Hi guys! Just a quick hello and update from Heather & I, currently on day 14 of lockdown in Cape Town.
We hope you and your loved ones are well and staying safe during these extarordinary times. Our thoughts are with you all, and the wonderful people who continue to provide healthcare and other essential services during this crisis. We are also concerned for those who are without the facilities and resources required to stay safe and feed their families at a time when millions have suddenly found themselves with no income. Although our own income has reduced to zero, we have a safe place to stay and are in a more fortunate position than many people in South Africa.
The projects we have worked with for so many years are already feeling the effects of seeing international volunteer assistance and funding reduced to zero overnight, and it may be many months before there is some reprieve for them, and children and wildlife in their care. This applies equally to our wonderful accommodation providers and their staff, and the multitude of companies and individuals whose livelihoods are linked to tourism.
We appreciate that this is a difficult and uncertain time for everyone, and we are sensitive to the changing situation. Although we hope the pandemic will be under control sooner rather than later, we have cancelled some placements and adapted some of our procedures for the duration of the pandemic.
- We have cancelled all placements scheduled for April & May. All affected volunteers have been contacted and given the option to reschedule for later this year at no extra cost.
- We have contacted all volunteers with placements beginning in June and extended their balance due dates by an extra 2 weeks. This means that these volunteers only need to transfer their balance payments if they are absolutely certain that they can travel as planned. These volunteers have also been given the option to reschedule for later this year at no extra cost.
- Placements scheduled for June onwards are currently still in place. We will continue to monitor the pandemic closely with volunteer safety in mind and will assess placement viability as things progress. If it becomes likely that your placement in July or beyond will be affected, we will contact you with a recommendation for your particular itinerary.
We remain open and are able to process new applications as before. We have implemented the following temporary changes to give you maximum flexibility with minimum risk during the pandemic:
- If you apply to join any project in June, July or August this year, a deposit payment will not be required. Your full payment will only be due 2 weeks before you arrive. This means that you only need to make a payment if you can definitely travel, and placement availability has not been compromised because of the pandemic.
- If you apply to join any project in September or beyond, we will invoice you for a reduced deposit payment of only ₤30, €30, US$30, CAN$50 or AUS$50.
- If you apply to join any projects in 2021, please be aware that the fees shown on our website and app must be used as a guide only. The South African Rand has weakened considerably against all major international currencies this year, so we will be reviewing our deposit requirements and 2021 fees in early June, or as soon as we are in a position to reassess the needs of each project when the pandemic is under control. The weak Rand is very good news for international volunteers as South Africa will be even better value than before.
We sincerely hope that the early prevention measures implemented by the South African government in March will reduce the impact of the virus in South Africa so that we can return to some kind of normal in the very near future.
Wherever you are, please adhere to official recommendations for your country, be careful about sharing content on social media without verifying the source, don't panic, and most of all stay safe.
South Africa will still be here, and we look forward to welcoming you when this pandemic is behind us.
Ed & Heather xx