FAQ's - Volunteer Projects

Volunteer Projects Pictures

Q: Why pay to Volunteer?

A: The projects that VA (project co-ordinators) are operating, require considerable running costs to be met. The management of the volunteers involves housing and feeding volunteers in a safe and insured establishment. Volunteers are transported by VA staff on a daily basis. VA needs to cover the cost of the vehicles, staff, insurance, licensing and maintenance of these. Transporting volunteers in South Africa requires special additional licensing and insurances on the vehicles which have a cost attached.
The VA experience is further aimed at delivering a holistic experience to its volunteers which involves hiring tour guides, cultural and environmental tours and assisting volunteers in a host of other travel and personal areas they require assistance. VA is a staffed organisation and it needs to meet the economic demand of being able to address these aspects on a continuing basis if it is to be of real value to the communities it supports.
VA is not funded by any outside organisations and therefore needs to be able to stand alone in its operational demands.
VA has manageable and measurable objectives through which volunteers are able to understand the link between their costs and their contributions.

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Q: Is there a minimum age for volunteers?

A: Yes, volunteers need to be 18 or over.

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Q: Is there a maximum age for volunteers?

A: No, but there can be physical demands on our projects and it is worth discussing these with us should you feel you might have difficulties.

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Q: Do we work over weekends and public holidays?

A: Weekends are designed for you to have free time. There are many adventure activities available in the area if you are looking to be active. Volunteers often book onto the beach horse rides, surf school or mountain bike rides that happen in the Chintsa area over weekends. The beach is on your doorstep and offers good swimming, shell collecting, chilling and walking. Buccaneers Backpackers has a pool and bar and volunteers are welcome to use their facilities for free while on a project.

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Q: Where do I stay whilst I volunteer?

A: For Wild Coast Schools and African Angels volunteers there is a volunteer house in the seaside village of Chintsa East. Volunteers will stay in shared accommodation (two or more to a room) in an awesome house overlooking the beach and lagoon. The house is within a few minutes walk of the beach and volunteers will have access to canoes, boogie boards and beach accessories through the local backpackers Buccaneers. Accommodation has most mod cons including washing machine, microwave and even daily visits from the monkeys!

Our conservation and wildlife base camps are permanent Safari Tented Camps in the bush. The tents are spacious and shared, there are communal areas which become the hub for meals, relaxing, learning and socialising, all with a great atmosphere. We provide volunteers with clean and modern ablution facilities as well as access to most mod cons including a washing machine. Kettles and fridges are available to use at camp. The camps are remote and secluded and therefore offer volunteers an authentic "living in the bush" experience, a real highlight of these projects.

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Q: Do I have to pay for my meals?

A: Three meals a day are included in your project fee as detailed below:

Breakfasts are early and healthy. The volunteer house and camps are stocked with cereals, white and brown bread for toast as well as butter, jams and peanut butter. Fresh fruit is always available as are tea and coffee. Volunteers help themselves to breakfast.

Lunch is in the form of sandwiches and fruit. Each volunteer is responsible for their own lunch and they will have access to all the necessary ingredients over breakfast to make this. White and brown bread, cheese, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, jams, peanut butter and cold meats will be provided.

Dinners are scrumptious, home cooked, sit down meals. These will be prepared by VA staff (we cater for vegetarians on request). Volunteers will also have the opportunity to enjoy traditional food which is included in our rotation of meals. Other theme menus include Mexican and Indian and (of course) braai night!

Water is drinkable from our taps and drinking tanks. Volunteers wishing to drink mineral water will have to purchase their own as we do not supply bottled water.

Snacks, treats and between meal foods must be self purchased. The nearby shops in Chintsa East have most basic requirements and more. A communal fridge is available for volunteer use. For School, Angel and Horse volunteers there are several restaurants and bars within walking distance that do specials for volunteers.

Volunteers will not be expected to manage the kitchen, cleaning, washing dishes or general house maintenance on a daily basis. However, basic "looking after your own mess" contributions which will assist our staff are encouraged.

Important Note and Reminder: Participants must advise VA (the project co-ordinators) of their dietary needs (e.g. vegetarian, allergic to nuts etc.) prior to their departure. Participants with very specific dietary needs may be required to supplement their meals at their own expense.

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Q: What shall I pack?

A:
» First Aid Kit
» Sleeping Bag

You should pack the following kit for all weather conditions, including:

» 2/3 shorts
» 1 jacket / anorak
» Tracksuit / pullover
» 2 pairs of long pants / jeans
» 2 pairs of walking shoes / boots / trainers
» 1 pair of sandals
» 3-4 T-shirts
» 2-3 long sleeve shirts
» smarter change of clothes
» swimwear
» sun hat; preferably one that covers the back of your neck
» raincoat
» kikoi / sarong
» Your clothing should be easy to wash and dry and should preferably not need ironing. Avoid synthetics, which can be very uncomfortable in hot weather.
» Take a set of casual but smart clothes for the occasional evening out in a restaurant or pub.
» If you wear glasses or contacts, it is also advisable to bring a spare pair.

Additional Items:

» towel and facecloth
» personal toiletries
» torch
» camera and film
» suntan lotion
» sunglasses

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Q: What support do I get during the Volunteer project?

A: All of our projects have an on-site co-ordinating team who work closely with the VA management team to ensure volunteers' needs are catered for. Owing to the nature of the conservation and wildlife initiatives volunteers may, at times, not have daily access to TV, internet etc. but will frequently enough have the opportunity to communicate should they wish.

Facilities available to you in the Support centre at Chintsa East include:

» 24 hr personalised contact person available.
» Internet, fax, phone and post facilities (reduced rates for volunteers).
» Professional, full time facilitators for planning and mentoring.
» Weekly feedback, troubleshooting and planning sessions with co-ordinating team.
» Transport to and from project.
» TV and DVD in volunteer house.
» Free use of canoes and boogie boards.
» Surfboard hire and surf school lessons at reduced rate.

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Q: Is there anything worthwhile to bring if one is on a project?

A: The Wild Coast Schools' Programme deals with bottom socio-economic rural schools. These schools are all under resourced and welcome any resources.

Good things to bring include:

» Sporting equipment such as balls, bats, bibs.
» Classroom equipment, especially maps and educational posters, pens, rulers and stencils.
» Loads of enthusiasm and energy.

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