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SOUTH AFRICA

STREET KIDS: SOCIAL WORK AND CARE WITH CHILDREN IN KNYSNA, SOUTH AFRICA

Work at a Youth Development Centre in a township, helping out with anything from basic schooling, such as reading or writing, to community projects, job skills and life skills lessons. The programmes are all presented in a fun, experimental manner with an outcome based learning environment. There are also arts and crafts programmes, computer classes, sewing and baking.

The purpose is to prepare youngsters to re-enter mainstream schooling and domestic home life again and to give them the skills that will enable them to become a fully functioning, employable member of society.

SUMMARY: THE BASICS

Price: £1,145 (approx. US$1,445) for 2 weeks
£1,395 (approx. US$1,760) for 3 weeks
£1,645 (approx. US$2,075) for 4 weeks
£200 (US$250) for each additional week.
Excludes flights. Please see Full Price List & prices in other currencies
Duration: From 2 weeks to 12 weeks or longer, subject to visa requirements.
Start Dates and Availability: All year round - you choose your start and finish dates. This project is not available between 15th December and 15th January.
Requirements: Minimum age 16. You don't need any qualifications or experience to do this project, but you should have a love of children and lots of enthusiasm.
What's included: Arranging your Programme
Full pre-departure support and assistance
Payment Protection insurance
Accommodation
Food
Meeting you at the nearest Airport
Transfer to your accommodation
Daily transport to and from your project
Local in-country team support and backup
24-hr emergency support
Certificate of Completion
What's not included: Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas, Return transfer to the airport.
Who can do this Project? All projects are open to all nationalities and all ages over 16.
Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out, grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested in caring for children, teaching or working with children overseas while doing voluntary work, projects abroad or study abroad. Also available as a summer placement or short break in South Africa, or for those interested in TEFL teaching.

ANY ADDITIONAL SKILLS VERY WELCOME!
No qualifications are required for this project, but if you do have some skills in the following areas, they would also be very welcome! Anybody with knowledge or talent with teaching the marimba classes, sewing, baking, computers, welding, pottery and any other trade skills are very welcome and your knowledge can be utilised in attempting to empower the youth.

If you have a background in counselling, social work and psychology, you could help run the adolescent development programme with the community worker which takes places at the Centre. This programme runs during the day as an after-school programme at a local high school. They have also recently launched YESA, which is an after-school programme for all the children in the local community at a nearby Civic Centre.

If you have any background in marketing, fundraising and event management, your skills in these areas could be a great help as the center is an NPO that relies on donors and fundraising to run day-to-day and meet running costs.

WHAT YOU'LL GAIN FROM DOING THIS PROJECT

  • An exciting opportunity to travel, see the world and experience a foreign culture first-hand.
  • New skills, more confidence and invaluable personal and professional development.
  • The enormous satisfaction of helping disadvantaged children and knowing that you made a difference to them.
  • An opportunity to take a break from the traditional academic track or your current career path in order to gain life experience and global cultural awareness
  • An entry on your CV or Résumé that will enhance your career opportunities and make you stand out from the crowd.
  • Make friends, form relationships and build memories that will last a lifetime.
  • Opportunities to enjoy some exciting adventure and cultural activities while on your programme.
  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!
BOOK NOW! SEE ALL PROJECTS IN SOUTH AFRICA info@travellersworldwide.com

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WORK CONTENT AND DESCRIPTION

THE CARE PROJECT:
You'll work closely with the children at the Centre helping out in any area you might be needed. The school term programs are run with a more educational aspect, focusing on life and job skills. The whole purpose of the various programs run by the Centre is to get them ready to be taken back into the mainstream schooling and domestic home life again, if it is at all possible. Some of the youth though have been out of school for so long that the chances of them finishing their school education are very bleak. It is for this reason to that it is important for them to still keep up numeracy and literacy classes.

The programmes are all presented in a fun, experimental manner with an outcome based learning environment. There are also arts and crafts programmes, computer classes, sewing and baking as part of the weekly schedule, as well as sport coaching in soccer.

THE ADP PROGRAMME:
ARE YOU STUDYING OR QUALIFIED IN PSYCHOLOGY, COUNSELLING OR SOCIAL WORK? If yes, you’ll be very interested in the Adolescent Development Programme (ADP) which the organisation is currently focusing on. . The ADP programs tackle subjects like self image, anger management, peer group pressure, substance abuse and other similar topics. If you have any specialised skills, you may also be able to assist with training staff who lack training in your specialist area. For example, a recent volunteer is a qualified Psychiatric Nurse who specialises in the early detection of mental disorders and he is assisting in training the staff in this area. And you may be able to contribute new ideas and ways to develop the ADP Program. Contributions like this are of enormous benefit to the organisation and the community!

The Centre is fairly laid back, because the youngsters are there out of choice. They are quite a lively bunch but love interaction with our volunteers and it is very easy for volunteers to develop a strong connection with the youth. The centre has a very warm, friendly feel with the fulltime staff immediately making you feel like part of the family.

The best way to describe this project is to let one of our previous volunteers tell you about it in her own words. Joanne Pogorelsky volunteered at this Centre in Knysna, and this is how she describes a typical day on her project (but please note that this is one volunteer’s experience and your experience may vary according to current circumstances:

The day for me started with a 7:10 pickup and drive in the Travellers bus to Percy Mdala where I waited for the Centre to open. I walked over the Centre at about 8am. I used this time to get updated from staff on anything that may have happened after I had left the day before or prepare and plan an appropriate activity for the day or week.

The kids would arrive by foot or be collected in the Centre van by the driver. Theoretically the day has a plan and overall structure bu,t in true African style, this was flexible and at times overlooked.

In theory the day would look something like: Arrive, wash/shower, devotion, eat, activity (skills based), free time, activity, eat, free time, sport or cooking/cleaning. The activities included beadwork, card making, adult education classes around numeracy and literacy, sports, gardening, cooking, religious teachings etc.

My favourite time was devotion where seemingly unruly, non-cooperative difficult to engage children became respectful, took their hats or head coverings off (which usually would never happen), closed their eyes and pronounced every word in Xhosa, Afrikaans or English. Often they would sing, naturally harmonize, dance and or play the drums during this time and you could feel the energy of these children as if it were tangible. My fondest memories are of the pure devotion sessions where the children appeared to lose there attitude and bravado and enjoy themselves.

I would leave at 2:00, being picked up by the bus again, but the Centre went on for another couple of hours. Then of course, its home to bed, it’s an early start in the morning if you want to get in the shower before school…....

I saw my role as to assist, educate and empower the staff to care for the children and thus empower the young people to want to improve their situation and future, and it was extremely satisfying to be an integral part of this.

SAMPLE DAILY SCHEDULE:
The daily schedule can change depending on the needs of the Centre. During the school holidays a more fun-filled programme is put in place with activities that the children from the local community can join in with as well. Here is a sample of a possible daily schedule:

EXTRA ACTIVITIES YOU MAY BE ABLE TO INCORPORATE INTO YOUR PROJECT:
You may also have the opportunity to provide help and support to the local community through the various afternoon activities we have to offer. This is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the African culture, but most importantly to give a caring hand to the local community. The activities could range from helping out at:

  • Monday Homework Club at the Safe House: Once a week, in the school terms, our Knysna Manager goes with our volunteers after their school placements to a local safe house where the volunteers give the children one-on-one help with their homework for an hour. As the syllabus can be quite stressful for the children, this little bit of extra help will hopefully assist them to get better grades and make their school work more fun. And if we have a volunteer who prefers playing with the little ones, they are always welcome to keep the little ones busy playing fun while the other volunteers focus on the school-going children’s homework and extra lessons. This normally takes place on a Monday.
  • After-school drama or sports - Take some time out after school to set up after school sports or drama clubs, the children love it and it's a great way to get to know them better in a relaxed and fun environment. If you'd like to set up a drama or sports club, please let us know when you apply so that we can arrange it with the school before you arrive.)
  • Other community projects - Past volunteers have helped to paint the outside of a crèche that was in desperate need of a lift. The crèche is now looking very cheerful with brightly coloured walls. A jungle gym was donated to this orphanage and volunteers also helped to put it together for the crèche too! There may be other similar projects available at the time you're there that you might want to participate in.
  • Township Soup Kitchen: On days that your school roster might allow you to finish a little early, our volunteers sometimes help at a local township soup kitchen.

SCHOOL TERMS IN SOUTH AFRICA:
Please note that although this placement does not run as usual during the school holidays, the Centre caters for local children from the immediate community and run a holiday program. The holiday program is more fun based and can take the form of talent shows, art lessons, sports days and movie days. They will not focus on numeracy and literacy during these periods.

Please consult the school terms below to plan your placement dates. Your project coordinator will also assist you with your placement planning.

Dates for the 2017 school terms (semesters) are given below.
Term 1: 11 January – 31 March
Term 2: 18 April – 30 June
Term 3: 24 July – 29 September
Term 4: 9 October – 6 December

ACCOMMODATION

The volunteer house in Knysna is within walking distance of the town, yet set against a natural green belt. The bird life is prolific and often the local Vervet monkey troop comes to visit to entertain the volunteers with their antics. The sunset views from the top balcony of the volunteer house of the Knysna lagoon are beautiful and great way to relax after a day working at your placement or to catch up on your tan in the summer. See photo on right-hand side.

The house is large and spacious and also has a self-contained flat downstairs for couples and families. The bedding in the two same sex dorms and the towels in their ensuite bathrooms are changed regularly every Friday by our much loved cleaner, Pretty, and there is plenty of cupboard space to store your clothing.

Wi-Fi / Internet: There is FREE Wi-Fi / Internet in the Volunteer House, but you will need your own device.

Facilities include a kitchen kitted out for cooking, dining area, a few bathrooms, TV, DVD player, garden and several wooden verandahs.

There is an outside courtyard and garden in the secure grounds where you can have a typical South African barbeque known there as a ‘braai’. Make sure you try the local spicy sausage known as ‘boerewors’ and the Karoo lamb chops are to die for on a ‘braai’, but if fish is more to your taste then a fish ‘braai’ with South African ‘snoek’ is a must.

FOOD:
You'll be given a food budget which will cover your basic essentials (but not extras like alcohol, snacks and eating out). The kitchen has all the cooking amenities that you might need to take advantage of preparing meals with some of the great seafood, meat, fresh fruit and vegetables South Africa has to offer.

There are supermarkets and local shops where you'll do your food shopping.

There are plenty of excellent restaurants within walking distance that offer the most incredible local and international cuisine which our volunteers rave about. Knysna is also famous for its oysters and even has an annual Oyster Festival where everyone eats and drinks far too much!

The waterfront and marine is beautiful and full of restaurants and cafes with cuisine that ranges from breakfast, coffees, cakes and snacks, through to sumptuous meals and various different nationality menus.

The area is beautiful and travelling is easy. The house we stay in is lovely and the Travellers workers are such kind, loving people which really makes it feel like a home away from home. What with all the other volunteers and the Travellers staff, it really does feel like our own little family ... well, our own very big family, I suppose!! Luke Brennan

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

YOUR SAFETY, SUPPORT AND BACKUP:
Read important information about the Support & Backup you receive before you leave and during your programme.

Read about the Safety and Security measures we take to ensure your safety and wellbeing while on our programme.

ABOUT THE STREET KIDS YOUTH DEVELOPMENT CENTRE:
The Xhosa name of the Centre means “We have hope”. This project was set up to provide hope and help to troubled young people and their families, through building caring relationships and providing development opportunities. The Centre is run as a day & drop-in centre.

The Centre has recently grown tremendously to include a skill Centre for the youth that attend the Centre and also for the people from the local community. They have also opened an after school satellite centre to try and reach an even greater amount of children that may still be attending school and run programs in life skills like anger management, peer group pressure, substance abuse and self image to educate and uplift the youth.

The daily youth that attend the drop off centre are collected at and returned to designated pick-up and drop-off points Monday to Friday by the staff that runs the Centre. They are fed two meals and many different programs are run for them from yoga, literacy, numeracy, card making, sport and various life skills throughout the day The Centre is overseen by a local Auxiliary Social Worker whose has a background working in child care centres.

The Centre mainly targets young people under the age of 18 years old that are at risk with particular emphasis on the needs of the individual. Through permanent and volunteer staff who seek to develop caring relationships, the Centre strives towards creating physical fitness, social competence, mental stability and spiritual maturity in young lives. Now that the skills Centre is open, the attendees are also able to be taught various skills like welding, pottery, sewing, baking, computer lessons and even marimba classes with the hope that this will assist them with future employment.

Anybody who would like to assist with the skills Centre as well is more than welcome and any new skills and trades that can be implemented would be a huge bonus to the centre.

The ‘balanced life’ concept that is aimed at the Centre not only develops qualities of leadership, morality and citizenship, but also enables young people to effectively communicate in word and action. At the Centre, the basic needs of the children are met. They get to wash themselves and get fed twice daily. The children participate in a variety of activities to give each child the opportunity to develop his/her own individual talents. These activities motivate the children to feel more positive about themselves and to be a constructive part of their community.

The daily program could incorporate anything from arts and crafts, cleaning the Centre, sewing, baking, programs from outside organisations and time to test their computer skills. Fridays are always relaxed and in good weather outings are often organised often to the beach. In bad weather Fridays are movie days. Often the youth get to participate in a fun game of soccer and the Centre has had youth from selected for the South Africa team for the Homeless World Cup in the past which was a great achievement.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BOOK YOUR PLACEMENT?
Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on your placement and on your return home.

The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on your particular programme (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.

On Arrival, your Introduction to the Country:
When you arrive you will be welcomed by a member of our team who will take you to your accommodation and introduce you to everyone. During your first few days you'll be given an induction so that you can learn about the country and its culture, as well as other useful information, like how to use the transport system, banks, safety issues, tipping, and lots more.

VOLUNTEERING WITH CHILDREN AND VULNERABLE ADULTS
As well as protecting all our volunteers, Travellers Worldwide is committed to all our projects and dedicated to practices which protect children and vulnerable adults from harm. Read Travellers' Child Care and Vulnerable Adults Policy.

Above: Slideshow of the Dance Workshop at the Centre put together by Travellers volunteer Gina Rizzo Bishop during her volunteering placement in South Africa

BOOK NOW! SEE ALL PROJECTS IN SOUTH AFRICA info@travellersworldwide.com DOWNLOAD THIS INFORMATION in .pdf How to Fundraise for your Program

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ANY QUESTIONS?

Please with any questions and include your phone number, if possible, to help us give you the best possible response.

We'll get back to you very shortly, but if you haven't heard from us within one working day, please check your Junk Mail / Spam folder. Thank you.

Volunteer Ranou Mohammed, who comes to us all the way from Sweden, took the youth at the placement she is at shopping for a new pair of pants today. They were thrilled with their gift from her!
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OPTIONAL ADD-ON ACTIVITIES:

Make the most of your time there! To help you do that, we've put together some exciting activities, courses and tours that you can add to your itinerary. These are designed to be fun, but also to enable you to learn, and expand your personal and professional development enjoyment ... but mostly for your enjoyment! :-)

Cage Dive with Sharks in South Africa

CAGE DIVE WITH SHARKS:
Price: £120, includes breakfast/lunch and return transfer from Cape Town.

Getting into the cage with the sharks around is truly breath-taking and gets the adrenaline going! When feeding actively around the boat, the sharks may occasionally brush their tail against the cage, but they NEVER attack the cage. They are curious and often come close-up to the cage to look at the diver. You’ll usually see at least two or more members of the Marine Big Five - sharks, dolphins, whales, seals and penguins.

You’ll be collected from your arranged accommodation in Cape Town between 3.00 and 5.00 am) and driven to Gansbaai, the shark capital of South Africa. Enjoy a light breakfast while the safety briefing and other formalities are concluded, including sizing you for a wetsuit. After an exhilarating 20 minute boat trip, it anchors in or nearby “Shark Alley”. The shark diving then commences and lasts around 2 hours, sometimes longer.

On return to the harbour, you’ll receive a light hot lunch while viewing the video of the day. A copy of your own personal experience is available on DVD after the tour (optional extra).

Duration: Total duration from meeting point until departure is about 5 hours with around 3 hours at sea. Please note: Due to tides and collection schedules, exact collection times from Cape Town will only be confirmed after 16h00 the day prior to your tour.

Included:
• Hot tea / coffee and light breakfast, plus snacks, drinks and sweets on-board the boat
• A hot light lunch upon return (beef lasagne, rolls and Greek salad)
• Educational information and safety briefing
• Diving equipment and wet-suits available at no additional cost
• Scuba diving in the cage for experienced divers (conditions allowing)
• Assisted snorkeling in cage for inexperienced divers
• View Cape Fur Seals from the boat (conditions allowing), plus enjoy land-based whale watching in Hermanus (July – Dec)

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Penguins at Boulders in Cape Town

1-DAY CAPE PENINSULA & WINE TOUR:
Price: £59.

ITINERARY: We begin the morning with a leisurely stroll along the cobbled streets and brightly coloured houses of the Bokaap while sampling some of the local traditional snacks before heading through the exclusive seaside suburbs of Clifton and Campsbay where we have a short photo stop.

We then carry on along Victoria drive, through Houtbay and along the scenic Chapmans Peak Drive eventually arriving at The Cape of Good hope Nature Reserve where we have the option of doing a 40 minute hike from the most south west tip of Africa, Cape of Good Hope to the Cape Point Light House.

We then start driving north to Boulder Beach Penguin colony, where on a nice day you can actually swim with these sea birds! By this stage you would have built up quite an appetite. We stop for a traditional Cape lunch of fish ‘n chips in the old Kalk Bay harbour where the local fishing community goes back generations.

After everyone has had their fill, we stop briefly at the Shark Spotter, entrusted by the local surfers of Muizenberg to look out for Great White Sharks. From here we travel through the lush Constantia Valley to one of the oldest wine farms outside of Europe for a relaxing end of the day wine tasting experience, where we also learn about the history of farming in the Cape in beautiful surroundings.

Included Highlights: Lunch and refreshments in Kalk Bay, Cape of Good Hope Entrance Fee & Boulders Beach Entry Fee to see penguins, Wine Tasting in the Constantia Wine Valley, Walking tour of Bo-Kaap.

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Bungee jump

3-DAY WEEKEND WILDLIFE SAFARI & BUNGEE ADVENTURE:
Price: £220, includes accommodation, breakfast and dinner. Leaves Cape Town every Friday and returns to Cape Town on the Sunday afternoon.

Jump on this 3 day rip-roaring adventure through the Garden Route where we fit as much as we possibly can into 3 awesome days. On this trip you can experience a Game Drive, enjoy some treetop ziplining, visit a local farmers market, an elephant and a monkey sanctuary, the Cango Caves AND The World’s highest Bungy Jump!

Day 1 Friday ǀ Overberg, Garden Route, Myoli Beach: We leave Cape Town, heading past Swellendam, to a Private Game Reserve on the Garden Route. Here we go on a safari where you can see Lion, Buffalo, Elephant, Rhino, Cheetah and Giraffe in their natural habitat. After lunch we will enjoy some fun with a canopy tour, experience the thrill of crossing rope bridges, wobbly crossings and zip wires high up in the trees. Next we carry on our way to Sedgefield.
Included Highlight: Game Drive Safari
Optional Activities: Treetop Adventure & Zipline

Day 2 Saturday ǀ Garden Route, Knysna, Tsitsikamma: After a morning visit to a popular local farmers and craft market in Sedgefield village, we make our way to the Crags where you have a two of options to choose from:
1. Elephant Sanctuary where you learn about, and interact with orphaned elephants.
2. Monkey Sanctuary where rescued monkeys roam free in a large jungle area.

Our next stop is the World’s highest commercial Bungee Jump at 216 meters where you have the opportunity to experience this adrenalin pumping activity! From here it’s back to Myoli beach to carry on with the festivities.
Included Highlight: Local craft and farmers market
Optional Activities: Elephant Sanctuary, Monkeyland, Bloukrans bungy jump (216m), Bloukrans Bridge walking tour.

Day 3 Sunday ǀ Little Karoo, Oudtshoorn, return to Cape Town via Route 62. We head to the Town of Oudtshoorn, the “Ostrich Capital of the world”. Here you can choose between:
1. The Cango Caves where we will embark on a 1-hour guided tour of the cave system to view its massive caverns millions of years old. Cango Caves is a world heritage site and one of the great wonders of the natural world. If you enjoy spelunking and don’t mind trying to squeeze through some smaller gaps then you are also welcome to take the 1.5 hour adventure tour!
2. Go on a guided tour of the Cango Endangered Wildlife Ranch for an opportunity to pet cheetah, cage dive with crocodiles and view and learn about many rare and endangered animal species.

Included Highlight: Cango Caves (Adventure or Standard Tour) OR Cango Wildlife Ranch
Optional Activities: Pet a cheetah, cage dive with crocodiles.

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3-day Garden Route Safari in South Africa

3-DAY ELEPHANTS, CAVES AND BUNGEE SAFARI
(One-way from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth or Knysna):

Price: £230. Leaves Cape Town every Monday morning (early).

The 4 Day tour is ideal for volunteers to use to get to our Wildlife Sanctuary project near Port Elizabeth, or one of the Knysna projects. You save on a connecting flight from Cape Town and get to take part in a fun-filled experience with lots of amazing activities. The tour bus will drop you off at either project destination mentioned above on Day 3.

Day 1 – Monday ǀ Cape Town to Oudtshoorn Little Karoo, Cango Caves, Wildlife Rehabilitation Ranch: We head into the semi-arid Little Karoo along the scenic Route 62 driving to the town of Oudtshoorn, known as the ostrich capital of the world. Here you can choose between:
The Cango Caves: a 1-hour guided tour of the cave system to view its massive caverns and a wonderland of stalactite and stalagmite formations, millions of years old. Cango Caves is a world heritage site and one of the great wonders of the natural world. Or if you enjoy spelunking and smaller gaps, you are also welcome to take the 1.5 hour adventure tour!
A guided tour of the Cango Endangered Wildlife Ranch: you can pet cheetah, cage dive with crocodiles and view and learn about many rare and endangered animal species.

We then head over the Outeniqua Mountains to the lush coastal region known as the Garden Route where we will head to the beach town of Sedgefield for our first night. If time allows we will also head to the beach for a swim in the Indian Ocean.
Included Highlight: Standard or adventure guided tour of Cango Caves OR Cango Endangered Wildlife ranch.

Day 2 – Tuesday ǀ Sedgefield – Jeffrey’s Bay, Monkey Sanctuary, Elephant Sanctuary, Kloofing, Bloukrans Bungee & Tsitsikamma National Park. This morning we drive through Knysna on our way to the Crags where you have two options to choose from:
1. Elephant Sanctuary where you learn about, and interact with orphaned elephants.
2. Monkey Sanctuary where rescued monkeys roam free in a large jungle area.

Our next stop is the World’s highest commercial Bungee Jump at 216 meters where you can experience this adrenalin pumping activity. Finally, to end the day, we take a beautiful walk through the indigenous Tsitsikamma National Park to the Storms river swing bridges before we head to the famous surfing town of Jeffreys Bay where we stay at a backpackers directly on the beach.
Included Highlight: Tsitsikamma Forest.
Optional Activities: Elephant Sanctuary, Monkeyland, Bloukrans bungee jump (216m), Bloukrans Bridge walking tour.

Day 3 – Wednesday ǀ Jeffrey’s Bay – Addo National Park – Sedgefield Game Drive (Addo), Surfing, shopping time (Jeffrey’s bay). There are 2 options to choose from this morning:
1. Sleep in then explore the town's many surf factory shops, or go for a surf lesson.
2. Wake up early and head to Addo Elephant National park where we go on a morning game drive to view the multitudes of wild animals. Addo has the Big 5 and also the highest concentration of African Elephants in the world!
Included Highlight: Jeffrey’s Bay/Addo Entrance & Game Dive with tour Guide
Optional Activities: Surf Lessons, Shopping OR Addo Game Drive with National Parks guide (morning).

Please note: This is where the 3 Day One Way to PE/ J-Bay/ Knysna will end.
• Volunteers destined for our Wildlife Sanctuary placement are dropped off at the project.
• Volunteers destined for the Knysna projects will be dropped off at our accommodation.

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Caves, Elephants Safari

4-DAY ELEPHANTS, CAVES AND BUNGEE SAFARI:
Price: £250, includes accommodation and food. Leaves Cape Town every Monday morning (early), returning to Cape Town on Thursdays.

Day 1 – Monday ǀ Cape Town to Oudtshoorn Little Karoo, Cango Caves, Wildlife Rehabilitation Ranch: We leave the Mother City behind and head into the semi-arid Little Karoo along the scenic Route 62 driving to the town of Oudtshoorn, known as the ostrich capital of the world, it is situated in a beautiful, fertile valley between the Outeniqua and Swartberg Mountains. Here you can choose between:
1. The Cango Caves where we will embark on a 1-hour guided tour of the cave system to view its massive caverns and a wonderland of stalactite and stalagmite formations, millions of years old. Cango Caves is a world heritage site and one of the great wonders of the natural world. Or if you enjoy spelunking and don’t mind trying to squeeze through some smaller gaps then you are also welcome to take the 1.5 hour adventure tour!
2. Go on a guided tour of the Cango Endangered Wildlife Ranch for an opportunity to pet cheetah, cage dive with crocodiles and view and learn about many rare and endangered animal species.

We then head over the Outeniqua Mountains to the lush coastal region known as the Garden Route where we will head to the beach town of Sedgefield where we spend our first night. If time allows we will also head to the beach for a swim in the Indian Ocean.
Included Highlight: Standard or adventure guided tour of Cango Caves OR Cango Endangered Wildlife ranch.

Day 2 – Tuesday ǀ Sedgefield – Jeffrey’s Bay, Monkey Sanctuary, Elephant Sanctuary, Kloofing, Bloukrans Bungee & Tsitsikamma National Park. This morning we drive through Knysna on our way to the Crags where you have a number of options to choose from:
1. Elephant Sanctuary where you learn about, and interact with orphaned elephants.
2. Monkey Sanctuary where rescued monkeys roam free in a large jungle area.

Our next stop is the World’s highest commercial Bungee Jump at 216 meters where you have the opportunity to experience this adrenalin pumping activity. Finally, to end the day we take a beautiful walk through the indigenous Tsitsikamma National Park to the Storms river swing bridges before we head to the famous surfing town of Jeffreys Bay where we stay at a backpackers directly on the beach.
Included Highlight: Tsitsikamma Forest.
Optional Activities: Elephant Sanctuary OR Monkeyland. Bloukrans bungee jump (216m), Bloukrans Bridge walking tour

Day 3 – Wednesday ǀ Jeffrey’s Bay – Addo National Park – Sedgefield Game Drive (Addo), Surfing, shopping time (Jeffrey’s Bay). There are 2 options to choose from this morning.
1. Sleep in and take some time in the morning to explore the towns many surf factory shops, or go for a surf lesson in one of the most famous surf spots on earth.
2. Wake up early and head to Addo Elephant National park where we go on a morning game drive to view the multitudes of wild animals. Addo is home to the Big 5 and it also has the highest concentration of African Elephants in the world!
Included Highlight: Jeffrey’s Bay/Addo Entrance & Game Dive with tour Guide.
Optional Activities: Surf Lessons, Shopping OR Addo Game Drive with National Parks guide (morning).

Day 4 – Thursday ǀ Sedgefield to Cape Town: Return to Cape Town via Sir Lowry’s Pass. After breakfast we start our journey back to Cape Town. For our first stop we will enjoy some fun with a canopy tour, experience the thrill of crossing rope bridges, wobbly crossings and zip wires high up in the trees. We then visit an Aloe factory, where you can purchase a variety of Aloe Ferox products. Finally, enjoy a wonderful scenic drive back to Cape Town, arriving early Thursday afternoon.
Included Highlight: Visit to an aloe factory.
Optional Activities: Treetop Adventure and Zipline.

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5-day sharks and wildlife safari

5-DAY WILDLIFE, SHARKS, CAVES AND BUNGEE SAFARI
(One-way from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth or Knysna):

Price: £325. Includes Accommodation and Food. Leaves Cape Town every Saturday morning (early).

This is the ideal tour for volunteers to use to get to our Wildlife Sanctuary project near Port Elizabeth, or one of the Knysna projects. You save on a connecting flight from Cape Town AND you take part in a fun-filled experience with lots of amazing activities.

Day 1 – Saturday ǀ Cape Town to Struisbaai: Overberg, Whale Route, Cape Agulhus: Depart Cape Town at 8:30 am and Stellenbosch at 9:30 am, our exciting journey begins on the whale route in Gordons Bay for a stunning drive along the R44 mountain pass overlooking False Bay to the vibrant coastal town of Hermanus. After a picnic lunch on the seafront, we continue to Birkenhead Brewery to sample some fine beers before moving to the southernmost tip of Africa in Cape Agulhas National Park.

We then make our way to the harbour where there is an option to embark on an exciting ski-boat cruise to search for dolphin and whales (June to November). Accommodation is along “Die Plaat”, the longest beach in the Southern Hemisphere. This day is a relaxing one for you to get to know your fellow travellers.
Included Highlight: Land Based Whale Watching in Hermanus/Shopping Beer/wine tasting at Birkenhead Brewery
Optional Activities: Shark cage diving.

Day 2 – Sunday ǀ Cape Agulhas to Sedgefield: Canoeing & Hike: After breakfast we drive inland towards the famed Garden Route! After a scenic drive we begin a beautiful canoe trip down one of the many tranquil rivers, followed by a short hike to a stunning waterfall. We finish off the day with some beach time down at Myoli Beach.
Included Highlight: Canoe trip & hike to waterfall.

Day 3 – Monday ǀ Oudtshoorn day trip: Little Karoo, Cango Caves, Ostrich Farm, Wildlife Ranch: We drive over the stunning Outeniqua mountains into the semi desert Klein Karoo and Oudtshoorn. The ostrich capital of the world, Oudtshoorn is situated in a beautiful valley between mountains. The Cango Caves is our first stop with a 1-hour guided tour of the cave system to view its massive caverns and a wonderland of stalactite and stalagmite formations, millions of years old. Cango Caves is a world heritage site and one of the great wonders of the natural world. If you enjoy spelunking and smaller gaps, you can also take the 1.5 hour adventure tour!

Next is an option to view and ride ostriches on a working ostrich farm, or go on a guided tour of the Cango Endangered Wildlife Ranch for an opportunity to pet cheetah, cage dive with crocodiles and view many rare and endangered animal species.
Included Highlight: Standard or adventure guided tour of Cango Caves Optional Activities: Tour of a working Ostrich farm + riding (weight restriction applies to riders). Cango Endangered Wildlife ranch.

Day 4 – Tuesday ǀ Sedgefield – Jeffrey’s Bay: Monkey Sanctuary, Elephant Sanctuary, Kloofing, Bloukrans Bungee & Tsitsikamma National Park: This morning we drive through Knysna on our way to the Crags where you can choose from:
1. Elephant Sanctuary where you learn about, and interact with orphaned elephants.
2. Monkey Sanctuary where rescued monkeys roam free in a large jungle area.
3. Kloofing trip through a spectacular gorge with jumps, abseils and swimming.

Our next stop is the World’s highest commercial Bungee Jump at 216 meters, which you can do - optional. Finally, we take a beautiful walk through the indigenous Tsitsikamma National Park to the Storms river swing bridges before we head to the famous surfing town of Jeffreys Bay where we stay at a backpackers directly on the beach.
Included Highlight: Tsitsikamma Forest Optional Activities: Elephant Sanctuary, Monkeyland, Bloukrans bungee jump (216m), Bloukrans Bridge walking tour.

Day 5 – Wednesday ǀ Jeffrey’s Bay – Addo National Park – Sedgefield: Game Drive (Addo), Surfing, shopping. There are 2 options to choose from this morning.
1. Sleep in and then explore the town's many surf factory shops, or go for a surf lesson in one of the most famous surf spots on earth.
2. Wake up early and head to Addo Elephant National park where we go on a morning game drive. Addo has the Big 5 game animals and the highest concentration of African Elephants in the world!

A relaxed drive back towards Sedgefield for the night. Time permitting, we'll visit the famous Knysna Heads for some absolutely amazing pictures where the ocean meets the inlet to the Knysna Lagoon.
Included Highlight: Storms River/Jeffrey’s Bay/Addo & Knysna Heads
Optional Activities: Black Water Tubing, Canopy Tour, Surf Lessons, Shopping, Addo Elephant NP tour (morning)

Please note:
• Volunteers destined for our Wildlife Sanctuary placement, can get dropped off at the project or choose to be fetched in Jeffrey’s Bay after the activities.
• Volunteers destined for the Knysna projects will be dropped off at our accommodation

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7-day extreme advanture safari in South Africa

6-DAY WILDLIFE, SHARKS, CAVES AND BUNGEE SAFARI:
Price: £360. Leaves Cape Town on a Saturday morning and returns to Cape Town the following Thursday afternoon.

This is the ideal tour for volunteers wanting to arrive at our Wildlife Sanctuary project near Port Elizabeth, or one of the Knysna projects. You save on a connecting flight from Cape Town and get to take part in a fun-filled experience with lots of amazing activities. The tour bus will drop you off at any of the destinations listed above on Day 5.

Day 1 – Saturday ǀ Cape Town to Struisbaai: Overberg, Whale Route, Cape Agulhus: Departing Cape Town at 8:30 am and Stellenbosch at 9:30 am, our exciting journey begins today along the world famous whale route in Gordons Bay for a stunning drive along the picturesque R44 mountain pass overlooking False Bay to the vibrant coastal town of Hermanus. After a picnic lunch on the seafront, we continue to Birkenhead Brewery to sample some fine beers before moving on to the southernmost tip of Africa in Cape Agulhas National Park.

We then make our way to the harbour where there is an option to embark on an exciting ski-boat cruise to search for dolphin and whales (June to November). After the cruise we take a walk back to the accommodation along “Die Plaat”, the longest beach in the Southern Hemisphere.
Included Highlight: Land Based Whale Watching in Hermanus / Shopping. Beer/wine tasting at Birkenhead Brewery
Optional Activities: Shark cage diving (MUST be pre-booked in advance).

Day 2 – Sunday ǀ Cape Agulhas to Sedgefield: Canoeing & Hike: After breakfast we drive inland again, this time towards the famed Garden Route! After a scenic drive we begin a beautiful canoe trip down one of the many tranquil rivers in the area, followed by a short hike to a stunning waterfall. We finish off the day with some beach time down at Myoli Beach.
Included Highlight: Canoe trip & hike to waterfall

Day 3 – Monday ǀ Oudtshoorn day trip: Little Karoo, Cango Caves, Ostrich Farm, Wildlife Ranch: We begin the day with a drive over the picturesque Outeniqua mountain range into the semi desert region of the Klein Karoo and Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world. Oudtshoorn is situated in a beautiful valley between the Outeniqua and Swartberg Mountains. The Cango Caves will be the first stop, a 1-hour guided tour of the cave system to view its massive caverns and a wonderland of stalactite and stalagmite formations, millions of years old. Cango Caves is a world heritage site and one of the great wonders of the natural world. If you enjoy spelunking and smaller gaps, you are also welcome to take the 1.5 hour adventure tour!

Next is an option to view and ride ostriches on a working ostrich farm, or go on a guided tour of the Cango Endangered Wildlife Ranch for an opportunity to pet cheetah, cage dive with crocodiles and view many rare and endangered animal species.
Included Highlight: Standard or adventure guided tour of Cango Caves
Optional Activities: Tour of a working Ostrich farm + riding (weight restriction apply to riders). Cango Endangered Wildlife ranch.

Day 4 – Tuesday ǀ Sedgefield – Jeffrey’s Bay: Monkey Sanctuary, Elephant Sanctuary, Kloofing, Bloukrans Bungee & Tsitsikamma National Park: This morning we drive through Knysna on our way to the Crags where you have two options to choose from:
1. Elephant Sanctuary where you learn about, and interact with orphaned elephants.
2. Monkey Sanctuary where rescued monkeys roam free in a large jungle area.

Our next stop is the World’s highest commercial Bungee Jump at 216 meters where you can experience this adrenalin pumping activity. Finally, we take a beautiful walk through the indigenous Tsitsikamma National Park to the Storms river swing bridges before we head to the famous surfing town of Jeffreys Bay where we stay at a backpackers directly on the beach.
Included Highlight: Tsitsikamma Forest Optional Activities: Elephant Sanctuary OR Monkeyland. Bloukrans bungee jump (216m), Bloukrans Bridge walking tour.

Day 5 – Wednesday ǀ Jeffrey’s Bay – Addo National Park – Sedgefield: Game Drive (Addo), Surfing, shopping. There are 2 options to choose from this morning.
1. Sleep in then explore the towns many surf factory shops, or go for a surf lesson.
2. Wake up early and head to Addo Elephant National park where we go on a morning game drive to view the multitudes of wild animals. Addo has the Big 5 and also the highest concentration of African Elephants in the world!

Included Highlight: Jeffrey’s Bay/Addo Entrance & Game Dive with tour Guide
Optional Activities: Surf Lessons, Shopping OR Addo Game Drive with National Parks guide (morning).

Day 6 – Thursday ǀ Sedgefield to Cape Town: Return to Cape Town via Sir Lowry’s Pass: After breakfast we start our journey back to Cape Town. For our first stop we will enjoy some fun with a canopy tour, experience the thrill of crossing rope bridges, wobbly crossings and zip wires high up in the trees. We then visit an Aloe factory, where you can purchase a variety of Aloe Ferox products. Finally, enjoy a wonderful scenic drive back to Cape Town, arriving early Thursday afternoon.

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4-day Kruger  National Park Wildlife Game Safari Tour in South Africa

4-DAY KRUGER NATIONAL PARK SAFARI:
Price: £520 per person, includes game drives, tented accommodation, breakfasts and dinners. Leaves Johannesburg daily at 7:00.
Join this 4 day tour to the majestic Kruger National Park, one of the top wilderness reserves in the world and home to the highest concentration of lions in Africa. You'll stay at a private game reserve with permanent safari tents.

Day 1 Sunset Drive, Kruger National Park: We collect you from your hostel or Johannesburg Airport and travel via Dullstroom or Nelspruit to the lodge in a Big Five Game Reserve. Transfer to an open-top game vehicle for a Sunset Drive. After dark, spotlights are used to locate nocturnal animals. Dinner in the open Boma and overnight in air-conditioned chalets.

Day 2 Bush Walk, Kruger National Park:
Awaken at sunrise for an exhilarating day of unforgettable bush life. Drive to a remote part of the Balule Game Reserve, where you enjoy a 4h Bush Walk. Your experienced field guide will lead you through the bush. The thrill of following Africa’s large animals until you can take a photo will remain with you forever. Adrenalin surges will be acute, notwithstanding the presence of your armed ranger. Return for brunch. At around 14h30 we go on an afternoon game drive. Transfer to Marc’s Camp where accommodation is in tents equipped with beds and bedding, soap and towels, electric light and fan. Dinner and overnight at in the camp.

Day 3 Orpen Gate, Kruger National Park:
After breakfast you travel on the open-sided Gameviewer to the Orpen Gate of Kruger. The added elevation and absence of windows allow for excellent viewing and photographic opportunities. Your qualified guide will show you various animals, large and small, that frequent this outstanding wildlife paradise. The zone of Kruger you visit has the highest percentage population of giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and impala that attract numerous lions and other predators. Dinner and overnight at Marc’s Camp.

Day 4 Bush walk at Kruger National Park, Johannesburg
We enjoy an early morning Bush Walk accompanied by an armed ranger. You will be shown various interesting details of the bush, including insects, spoor and scats. You have an excellent chance of encountering Buffalo, Nyala and other game on foot. After breakfast, we drive to the Three Rondawels of the Blyde River Canyon. We return you to your hostel or airport at around 17h00.

Includes:
• Return transfers from Johannesburg
• 3 hour Sunset Big 5 game drive in Big 5 reserve
• 4 hour Big 5 walk with armed ranger
• 2 hour afternoon game drive on Balule Game Reserve
• Full Day Kruger Park on open vehicle
• Breakfasts, Dinners, Accommodation and bedding
• Sunrise bush walk with armed ranger
• Blyde River canyon and Three Rondawels

Excludes: Lunches, Transfers, Drinks & Laundry

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LOCATION | SIGHTSEEING:

The best advice you'll get from us is to try to see some of the country while you're in South Africa. It's big (huge!) and each different region is exciting and very, very beautiful. Cape Town is probably the most beautiful city in the world (I can say that, I grew up there :-) KwaZulu-Natal comes a very close second, albeit very different. Knysna is where South Africans go on holiday, which gives you some idea of how lovely the region is. When you lie on the beach and watch dolphins jumping the waves, you'll think you're in Paradise.

LOCATION - KNYSNA:
Knysna is approximately 500km from the beautiful capital city of Cape Town and voted South Africa’s favourite town 4 years in a row! Its mountainous backdrop, impressively sized estuary and indigenous forests really give the town a natural feel to it. Although it still has that ‘small-town’ feel, Knysna is growing rapidly, and has all the amenities you could ask for such as banks, hotels, internet café’s, cinemas and shopping malls.

Knysna nestles on the banks of a beautiful lagoon in the heart of the ‘Garden Route’ of South Africa. It is surrounded by a natural paradise of lush indigenous forests, tranquil lakes and golden beaches, making it a real natural wonderland.

Knysna is a vibrant town, buzzing with creativity and energy, and the pulse of good music. It's a place where the you can enjoy the mellow atmosphere of street cafes, watching the world go by. The main street is very leafy with trees along the pavements and it has a wonderful holiday atmosphere with sun umbrellas everywhere.

Most cafes have outdoors seating areas overlooking the street or on the pavements, with colourful sun umbrellas - a perfect place to sit with the sun on your face, watching passers-by ambling along, sipping a steamy cappucino or staving off the heat with a cold drink.

About 20-30 minutes' drive away from Knysna you'll find Plettenberg Bay (better known simply as Plett), which is a bit smaller than Knysna, but equally stunning. Its' pure white beaches stretch as far as the eye can see and there is a lot to do, from whale and dolphin watching, to hiking trails and awesome nightlife.

The Garden Route is famous for all sorts of activities from adrenalin sports such as bungee jumping, skydiving and shark cage diving to more relaxed pursuits such as hiking, quad biking in the forest or visiting one of the many animal sanctuaries in the area. Your local Travellers liaison will be happy to assist you in finding interesting things to do and places to see so make the most of it!

TRAVEL:

Read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country.

REVIEWS AND FEEDBACK:

AMY COOMBES
British
Care at the Street Kids Project, in Knysna

To start off with, I would just like to say a MASSIVE thank you to Travellers Worldwide and Sharon Dreyer in particular, my time in South Africa would not have been as valuable without her!

My volunteering at the Youth Development Centre, located in a township in Knysna, is by far the most life changing experience I have ever done; the information and experience you gain from doing this is something you can't begin to understand until you do it! Not only did it feel great to make a difference to a community less fortunate, but the skills and view of life you gain are SO valuable; you make a real impact on the children's lives, but more so the other way round; you learn so much from these amazing youngsters and see life from a totally different view point.

This really is something I would recommend to everyone, it has totally shaped who I am as a person and had a positive impact on my career path; I am now a creative youth worker – I would not be this far without this amazing experience! I look forward to coming back ASAP!!!

GINA RIZZO BISHOP
American
Care Work at Youth Centre
Plus Care at the Street Kids Project, in Knysna

I currently spent the last month in Knysna, South Africa working at a Youth Development Center in the township of Khayalethu. My experience with both the children and staff of the Center, as well as the staff from Travellers Worldwide, far exceeded my expectations. My stay ended, in my eyes, much too soon but the entire journey will always be a part of me.

From the moment I stepped into the Center I was thrown into a world of complete diversity, both culturally and individually. A world I, at first, could not relate to on many levels. The environmental and cultural distinctions, within the children, were very apparent but I quickly began to understand the workings of this community and grew to love it beyond measure. No amount of advice or research could have prepared me for the impact this place would have on me nor the closeness I would soon feel toward both staff and kids.

Each day I felt grateful to participate in morning devotion and gathered inspiration from the Center leaders which helped fortify my motivation for working with the kids. I happily accepted the task of working with the crèche (preschool) kids and the close relationships I was able to build with them made my experience all the more rewarding.

In the morning I was able to work through a teaching plan of reciting and writing the alphabet, counting to 50, animal flashcards, and songs with fluid participation. Late morning I concentrated on interactive activities and group participation which I felt the children responded to wonderfully. On many occasions, the other volunteers and myself, would bring tables, chairs, and the children outside for arts and crafts activities or games.

During many of these activities I could see the normally frantic minds of these children calm down and focus on the task at hand. This was a unique observation of behavior and after a month together it was even more evident that the children completely understood what was being asked of them, and how to produce the desired results for which we were asking. I believe that many of these children are in dire need of ways to express themselves and therefore tried to give them as much creative liberty as I could. I was stunned at the amount of concentration they had developed, in a short time, and the way they adjusted to a new person offering new routines. Some of the most memorable times were when I brought in a jewelry kit to make necklaces, and T-shirts for them to paint on and take home. Even the youngest of the bunch, Lumco, who is 4 years old, sat in quiet determination getting each small bead through the thinnest of string.

Small moments like this were monumental in my eyes and the things that will inevitably leave the greatest impact on my memory.

Around the second week I began to develop an attachment to these children that began with hugs and kisses in the morning to walking them home in the afternoons. It was such a unique experience to share the smallest exchange of cultures. By the end of my stay I had taught many of them what both "butterfly" and "Eskimo" kisses were and they were ever so eager to give them to me at my arrival each morning. I shared the simplest of exchanges with one of the youngest girls, Angel, where I would sing to her "Angel I love you" and she would reiterate "Gina I love you" over and over again. It was the many small things that happened at Youth Center that made my time there so powerful.

Sharon, the Travellers Volunteer Liaison, was more than willing to help me fill my days by arranging and allowing me the opportunity to volunteer time at the Orphanage down the street. After a fulfilling day at the Center, I was able to share my love for dance with a handful of orphaned children. The enthusiastic response I received from those kids was just an added treasure to my stay. Helping with bath time, letting them braid my hair, laughing, and playing were sources of so much reciprocated joy. I could feel the reaction and see how thrilled they were each time I turned on the music and it was so worth it! It was evident that this was such an added gift of excitement to their normal everyday routines. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have experienced and connected with the children at both the Youth Center and the Orphanage.

Monday through Thursday, mid afternoon, I did a dance program for both the kids at the Center, as well as the children of the township. I was overwhelmed by the participation and enthusiasm I received from the kids.

They responded profoundly to the music and, although I had my reservations, they caught on quickly to what I was offering them. It was immediately apparent that most of these children had never been to an organized "Dance Class" therefore it was inevitably a process of adaptation and flexibility on both our parts. The cultural and style diversity of our movement made it a learning experience for all of us! So many of the boys at the Center were naturally blessed with good rhythm and a passion for music that it wasn't hard to see what our common bond would be. I was more than thrilled to make and hand out over 30 mixed CDs in hopes they could enjoy it long after I left.

I can't express the way it made me feel to walk through the township hearing the kids call my name and see them doing a dance I had taught them.

Because most of the children are fluent in their native language, Afrikaans, their proficiency in English is minimal. However, music and dance is so universal that it was definitely the best way we could relate to each other and far more profound than grammatical technicalities.

I truly believe the Youth Centre is a necessity on so many levels to the people and children of this area. It is a "safe haven" for educational, social, and individual development that so many of these kids need. The lack of funding is a monumental disadvantage when there are people willing to spend time and energy mentoring, teaching, and promoting happier children there.

Personally, my time was short, but there are leaders and long-term volunteers who possess the capacity to help guide so many of these children who have gotten so far off course. This Center offers a place of refuge to children who desperately need physical, mental, and emotional assistance in life. The kids are in far worse condition than I had ever anticipated, and the circumstances are larger than I had ever known. But, for every harsh reality they have to endure... there is so much underlying beauty. The smiles on these children are wider and the love in their hearts deeper than anything I had ever seen before.

Amidst the confusion of adolescence, and the uncertainty of their day to day lives, these children find joy in so many unthought of ways. Once we were all comfortable the affection, love, and respect I felt was unparalleled. It is my deepest hope that the Youth Center gains the financial backing and support needed to match the dedication and enthusiasm of the people who lovingly run it.

As for the kids of this township, I can't say how many of them will mention my name in a few months but that isn't important to me. If only one kid was able to feel loved and special, for even a second of my time there... it was completely worth it. If I was able to shed some light on who they are, what they could be, and the capacity for their lives... than the result far surpasses any monetary value it actually took to get me there.

I went with the intentions of bringing who I was, and what I love to do, to them but, who they were enlightened and drastically shifted who i am. It is my greatest hope that the lasting affect each of them has had on me is felt in return. I expected the place and the children would change me in some way. I had a preconceived idea of what I could bring and the rewards I would take away from this experience but, in reality... it was more than I could have ever imagined.

My heartfelt thank you to those who contributed support on my behalf, the staff and kids at the Youth Centre and the Orphanage, Travellers Worldwide, Sharon, and all of the other volunteers. I am forever changed and eternally grateful.

DEANNE PETERSON
American
Care Work at Youth Centre
Plus Care at the Street Kids Project, in Knysna

I embarked on this journey in revolt to my recently turning 40. As a business owner, wife and mother of two teenage boys, a month long journey to Africa seemed like something far reaching and beyond my reality. My vacation experiences prior to this were always family oriented and/or resort style, including room service, umbrella drinks, amusement parks, cruise ships, and guided tours. I wanted to see and do as much as I could and experience as much of South Africa as possible but with family and work obligations, time was an issue.

My journey with Travellers Worldwide gave me the opportunity to see a do all of the things a vacationing tourist would do, while the volunteering gave me the chance to meet many local people, and get to know so more about the culture and the people of South Africa. I was able to see and do more than I ever imagined possible in one month.

From my very first inquiring email to Travellers all my questions and concerns were answered with the efficiency and accuracy of a world-class travel agency. I was put in touch with people who worked on the projects I was interested in and other volunteers as well.

My accommodations and work experiences were exactly as described and better than I'd expected, the project managers went above and beyond to ensure the volunteers had everything needed and wanted. Many of my travelling companions were recent high school graduates, as a mother, I couldn't have imagined sending my 18 year old son on a trip like this before seeing it for myself.

Now without a doubt I will be planning a volunteer experience with Travellers for both of my sons after their graduations. All in all this was the most wonderful, fulfilling, and incredible, month of my life!

Before this journey, like many people my age, I was stuck in my regular every day rut of work and routine. But after a month of diving with great white sharks, working with orphans and street kids, animal safaris, zip-lining through jungles, and sky-diving(!!) I have returned fully invigorated and with a new lease on life! I also made friends from all over the world that I’m sure I will stay in touch with for years to come.

Travellers is an amazing organization that offers life changing experiences to people of all ages, I will highly recommend it to everyone, and I will be planning another volunteer experience for myself as well as for my sons. Thank you so so much for the experience of a life time!

ZOEY MARSHALL
British
Care Work at Youth Centre
Plus Care at the Street Kids Project, in Knysna

Both placements I attended were great - a real experience of a life time to remember for ever! My experience in Kynsna is definitely not one I’m going to forget in a hurry it will be with me for ever! I met a lot of amazing people who I will never forget! As my project changed due to schools being on strike I really didn’t no what to expect when I had the chance to work at the Street Kids Project and the Youth Care Centre, but I discovered both are really amazing places!

Youth Care Centre:
My first day was at the Youth Care Centre was working with the 4 babies. My first reaction was that these children have nothing; we need to buy them some toys to bring in tomorrow. After being there an hour or so I realised these children don’t need anything more than they have got here already.

They are the most happy children and are very content in their surroundings, they are fed well and clothed and kept warm and have a bed - everything a child needs. Especially after hearing the children’s backgrounds I realised that they are very lucky to be in a place like the Youth Care Centre.

The children enjoyed my company and I enjoyed seeing them so happy. I now realise children don’t need lots of toys etc to be happy or to develop. All the children could put their shoes on and off at such a young age. The few toys that they did have they could do a lot with, for example Duplo bricks, they could line them up, stack them, take them apart, push their towers over, share them, work together to build, work with the older children etc. The next day I took some paints in just to see how the children would react they really enjoyed the activity with me but soon went back to wondering around the activity room and playing together or climbing on the bench. This proved to me that these children are happy with what they have and don’t need new toys or anything to make them happy, they are already happy and are occupied with the resources they have - and they can entertain themselves in different ways.

Street Kids Project:
The next project I did was at the Street Kids Project. This was another eye opener for me. Children so young living on the streets taking drugs, smoking, alcoholics, and the same age as me! It’s like a different world even though I am very aware it’s the same in many countries including England. I worked in the crèche with some other volunteers teaching the children the alphabet and days of the week, singing, games and all kinds of fun activities. These made the children so happy and want to come into the centre day after day! I know that during the time that I was there, the children were having fun whilst in crèche, whatever they were getting up to once it was over at the end of the day.

All the older youths enjoyed the centre too. I enjoyed talking with them and trying to pick up on some Afrikaans in the afternoons!

GINA RIZZO BISHOP
American
Letter to the Children and Staff of the Street Kids Youth Centre

Hello Everyone!!!!!
I can't begin to tell you how much I miss all of your faces! The truth is that when I came to South Africa I could have never known how deeply I would have fallen in love. You stole my heart! I absolutely love you all and am so grateful for the time we shared. Not a single day has passed that I haven't thought about the center and wished I was still there. It has been impossible for me to describe my time there because it was absolutely indescribable in every way.

I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for embracing and welcoming me. The impact each of you has made in my life has enriched my soul forever. There is a large part of me that will always remain there even though I have returned home. When I look at all of the beautiful pictures taken... your faces light up my life! I hope you are able to look at the picture collages I made and forever know that someone on the other side of the world is loving you!

I told you on my last day that I will be back and... I fully intend on keeping that promise. I care deeply about the future of every one of you kids and believe deeply in all of the beautiful things the center has to offer. I fully intend to do everything I can to spread my light and raise awareness in California on behalf of the center.

Although I may not be there physically you have touched me deeply and my spirit remains a part of the effort. I can't tell you how much it would mean to hear what is going on at the center and how you all are doing. I would really love to keep in contact so if anyone feels like writing (I am sure a staff member or volunteer would be more than willing to help), Sharon has kindly offered to forward the letters to me through email. I will be shipping a package to the center in the next couple of weeks and hope it will bring a smile to your faces!

There are not enough words in the English language that could express how much my time at the center meant to me. If someone could please tell the cresh kids that I have said “Hello from America and I love each of them”! I can't wait to send you a letter saying I have booked a flight and I am coming back but until then... I am thinking of you all every single day.

To the Staff/Volunteers - Thank you for doing what you are doing every day! Your dedication to the center and the children is truly inspirational. The world needs more people like you!

To the Kids - Today is the first day of the rest of your life. No matter what tomorrow was, who you were, or how you acted... you have the power to change that all.... TODAY. Be happy, positive, brave, and confident that you can be anything you decide you want to be in this lifetime. You are my angels.

I love you all, Gina

AIMS AND ACHIEVEMENTS:

The Challenges
The Youth Development Centre, which is a registered Non-Profit Organization (NPO), was set up initially as a safe daily drop off Centre for youth at risk primarily for street kids. The aims of the Centre were to not only provide a place of safety but to try and facilitate the back-to-school process for the youth on the street, to mediate between them and their families to get a more solid family structure in place and provide life and job skills to allow them to be self supporting members of society.

As an NPO, the Centre runs on minimal funds and is very short staffed due and in desperate need of physical support especially skilled people to help with the daily running of their programs, fundraising and general administration.

Our Goal
Our aim is not only to provide hands-on-help through our volunteers, but to also generate awareness of the needs of the NPO Centre in the local area and abroad. We believe that it is vital that the Centre is also self-sustainable, but they have a lack of funding so where possible we try and assist them to reach this goal.

Our Achievements
For many years we have provided volunteers to the Centre and as a result, we have been able to supply them with various donations, like computers, projector monitors and screens, DVD players, microwaves, digital cameras, sports equipment, assisting in the running costs like electricity and vehicle repairs, pay for sewing machine repairs and the welding instructors salary, funding two of their youth to attend the Homeless World Cup in Milan.

We have also had wonderful volunteers who assist with the adolescent development programs at the Centre and local township schools, in the various areas like an anger management, peer group pressure, substance abuse, self confidence and other topics to assist in their personal development.

We have had volunteers teach them cooking, sewing, even knitting. We have had volunteers run dance programs, drama workshops and facilitate their fun holiday program. We have had volunteers teach their marimba band and even make the printed t-shirts for the band members to wear. We have had volunteers assist with sports coaching for the youth and help at soccer events. We have also for many years now been able to facilitate Christmas shopping trips for the youth for their Christmas boxes and contributed towards their end of year function. We have also facilitated fund raisers at a local restaurant with the monies going to the NPO and have another lined up for the future.

Our Travellers South Africa Manager, Sharon Dreyer, who is based in Knysna, also sits on the board of directors at the Centre for many years now and acts as secretary for their AGM and executive council meetings so is very passionate about this placement and its well being and survival.

As time has gone by, the number of street kids has decreased in Knysna significantly due to the success of the Centre and the aims have evolved with the growth of the Centre. An advanced development program has also been rolled out in various disadvantaged schools, with help from the Department of Social Development.

PHOTO GALLERY: Street Kids Project in Knysna