Volunteering at Sani Lodge



KWAPITELA PRIMARY SCHOOL - volunteers needed to help!

ARE YOU KEEN TO HELP OTHERS LESS FORTUNATE THAN YOURSELVES?

  • Would you like to help teaching English and a love of reading to local Zulu children? It will enrich your life as much as theirs and you will learn so much in the process from the experience.
  • Are you fun and creative - can you write little plays for the children to act out, create games to learn vocabulary and spelling?
  • Do you like to read stories and have patience to listen to children reading to you whilst praising them lots to encourage them?
  • Would you like to interact with Zulu children to find out more about their own culture and share your own culture too?

Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for uilding the knowledge and skills they will eventually need for learning to read.
Storytelling and reading expose children to a special form of language which is rich and complex. It deepens their knowledge of language and how we use it, and offers them new ways of expressing themselves.

REQUIRED:

  • The ability to speak and read English
  • The desire to engage with local Zulu children, sharing your skills and giving up your time for a worthy cause.
  • At least an hour of your time (up to around 3 hours) between 11.30am and 2pm Mondays to Thursday.
  • Please read the document in this kit list


THERE ARE 3 WAYS TO GET INVOLVED:

  1. Simply volunteer some of your time during your stay with us. This can be arranged in advance, or once you get here. It does not cost you anything to volunteer unless you do not have your own car or bicycle ,in which case we can provide transport there and back for R60.
  2. Join one of the two special packages listed below. This gives a day spent Volunteering combined with another fun/interesting activity at the Lodge.
  3. If you have a minimum of a week to devote to volunteering, we are offering a free dorm bed.

NOTE: VOLUNTEERING IS ONLY AVAILABLE WHEN SCHOOL IS OPEN, MEANING IT IS NOT AVAILABLE DURING WEEKENDS, SCHOOL HOLIDAYS OR PUBLIC HOLIDAYS.

SOUTH AFRICAN SCHOOL TERMS 2016:

1. Term 13 January to 18 March

2. Term 5 April to 24 June

3. Term 18 July to 30 September

4. Term 10 October to 7 December

SOUTH AFRICAN SCHOOL TERMS 2017:

  1. Term 11 January to 31 March
  2. Term 18 April to 30 June
  3. Term 24 July to 29 September
  4. Term 9 October to 6 December

BACKGROUND TO THE PROJECT

Simone and Russell, owners of Sani Lodge Backpackers, who are already involved with social upliftment and school support projects in Lesotho ,approached Kwapitela Primary School, just 6 km from Sani Lodge in 2013,with view to finding ways of assisting the Educators and learners at the school, on a long term basis.
Russell and Simone Suchet met with the Headmaster, the Educators and Governing Body of Kwapitela School, to discuss practical and sustainable ways of assisting the school. Bringing volunteers to help with teaching English became the focus of the project thus initiated
The grades concentrated on were Grade 4 to 7. Conversational English was found to be the weakest area as this is always the most difficult part of learning a new language. English as a subject is introduced at the beginning of primary school, the medium of instruction being Zulu. We later discovered that the Department of Education verbally instructed all Educators at rural Government schools to only introduce English as the medium of instruction to learners from Grade 4, leaving the learners with just four years to master English well enough to write their final Primary school examinations at the end of Grade 7 and High school entrance tests in English. This puts these learners at an immediate disadvantage. Our hope is that all rural Government schools introduce English as the medium language of instruction from Grade 0 to allow learners to realise their full potential and afford them the opportunity to gain acceptance to good High schools through achieving better pass rates in all subjects.
The children are delightfully keen and eager to learn and engage with those interested in volunteering their time to help them master English. They are materially poor children, yet they are rich with enthusiasm and their sense of fun is awe-inspiring. Anybody who has learnt a new language themselves, knows the difficulties and can identify with the same problems they encountered. Hearing, speaking and reading all contribute to learning faster and more efficiently.

ACHIEVEMENTS OVER THE PAST 2 AND A HALF YEARS HAVE ONLY BEEN MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH GENEROUS DONATIONS, HARD WORK AND VOLUNTEERING OF THE TIME OF MANY PEOPLE. THANK YOU TO ALL OF YOU OUT THERE!

  1. Russell has laid 30 metres of piping and installed a water tap in the school kitchen
  2. The broken fencing on the road side of the school has been replaced with new fencing
  3. A library has been acquired and donated to the school in the form of an Edutainer along with new books to fill the shelves
  4. 75 new blankets were purchased by Sani Lodge to hand over to KwaPitela for the winter of 2015. R3500 donated by a local Underberg group from the Sani to C bike race paid for part of the blanket cost and the balance was funded by Sani Lodge Backpackers.
  5. Donations from one volunteer towards the new school library. Books suited to learners in Africa rather than in America are sourced from this donation.
  6. Donation from overseas person who read about this programme, has been made towards roofing insulation in classrooms.
  7. In 2016 another donation from the Sani to C bike race of R4000 was put towards the cost of 5 recycling bins for safe and responsible refuse disposal at the school. Simone asked the children to clear up the school premises and showed them how to divide the rubbish and then dispose of it into the bins labelled PLASTIC, GLASS, CANS, FOIL, PAPER AND CARDBOARD. Implementing waste management at the school is part of environment education for the learners.
  8. Sani Lodge Backpackers paid for all the reflective signage on the bins and has also taken on the responsibility of emptying the bins and taking it to the local Municipal dump as no services are provided by the Municipality to rural rate payers.
  9. Donation from a person paid for 38 beanies handed out to children at the school in the winter of 2016
  10. Women in Underberg knitted beanies along with a special lady in Johannesburg totalling 82 beanies. These were handed out to children at the school in the winter of 2016. These ladies used their own wool and time for this big project.
  11. The cement for the concrete slab of the Edutainer was kindly donated by the Underberg Forge and the mixing and delivery of the concrete was donated by Ekerold Plant Hire in Underberg.
  12. The power supply to the Edutainer was kindly organised by the Electrician Brian Brandis in Underberg.
  13. Kwa-Pitela has been registered with the Eco-Schools project, an international initiative to teach learners about environmental conservation by implementing a project on the school premises. The project is headed by the school Headmaster, members of the school parent body , teachers and learners.
  14. 133 volunteers have participated in the programme since its inception in 2014 to June 2016.

PROGRESS REPORT FROM by Simone Suchet

Thirty two volunteers from all over the world participated in the volunteering project in 2014, 67 volunteers in 2015 and 32 volunteers up to middle of 2016 ,many of whom are teachers or have teaching backgrounds and with ages ranging from 14 years to mid 60’s.. This response has been truly wonderful. Guests either decided to come to Sani Lodge Backpackers specifically to volunteer after reading about the project on our website or they decided spontaneously to participate during their stay at Sani Lodge. Some guests took the volunteering package whilst others went to the school for a couple of hours, some stayed a week and two guests stayed a whole month visiting the school each day. Each volunteer gave us feedback on their experience and more recently in 2015, we have a detailed report back form for each person to complete detailing how they interacted with the children at the school, how they felt the children benefited from their interaction and in what ways the volunteer benefited from their experience of volunteering.

MR NDLOVU, THE HEADMASTER OF KWAPITELA SCHOOL COMMENTED AT THE END OF 2014 ; “ THE LEARNERS IN GRADES 4 AND 5 HAVE IMPROVED THEIR GRADES IN ENGLISH SUCH THAT THEY ARE HIGHER THAN THEIR GRADES IN THEIR MOTHER TONGUE. THIS WE ATTRIBUTE TO THE INVOLVEMENT OF VOLUNTEERS INTERACTING WITH THE LEARNERS IN ENGLISH”.

We also had a visit from an entrant to the World Junior Chess Championships held in Durban in September 2014. Josh and his mother Celyne gave two days of their time as well as donating chess sets starting up the Kwa Pitela School chess club.

LESOTHO TOUR AND VOLUNTEERING PACKAGE

3 NIGHTS ALL INCLUSIVE DORM BED, MEALS, DAY TOUR AND VOLUNTEERING ACTIVITIES.

DAY 1 ; Full day Sani Pass Tour into Lesotho (click here for information on Community Tourism at Sani Top)

DAY 2 ; Morning spent at the local Zulu Primary School on the volunteer programme. (Tour package excludes additional cost of R60pp transport to and from school for those without own vehicles). Afternoon with options to choose from – tea with Mr and Mrs Nxasane just a short walk from the Lodge to learn about Zulu culture, how life was under Apartheid compared to now ( an interpreter is provided from Sani Lodge) ;self-guided walk into the Drakensberg Park; bread baking, fruit collecting – apples, plums, peaches, figs, (seasonal), making jam (summer months), cow milking by hand.

SANI THREE CULTURES TOUR AND VOLUNTEERING PACKAGE

4 NIGHTS ALL INCLUSIVE DORM BED, MEALS, TWO FULL DAY TOURS AND VOLUNTEERING ACTIVITIES.

DAY 1; Full day Sani Pass Tour into Lesotho to learn about Basotho culture  (click here for information on Community Tourism at Sani Top)

DAY 2; Guided hike to see rock art paintings by Bushmen (click here for Community Tourism and the Khomani Bushman in the Kalahari)

DAY 3; Morning spent at the local Zulu Primary School on the volunteer programme. (Tour package excludes additional cost of R60pp transport to and from school for those without own vehicles). Afternoon with options to choose from – tea with Mr and Mrs Nxasane just a short walk from the Lodge to learn about Zulu culture, how life was under Apartheid compared to now ( an interpreter is provided from Sani Lodge) ;self-guided walk into the Drakensberg Park; bread baking, fruit collecting – apples, plums, peaches, figs, (seasonal), making jam (summer months), cow milking by hand.

GUEST FEEDBACK ON VOLUNTEERING AT SANI LODGE BACKPACKERS

We spend 3 days in Sani Lodge in November and we were the couple who was the first to do a new tour. It was a really great experience for us and one of the best moment of our holidays. It takes us only half a day, some energy and imagination but we have souvenirs for all our life and we think that children were very happy. It’s a nice project and we hope that others tourists continue to go to help these children and who knows maybe it can permit them to access to the better future. We would like to advice others backpackers from Sani lodge to invest a little part of their holidays to this programme and in addition to their help they will receive a lot of positive energy!   We send you a link to some photos with children https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B29UBcVZ_6cyOElaUFJGTHlQQTA&usp=sharing And also a little video with children:  http://youtu.be/-MLQF02Nano 

Ania and Damien from France “

Celyne and Josh from Philadelphia – writer / student http://jcsouthafricatrip.blogspot.com/

“ This is just the start! We will be in touch with ideas for helping to build and sustain the chess programme.

Thanks for the opportunity. It was grand!”

Robbie Schwieder  “Thanks again for hosting me for the last month. I had an amazing four weeks, and am hugely grateful to you both for making it happen”.

 My "Curriculum:"With the Grade 4 & 5 students I followed a very specific schedule. At the beginning of the week I'd introduce a new list of vocabulary (usually between 10 and 15 words). We'd define them, then spend the next few days practicing them with various puzzles, assignments, and games. Then, at the end of the week, I would administer a quiz testing both the students' spelling ability and comprehension. Along the way the students also read books, completed reading comprehension activities, and performed other activities as time permitted. The Grade 2 & 3 students were less structured. Often I'd introduce a similar, but more elementary, list of vocabulary, then ask the students to perform exercises/puzzles similar to those that I gave the older students. However, we also sang more songs, read more books, and practiced basic English speaking skills more often than did the older kids. I never gave the Grade 2 & 3 students a quiz.

Christian – software engineer ; “ Thanks a lot for this splendid opportunity. Definitely a good time and more importantly, the learners seemed to have tons of fun with the experiments.”

Wayne – “ Great experience! It was a pleasure teaching and interacting with the children. Really excellent programme! Hope it grows even more and bigger.”

Sarah – teacher “ Friendly and happy kids – good experience.”

Marta – teacher “ Very rewarding experience”

Saida – student “ Amazing experience , very keen kids!”

Jason – technician “ Amazing time – such wonderful kids”

IN WHAT WAYS DID YOU INTERACT WITH THE CHILDREN IN THE SCHOOL?

Mariam replies ; “We had a small English teaching session where we got the children to speak about themselves, their favourite animals, colours, shapes and clothing. We also got them to say words an small sentences whilst playing Chinese Whispers to make it fun for them”

Noor replies;”I taught them a few art games such as Pictionary and then we made a drawing wall together. I helped the children with Origami. Also taught then jokes and handshakes from around the world:.

HOW DO YOU FEEL THE CHILDREN BENEFITED FROM YOUR INTERACTION WITH THEM?

Mariam ;“The children got the opportunity to interact with a lot of new people which boosted their self-confidence. Also they participated in various fun activities which made them enjoy learning”

Ali ; “ My first impression was delight and happiness’.

Alejandro; “ they learned different things from each activity as well as songs and dance moves.”

Alia; “ I felt grateful and proud about myself that I managed to make a lot of children smile and laugh. I never experienced this before and I will never forget this moment”.

Luchlan; “ The children seemed to have gained confidence as they day went on and their interaction levels increased”

Noor ; “ The children were delightful. They seemed to enjoy the interactions and they were pleased at making new friends. They learned new skilld regarding art and social skills and they learned English as we taught them.

Areeb; “They learnt a lot about different cultures and places as all of the volunteers come from different places”.

IN WHAT WAYS HAVE YOU BENEFITED FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE OF VOLUNTEERING?

Mohammed; “ I have enjoyed the fact that I was able to partake in the improvement of people living in less fortunate conditions than myself. They are the happiest and most grateful children I’ve ever met. I now also feel happier that I have helped and have discovered something I will do again in the future”.

M Syakir; “ leadership, teaching skills, learning more about the children’s culture and realising we are fortunate”.

Sam; “ I believe that I have benefited massively from this experience because when you see how much these kids want to go to school, it makes you feel more appreciative to get the education that you are given. It helps to broaden your horizons and opens you up to other cultures”.

Elena; “ I feel more confident about going into a classroom and teaching children. I also learnt teaching skills and about their culture. I’ve learnt a lot more about South Africa and how people live. I had an amazing time’.

Noor; “ First I have benefited emotionally – I”ve grown attached to these lovely , kind children and learned so much from them. They are disciplined, patient, friendly and most of all happy! It makes me think – I can learn from that . Also it makes me feel good helping others. The experience was incredible and touching and I’m sure many people around the world would love to volunteer”.

Joseph; “ I learnt to appreciate more including the small things”.

Philip; “ I feel more courageous in public and also learnt more about other schools in different countries and how to interest children”.

Luchlan:” I have realised how lucky I am and  have a great respect for what I take for granted”.

Alia:” I visited to see how well the children were taught ( I’m actually quite impressed)

Russell; “ I have realised the struggles of children in developing countries who have ambitions but not the resources to follow their dreams. It made me feel appreciative of the things I have. It is a life experience and shows you the poverty in the world”.

Danielle; “ I appreciated the facilities that I am provided with even more from looking at these children with a lot of potential yet lacking facilities. It’s a definite eye-opener”.

M Elseikh ; “ This experience has been very satisfactory and humbling and I wouldn’t  miss it for the world”.

Teodora; “ I had the great opportunity to meet new amazing people, learning about how they live and the differences between us, making me value what I have more. It also gave me more confidence through teaching”.

Mike : “A bit daunting but very rewarding”.

PLANS FOR THE FUTURE

  1. Including the younger age groups in Grade 1, 2 and 3 as well as the older age groups in Grade 6 and 7 for continuity of the programme.
  2. Construction of a kitchen. The current building is 2 x 3 metres and built from corrugated iron sheeting.
  3. Having a volunteer dedicated to teaching English for several months.


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Sani Lodge | Phone +27 (0)33 7020330 | Cell +27 (0)839873071 | Fax +27 (0)86 5147915
E Mail info@sanilodge.co.za

Sani Lodge | Phone +27 (0)33 7020330 | Cell +27 (0)839873071 | Fax +27 (0)86 5147915
E Mail info@sanilodge.co.za

SANI LODGE BACKPACKERS DOES NOT HAVE A 24 HOUR RECEPTION. RECEPTION OPENING HOURS ARE 7AM TO 9PM. GUESTS PLANNING TO ARRIVE LATER THAN 9PM, WILL NEED TO MAKE SPECIAL PRIOR ARRANGEMENTS.