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Mandela's Soweto Kids Volunteering with Hero Holidays
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Mandela's Soweto Kids Volunteering with Hero Holidays

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

When words aren't big enough

I knew that volunteering was going to be one of the greatest experiences of my life... I saw this as putting myself through a test, to become stronger individually and more independent. I’m only 20 years old and I just finished high school. So I was very nervous about leaving everything behind. I thought traveling alone would be a huge challenge for me. But my experience as a volunteer in this fantastic program Hero Holidays have put together helped me to achieve these goals easily. With the love from the people of Soweto and an open mind you can go beyond expectations and hopes. I expected to help and give other people in need, but in the end it was me who should be thankful. Thankful to the people who wanted to share their everyday life with me. The amazing teachers at Thabaneng Primary School and the Teachers at St. Martins De Porres. My time by their side will forever stay in my heart. The things you will learn from an experience like this are unimaginable. There really are no words big enough to explain how great this have been. You need to go there and feel it for yourself! I have learned so many things from this trip and I know for sure that I will come back one day. The 5 weeks I spent in Soweto with Lebo’s backpackers staff, the teachers and the people behind Hero Holidays are some of the best 5 weeks of my life. Now I have 48 kids, a family and friends from the other side of the world. That I see as one of my biggest achievements in my life. Making up your mind about travelling far away is challenging in many ways, but following your heart and trusting yourself and your decisions are one of my most important lessons I have ever learned.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

I learnt incredible life lessons

Throughout my experience here, I learnt incredible life lessons, was able to help others and got to experience how truly amazing Africa is. The programme is filled with so much fun, happiness and laughter you won't feel like you are working. Soweto is the most vibrant, wonderful and safe place to stay. All the staff, programme leaders and the kids become your family whilst you are there. I have gone away feeling truly touched and blessed to have had this opportunity. And I cannot wait to come back for more!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Life changing experience

I decided going to South Africa this year when I realized I needed a break for my own life and business routine. I wanted a deep break from my work routine, from my city and all my daily obligations.
I was wishing a soul immersion and a cultural deep contrast in a place where I could collaborate, I could help and be supportive.
By the other hand, I have always recognized the Educational power on tranforming lives and social realities, and knowing a reality in the African continent was a big desire.
So, I decided going to a South African small community and being in direct contact to a totally different reallity school, people and cultural overall.
This was the best decision I took at that moment because having a month in Soweto volunteering at Thaboneng Primary School was very very positive to my soul, it was fullfilling to my heart and it was so human :)
I learnt so much about kids, about Education, about people, about Africa, culture and about ourselves as human beings and the challenges we face every single day in the world!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Work hard, play hard!

Oh wonderful South Africa, where do I begin!?

It was my first time traveling all alone, so I was very nervous when I arrived. The program starts with a three day orientation package, and its very well organized. The orientation gives you a little taste of Johannesburg, the culture and the people, and you stay on a very nice backpackers-place in the city where you can meet other travelers. Then you move on to Soweto, a township right outside of Johannesburg, and you also get a little tour around which helps you feel more comfortable in this new place.

Then you start your first day at school. The teachers are such great people, and they are so friendly to the volunteers. You will not have an entire class all to yourself, you will be assisting another teacher with one class. At first I didnt know what I was doing there, I had never really worked with a big group of kids before. But after some time I learned by watching the teacher, and the teacher often trusted me to be alone with the class and teach them all by myself.

When I was there, school was finished around three in the afternoon, and then I was free to do whatever I wanted. But there is a park next to the place you will be staying, and there are always some kids playing there. With help from the wonderful owners and staff of Lebos backpackers, I did a little afterschoolprogram where I did some arts and crafts with the kids in the park. If you like you can play games with the kids, do sports or arts like I did, you decide!

Another great part is that evenings and weekends are free. There are tons of activities to do in Soweto and Johannesburg, the atmosphere is just wonderful. Some weekends I stayed in the city, I went to markets, art galleries and museums, I saw a rugby match for the first time in my life (I don't know the rules but who cares!), and had a good time with the friends I made. One Sunday I went to church with the teacher I was assisting, and it was so powerful and intense, all the people singing and praying, I have never experienced anything like it.

I would definitely recommend this project. I could go on and on and on about Soweto and Johannesburg and how wonderful it is, but i guess you just have to go there and see for yourself!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Sharing love

My name is Bruna, I'm 20 years old, and I live in São Paulo-Brazil.
When I was 16 years old, I got sick and spent a week in a hospital. I was very sad, but one day, two men dressed of clowns showed up and made laugh and smile. After that, I decided to do the same, so I was volunteer for 2 years in a nursery for pour babies and children until 6 years old. It was amazing, but I had to stop because of university and internship (I study law). So I decided to help people during my holidays, to do something bigger, like sharing love in another country. But, would be my first abroad traveling by my own, so I didn't want a country in a such delicated situation. I also wanted to practice my english, and, of obviusly, meet a wonderful place, that's why I chosed South Africa, and thanks God I did, because it was one of best things that happened in my life. I helped children, I made many friends from many countries in the word (in holstel I stayed, had parties in the fire evernight, with many tourists), I tasted different food, saw the most beautiful animals, and learned much english!
I worked in a school for children in Soweto, township of Johannesburg from 7am until 1 pm. In that school I taught little things of english for children of 5 years old, like colors and shapes. That children were so grateful, lovely and warm!
After 1pm, and during the weekend, I was free to meet the country, to go to parties, bars, barbecues, rugby game, museums, safaris, restaurants, it was so funny!
I had a lot of support of employees from hostel (Lebo's Soweto Backpagers, which had the best food ever, by the way), of teachers from school and of people of the program.
I grew up a lot after this 17 days, and I will take this memories and experiences with me for the rest of my life.