Volunteering projects

Our community projects

Aneeta & Children Oudtshoorn Nov 2007We support many projects involved with community work in over 100 projects situated in 21 communities across South Africa (see map on our website). It is however important to note that just as life, projects evolve all the time. One day the community needs a schoolroom roof fixed after a storm, built or upgraded, small business development, communication and so forth. By the same token, the next month providing support teaching at a school, HIV patient(s) needs care /mentoring or we need your skills to help us to minimize waste in a community and save on energy and water. The reason being is because we work in the entire community as far as possible, not isolated part of it. Since we work at grass root level in the communities, we are in constant consultation or involvement with the community. We work in a holistic nature and do not bus visitors into a community to “do” volunteering but work sensitively with volunteers and community projects and leaders to find out where help is needed the most.

We consider it significant and important to place some perspective on the issue of “orphanages” in South Africa. In general terms, “orphans” have come to mean children without a living parent. It is important to note that there are very few orphanages, in fact minimal, working with orphans of this nature only. In all the Dreamcatcher communities and projects we are working, our point of departure is to provide support to children and youth at risk, of which some children are without parents and thus “orphaned”, but most of the children and youth who have been placed at the care centres have been abused or abandoned by living parents. It is also important to note that these care centres are in the minority in South Africa (certainly in all the communities Dreamcatcher works in on a day to day basis; and we have been doing this for over 2 decades).

The children most at risk are those abused and abandoned by one or more parents, who must try to survive IN the communities. We have found this to be indicative of many South African communities. In our closely-knit Dreamcatcher communities, the children are thus raised by the community and must make it in the communities. Countless children are in this dire situation and it is there where we place our volunteers and where they can assist us to make the biggest impact: as these children and youth at risk are the leaders and the communities of tomorrow. We can offer amazing feedback on the incredible impact volunteers, working side by side with the community and our local site mentors in each town; have had on the youth and children in these communities. In fact the volunteers become Dreamcatchers and help to shape the future of communities with the Kamammas and Dreamcatcher.
It is also important to note that these many children and youth whom we work with are found mostly outside the cities in rural towns around the country, though we have a few projects in cities. Insofar as development and amenities are concerned, the rural towns are those who lag behind and it is here we our difference is made and felt on a daily basis. Dreamcatcher ethos regarding children and cultures, are aligned to the United Nations Bill of Human Rights. We have listed the Dreamcatcher communities where you can volunteer on the map on our site, but as we tailor all our volunteering for every client and a need, which arises in the community, specific projects are not listed.

It takes approximately 3 years to prepare and consult in a community and the projects, and the hosts with whom the volunteers interface. Since we aim for long-term results and improvement of quality of life, volunteering is not embarked upon by Dreamcatcher as “a fast forward quick fix Activity”. With due diligence and in recognition of the needs and circumstances within a community, years of experience at grass routes have created a special bond between Dreamcatcher and the communities we assist in developing. We recognize the community as the custodians of their environment and their destiny and they are consulted at all times. We have literally walked besides -and with the community over many years.

It is at grass routes, in the regions, towns and countryside, with the local people, where Dreamcatcher has spent over 2 decades. The philosophy of Dreamcatcher and thus the volunteers carefully chosen and monitored in terms of their profile and skills is to help people, to become the best they can be where they live, WITHOUT urbanizing to the cities. Our experience has taught us that the lure of cities are envisioned by the jobless and impoverished as the “ highways of gold “, but sadly ends in unfulfilled dreams which have shattered and changed to a life of one of extreme socio-economic hardship, away from the extended family back home”. We thus aim to spearhead projects to keep the families together and to develop the community to grow so jobs and opportunities can be found.

You will find Dreamcatcher projects, just as with our Homestays and Cook-up experiences, in towns all along the most beautiful travel routes in communities around South Africa. We offer a number of important outcomes to the volunteer:

  1. To contribute as a team with us in the community to sustainable development and projects.
  2. To leave a legacy which has impacted on the individuals and community where they volunteered. These impacts can be monitored with us.
  3. At the same time volunteers have amazing opportunities to gain first hand experience at local level to add to their future work experience and perception of life.
  4. We also assist the volunteers, at affordable rates to explore and see the “real South Africa” over weekends.

What can you do?

Educational projects

  • Gain or share teaching experience in various schools and a tourism training institute
  • Assist with teaching English to children and also tutor their teachers and community leaders through the Adult Literacy and learning programme, transferring your specific skills
  • Unlock the digital divide by teaching computer skills
  • Knowledge and skills transfer on how to minimize household and small business waste and awareness of the impact of waste and energy consumption on the environment.
  • Co-ordinate and spear head developmental games with children and take part in sports afternoons
  • Sport training and encouraging poor, yet talented youth and children to reach for their potential
  • Help develop artistic and musical skills

Healthcare projects

  • Work & observe at home care based organisations typical of the health care needs of the largest number of South African population and local or regional hospitals
  • Joining the HIV/Aids home based caretaker, field workers, HIV/Aids support group meetings for both adults and children affected or infected with HIV/Aids, go to the VCT Clinic – this is the local health clinic where the patients get tested for HIV/AIDS and collect their medicines and speak to counselors.

Social Service projects

  • Caring for abandoned, orphaned, abused, or runaway children and youth. The main purpose is to feed them and give them a positive perspective to life again. You will work with the probation officer, local volunteers and the auxiliary social worker and help set up or assist with the life skill programmes for these children.
  • Assist at day care & skills development centres for (physically and/or mentally) disabled children
  • Home for the aged people; volunteer at the home for ageing locals and spend some time with the elders.(senior and ageing citizens). Read them stories, help feeding them and taking care of little things they don’t manage to do anymore. You will learn a lot about the country, life and yourself in conversations with them !

Other projects

  • Implode your knowledge of micro and small business development into the community to help create employment at local level on our: PaintUp wtih Kamamma and Environmental Impact Projects
  • Help with building and improving the educational facilities in the community
  • Help with keeping the beach/marine and village environment clean and tidy
  • Consult & advise best ways to manage and reduce waste IN the community
  • Tailor made programmes to suit your skills or your needs for university research etc.
  • Experience the local culture – and even learn a local language and lifestyle
  • An opportunity to explore South Africa and travel unique paths and lifestyle experiences with us. Its what we do all the time !