Not only does the Drop-in Centre in Gweru provide street children with a free hot meal, it also helps to bring important stability to their young lives. Whether spending time teaching English and mathematics, playing games, or just being someone to talk to, Antelope Park volunteers help to make these children feel part of the community. Through their kindness, and the dedication of the committed staff who work at the Centre, many of the youngsters are encouraged to stop living on the streets.
Thea Nilssen, a volunteer from Norway, appreciates her visits to the Centre: ‘Today at the Drop-in was like every other day there - amazing and fun. We did face painting which they are so good at, better that they think. They painted beautiful pictures of us and on our arms. I was so lucky I got a painting on my arm. We had a lot of fun just hanging out and being together. I love spending time with the kids at the Drop-in Centre because they give you so much love and care, and always have a smile on their faces. All the kids are special in their own ways, and so many talented kids!’
Community volunteers also have the opportunity to assist with the Conservation Education curriculum at the ALERT Education Centre (AEC). Children from local schools are taught the basics of conservation, biology, ecology and geography as part of a comprehensive syllabus that aims to increase their awareness and understanding of environmental issues. By encouraging students to appreciate the benefits of protecting natural resources, they learn the importance of conserving Africa’s wildlife and habitats for themselves and future generations.
Hanna Sohrman from Sweden recently volunteered at the AEC: ‘It was really FUN and I really enjoyed it. The kids were so polite, sweet and funny. We talked about the elephants and that it’s important to conserve the ecosystem. I would really like to go back there.’
The AEC is run entirely run on donations. If you would like to help support the next generation of conservationists, please visit http://lionalert.org/page/support-us.
Mkoba 4 Primary School caters for over 2,000 children. With a shortage of teaching staff - as in most schools in Africa - the presence of community volunteers helps to provide much-needed attention for those children who would otherwise fall behind in their studies. This is particularly true of the Special Needs class at the school. Heidi Swain, a volunteer from Australia, has been assisting these students recently and noticed that they didn’t have the resources they needed for lessons. Thanks to her generosity, each child now has a pencil case, eraser, pens and pencils. ‘The children were so excited to have their own stationery,’ said Heidi when she handed out the items.
You could join ALERT at one of our projects in Africa. Find out how here.