Volunteering in Sithabile
The Sithabile Child and Youth Care Centre welcomes volunteers from overseas at any time of the year. There are opportunities in pre-school children care, driving, teaching, or any skill you could bring to us. Volunteering in Sithabile is basically being part of a big family. We provide our volunteers with meals and accomodation during all the duration of their stay with us. As we are a very small organisation, we cannot offer our volunteers any remuneration for their work with us. Volunteers have to arrange their own flight arrangements to and from South Africa. For a stay longer than three months a visa is required.
Then if you are interested in discovering a new country, improving your English, getting open to a new culture and making new friends, Sithabile awaits you. Send us an e-mail, we look forward to it.
Here are the stories of some volunteers. Don't hesitate to send them an e-mail to have a better idea about us.
Experience of some previous volunteers.I heard for the first time of the Sithabile Child & Youth Care Centre by a friend who had spent three months there. She really enjoyed this experience as a pre-school caretaker. A year later I was about to go to Vancouver, Canada to learn English and I didn't have anything planned yet for the following year. Then I applied at the centre for a nine months internship. Eventually I got accepted.
I was quite happy to be accepted but as long as time was going I wondered
whether or not it was a good idea to come here. When the time to buy my plane
ticket to Johannesburg arrived I hesitated a lot before taking a decision.
I finally bought it, which was actually a good thing. I arrived in October
2005, wondering what was going to happen. During the first few days I was still
wondering about my stay here. After a few days I simply felt at home. My job
was driving, driving the kids to and back from school, going to buy some stuff
for the centre, fetching donation, or driving people to the hospital. There
was actually a lot to do. Although this wasn’t itself quite an interesting
job it was a very good way to know South Africa and get used to driving on
the left side of the road. Eventually, little by little I got to know all the
kids of the centre. My English improved a lot, as well as my Zulu and my Sotho,
lol. Eventually, added to driving, I had to take care of the accounts. I also
had to set up some computers that had been donated to the centre. Then I took
care of a computer class to the children. Eventually I updated this website.
I really feel now as a member of a big family. And as the end of my stay here is coming soon I wonder how I’m going to handle leaving my South African family. It is simply a matter of ending the best experience of my life.
Clément "Ntando", Geneva, Switzerland
Volunteer from 10 October 2005 to 25 June 2006
Hi, my name is Stefanie. I’m 20 years old and I am from Germany. After
finishing school and before beginning to study, I took the chance and worked
in Sithabile for 2 ½ months in this wonderful country with so many open-minded
and friendly people.
I came in April 2006 and although, at the beginning, everything was a little bit strange (f.e. the food (every day rice and meat), the people, the language (although they can speak English, they mostly speak Zulu) etc.) everyone was willing to make me comfortable and it didn’t take long until I get a part of this big, lovely family, which is Sithabile.
Well, in an 85 people house it’s always busy. My main work was to take care of the pre-school kids. I used to prepare them breakfast, and I made pre-school with them (drawing pictures, doing handicraft, singing, playing, teaching them the numbers, the colours, the week days etc). Those kids are unbelievable cute – I can tell you, if you see them laughing and their shine in their eyes – they wrapped their way into my heart! I just didn’t expected that they don’t know any English word (they only speak Zulu or Sotho) what means that especially at the beginning, communication was a problem. But they learn very fast and after some days they already greeted me with “How are you?” In the afternoon, the older ones came back from school and I often helped them with their homework, or spend time with them, practicing a dance or playing outside.
The evenings were mostly mine, sometimes I helped cooking but I often spent the time just playing or talking and hanging around. It’s always great and interesting to live with so many different people …Well, what else can I say? A gate surrounds the plot and I lived in the house what means that I didn’t feel unsafe at all. The people really know what they are doing and always looked after me for what I’m really thankful. I shared a room with another volunteer and there was a nice and clean bathroom, which I could use.
At the time I have been here, we didn’t have a car (because of an accident) what means it was very difficult to get around because South Africa has nearly no public transportation… Sometimes we rent a car and made some small trips with the kids and I also get the chance to see a little bit out of this beautiful country.
I had a wonderful time in Sithabile and I would definitely recommend it to everyone. Sometimes you’re maybe going to be a little bit shocked, but so often positively surprised – it is basically what you make out of it. So, if you are interested in a different, fascinating culture and if you love to be with people – take the chance and work as a volunteer. It will change your views in a lot of things and you will have the time of your life.
Steffie, Stuttgart, Germany
Volunteer from April to June 2006.
Hi, I’m Caroline. After finishing my studies, I wanted to go to South
Africa to live a nice experience with children. That’s why I chose Sithabile.
I spent 2 months ½ there and it’s the best choice of my young
life. I’m sure about that.
It’s true that the first days were a little bit difficult. But after 3-4 days, I really felt comfortable thanks to the Sithabile Children. I discovered a new family. Everyday, it was happiness to share time with all the children.
During my stay, I took care of Preschool kids with Steffie the other volunteer. At the beginning, it was a little bit difficult because of the language. But they are really intelligent and finally it’s quite easy to communicate with them. We learnt few words in Zulu. These Preschool kids are unbelievable. They are so nice and so cute. I fell in love with them. We shared unforgettable moments all together.
In the afternoon, we could spend time with the older children: playing outside or just talking all together.
It’s difficult to explain how much this experience in Sithabile was great. When I left the Center, I cried a lot. It was hard for me to go back to France. Everyday in the centre was magic. One year after, I think of these children all the time. I really miss them. I always wonder how everybody is. My dream now: going back to Sithabile to see my Preschool kids (especially “my baby”) and all the children.
So, if you want to meet wonderful people, go to Sithabile. It will be the experience of your life.
Caroline, Paris, France
Volunteer from April to June 2006.