UK travellers looking for some sun and a meaningful Christmas can help disadvantaged communities in need this year
PRESS RELEASE (10/23/2013) – In a bid to encourage members of the public to give something back this festive season, volunteering operator African Impact (www.africanimpact.com), has launched a unique Christmas volunteering experience aimed at bringing some festive cheer to vulnerable members of the community in Livingstone, Zambia and KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, while providing much-needed support and continuity for its community outreach and conservation projects in these regions.
Hoping to entice greater numbers of volunteers this Christmas, African Impact has created a flexible project suited to individuals affected by time constraints by offering short-term placements from one to four weeks in duration. Volunteers will gain teaching experience in a challenging environment, will work with, and have the opportunity to give love and attention to disadvantaged children and work across a variety of other community initiatives. In South Africa volunteers will also have the opportunity to work on the many wildlife conservation projects located at Thanda Private Game Reserve, while enjoying many of the extra trips and tours that can be arranged in this beautiful location.
Rachael Greenwood, Business Manager of African Impact’s Livingstone Community Project explains: “For most of us, Christmas means hoards of shoppers, material gifts and plenty of food and drink, in certain parts of Africa the story is not quite the same. I like to think that for most of us Christmas is also a time of giving and a time to focus on family, friendship and community spirit so we are hoping that volunteers might stop and take a moment to consider how they might be able to help just a little bit, because even a little help goes a long way and actions always speak louder than words.”
The Christmas volunteer experience in Zambia includes involvement in children’s holiday clubs, afternoon community projects like farming and reading, art and literacy clubs, helping at a local elderly care home and providing after school support to vulnerable children.
Rachael continues: “Children here have to grow up really quickly and are expected to do numbers of chores at home. Older siblings help to look after the younger ones in typically large families too. Our volunteers run structured playtimes with children at pre-selected locations, taking along balls, jump ropes and colouring books and crayons, and spend the afternoon interacting and having fun with them. This time allows them an opportunity just to be kids; to play games, be carefree and expend some of their boundless energy – who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?”
In their free time, volunteers will also have the opportunity to see the Zambezi River and Victoria Falls at their most spectacular in December; where rafting and swimming in Devil’s Pool is a popular attraction. Enjoying a traditional African Christmas followed by fun and games, will ensure volunteers have a Christmas they will never forget!
African Impact’s projects at Thanda Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal on South Africa’s east coast give volunteers the fantastic opportunity to celebrate Christmas in the heart of a big five game reserve in Africa. These projects are not seasonal and conservation efforts and research continue all year round. The daily routines of volunteers will be a combination of game drives to monitor wildlife and collect data as well as helping with the clearing of alien vegetation, and building projects.
There will also be plenty of time to interact with the beautiful rural communities surrounding the reserve where volunteers will experience a true cultural exchange. Christmas day is celebrated in style at the lodge on the reserve where all kinds of local fare will be on offer and volunteers will enjoy an original South African ‘braai’ (barbeque). Additional activities include star gazing and weekend trips to local heritage sites.
African Impact’s Christmas volunteering options start from £660 and include the project fee, airport transfers, orientation programmes, all daily transfers to the project, full board and lodging at the volunteer house and 24/7 support from the African Impact team.
About African Impact (www.africanimpact.com)
African Impact is the largest on-the-ground volunteering operator in Africa, providing a wide range of responsible, authentic and ethical volunteer projects and internship programmes to travellers across the globe. With approximately 500 staff working across its many project locations in Africa, African Impact is well-established and respected by local communities who value the vital support of its volunteers. Projects range from community development programmes such as rural family support and teaching, to conservation volunteering such as dolphin & marine conservation and facilitated lion research. Specialist volunteering such as wildlife photography and projects aimed specifically at over 30s, are also available along with a range of internship programmes and bespoke group volunteering options.
As part of its commitment to making a positive impact, African Impact has its own independent charity arm ‘The Happy Africa Foundation’ (www.happyafricafoundation.org) which independently monitors its projects and provides tools and expertise to ensure sustainability of its operations and that donations given by volunteers are managed responsibly.