When Volunteers Direct started 5 years ago, the majority of our volunteers were students who had finished school and were taking a Gap break before studying further or students who had finished their degree and were taking a Gap break before starting their careers.
After the economic meltdown in Europe and America we had an increase in older volunteers coming to Cape Town. These volunteers were taking a Career break or had taken a retrenchment package and were taking some “timeout”
Many retirees with time and energy to spare enjoy volunteering.
One of our Dutch volunteers was so appalled by the lack of teachers in the township schools that she started a foundation in Holland, Teachers for Africa. Volunteers from this organisation are mostly working, retired or student teachers. South Africa has a critical shortage of Maths and Science teachers and these teachers are placed at the High School project and are very popular at the Homework club.
Volunteers with a special talent or passion such as dance, art or music are encouraged to share this with the township youth.
We have had volunteers from 17 to 72 and learnt that age makes little difference to the effectiveness of the volunteers.
The ideal volunteer is one who comes with enthusiasm, an open mind, willingness to work hard, patience when things don’t go according to plan, acts responsibly and sets a good example. A good sense of humour helps too.
Volunteers come mostly on their own but also with friends, partners and family.
We need volunteers for our Township Teaching projects in the schools and the Girls Home from June to December 2011.