. Owen is very tired and very very happy” Parent

“Nonny hasn't stopped talking yet. she's loved it. Thank you.” Parent

“@argoed_PE Weary travellers picked up at the airport. Megan has had a fantastic experience and enjoyed every bit of the trip. Thanks again!” Parent"

REVIEW:
From a personal perspective I feel that the trip to South Africa has truly affected the young people that went. They appear more confident in themselves around school and more aware of what is going on in the world around them. They appear to have a great appreciation of what they have also.

From a school point of view we have seen a great increase in the number of pupils’ actively engaging in sport. Not only that but we have had a significant increase in those wishing to coach and as a result have a number of clubs now ran by those pupils.

From a community point of view the trip has been incredible. People have spoken to the school about the trip and what an amazing opportunity it was for the pupils who went.

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