Experiencing the real South Africa as a volunteer in the township communities
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South Africa is famed for its safari Mecca status, dramatic landscapes,
Tsitsikamma National Park // Credit: Eve Willis
Yet, alongside South Africa’s undisputed charm, is a chequered history of Colonialism and Apartheid that is woven into the South African conscience. Although its turbulent past is responsible for many of the social issues in South Africa today, it has resulted in a coexistence of cultures, races
There is no better city than Port Elizabeth that demonstrates this convergence of diversity. With Xhosa, Afrikaans
Port Elizabeth, although rough around the edges, is an up and coming metropolis with plenty to do in both the nucleus of the city and further afield along the Sunshine Coast. Within PE there is an array of cool restaurants, food markets, bars
Addo Elephant Park // Credit: Eve Willis
Camp South Africa is working with British charity United Through Sport to directly focus in the heart of the deprived township communities that are situated on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth. United Through Sport uses sport as a tool to help children develop holistically, weaving it into the curriculum to improve attendance, raise awareness of key social issues such as HIV, and to overall create a positive impact upon the lives of many children.
I found it most rewarding to build the trust and confidence of these children, many whom were from difficult or broken homes, and to use our relationship to develop their reading and English skills. At break and lunch times we would play with the children, learn their songs, or let them teach us some Afrikaans. After a day at the
Alongside teaching English you can coach
Volunteers also have the important role of identifying students who could be eligible for the Junior School of Excellence programme, which gives them greater educational attention and the opportunity of a scholarship. Therefore, whether teaching or coaching you have an extremely important role in the framework of this charity.
Credit: Eve Willis
Camp South Africa will push you out of your comfort zone in many ways: it will make you face uncomfortable truths, do things that you never thought you could, and build your own skill set. You will have the chance to help make a difference in the lives of children by working with United Through Sport to give them opportunities that otherwise they would not have had - all whilst having the experience of a lifetime, in a new country, with new friends.
Eve visited Port Elizabeth with Camp South Africa as the winner of The National Student’s Student Travel Writer 2018 competition.
This article was originally published in our Freshers 2018 print magazine. You can read the magazine here.
Find out more about Camp South Africa at https://campsouthafrica.com/
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