Latest From Our Volunteer Blog

I always knew I would not stay in the Netherlands, the country where I grew up and lived quite happily for many years. My mind was somewhere else from a young age. As a child I could happily spend hours going through the big atlas we had at home - looking over maps and countries and dreaming of all the places I would go to.

I'ts a dog fight out there with the vast selection of gap year and volunteer providers available. The amount of options and slogans being thrown around such as"cheapest volunteer placements", "best provider" and "most ethical agency" doesn't make it easier to choose the right provider for you.

 While travelling, we have all come across possibilities to visit the “other” side of a country - to see, for example, what the REAL Africa is like. As I have found from working and living in South Africa for the last 11 years, this subject comes up with many of our volunteers. It remains an ongoing discussion and should be addressed on an ongoing basis. What is ethical and responsible when dealing with tours or experiences of this nature? A big question indeed – and no one answer completely covers it. I will share my opinion, however, of how I see this kind of tourism.

It has been around for years - travelling with a purpose to contribute and utilise your skills and financial means to make a difference: building schools in Ghana, helping at an orphanage in Ecuador or Indonesia, assisting with disaster management after a natural disaster, and many more good things that can be done while travelling and exploring new places.

Working with exotic wildlife is a dream for many and nowadays these experiences are available with only the press of a button. Searching the internet will provide a large range of programs and projects; one even nicer than the other, or so it seems. Since I started Khaya Volunteer Projects in 2005 we have learned the hard way how this industry works.

Service learning is a teaching method that combines all the usual learning goals with community service. This is a modern and progressive approach to teaching that puts focus on students giving back to society while furthering their studies – and it helps them to understand their place in the larger community that is the planet Earth!

If you follow the mainstream media, you’ve probably seen lots of horrific images of Africa, paraded in front of your eyes in what seems like a never-ending bad movie. You’ve seen starving Ethiopian children, child soldiers in West Africa, Somalian and Sudanese refugees forced out of their countries by tribal warfare, the brutal Apartheid regime in South Africa, and cruel poaching of vulnerable animals like rhinos and Cedric the Lion.  You’re not exactly crazy if you immediately decided not to come within 1000 miles of any African country! Let alone to think of volunteering in an African country…

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