About South Africa

Global Volunteer Network currently has opportunities to work with the youth of South Africa. Policies in the past denied the majority of young men and women opportunities to develop meaningfully as young people and transit into meaningful adulthood.The country continues to struggle with youth development in the areas of skills development, unemployment, youth training, and academic achievement. Our partner organization aims to focus on providing learning opportunities that align with the national initiatives.

Volunteers will have the opportunity to participate in the social and academic development of young people in Venda, South Africa - the Limpopo Province, by contributing their valuable time as teaching assistants and tutors in primary and secondary schools, and childcare workers in day care centres. They will have the opportunity to be directly involved in the motivation and development of young people's lives and ultimately helping to bridge gaps and influence change in the 'New South Africa'.

For more information about the program please visit the South Africa program page on the Global Volunteer Network website.

Recent South Africa Journals:

The bushveld foundation

 Posted by Chante Cooper at 6:49 am  South Africa  Comments Off on The bushveld foundation
May 102015

There is one very special part of my time in Venda that I have not written about because nothing can explain the time that I have had there, and that is the bushveld foundation. The bushveld foundation is the orohanage the other volunteers and I went to see one weekend a long time ago and I think i have written about mother lydia and the amazing work she has done there. Since then I have been back a few times and had a few sleepovers and ended up with a new, very close and very special family. The first sleepover I had there was over easter and I brought a whole lot of easter eggs and chocolate for everyone there(they are no longer kids, all teenagers or older so we gave the egg hunt a miss.) We spent the evening at the church next door dancinf and singinf and then the girls and I spent the entire night braiding my hair with extensions so that for the next three weeks I had brown hair and looked like a colored. This weekend again I spent at the bushveld and what a weekend! On Saturday was mother Lydias birthday and si we spent Friday night makinghrr birthday and momothers day cards. On Saturday, while she was at home thinking everyone had forgotten about her, we went ‘to church’ and brought cake and sweets and chocolates and candles and balloons and crept into the house and set up the entire lounge. When she came into the room we gave her the biggest surprise ever and how happy she was!! At the orphanage, all of my now close ftiends have some incredible stories to tell and all of their lives have been absolutely tragic. They now live together in this tiny house, 7girls in [click here to read more]

Life at Apple seeds

 Posted by Chante Cooper at 2:12 am  South Africa  Comments Off on Life at Apple seeds
May 062015

The day begins at the gate, welcoming the kids into the school. As cars and taxis and buses pull up in front of the creche off the busy main road, we run to the door and fetch the children, greeting the parents as we go. It is in this way that volunteers are able to become involved with the wider community as we get to know all the parents, caregivers, grannies, taxi drivers and siblings and everyone passing by on their was to work on the busy main road is able to see you (as white person, I am quite the eye opener and get a lot of double-or triple-looks, !). I love this beggining to the day as the kids love coming to school and, once they get to know you, love being greeted by you. So the children jump into your arms and the parents greet you with big smiles and the busy two hours at the gate are full of good spirits, waves, smiles and happiness from everyone. After a week or so you get to know that this is the taxi with lots of children, this one is the driver with lots of jokes, that parent loves to stay for a chat and the kid in that car is the one that crys when his mother goes. We call out to what we call the ‘teenagers’ zulu grannies walking past with thier faces full of make up and wait for the lady selling scones to come with our breakfast. After that comes assembly which uses about half the energy my normal day requires as we jump and dance around loudly singing songs and chants and teaching them unconsciously as we go. Once we split into classrooms, I assist or run my own class on body parts [click here to read more]

Home again

 Posted by Chante Cooper at 7:22 am  South Africa  Comments Off on Home again
May 032015

Today I went with the family in Malumlele to their church. Coming from a Catholic church back home ,and not having been to one for months since ive been in Venda,  when you are a catholic and go to a catholic church no matter where in world you are at home. The mass was the same is usual but with an african twist with african drums, tambourine and lots of music, a mixture of upbeat dancing to beautiful slow harmonies.  I spent the afternoon drinking tea with the sisters on mission in Venda,one from Poland and one from india. Ive begun doing exercises with the teachers im staying with at the crèche and we have a lot of fun together doing it! Today I also cooked for them pasta, “new zealand” food (anything not pap) and did some baking with them, another abnormality.  One of the main things volunteers can bring is just themselves and their normal way of doing things back home because here , in a new culture and place what you normally do,say and eat is  new and exciting and entertaining. So we go to sleep feeling happy and full, with a touch of sadness as one teacher falls asleeps with a picturr of her baby she had to leave at home and the other teacher knowing she has missed out on sharing her childrens childhood as one child turns 12, living for the 6th year without his mother.

A hard life

 Posted by Chante Cooper at 8:02 am  South Africa  Comments Off on A hard life
May 012015

I havnt written in awhile because I have done and seen and learnt so much that I could never possibly write it all down. But out of these many things come stories, stories of people. And over the past few weeks these people have completely humbled me. Humbled me right down to the ground and even further. Let me tell you just a very few of these Storie s and situations…  I have been working with some teachers from Zimbabwe. They all come over the border to South Africa looking for work, whether they managed to get a permit or a visa or a passport or not,  they come. The situation they describe in zimbabwe is not good, food, clothes, water and electricity expensive and scarce and unemployment a major issue. One teacher has been here for a few years now, having had to leave her child at home in zim with her grandmother to grow up without her mother. She gets payed only 1500 rand (around $20) a month to pay for her electricity, food, clothes, phone money to call home, she also has to send money home because there is no food and pay for her child at home Another has been here just two weeks and crossed the border herself, leaving her husband and children behind, not knowing where she would go, where she would stay or what she would do. The third teacher i met today arrived only a few days ago. She is 21, married at 18 with one baby and a husband who miss treats her. She left them behind coming in search of a job so that she could provide for herself and be independent of her husband. Like so many others in Zim,  she is an orphan.Currently her only father left (in [click here to read more]

From witches to wonder

 Posted by Chante Cooper at 7:41 am  South Africa  Comments Off on From witches to wonder
Apr 192015

Last weekend I was blessed to have a wonderful visit from my aunt and uncle from Johburg and, when they left,  felt as if I was somewhat back to a normal reality. Well that feeling did not last long at all!  As I waved goodbye to them on Sunday morning, I stood waiting with my friend for Khuliso to pick us up to go to church. While we were standing in the busy main road with taxis and cars and people flying by, I saw a skinny man in rags walking around hunched over searching for something along the road. Instantly I knew something was wrong and I asked my friend about him. The man was an ex school teacher and now had some kind of mental illness. As much as this is a developing part of the country, I have not seen one begger or one person look homless or very poor while I havr been in Venda, the only exeption being people with mental illnesses.  I asked why no one ever helped these such people and learnt that it was a traditional belief that mental illnesses are evil spirits and that these people are bewitched so everyone is too scared to even talk to them, let alone help them.  I was then told all about the local belief in witches that come to you and ‘bewitch’ you. And, even being Christians,  most people believe in it as the bible is also filled with talk of spirits and demons e.c.t. I also learnt that weekend of traditional healers and was immediately put right off with a horrific story from my inspiration, mother Lydia, at the orphanage of one of her orphans. He found out that he had TB and then his aunt turned up and took him to a [click here to read more]

A marriage proposal?

 Posted by Chante Cooper at 7:07 am  South Africa  Comments Off on A marriage proposal?
Apr 192015

Awhile ago I brought a small phone cover from a stall in town. They didny have the exact one so a few weeks later when I passed the same stall, the man selling them told me he brought the one for my phone from Johannesburg for me and swapped it with my old one for free. By that time he had already asked for my number a few times.  A few days later I saw him again and again he asked for my number so eventually I just gave it to him so he would leave. The next time I saw him he demanded that he helped me download whatsup on my phone and because I was in a rush he followed me on a taxi home and on the way did it for me. Ever since then I have gotten a message goodnight every single day. Well one day he turned up in his car crying and the kids directed him to me. He was crying because I hadnt replied. I guess I should have figured out then that I should tell him to leave but instead I made him stop crying and allowed him to have a conversation with me. He is muslim, or hindu I forgot and from a small country called kashmir next to Pakistan and extremely passionate about his country and the bad image the world currently has of it and so gave me a very wonderful book of Malala who was the youngest person ever to be nominated for the worlds peace prize. I have to say it is a great book and encouraged me a lot with my volunteering in the education sector. Last Wednesday night I returned home to find Mirror (the guy) at my house. He had just come back from [click here to read more]

Mulumlele, a new world

 Posted by Chante Cooper at 6:46 am  South Africa  Comments Off on Mulumlele, a new world
Apr 192015

I have just arrived in another town called Mulumlele. It is only 20 minutes by taxi from Thohoyandou town where I have been many times but it is like another country altogether. Unlike the village scene I am now used to, Mulumlele is more of a small town and full of Changan/ xitsonga people instead of the Venda. Recently there has been strikes here as the xitsonga people are demanding to have a different municipality to the Venda one and it has been dangerous with violence as people parade the streets and set fire to the shops e.c.t. They even demanded that noone speak Tshivenda here, only Changan and english so that now when i arrived I am careful not to use the Venda greetings I have been using the last 3 months. I also heard today that the president, Jacob Zuma, was here not so long ago and when he failed to address what they had asked him to aAddress, they began to throw rocks at him and attack him so that he had to quickly leave. Most of the people here are coming from Mozambique in search of jobs and do not classify mulumlele as part of Venda so that, coming from just up road, I can just tell them I stay in Venda. Because of the tension around, I have to just tell everyone I am coming straight from New Zealand to Mulumlele and havnt been in Venda the past 3 months. I am staying with the principle of the creche where I will be workin at this week. I met her in a supermarket a few weeks after I arrived and eversince she has trying to get hold of some volunteers to come and assist as our english will help a lot with the kids learning [click here to read more]

A painful heart

 Posted by Chante Cooper at 8:05 am  South Africa  Comments Off on A painful heart
Apr 092015

This week we began our winter school for the second week of the holidays to a great start. My teaching plan for our english class was to get them to write an essay about themselves,  their personality, thier interests, their families and their dreams. In the process it would teach them how to go about writing(a big problem for all of them), brainstorming,planning, structure aswell as get then to think about their dreams and goals and give them a good quality piece of writing for them to show the world about themselves. The first day went great, the plans they wrote were superb, their ideas for their dreams brilliant and their introductions were on track. We made and gave out 80 sandwiches and everyone was happy. However the next day when we went to class, we decided to teach both grades together and it was a nightmare.Lindilani started off teaching maths and while i stood there, walking around looking at the students work I fell further and further into a state of hopelessness. The kids were noisy and weren’t concentrating (as per usual for their normal classes), the ones that didnt understand did not say or admit that they didnt understand and instead sat their wasting their time . Some of the students are 16-17 years old and in grade 7, and obviously not goimg to pass. In our hopeless, frustrated state as the class failed to keep quite ot even slighty focus, we ended class and sent them home, taking the apples we had for them back with us and told them not to come back tomorrow. We left that day feeling down and deflated, out hearts torn into pieces and our whole bodies throbbing with sorrow. Partly because we had put so much time and effort into planning [click here to read more]

Easter school

 Posted by Chante Cooper at 2:47 am  South Africa  Comments Off on Easter school
Apr 032015

It Is now holidays in Africa and so the last week of school the teachers didn’t teach a thing or to my greatest frustration for the most part even attend their classes as they were marking and recording test results of which were extremely poor. One evening my friend from grade 11,Lindelani, and I had an idea to run an Easter school together and so this is exactly what we did. The first day was terrible, Lindelani phoned half an hour before starting time and said he Couldn’t make it and so i set off to control a bunch of naughty kids who honestly don’t respect me as a teacher because im always around them and playing with them and don’t listen to me (they don’t understand half of what i say) all by myself. I had a little three year old grandchild to take care of and i had to find the school key from a house i did not know. Well around 100 children turned up and didn’t stay quiet for one second which made my teaching job impossible and i was forced to end the class and send them all home. What a failure i felt, i just wanted to cry and i even messaged my mum in n. Z to say i wanted to come home right now. Despite all of this i turned up again the next day to try again(although didn’t have quiet enough courage to get up and teach) and this time things went a lot better as Lindelani finally came too. He is great with the kids, he teaches in tshivenda so they understand they listen and respect him and for the full two hours were quite and learnt a lot. Since then i have brought another friend Winne along with me [click here to read more]

A Venda wedding

 Posted by Chante Cooper at 12:40 am  South Africa  Comments Off on A Venda wedding
Apr 032015

Part One: On Saturday, us usual, we all went to church. However this particular saturday was no ordinary day as the next day one of its members was getting married. The previous few days people had been arriving from all over, as far as Zimbabwe and Johannesburg, including one of the sons and a daughter of my host parents and their grandchildren. All the other seventh day adventist churches from all over the district gathered together in Manamani to celebrate and so as you can imagine with all of these people, the church was packed. It was a fabulous day, the preachers from Johannesburg spread beautiful sermons of love, there was a brilliant mens choir from Zimbabwe and a wonderful youth quartet from Pretoria. The sermons were great, the singing beautiful and we all shared a delicious lunch together and by the time we all crowded onto the back of a dirty old 4+4 to go home as a gorgeous sun set in around us i felt as though i had already attended the wedding before the it even began!   Part two: Sunday, wedding day!  Today i wore traditional venda clothes that mum and I went to town and had made for the occasion , a beautiful yellow and green menwenda skirt with over 50 silver makunda bracelets on each ankle, a thick yellow hand bracelet, neckless and head piece to match and the entire day i was commended and adored over because of this out fit! The wedding was held at a high school hall in town. They had decorated the room with big tufts of material so that the entire room was a magic world of white and purple with matching round tables spread out on the floor and a red carpet down the Isle. The wedding [click here to read more]

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