An unforgettable experience
February 10 2014

Another group of Antelope Park volunteers have spent some time at our community projects; an unforgettable experience which they want to share.

‘Today was my first day at the Drop-in Centre, and to be honest it was really hard.  At first we met the boys and then we went to see where some of them are living and that was the hardest part.  It was so surreal seeing it in real life, it really touched my heart.  I’ve been watching a lot of television shows about street kids and Africa, but it was harder than what I had expected to see in real life.  It was a big wake up call for me, at that moment I really understood how unfair the world is.  But spending time with the children at the Drop-in Centre was a great experience.  No matter how hard their life is, the kids are always smiling and laughing, and that is so wonderful to see.  It gives me another perspective on life, focusing on the negative parts of life will never get you anywhere.  So the visit was both good and hard, but an important experience everybody should do.’ Melina

‘At the Midlands Children’s Hope Centre, the volunteers implemented some new games and educational activities for the boys.  Basic equipment; boxes with pencils, erasers and sharpeners, coloured pencils, pens and basic maths resources were bought and taken each visit to the orphanage.  Tables set up outside supplied a perfect teaching platform to ensure children received an appropriate levelled lesson.  Volunteers took groups from the youngest to the oldest.

Developing oral language skills and vocabulary in English with games, reading and comprehension activities, basic maths skills in number and addition and subtraction skills were some of the activities provided for the younger boys, while the older boys worked on more difficult activities in both maths and English. 

Providing some play dough was a great success with the younger boys and a ‘how to draw wild animals’ book certainly demonstrated the excellent art skills at other, older boys.  The volunteers could see the dedication and motivation the boys demonstrated to learning.  They were always keen to learn and would ask for more – very different from some of our western students.  One volunteer, a teacher from Australia, was impressed with the boys and how quickly and they learned.

Each session was rounded up with games such as musical chairs, hangman (using new words learnt that day), singing or dancing.  As one volunteer here, I found the experience of working with boys truly inspiring.  I feel truly privileged to be a part of this rewarding program and would encourage anyone, young or old to take the challenge and come and work with these amazing kids!’  Sally, from Australia

‘The first thing that meets you when you get to the orphanage is all the smiling faces that greet you with open arms.  It is such an amazing feeling being met by the sweetest boys, who are so happy to see you.

We were a group of about eight volunteers and six boys.  The first thing we did when we got there was to put up a table out in the sun, where we all could sit together.  We then gave the boys some school and colouring books, and they went straight to work.  I have never seen kids so excited about school work before.  They concentrated on working on their English and mathematics skills.  And they were so good! 

I was truly impressed about how much they knew, and how fast they learned new things.  We sat with them for a few hours, just helping them with their work.  And I promise you, there is no better feeling than getting to see their faces light up every time they got something right!  The hour flew by and suddenly it was time to go.  We only got to spend a few hours at the orphanage this day, but it was enough time to discover what an amazing bunch of boys this was.  I’m so looking forward to seeing them again and getting to know all the boys a lot better.’ Marita, from Norway

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