It is only three months before I am going to be spending a year volunteering at Thembelihle, a place of safety providing critical love, care and rehabilitation for over twenty abused and abandoned children from 6-16 years of age in Mthatha, South Africa.
It will be my job to provide home schooling for the children, as the option of attending local schools is denied them during the time they are under the protection of Thembelihle and social services. This schooling includes covering the national education curriculum and age-appropriate life skills and personal development. The school facilities are limited to one basic room with limited resources so Ill need to use my creativity to make learning fun. Ive been able to find a photo of the school room on a website which makes it feel real now! I will also be running extra-curricular activities for the children such as recreation and sport, play and group activities. In addition to the educational element, I will be helping the staff with the daily running of the home and ensuring the children feel loved and cared for in a stable and secure environment. Im really looking forward to reading stories to the little ones at bedtime and hope to be able to take some of my old favourites with me to share.
I am very excited to have the opportunity to be involved in such a special project, and I hope overall that I can bring some joy to the childrens lives and ensure that their education is not affected by their tragic circumstances. Im also looking forward to being able to immerse myself in the fascinating culture of South Africa. It is a complex country with a troubled history, but its an amazing country too, full of diverse cultures and traditions. Ive got a stack of books and films to get through once my A2s are over so I can make the most of my year there. Although I am anxious, (as Im sure most eighteen year olds would be!) about leaving my old life behind for an entirely new one in a developing country without the privileges we are so used to in the UK, this is counteracted by my enthusiasm to get involved in my project and really make a lasting difference. Once I have tasted life in South Africa I dont think Im going to want to come home!