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AIDS education thanda private game reserve HIV volunteering holiday volunteer trip horses how can i volunteer in africa how to be a volunteer in africa how to become a volunteer how to go to africa how to volunteer how to volunteer abroad How to Volunteer Abroad how to volunteer in Africa how to work and travel how to work in africa Humming bird impact imvelo awards imvelo awards 2012 imvelo awards finalists imvelo awards winners imvelo finalists 2011 Innovative Awards Intern Abroad intern in Africa intern with a charity international earth day international volunteer International Women's Day internship internship african impact internship cape town internships internships abroad internships in africa jambiani job opportunity jobs in africa Jobs in Cape Town Jobs in South Africa Jobs with Lions jungle expedition kenya volunteering kwazulu-natal kzn wildlife large predator last minute lion lion conservation Lion Encounter lion prides lion projects lion rehabilitation lion rehabilitation project lion rehabilitation volunteering lion volunteer africa lion volunteer south africa lion volunteering lion volunteering in Africa Lions lions in africa Live and work in Africa make an impact makeyourimpact making a difference in Africa malawi volunteering marketing Masai Mara masai mara volunteering masai mara warriors Mature Volunteer mature volunteering medical outreach project medical projects in zambia medical support medical volunteer medical volunteer projects Medical volunteer projects in Africa medical volunteering medical volunteering africa medical volunteering in africa medical volunteering zambia Naboisho Conservancy national geographic new projects ngamo pride ngo NGO Internship NGO Jobs non-profit organisations nursing Older volunteering orphan care orphan care africa orphan volunteer projects Orphan Volunteer Projects in Africa over 30's over 30's volunteering packing for the bush packing for travel to Africa Paid volunteering paid volunteering in africa photography africa photography south africa photography volunteer photography volunteering plant trees pre-school volunteering preparing to volunteer programs in Africa project rhino kzn projects africa projects for africa reasons to travel Red Hill reforestation reforestation in africa responsible tourism Responsible travel retirement volunteering rhino rhino poachers rhinos killed in south africa rural school Safari safari africa Save the African Lion save the trees saving rhinos saving the lion saving the lions saving the planet school uniforms africa seychelles Smba Giya social involvement social media Something different for retirement south afric south africa south africa internships south africa rhinos south africa volunteering special offer sponsor a child programme sports volunteer st lucia st lucia south africa St Lucia, South Africa stand out cv stand out resume steve jobs student volunteering sustainability sustainable development sustainable volunteering sustaining trees table mountain teach abroad teach English abroad teach in africa teach in tanzania teach in zanzibar teaching Teaching Africa teaching in africa teaching in zambia teaching projects in africa Teaching Volunteer Projects in Africa team house tentation THAF Thanda thanda in africa thanda private game reserve the happy africa foundation tips on what to pack tourism tourism cape town tourism south africa tourism zanzibar tourism zimbabwe travel travel africa travel and work overseas travel in Africa travel opportunities travel overseas travel to africa at christmas trees for zambia Trip Advisor trvelling Tuli Game Reserve tweeting UCAS points UCAS points volunteering UK. Established in 2004 UNESCO up close with lions Victoria Falls victoria falls lion victoria falls lions victoria falls volunteer visit africa visit zimbabwe voluntary work africa Voluntary Work in Africa Volunteer volunteer abroad Volunteer Abroad volunteer abroad mozambique volunteer africa volunteer africa children volunteer africa opportunity volunteer africa program volunteer antelope park volunteer at Christmas Volunteer at Christmas volunteer chimfunshi volunteer coordinator volunteer forever volunteer game reserve Volunteer in Africa Volunteer in Africa volunteer in africa with children volunteer in African clinic volunteer in Cape Town Volunteer in Cape Town volunteer in Kenya volunteer in kwazulu natal volunteer in Livingstone volunteer in South Africa Volunteer in South Africa volunteer in Tanzania volunteer in the Masai Mara volunteer in township volunteer in west africa volunteer in Zambia volunteer in Zanzibar volunteer in Zimbabwe volunteer in Zimbabwe volunteer lions volunteer mozambique volunteer national park volunteer on conservation projects in Africa volunteer on game reserve volunteer on holiday volunteer on vacation volunteer opportunities volunteer opportunities africa volunteer opportunity abroad Volunteer opprotunities Africa volunteer overseas volunteer overseas work Volunteer programs in Africa volunteer project volunteer projects volunteer projects africa volunteer projects in africa volunteer south africa volunteer St Lucia volunteer stories Volunteer Travel volunteer travel conference volunteer wildlife volunteer with african children volunteer with animals volunteer with animals africa volunteer with animals in africa volunteer with charities in africa volunteer with children volunteer with children africa volunteer with children in kenya volunteer with chimpanzees volunteer with chimps volunteer with elephants volunteer with lions Volunteer with Lions volunteer with monkeys volunteer with orphans volunteer with rhinos volunteer with wildlife volunteer with wildlife in africa volunteer work africa volunteer work health benefits volunteer zambia volunteer zanzibar volunteer zimbabwe Volunteering volunteering abroad volunteering africa volunteering ethics volunteering in africa volunteering in cape town volunteering in Mozambique volunteering in South Africa volunteering in zambia volunteering opportunities volunteering programmes volunteering with animals volunteering with lions volunteering zambia Volunteerism volunteerng volunteers making an impact Voluntourism voluntourism voluntourism ethics voluteer in africa walk with lions walking with lions walking with lions africa What is it like to volunteer in Africa what to do at christmas what to do in Africa what to pack what to pack africa what to wear volunteering where can i volunteer Why pay for volunteering why volunteer Wildlife conservation wildlife conservation volunteering wildlife orphan care wildlife orphanage wildlife photography wildlife photography africa wildlife photography opportunity wildlife photography program wildlife photography project wildlife project africa wildlife rehabilitation wildlife research wildlife research project wildlife research volunteer wildlife volunteer africa Wildlife Volunteer in Africa wildlife volunteer in south africa wildlife volunteer project wildlife volunteer projects wildlife volunteer zimbabwe wildlife volunteering wildlife volunteering africa wildlife volunteering in africa wildlife volunteering in south africa Womens empowerment work abroad work abroad volunteer work and travel abroad work and travel overseas work experience abroad work for charities in africa work gap year work in Africa work in south africa work volunteers Work with animals work with children Work with Children in Africa work with children in south africa Work with Chimpanzees work with elephants Work with Lions work with lions in africa Worki in Africa working abroad working in Africa Working in Zambia Working with Chimps working with lions world aids day Worlds best holiday destination youth travel Zambia zambia africa zanzibar Zimbabwe zimbabwe volunteer projects zulu communities zulu culture zulu dambwa pride

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Life-changing Experiences in St Lucia

As an English girl in her twenties who’d fallen in love with Africa many years ago, I was given an incredible opportunity to spend a month in the town of St Lucia, a place I’d never even heard of before, let alone visited in South Africa prior to working for African Impact.

What I knew already was that the area of St Lucia is incredibly unique - as one of the only places in the world surrounded by a World Heritage Site and huge coastline, it is home to the largest population of hippos and crocodiles in South Africa, while also boasting some incredible safaris, whale watching and Big 5 opportunities! Being used to the city, St Lucia feels like a jungle – monkeys in the trees, stars like you’ve never seen them before and even better, it’s warm almost all year round!

Further to that, I also knew that we had some even more unique volunteering projects, in the fact that you work directly in the local rural villages in an area still ruled by the Zulu royal family. The area has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS and is ranked as one of the most deprived areas South Africa and volunteers work directly with the local people and families to improve their quality of life. Whether you get involved in the education or healthcare project, each day is something completely different, completely unexpected as you will spend Monday – Friday visiting the families we support, the patients we care for, the children we teach and this often takes place directly in their homes or in community centres in the village.

What I didn’t know before my time there was how much it would come to feel like home.

As a Londoner, the welcoming faces of both adults and children in the villages were something I never got used to; it was overwhelming the amount of love and warmth that everyone showed to me, whether it was the first time I entered the home of Grace, an obese lady living with the devastating effects of diabetes and HIV whom had no access to visit the local hospital, or the smiling faces of the children on our ‘Gogo 4 kids’ Family Empowerment Programme; an elderly grandmother supporting her four children who are unable to attend school.

For me though, the support groups are really what make the St Lucia projects so magical – attendance is voluntary, yet you’ll find the same memorable characters making the journey to come and sit under a shady tree in the quiet of the village each week and find out what volunteers are going to discuss. Led by volunteers and a translator, topics are discussed and there is a space for sharing thoughts, ideas and lots of laughter. These support groups are there to do exactly that; support. One of the support groups has even gone as far as to create a savings system, whereby each member contributes what they can and when a member is in need, they are able to loan the money and help each other out.

Despite speaking completely different languages and living completely different lives you all just seem to understand each other – it feels like a family that you’re instantly a part of and I hope those women got as much out of those four weeks with them as I did.

You’ll notice straight away that the villages surrounding St Lucia are extremely impoverished; running water is a scarcity, access to transport, education and medical clinics is severely limited and many, many families are living far below the poverty line, in one-bedroom shacks. As a volunteer, this is not something one can fix alone, but bit by bit African Impact are making an enormous impact on the village; providing sustainable gardens and access to better nutrition, actually listening to the health concerns of villagers who are unable to travel to the clinic and assisting them with advice and providing vital one-to-one education to young children who are sometimes unable to go to school as they must collect water for their family. African Impact and the volunteers are committed to making sustainable, long-term changes for these families; it’s not about giving them a ‘hand-out’ but instead a ‘hand-up’ and when I left St Lucia I’d felt I’d done exactly that.

Most importantly, I learned two things in St Lucia. Firstly, to respect and understand “African Time” – whether it’s hippos blocking the road, power outages, water shortages or a surprise Zulu village wedding you’re invited to, working directly with families and local people means things don’t always go to plan, but that is the adventure. That leads me nicely onto the second lesson – and what I tell all St Lucia volunteers - you can’t go in with any expectations because this is real Africa. That is St Lucia’s charm, it’s what gets under your skin and it’s what makes you never want to leave.

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adventures in Africa africa africa conservation program africa internships africa lions africa projects africa tourism Africa Travel africa volunteer africa volunteer experiences africa volunteer oportunities africa volunteer opportunities africa volunteer opportunity africa volunteer program Africa volunteer programs africa volunteer work africa volunteering african elephant African Encounter African Impact african impact internship african impact lions african impact livingstone african lion African Lion & Environmental Research Trust african lion and environmental research trust african travel africanimpact AIDS AIDS education Ajax cape town community Ajax soccer ALERT animal rights animal welfare volunteer animals in africa antelope park anti-voluntourism anti-voluntourism campaign cambodia ASDAN volunteering asli gedik Award winning Organisation Awards best volunteer company BETA BETA finalists big 5 big 5 photography big 5 volunteer big 5 volunteering bikes blogging booking flights Books For Africa Botswana volunteering Botswana's wildlife boulders beach budget travel budget volunteering burn out bush walks BYTA camera traps cameroon expedition cancer survivor Cape Town cape town Cape Town volunteering carbon emission carbon footprint career break career break career break africa career break travel career break volunteer career break volunteering Career Breaks volunteering career change career experience charity charity internship Charity jobs charity work africa Charity Work in Africa charity work in tanzania charties to go to Africa with cheap africa travel cheap flights africa cheap volunteer program cheap volunteering opportunities cheetah chimfunshi chimfunshi wildlife orphanage chimfunshi wildlife sanctuary Chimpanzee Chimpanzee and Wildlife Orphan project Chimpanzee Project chimpanzees chimps Christmas competitions christmas in africa christmas time in africa Christmas volunteering christmas vounteering climate change clinic gweru community development community outreach community projects africa community projects in Africa Community projects in South Africa community volunteer community volunteer africa community volunteer work mozambique community volunteering Community work community work africa community work in africa community work zambia conference conservation conservation africa conservation education conservation in africa Conservation Jobs conservation photography conservation program africa conservation projects conservation volunteer conservation volunteer antelope park conservation volunteer in africa conservation volunteer in south africa conservation volunteer in zimbabwe conservation volunteering conservation volunteering africa conservation volunteering in africa conservation volunteering south africa conservation volunteering Zambia Conservation work conservation work in Africa conservation work with lions Conservaton and Research Volunteering cricket africa dambwa pride deforestation Development Manager discount discounts donate electronics donate to africa donating donating old phones donations for africa eco-bricks education volunteer education volunteering educational volunteering elephant empowering communities Empowering Women Empowerment endangered species Environmental conservation environmental education environmentally friendly ethical voluntourism euthanasia of lion exhaustion expedition in africa explore africa facts south africa family volunteering fitflop forest conservation fundraising gain employment game drives game reserve game reserve volunteering gap year gap year abroad gap year africa gap year africa zimbabwe Gap Year Ideas Gap Year in Africa Gap Year in Teaching Gap Year projects in Africa gap year travel Gap Year Volunteer Projects gap year volunteering gathering Giving back go to africa GoAbroad GoAbroad Innovative Award goodsport GoPro gorilla expedition gorilla research gorilla trekking great volunteer organization great white sharks green pop green projects Green Tourism green volunteering GreenPop group volunteering guide to packing Hands on volunteering happy africa happy africa foundation HAYTAP healthcare volunteering help orphaned animals Helping in arica helping people in africa helping the environment helping the lions HIV awareness HIV education HIV education. AIDS education thanda private game reserve HIV volunteering holiday volunteer trip horses how can i volunteer in africa how to be a volunteer in africa how to become a volunteer how to go to africa how to volunteer how to volunteer abroad How to Volunteer Abroad how to volunteer in Africa how to work and travel how to work in africa Humming bird impact imvelo awards imvelo awards 2012 imvelo awards finalists imvelo awards winners imvelo finalists 2011 Innovative Awards Intern Abroad intern in Africa intern with a charity international earth day international volunteer International Women's Day internship internship african impact internship cape town internships internships abroad internships in africa jambiani job opportunity jobs in africa Jobs in Cape Town Jobs in South Africa Jobs with Lions jungle expedition kenya volunteering kwazulu-natal kzn wildlife large predator last minute lion lion conservation Lion Encounter lion prides lion projects lion rehabilitation lion rehabilitation project lion rehabilitation volunteering lion volunteer africa lion volunteer south africa lion volunteering lion volunteering in Africa Lions lions in africa Live and work in Africa make an impact makeyourimpact making a difference in Africa malawi volunteering marketing Masai Mara masai mara volunteering masai mara warriors Mature Volunteer mature volunteering medical outreach project medical projects in zambia medical support medical volunteer medical volunteer projects Medical volunteer projects in Africa medical volunteering medical volunteering africa medical volunteering in africa medical volunteering zambia Naboisho Conservancy national geographic new projects ngamo pride ngo NGO Internship NGO Jobs non-profit organisations nursing Older volunteering orphan care orphan care africa orphan volunteer projects Orphan Volunteer Projects in Africa over 30's over 30's volunteering packing for the bush packing for travel to Africa Paid volunteering paid volunteering in africa photography africa photography south africa photography volunteer photography volunteering plant trees pre-school volunteering preparing to volunteer programs in Africa project rhino kzn projects africa projects for africa reasons to travel Red Hill reforestation reforestation in africa responsible tourism Responsible travel retirement volunteering rhino rhino poachers rhinos killed in south africa rural school Safari safari africa Save the African Lion save the trees saving rhinos saving the lion saving the lions saving the planet school uniforms africa seychelles Smba Giya social involvement social media Something different for retirement south afric south africa south africa internships south africa rhinos south africa volunteering special offer sponsor a child programme sports volunteer st lucia st lucia south africa St Lucia, South Africa stand out cv stand out resume steve jobs student volunteering sustainability sustainable development sustainable volunteering sustaining trees table mountain teach abroad teach English abroad teach in africa teach in tanzania teach in zanzibar teaching Teaching Africa teaching in africa teaching in zambia teaching projects in africa Teaching Volunteer Projects in Africa team house tentation THAF Thanda thanda in africa thanda private game reserve the happy africa foundation tips on what to pack tourism tourism cape town tourism south africa tourism zanzibar tourism zimbabwe travel travel africa travel and work overseas travel in Africa travel opportunities travel overseas travel to africa at christmas trees for zambia Trip Advisor trvelling Tuli Game Reserve tweeting UCAS points UCAS points volunteering UK. Established in 2004 UNESCO up close with lions Victoria Falls victoria falls lion victoria falls lions victoria falls volunteer visit africa visit zimbabwe voluntary work africa Voluntary Work in Africa Volunteer volunteer abroad Volunteer Abroad volunteer abroad mozambique volunteer africa volunteer africa children volunteer africa opportunity volunteer africa program volunteer antelope park volunteer at Christmas Volunteer at Christmas volunteer chimfunshi volunteer coordinator volunteer forever volunteer game reserve Volunteer in Africa Volunteer in Africa volunteer in africa with children volunteer in African clinic volunteer in Cape Town Volunteer in Cape Town volunteer in Kenya volunteer in kwazulu natal volunteer in Livingstone volunteer in South Africa Volunteer in South Africa volunteer in Tanzania volunteer in the Masai Mara volunteer in township volunteer in west africa volunteer in Zambia volunteer in Zanzibar volunteer in Zimbabwe volunteer in Zimbabwe volunteer lions volunteer mozambique volunteer national park volunteer on conservation projects in Africa volunteer on game reserve volunteer on holiday volunteer on vacation volunteer opportunities volunteer opportunities africa volunteer opportunity abroad Volunteer opprotunities Africa volunteer overseas volunteer overseas work Volunteer programs in Africa volunteer project volunteer projects volunteer projects africa volunteer projects in africa volunteer south africa volunteer St Lucia volunteer stories Volunteer Travel volunteer travel conference volunteer wildlife volunteer with african children volunteer with animals volunteer with animals africa volunteer with animals in africa volunteer with charities in africa volunteer with children volunteer with children africa volunteer with children in kenya volunteer with chimpanzees volunteer with chimps volunteer with elephants volunteer with lions Volunteer with Lions volunteer with monkeys volunteer with orphans volunteer with rhinos volunteer with wildlife volunteer with wildlife in africa volunteer work africa volunteer work health benefits volunteer zambia volunteer zanzibar volunteer zimbabwe Volunteering volunteering abroad volunteering africa volunteering ethics volunteering in africa volunteering in cape town volunteering in Mozambique volunteering in South Africa volunteering in zambia volunteering opportunities volunteering programmes volunteering with animals volunteering with lions volunteering zambia Volunteerism volunteerng volunteers making an impact Voluntourism voluntourism voluntourism ethics voluteer in africa walk with lions walking with lions walking with lions africa What is it like to volunteer in Africa what to do at christmas what to do in Africa what to pack what to pack africa what to wear volunteering where can i volunteer Why pay for volunteering why volunteer Wildlife conservation wildlife conservation volunteering wildlife orphan care wildlife orphanage wildlife photography wildlife photography africa wildlife photography opportunity wildlife photography program wildlife photography project wildlife project africa wildlife rehabilitation wildlife research wildlife research project wildlife research volunteer wildlife volunteer africa Wildlife Volunteer in Africa wildlife volunteer in south africa wildlife volunteer project wildlife volunteer projects wildlife volunteer zimbabwe wildlife volunteering wildlife volunteering africa wildlife volunteering in africa wildlife volunteering in south africa Womens empowerment work abroad work abroad volunteer work and travel abroad work and travel overseas work experience abroad work for charities in africa work gap year work in Africa work in south africa work volunteers Work with animals work with children Work with Children in Africa work with children in south africa Work with Chimpanzees work with elephants Work with Lions work with lions in africa Worki in Africa working abroad working in Africa Working in Zambia Working with Chimps working with lions world aids day Worlds best holiday destination youth travel Zambia zambia africa zanzibar Zimbabwe zimbabwe volunteer projects zulu communities zulu culture zulu dambwa pride
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