Requirements

  • Minimum duration of program is 1week
  • Minimum age is 18 years

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What our volunteers had to say

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to enhance the lives of these children and at the same time get close to nature. A wonderful place with wonderful people.

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Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage

Conservation

South Africa’s large under-privileged population results in overcrowding of schools, where individual classes sometimes exceed 160 children per class. This results in many children not even being able to understand the basics of education.

Continual abuse of the environment is fundamentally caused by people who do not know or understand how essential the environment is for our own survival. Most children throughout the world live in villages, towns,
or cities where the indigenous wildlife has for many years been eliminated. Although the wildlife is their heritage, many do not ever have the means or opportunity to even see a giraffe.
Human encroachment has drastically reduced the amount of suitable habitat for wild animals. Many baby animals are hand-raised by caring people, but when the animals reach maturity they usually come to a bad end. These animals either become dangerous, having lost their natural fear of humans, or get killed by coming too close to unfriendly humans. There are very few safe habitats left for these animals. The orphanage puts these two things together and uses these orphaned animals to educate children about their environment.

Who you will be volunteering with

The objective of the orphanage is to be self-sustainable with the help of paying volunteers and corporate or private donations.
The mission of the orphanage is to inspire, motivate, develop and educate underprivileged children to care for the environment through the medium of a wildlife orphanage.

Each week children from a local underprivileged school or local HIV+/AIDS Orphanage are invited to stay at the Orphanage. The program can take between eight-ten at a time, which provides a unique opportunity for them to benefit from a more individual learning experience. As all the children come from underprivileged backgrounds they are only charged a minimal fee of R20 (2 euros) for their stay.

You will be teaching these children. Education is the only way to a better future, and therefore an educational program with special focus on the environment and wildlife has been developed.  Included in the lessons is English and Maths, and also life skills about relationships, substance abuse, safe sex, violence and respecting your environment.

Many of these children have not had the opportunity to learn about wildlife and therefore are encouraged to interact with wild animals in order to stimulate a sense of responsibility for their heritage. A very important aspect of the program is the wildlife orphanage. Where animals are cared for that are hurt, orphaned or too tame to be rehabilitated into the wild. These animals are provided with good facilities, care and love. They also serve as a great education medium for the children who assist in the daily care, cleaning and feeding of these animals.

Your Involvement

Hand on Rhino

You meet at 7.00 in the morning for coffee. From 7.30 you do a bush walk with the children and the dogs. You then feed the animals and clean their camps. At 9.00 you have breakfast. Lessons start from 9.30 till 12.00. Then you have lunch and everyone is off till 14.00 when the lessons start again and will go on until 16.30. You will feed the animals again between 16.30 and 17.00 just before discussing social issues with the children. Dinner is served at 18.30 and is followed by an educational game before the children are sent to bed. You will have a group meeting every day to discuss the tasks of everyone and the progresses of the children.

All volunteers work 5 days a week, from 7.00 in the morning until dinnertime with a break at lunchtime, when you will be able to enjoy the swimming pool.
You will have time off on Saturday and Sunday and will be able to take this opportunity to visit the
surroundings. A trip to town is organised every Saturday and you will enjoy meeting up with the local
community.

Learn while you have An Adventure with a Purpose On African Soil.

What you will gain from your experience

By educating the children about nature conservation and animal welfare, you can give them the chance to make a difference.
By educating these children about social behaviour, life skills and communication, you give these children more self-confidence and awareness of the opportunities in life. Education enables people to make informed decisions in life.

The children benefit from having a hands-on education supplement. The orphanage works with the local schools to work with all of their children in Grade 8 (usually 13-16 year olds). The educational programme has been built with the local teachers so that the orphanage can supplement their work and help on the subjects where the pupils have the most difficulties. Having only a few children at a time, you can really make a difference by giving them personal education and general skills of life to help them in their future.

The orphaned animals benefit from having suitable care and accommodation. Many cases cause sadness, and not all survive. However knowing that both volunteers and children did their best, and have given them at least a slim chance, makes it easier to bear.
The local community benefits from their children being better educated.
The environment benefits from more people caring and understanding it and its importance in our future.

The nation benefits from having a progressive supplementary education facility, a different tourist attraction, extra job opportunities, and insight into future careers such as eco-tourism, hotel and catering etc. The orphanage is unique in its concept.

The international community benefits from being able to participate in a life enriching experience either as a volunteer or traveller.

Other experiences to be had with this project:

On your days off you can organise trips to local sites Kruger National Park / The Panorama Route / Blyde River Canyon -  Three Rondavels, Bourke’s Luck Pothole, Lisbon Waterfall, God’s Window, Berlin Waterfall and Mac Mac Falls / Blydespoort Dam / Koppie(rocky outcrop)