Sawubona (Hello)! Thanks for coming to find out what we’ve been up to so far.
We’re a team volunteering through the ICS programme, a 10 week voluntary program for UK and South African young people to partner together and work with local South African NGOs to deliver community projects.
There are 5 of us, and we are working with Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust (HACT). Steph is our team leader and then Marubini, Naa, Laureen and Naomi.
HACT is a non-profit, faith-based organisation that responds to the HIV/AIDS pandemic from several different angles including prevention, care, community outreach and income generation. Their mission is to serve all those impacted by HIV/AIDS by providing unconditional love and hope in a practical, sustainable way.
Our team vision complements that of HACT, as we are striving to be a team who will seek to empower the people we serve to realise their full potential in God, embracing their individuality. We will be positive role models who will strive to seek justice and teach key life skills in an authentic, fun and loving way.
We have been together as a team in South Africa for 2 weeks now. Our first week was an orientation and training week in Durban with the whole ICS team of 46 people, where we received training on working with children, planning and delivering life skills lessons, sexual and reproductive health and HIV and amongst other topics, beginning to learn some Zulu!
We then split off into our small teams and headed into the Valley of a Thousand Hills, to our host homes where we would be staying for the next 9 weeks. We are living in pairs with local families, which will give us the full experience of living with a Zulu family in a township. We are having to adapt to minimal/no running water, bucket washes and load shedding (the electricity normally goes off for 2 hours per day). For the UK team members our taste buds have also had to adapt to traditional foods, such as pap and samp. So far we have all agreed that the lack of the luxuries we are so used to is more than made up for by the beauty of our surroundings.
In our first week at HACT we had the chance to learn about the organisation and all the amazing work they are doing in the surrounding communities. We then went on to develop a plan for the project we will work on during our time with them based on the immediate needs they have identified in their work.
Our project is made up of three parts. The first two involve the after-school support groups that run for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVCs). Firstly we will be editing the current curriculum for the 4-11 year old OVCs to include more relevant life skills topics that are delivered in a more age-appropriate way including interactive activities and games, followed by delivering a few of these sessions. Secondly we are planning to join one of the Gogo Groups (Granny Groups) with a 12-18 year old OVC support group, in order to build inter-generational relationships and help HACT to link up the different community projects they are working on. Part of this will be facilitating the Gogos to teach the young people skills that could potentially be income generating in the future, such as sewing, bead work or gardening. Finally we will be working in the local schools teaching life-skills lessons for ages 10-15, and helping to enhance the curriculum to include more interactive activities to encourage participation and engagement with the topics. We have started observing some of the sessions we will be working on, meeting the children and young people and becoming familiar with the current curriculums.
We are really excited about all of our plans, and although we will be very busy, we can’t wait to really get stuck in to it!
Please keep us in your prayers, specifically for the three projects we will be working on and that they will impact the children’s lives in a positive way and that we will be able to ensure that the programmes will be sustainable, so that even when we leave, they can carry on.
Keep in touch, leave comments and please share this link! Look out for our next update 🙂