The way we share what we do but also the way we promote it has evolved and changed a lot during the last years. We had to learn to embrace Social Media channels and all the challenges that come with it. But we also got a better understanding of how to use those tools to connect, share, make aware, and together work tirelessly to turn this world into a better place.
Gain insight into the victim support unit at the South African Police Service. What effects do crimes have on the psyche of those committing them? And how can volunteering with at-risk communities help prevent criminal activities from taking place?
The cheetah populations throughout Africa have drastically declined and voices are rising to place this big cat on the endangered red list. Working in conservation demands a lot of patience, often with taking baby steps but those can quickly turn into big steps and put a smile on our faces. The African Wildlife Experience Project has lately managed to positively contribute to the conservation of this gorgeous big cat.
Ethical consumerism or ethical shopping relate to the purchasing of products made without exploiting people, animals, or the environment. "Fast fashion" is becoming less trendy and ethical consumerism is on the rise. A “compassion trend” rather than fashion trend is the new way to go. But what do doneky skins have to do with this...?
What can I do to make the world a better place? What does ethical volunteering mean in terms of Social or Conservational volunteering? And can voluntrouism be ethical at all? Volunteering is rooted in the principles of doing good but how can that be put into action in an ethical way? There are many opinions out there, find out what's ours.
Vanessa has, for the last 5 years, given her everything to build up Good Hope Volunteers and find valuable and impacting projects for our volunteers. She has done this with passion, love, commitment and faith in the cause. We will miss her dearly and wish her the best of luck for her new adventure in the UK!
Two adventurous guys get together and decide they want to take on a new adventure, something they have never done before; far, far away from home...and then their adventure is taken to a whole new level and they have the time of their lives!
Our Volunteer Support Coordinator went on the search of the significance of this famous African proverb and what he found will simply put a smile on your face. Find out why he totally agrees on this poweverful meaning of our todays blog title.
Freedom Day is held on the 27th of April each year in order to commemorate the first non-racial, post-apartheid national elections held on that day in 1994. It gave ALL South Africans a voice again. For more than a year, a pandemic has taken away a lot of our freedom and we all long for a life without illness. But Freedom Day reminds us that freedom will be earned by going through struggle and that progress takes time.
When volunteers offer their time and work-force to help make this world a better place, hearts of children are filled with thankfulness, animals are saved ans so forth. Sometimes they don't stop there, sometimes volunteers call together families and friends and donate money to make crucial changes for a project and a difference in many peoples lives.
African penguins are in danger of extinction. Oil spills, overfishing, habitat destruction, coastal development and other human influences are a major threat to their survival. However, penguins are incredibly resilient creatures and do very well when rehabilitated. Volunteers are a precious contribution to help saving these amazing creatures.
Families in Townships often suffer from unemployment, lack of skills, are poorly educated and deseases are a constant threat to everyone living in the community. The Haut Bay Children's Programmes in the Imizamo Yethu Township is an outstanding example of how to create a safe haven for those most vulnerable in such a community - the children. This is a personal insight...
The worst epidemics in recent history such as the Avian flu, Swine Flu, SARS and Ebola are all related to zoonotic diseases! COVID-19 is unfortuanately not any different and the breakout was caused by a wet market in Wuhan, China, where live and dead wildlife, domestic animals and other food was sold. This oftentimes happens illegally, but the trade behind this is a very complex matter.
November 25 - 29, 2020 was set to be a time for mourning.
Not only have we lost friends and family to the COVID-19 pandemic in the past few months, but we still lose friends and family members to Gender Based Violence every da, still a huge issue in South Africa.
The COVID-19 pandemic has started to take a seious toll on many of the precious projects that Good Hope Volunteers had been working with sucessfully over the past ten years. One of the reasons is the tight budget that many of the NGO’s and NPO’s operate on.
A few of our favourite projects had to close their doors permanently, others won't be available temporarily and still others are struggling to survive a time that once again reminds us of who are the weakest in our communities...
After 10 weeks of lockdown at level 4 in South Africa, the Nation will now loosen that level to number 3 on June 1st 2020. What impact will that have on South Africa and to what extend may its people influence in what direction that new bit of freedom develops?
Nature is taking over again. Endangered species recover, animals are seen where they hadn't been observed in a long time, fauna is flourishing. Could the lack of movement, and then subsequently the lack of tourism, be helping our planet? How long is too long, and how long is not long enough? As the world continues to suffer through this pandemic, now is the time to start thinking about the type of world we are desperately trying to save, the world we will be walking into when we think we return to normal life.
Our shores will welcome our clients again, and when that day comes we will greet you with a smile and warmth of family reuniting. A view words from our Good Hope Volunteers Manager, Vanessa Randon about the current situation.
Given the chance, ecosystems on land and in the water are able to restore themselves to abundant numbers within relatively short periods of time. Keen on some examples? With conscious efforts on our part to reduce our waste and manage our resources, we can have sustainable cities and communities that work with nature.
Coronavirus, COVID-19 is spreading across the world, shocking us all and having a huge impact on the wordwide economy. Entire countries have to shut down almost entirely by closing schools and kindergardens and huge events are being cancelled wordwide. Many are working hard on trying to figure out how to prevent an infection.
While the SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being is always an issue, it is more relevant than ever!
Wildlife conservation takes time and a lot of money. But is it worth it? Do we make progress in our conservation efforts? How much of an issue is poaching still? How can education and practical work also be a key in saving wildlife?
With the raise of climate awareness within community development and the issues of social development programmes, sustainable community development and community inclusion has become more and more important when making decisions. Some NPOs are looking at combining two problems into one solution and have created amazing projects.
We almost daily hear about animals being listed as endangered, threatened or vulnerable. But there are by far more categories animals are classified into. But what do all these categories mean and how to apply them to specific animals? Depending on numbers, habitation and conservation efforts, animals can also move from one category to another.
Conservation volunteering plays an important part in protecting endangered species or such who soon are likely to be!
Some of our Good Hope volunteers had the privilege to help renovate a building and turn it into The Joyful Centre, a place for partly orphaned children and youth in Mathathane, Botswana. Its mission is to create a brighter future for those less fortunate by providing a safe space, support as well as a sense of belonging to the children.
Our volunteers had a lot of freedom to be creative with painting the walls. But see for yourselves!
The Good Hope Volunteer Team wishes a happy New Year to everyone!
2019 wasn't at all boring for us. We added 5 new projects to our portfolio, made new partnerships in South America and Europe, donated to many projects and over 300 volunteers made the southern part of Africa a better place through their help and enthusiasm.
We are very thankful for everyone who contributed and know there is even more to come this year.
The entire world talks about plastic and the effects it has on our environment. According to the UN, the rapidly increasing production of plastic producs overwhelms our world's ability to deal with them. At the same time, the convieneces it offers has led to a throw-away culture and plastic materials that often have a very short lifetime take decades to disappear if they ever will. But rather than talking about the horrible effects plastic has on us, we should concentrate on using the plastic circulating in our ecosystem already by using it as a resource...
According to the UN, worldwide material consumtion reached 92,1 billion in 2017 with the rate of extraction accelerating every year since 2000. This has also increased the demand for natural resources demanding far too much of our environment.
Christmas is a time of celebrating but most of the time it is also a time of incredible waste as increased amount of papaer and plastic is generated. So how can we live up to the Sustainable Development Goal 12 of consuming and producing responsibly and can we even succeed?
Good Hope Volunteers’ sister company, Good Hope Studies, shares our passion for community and social development and sustainability, and on 29 November they surprised some local children of Oliboom daycare in the Township of Varkanslvlei with a splash of Christmas cheer.
For children and youth, physical activity is especially important. Sport promotes the development of healthy bones as well as effective lung and heart functions. Sport is also said to have potential therapeutic benefits in treating some psychological disorders such as depression and offers opportunities for inclusion, violence prevention and conflict resolution.
However, the environment in which children grow up in may impact their access to sport opportunities.
Volunteering is often a way for volunteers to contribute towards alleviating social injustices like poverty, or the lack of fundamental services such as health or education in third world countries. But do volunteer programmes actually help the people and communities they work with?
According to the 2018 Brookings Institution Africa Growth Initiative Report on Africa’s tourism potential, a significant portion of the tourists coming to the continent do so for cultural, volunteer-driven experiences.
Ecotourism is not a new concept but it is gaining momentum as tourists and volunteers worldover see the potential damage mass tourism has on not only natural area but the local communities within those areas.
How can ecotourism be beneficial to environmental conservation and local communities as well as being respectful of local cultures? It is a lot about education focusing on long-term sustainable development goals rather than quick short-term profits that are potentially damaging.
For those who can't or don't want to escape the city but still love gardening and farming an allotment garden might be the solution. It is a plot of land, subdivided into several land parcels that are then assigned to individuals or families and thereafter made available for individual, non-commercial gardening or growing food plants.
Growing hand in hand with allotments is green therapy and green prescribing - both of which use gardening, gardens and parks to help with health issues such as depression and other problems.
Farming is no longer seen as a poor person's lot; on the contrary, it is a booming enterprise, something young people are increasingly turning to. They are prepared to give up promising careers and jobs in the city and turn to farming.
Interestingly, many are very successful in doing so because in farming this young generation has found its purpose - by further develpoing Southern Africa's agriculture they are encouraging economic growth and stability and moulding their own communities and local economies.
Have you heard of the word "braai"? It means "to grill" in Afrikaans and is used instead of the word "barbecue" in South Africa. If you are considering travelling to this stunning country, "braai" is a crucial word to know and you should definitely participate in a braai!
On September 24th, South Africa does not only celebrate Heritage Day to honour the diverse cultures and traditions of the country, but it also celebrates South Africa's culinary tradition with National Braai Day.
Youngsters from all over the wolrd are finding ways of tackling some of our pollution and sustainability problems across this planet. Various women of South Africa are involved in this process, however, pollution and sustainability are not the only areas where South African students are making waves. They are also making headlines in the fields of science, mathematics, engineering and innovative design.
The country has a number of famous women in its history from anti-Apartheid activities to movie stars and athletes. There are the well-known names such as Albertina Sisulu, Lillian NgoyiI and Ruth First who fought against the Apartheid regime, but there are also post-Apartheid women who worked, and continue to work, towards a democratic and fair South Africa
August has been declared Women's Month by the South African government and has the aim to highlight the plights and triumphs of women in the country. Notiaonal Women's Day is always celebrated on the 9th of August but this year also marks two additional celebrations - 25 years of democratic freedom in South Africa and the 65th anniversary of the Founding Conference of the Federation of South African Women.
The world’s reliance on plastic has reached a point where it is no longer a question as to whether there should be alternatives. Not all alternatives need to be great innovations. Using what’s readily available is also a viable option. One thing is certain, we all need to start contributing and using plastic alternatives!
Afforestation and reforestation are similar in that they both involve planting trees. However, reforestation is planting new trees to expand an existing forest while afforestation is focused in creating a ‘new’ forest.
The initiative "Plastic Free July" is recognised world wide and gains momentum with more and more people taking on the challenge every year. It’s one of the world’s most popular movements with more than 120 million participants from 177 countries last in 2018.
A number of recent articles have celebrated the return of wildlife to their natural environment - the return of baby flamingos in Kimberley, loggerhead turtles swam free with help from the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town and the release of a rescued pangolin in Zululand after its recovery at the Johannesburg Wildlife Veterinary Hospital.
Poaching has always been a very contentious issue around the word. Culturally the effects and reasons for poaching divide the world. Rhinos are of course by far the most vulnerable species to poaching, and this cruel and devastating crime have pushed both Black and White African Rhino’s to extinction.
Good Hope Volunteers is proud to announce our newest partnership with the Year Out Group. Year Out Group (YOG) is an association of approved gap year providing organisations around the world. YOG provides young travelers with well researched, well-structured and well-advised project options and advice on what to do, where to go and who to work through.
Beaches with Blue Flag status are those that have met the strict criteria set by the FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education), an international non-government, non-profit organisation started in France in 1985. Blue Flag status is awarded for environmental awareness, safety, educational programmes, and accessibility of a country’s beaches.
Animal welfare and animal rights organisations are often confused as they both focus on protecting animals and have little differences in how they operate. The SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is an animal welfare organisation. This means they are against cruelty to animals and promote the care of animals through education. They are interested in the well-being of animals and how they are treated by humans as pets, how human interaction affects them and how they are used as food sources. The Cape of Good Hope SPCA was established in 1872 and is the oldest animal welfare organisation in the country.
By being a human, you have human rights. These are rights that you are born with and that cannot be taken away from you - "the basic rights and freedoms to which all humans are entitled." They include such things as the right to life, property, freedom of expression, education and equality. In South Africa, it it illegal to infringe on another human’s rights, and our constitution protects these accordingly.
Volunteering is often seen as an altruistic activity. This may be true, but volunteering can also be good for you and your overall well-being. It is more than just helping people or organisations for two or three weeks before moving on to something else. While there are those that see volunteering as something to put on their CV / resume to show off their experiences or something to boast about at parties, generally volunteering and the individuals that do this help and assist others without personal gain.
In a previous blog post we spoke about SDGs - Sustainable Development Goals. The first SDG we tackled in 2019 was SDG 13 Climate Change. Climate change is defined as global or local change in weather patterns. While some climate change is natural, the extreme changes the world is experiencing has been brought on by human beings and our wasteful ways.
February 21 is International Mother Language Day. It has been observed every year since 2000 when it was proclaimed by UNESCO in November 1999. South Africa has 11 official languages and many more unofficial languages what are protected by our constitution.
Buffel is a southern elephant seal who has made his way to False Bay, all alone, in order to moult. He has been calling Fish Hoek Beach home for the past couple of weeks while he sheds his old fur, revealing a fresh new look before his onwards journey. This process can take up to a month, and during this time, elephant seals will not eat but lie idle in the sand, giving their bodies time to recover while living off stored blubber (fat reserve).
SDG stands for Sustainable Development Goals. In 2015 the United Nation identified 17 areas of society and the environment that can, and should, be improved for the start of a better world and society for everyone by 2030 - which is only 11 years away. These 17 goals include not only environmental issues but also societal issues such as health, poverty and inclusion. The SDGs are not the end goal, but rather a starting point from which society can create sustainable environments for all.
Our most memorable moments in 2018 perfectly sum up the Good Hope Volunteering programme. Volunteering experiences take time, patience and effort; sometimes you need to find solutions to problems you never thought you would have to face, sometimes you need to have your hand held, other times, you are the one holding someone else’s hand. Sometimes you need to stand up for what you believe in when the world seems against you, and sometimes you stand shoulder to shoulder with like-minded people who reaffirm your beliefs and ideals. The world can be pure and beautiful, kind and full of light if you take the time to slow down, breathe deeply and learn.
Good Hope Volunteers is committed to the responsibility we hold in the volunteering community. We would like to continue our leadership in this area by supporting conservation projects and hosting volunteers who share our unwavering belief that wild animals belong in the wild. And only with serious consideration, do some injured, orphaned or domesticated wild animals require human intervention.
Vanessa Randon, our Good Hope Volunteers manager, has recently been interviewed by the international placement programme – GoAbroad, which is one of the largest placement agencies in the world for internships, volunteering and more.
This October, Tatiana, our Sales & Marketing Manager who is based in Brazil and Bridget, our Volunteer Support Coordinator for Cape Town, took a drive up the Garden Route to visit the projects which we offer in this area. The focus of the trip was to visit the projects and meet the amazing staff which run them, as well as learn more about the interesting work that our volunteers help with. We also got to meet some of the volunteers that were at these projects at the time and hear from them first-hand about their experiences.
It’s that time of the year again when the earth has returned from its 940-million-kilometer journey around the sun. In Cape Town and across Southern Africa, we are enjoying the first of the rays of Spring sunshine finding their way to the earth. Flowers have blossomed, the new leaves of young and old trees have begun to shoot and the city is alive with the vibrancy of bright greens. The sound of thousands of bees is buzzing through the air and the sweet smell of blossoms hangs over the country.
On the 24th of September every year, South African takes the day off and celebrate everything it is that makes us who we are. As a country with 57.7 million nationals of diverse origins cultures, languages and religions, we certainly have something to celebrate. Various events are set up throughout the country to commemorate our heritage, and all visitors are welcomed to join in the fun.
In 2009, the United Nations declared that Nelson Mandela International Day will be celebrated every year on July 18 (his birthday). The purpose of the day is to honour Mandela’s legacy and promote community service. But who was this man, this leader that inspired a nation, this dreamer who gave hope when all hope felt lost and who in the calm of humanity avoided war, civil unrest, violent change and freed a nation from archaic ideals which chained a country’s people to apartheid.
As we have been growing steadily and have had more and more amazing volunteers join us, we wanted to make sure that we can still provide them and you with the high standard of support that we have always given.
With this in mind, we would like to introduce our new Volunteer Coordinator Bridget Stallkamp to you. She joined us at the beginning of June and is eager to get stuck in and learn the ropes from Vanessa. She has previously worked in the volunteer sector, so is looking forward to the new challenges of this role.
It was almost a year ago to the day that one of the most horrific fires this country has ever seen broke out along the Garden Route in South Africa. I was personally in the thick of things attending to volunteers trapped and affected by the raging blaze near Jeffery's Bay. These photographs show some of the scenes that welcomed us on the road to our volunteer projects in the area.
As of the 13 June 2018 the City of Cape Town issued a massive storm warning for our beautiful city. Flash floods, mud slides, heavy snow on the mountains and hurricane level winds are due to bash this city in the next couple of days. But what does this mean for South Africans, for Capetonians, and for all of our international visitors?
As the programme manager of Good Hope Volunteers I am rarely able to spend as much time on the ground with the volunteers, at our projects, as I would like. Our support coordinators around the country do an amazing job with the volunteers weekly, but I miss it very much. It’s the reason I love the work that I do.
We are happy to announce that Good Hope Volunteers has become a proud member of IVPA International Volunteer Programs Association. IVPA is a nonprofit association dedicated to promoting awareness and access to quality volunteer abroad programmes. IVPA member organisations must uphold the IVPA’s Principles and Practices as guidelines for good programming as well as meet stringent membership criteria.
Things are changing fast here at Good Hope Volunteers and we have a LOT to be proud of! To start with the GHV team has moved into their new offices in Newlands, a great space for the team, and a comfortable and welcome area for our new volunteers. All volunteers will be welcomed for their orientation here in Newlands, when they arrive through Cape Town.
... with the children of the Hout Bay Children's Programmes project
Imagine the moment when you staring at a child’s face trying to decide how they would like their face painted. Do you paint spider-man, the South African flag, perhaps some hearts and a flower? Can you actually do it? Are you able to draw whiskers and a nose, that would look good? Or is your masterpiece going to look awful!
Every year on the 9 August, South Africa celebrates Women’s Day. Women’s Day marks a significant event in South African history. On 9 August 1956, 2000 women marched to the Union building in South Africa to protest against the pass laws that required women of colour to carry internal passports to maintain segregation.
Here are a couple of simple questions we sometimes get asked, and we hope this might help you on your next trip to South Africa, or during your planning. Some of them seem pretty obvious, some of them could save you a LOT of money and some of them are downright hilarious. Our team has answered ALL of them, believe it or not! See for yourself…
As of the 16th of March 2017 the levels of water in the dams surrounding the City of Cape Town are at an all time low. Heavy water restrictions are affecting the entire Western Cape Province and the community is holding their breath for the start of the life - giving winter rains.
Good Hope Volunteers is proud to be part of the Imizamo Yethu community in Hout Bay. We support 2 children’s projects in the area, and our volunteers assist with school/teaching classes as well as after school care for the children at the Home of Hope. Children in the IY community are supported throughout the day by kind and nurturing staff and caregivers, and our volunteers are an integral part of this process. Volunteers assist with feeding, teaching, education and supporting the children, and they grow together, learning from each other as the days go on.
Good Hope Volunteers is running a brand new and unique project, Photography Course. I (Naomi, Volunteer Coordinator at Good Hope Volunteers) had the opportunity to join the first ever one week course that offers an experience Cape Town through the lens of a camera. The course is a perfect mix of fun and work as you learn your way around a camera and Cape Town. You learn the basics of photography before going out into Cape Town to practice portraits, landscapes, social documentary photography and architectural photography.
A popular activity for both tourists and locals alike in South Africa is the petting and cuddling of cute lion cubs as well as visiting circuses. Being entertained by tricks and cuddling adorable lion cubs may seem harmless but the truth that lies behind these 'fun' excursions is a dark and twisted one.
Africa has our very own big friendly giants, the African Elephant. There are two sub species of the African Elephant, the Savannah elephant that lives in grassy plains and woodlands, and the smaller forest Elephant that prefers the equatorial forests of central and western Africa. African Elephants are the largest land mammals in the world, reaching up to 7.5 m in length, 3.3 m shoulder height and weighing in at 6 tonnes. Elephants organise themselves around a system of herds made up of related females and calves with males usually living independently or in smaller groups.
The Safe Haven Children Foundation is one of the projects supported by Good Hope Volunteers. Safe Haven was inspired by Kim Highfield's personal experience when her daughter was suddenly struck with cancer at 3 years old. Whilst her daughter was being treated at a children's hospital, Kim met many other parents who had come from all around the country with their children also affected by cancer. Kim realised the need for accommodation for these parents when one mother was raped after spending the night under a bridge near the hospital. The project began as a support system for sick children and their parent through offering accommodation throughout hospitalisation and recovery.
There are thousands of places in different countries around the world that need volunteers in order for their respective projects to continue running and inevitably become a success. So what makes South Africa a unique place for volunteers to offer their time and energy, and what could volunteers take away from this special country?
Here are 3 reasons why you should consider volunteering in South Africa and how it could potentially change your life:
Volunteering in a foreign country is an amazing and exciting experience, not only do you get to make a difference in someone else’s life, you also experience new cultures and cities, eat different food and enjoy new scenery!
Here are 3 of the top experiences not to miss while volunteering in Cape Town.
People are drawn to vegetarianism by all sorts of motives, a healthier life, or to do our part for the earth and animals. The other day we received some really interesting feedback from one of our past volunteers, Sabrina who volunteered at our Cheetah Conservation project.
Valley of a 1000 Hills is literally situated in a Valley with a 1000 hills in Kwazulu-Natal. Skateboarding is fast becoming an attractive activity amongst youths throughout South Africa as it's an expression of freedom without limits and boundaries.
Our Namibia Wildlife Conservation project is by far one of our favourite projects – if I have to choose a few. The work they do is absolutely remarkable and makes a dramatic change in conservation of a wide range of animals. We recently learned of the loss of one of their Lions.
Lions are one of the top 5 big animals in Africa, commonly known as the African Lion. It is the second-largest living cat after the tiger, some males exceeding 250kg (550lb) in weight. They are majestic and a main attraction for all visitors but this and a range of other elements has decreased their population by the 1000's.
They say that laughter is the best medicine, and that is exactly what our motto is at the children's hospital in Athlone. Volunteers spend a few hours a day playing with the kids in the Hospital, building puzzles, singing songs or just reading a book. It is amazing to see the smiles on these kids faces when the volunteers are there. But at the same time it is remarkable to see the smiles and gratitude that the Volunteers have after volunteering. Below is a letter from a recent Volunteer! Well done to all the staff of Good Hope Studies and the Hospital!