Although in recent times, with the rise of technology and gadgets like Iphones and Ipads, there has been a decline in model railway hobbyists, there are still people that dedicate themselves to this art form. Playing an online game like Railway Tycoon doesn’t count ! My nephew William recently graduated from University with his degree in civil engineering and found himself at a crossroads point in his life. William has spent the last sixteen years of his life firstly completing his schooling and then his degree in civil engineering. A friend of his who graduated from University as a child psychiatrist had recently decided on completing an internship in India, so William decided to look into the possibility of doing something similar, and started to investigate completing an internship of becoming a volunteer in Africa. After doing a lot of research on the internet, he came across a company called African Sunrise Volunteers, an organization based in Cape Town, South Africa, that specializes in assisting people like William find the correct project to participate in, a worthy cause that could put his studies and experience to good use. Volunteering is mostly about giving up your efforts to a worthwhile initiative, free of charge. It is an opportunity to help other folks in need that hopefully will gain from your schooling, skills and know-how. It is particularly popular with European scholars to go to a distant African country like Mozambique, Malawi or South Africa and give unreservedly of their selves, working with local community ventures and helping the needy and poor improve their lives.
African Sunrise facilitates their volunteers and interns by ensuring all of them suitable residence whilst staying in South Africa. Where African Sunrise is really good, is placing interns and volunteers in the courses best suited to their individual skills. Folks who have trained in social work or are interested in nursing, will be enrolled in a project which best benefits their education and learning or perhaps their interests. William obviously looked at several different volunteer and intern placement agencies but was particularly impressed by the standard of work and level of commitment that was apparent to him after browsing the African Sunrise website. The company was founded nearly ten years ago by Swedish national, Tania Sincic, and South African resident, Carina Roper. Together the pair of them have worked tirelessly to establish one of the best volunteer and intern placement agencies on the continent. Because of Tania’s ties to Sweden, the agency facilitates the placement of a large number of Swedish students and scholars in volunteer programs or internship positions in the projects with which African Sunrise is affiliated to and supports.
Tania and Carina have strong relationships with some of the most dedicated local initiatives that are committed to aiding those in need. For example, they work with The Agency for Refugee Education, Skills Training & Advocacy. This organization collaborates with the South African government in assisting asylum seekers and refugees arriving in Cape Town and other parts of South Africa with the many difficulties they face. Legal matters, education for their children and finding work and accommodation. The organization is also proactive in lobbying for the rights of refugees, creating awareness of refugees in South Africa’s rights and combating Xenophobia. Because there are still several war torn countries on the African continent, South Africa is often the first choice of refugees seeking asylum, due to its reasonably solid economy and infrastructure. Unfortunately, in recent years, a strong anti refugee sentiment has developed with many of the local population, feeling that they are losing their jobs to foreigners who in some cases will work at lower than the minimum wage.
William has since decided to travel to South Africa in order to volunteer in Cape Town and participate in the local feeding schemes and places of shelter for the homeless. Carina, Tania and their team have helped William along every step of his journey, from assisting with travel documents to placing him in the perfect project that best suits his nature and arranging him comfortable and safe accommodation for the three months that he is set to be in Cape Town. I think what also really appeals to him is the fact that he can take time off from the projects he is involved in, and do some travelling and exploring of the country whilst he is there.