- CO OWNER AT VIA VOLUNTEERS -
Heather had the privilege of growing up on the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve for the first 20 years of her life. She had lots of interesting pets like meerkats, lynx, bat eared foxes, buck, a dassie (rock hyrax) and lots of other creepy crawlies!
Although she has an appreciation for nature, her first love lies with the education of young children. After getting her teaching degree, with music and drama as major subjects, she taught for 17 years in a variety of South African schools as well as an International School.
Her experience is invaluable when working alongside children and community based projects, especially assisting volunteers with a variety of ideas for creating exciting enrichment programmes with the children.
Heather is a co-owner of Via Volunteers, proud mother to her son and wife to the love of her life, Ed, with whom she runs the organisation.
- CO OWNER AT VIA VOLUNTEERS -
Ed has been involved with volunteering for most of his life, donating many hundreds of hours of his free time to conservation & community projects during his 17 year career in the British Royal Navy. When he emigrated to South Africa in 2003, he took up a part time teaching position at the South African Navy College and used his spare time to volunteer with the penguins at SANCCOB for three months.
It wasn't long before Ed's passion for volunteering found him transferring his experience as a technical coordinator for helicopter repair teams to the equally rewarding role of coordinating international volunteers on projects around South Africa.
Over the past decade, Ed has coordinated volunteering experiences for thousands of volunteers from more than 50 countries, and built long lasting friendships with project partners and ex-volunteers alike.
His passion for people and wildlife, and his commitment to supporting non-profit organisations in particular shows in everything he does. When it comes to running a successful volunteer organisation, Ed believes that working with genuine, sustainable projects is key. He strives to ensure that volunteers expectations are exceeded by providing them with accurate and up to date project information...warts and all.
During his shortish life he has experienced everything from freediving with sharks, whales & dolphins, to learning how to relocate snakes, joined many night walks looking for rare spiders, and enjoyed a wide variety of wildlife encounters in game reserves across South Africa. He has even been kissed by a baboon...but that's another story.
Ed is a co-owner of Via Volunteers, proud parent & grandfather, and is married to the love of his life, Heather, with whom he runs the organisation.
- BAPHUMELELE FOUNDING DIRECTOR -
In 1989, Rosalia Mashale, “Rosie” to those around her, a trained primary school teacher, moved from the Eastern Cape to Khayelitsha in the Western Cape Province. Rosie was disturbed to see young children going through the rubbish dump in search for food while their parents were away during the day, either at work or in search of work.
She responded by taking children into her home, and together with a group of women from the community, began looking after these unsupervised children. After the first week, 36 children had joined their charge. The name given to this project was Baphumelele (pronounced: ba-poo-meh-leh-leh), a Xhosa word meaning “you have progressed”.
From these humble beginnings Baphumelele Educare Centre was founded, which today is an established community crèche and Grade R (preschool) caring for roughly 230 children aged three months to six years. While the Educare Centre had developed a reputation for looking after children, Rosie also felt a calling to reach out to orphaned children in the community. To that end, Baphumelele Children’s Home was created as a place of safety for abandoned, abused, neglected or orphaned children, many of whom have been affected by the HIV/Aids pandemic or have HIV/AIDS themselves.
Through the hard work, determination and help of the community and overseas friends, Baphumelele has developed into a thriving community project over the years. In addition to the Children’s Home and Educare Centre & Grade R, today Baphumelele encompasses other community outreach initiatives such as the Respite Care Centre; Clemens Cares for Kids; Child Headed Homes and Rosie’s Kitchen & Bakery
- FIKELELA CHILDREN'S HOME SOCIAL WORKER -
Originally from Melbourne Australia, I knew from the age of 10 that I would work overseas running children’s homes and empowerment centres for those less fortunate than me. My heart is that all children have a childhood. One in which they know joy, love, and most importantly grow up to know their worth, the love of God, and reach their full potential. And whilst I cannot change the world, I can change the lives of children one child at a time, impacting nations.
A teacher, international children at risk professional and social worker, I have spent the last 13 years travelling the world, working with children and adolescents at risk. From empowering imprisoned youth to teaching English to children rescued from child slavery in India, my heart is for these children to know their worth and have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
I moved from my home and family in Australia in 2011 when I began to work at Fikelela Children’s Home as the Manager and Social worker. I have not looked back. Here I have the opportunity to see not only children’s lives changed, but the staff too.
At Fikelela Children’s home I see sick, broken children healed and restored. They learn about their value, importance and uniqueness. Each child is treated as our own and all are loved equally. They are free to be children that laugh, play and bring joy into the world. We have seen children on their death beds now top of their class at school, children who were told would never sit or stand now running and children who have been abandoned and unloved, placed into family homes. This is what drives me and makes me excited to see more children come through our home. We see over 100 children a year come through Fikelela.
Last year we started an early childhood development programme with our toddlers which made a huge impact on the children’s lives. I am excited about the Via Volunteers programme with our older children, as this will ensure they are not disadvantaged at school and reach their developmental milestones. The staff and I are looking forward to having you at the home to enrich the lives of our children.
- NEWKIDZ PROJECT COORDINATOR -
As co-founder of Newkidz on the Block, Hilda brings years of experience in finance and administration as well as her time as manager of the Masigcine Children’s Home to the general management of Newkidz.
With insights into both the project management side of an organisation, as well the incredibly personal side of caring for orphans in children’s homes, Hilda’s work in planning, coordinating and organising of the complex makeover projects as well as taking care of the large volume of day-to-day administrative tasks, has ensured the maximum benefit to all Newkidz beneficiaries, especially the children supported.
Hilda and Board Member husband Michael adopted their son as a result of the very first project they were involved in with Newkidz, and recognise that the makeover projects provide real opportunities for similar success stories for other children and families, believing that “there is no such thing as an unwanted child, just an unfound family”
- NEWKIDZ VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR -
A co-founder of Newkidz on the Block, Michael is driven by his care for children and a vision to see orphans moved out of institutional homes and into family homes.
A “big-picture” thinker, he is able to apply more than 20 years experience in sales and marketing in the pharmaceutical industry to his role as Fundraising Co-ordinator, a role vital to ensuring that Newkidz remains sufficiently funded to continue and grow the work it does.
A Board visionary, Michael’s primary focus is stakeholder engagement and partnership building, specifically with a view to growing the financial support for the organisation.
- SOCIAL WORKER AT NAZARETH HOUSE -
I am a social worker at Nazareth House and have been working there since 2012. I got into social work because I wanted to make a difference...to really make a difference.
I remember being so deeply disturbed by the newspaper articles with the headlines about child abuse, neglect, and abandonment. But I was moved to action, to make a difference. That is why I went to study social work; and am now happily working at Nazareth House, where I get to work with these children every day and make a real difference to their lives.
Nazareth House is a very pleasant working environment, seated right next to Table Mountain with lovely gardens and views of the City. Myself and the occupational therapist, Melissa, work directly with the volunteers when they are with us - welcoming them to Nazareth House, showing them around, introducing them to the team, showing them how to do things, etc. We really enjoy working with the volunteers as they bring so much life and energy into the work.
- DIRECTOR AT ST. GEORGES HOME FOR GIRLS -
I grew up in Wynberg not too far from St George’s and was connected with the organisation way before I started working here in 2006. I am married and have two great sons.
I have a passion for working with children at risk. As the director of St George’s I have seen many great changes come about, but the one thing that will always remain, is that we will continue to care for and protect the vulnerable children of Cape Town. We have been in existence for more than 150 years and we will continue to do so for the next 100!
We appreciate the help and assistance that the volunteers bring to St George’s and will support them wholeheartedly when they are here with us.
- MASIKHULE FOUNDING DIRECTOR -
After qualifying as an Occupational Therapist in 1988 with a special interest and experience in early child development, Léanne (pictured second from the right with the Masikhule team) began offering group sessions to parents of young children on the essence and importance of early stimulation to encourage the holistic development of their babies and toddlers.
The groups soon included domestic workers who were looking after children while their parents were at work, as well as farm and community crèche staff and unemployed women seeking work as child minders. With a background philosophy of sensory-motor and explorative creative play as an essential ingredient in holistic child development, Léanne started writing teaching manuals and booklets to support her training courses and workshops.
On visiting community and township crèches and pre-schools, it became evident that young children attending these facilities were the most vulnerable as the vast majority of facilities were unregistered, over-crowded and under-staffed with little to no staff training programme in place.
Because of the desperate need for skills training and job placement of women from those communities, unemployed women were encouraged to attend the courses so that they could find and keep jobs in the more affluent communities as child minders/nannies.
In 2005 Léanne initiated Masikhule as a means to meet these needs and in 2006 Masikhule was registered as an NPO and PBO. Léanne received the “Phakamisa” PPS/Personal Finance Woman of the Year award in 2012.
- KINYONGA REPTILE CENTRE MANAGER -
Donald was born in South Africa and has always had an active interest in flora and fauna taking a special interest in reptiles, amphibians and arachnids of the world. From the age of ten he started collecting and keeping reptiles and has studied them ever since.
Donald has been directly involved in the making of approximately twenty five documentaries and has worked with BBC, National Geographic & Discovery Channel production crews and many more. He has also worked twice with Sir David Attenborough and was personally invited by Sir Richard Branson to talk to him and his wife.
Donald always makes time to talk with and advise locals of how to safely live with reptiles, amphibians and arachnids of the area. He is often called out to help remove or capture crocodile, snakes, lizards and spiders from homes and farms, and is regularly called upon to help with people's reptile and spider related phobias.
- VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR AT SANCCOB -
Marguerite started volunteering at SANCCOB in December 2010. She completed SANCCOB’s seabird rehabilitation internship and in October 2011 joined the team as a permanent staff member.
After being a bird rehabilitator for 3.5 years, she took over the Volunteer Coordinator position in August 2014.
Volunteering is at the heart of SANCCOB’s conservation work. Being able to help bring volunteers from across the world to put their passion for animals into practice at SANCCOB is a truly fulfilling profession.
"I look forward to welcoming you to SANCCOB’s shores"
- GREAT WHITE SHARKS VOLUNTEER ADMINISTRATOR -
Growing up on a farm in an atmosphere where sustainable living was part of her day to day life, Marlette was exposed to the concept of “What you do today, will affect the future”.
This holistic vision has carried through in Marlette’s life, she revels in educating herself and others about nature and sustainable living, whilst creating awareness about the need for conservation of resources and the environment.
Marlette studied education and she taught for a total of 11 years, with the last few years spent mostly on environmental education. This experience with educating people from all walks of life about biodiversity and conservation is an attribute Marlette lends to the Great White Shark volunteer project.
She believes that this programme creates a wonderful opportunity for people from around the world to not only experience the beauty of the ocean and our amazing area but also to contribute to its future.
- NATURES VALLEY PROJECT COORDINATOR -
Mark holds a position as honorary researcher at the School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, and is a Y2 NRF rated scientist.
He has published over 50 scientific publications in SAPSE accredited journals, was a contributing author to Robert’s VII Birds of Southern Africa, and has presented research papers at national and international conferences.
He regularly reviews papers for national and international journals, has written numerous popular science articles, and given many public presentations.
After working on staff at the University of KwaZulu-Natal for over 12 years, while volunteering with several prominent conservation NGO’s (BirdLife South Africa, Endangered Wildlife Trust, A Rocha South Africa), Mark stepped across the gap and has moved full-time into the NGO environment.
- NATURES VALLEY ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION DIRECTOR -
Cindy-Lee has a National Diploma in Nature Conservation from Cape Peninsula University of Technology. She completed her experiential training at Wolfgat Nature Reserve and became part of the City of Cape Town’s Biodiversity Branch intern intake. During this time she worked in both the Wolfgat and Macassar Dunes Nature Reserves.
With a passion for Environmental Education Cindy-Lee soon became a proficient educator and excels at teaching people about their specific environmental surroundings as well as conservation principles.
Becoming the Environmental Education Director for the Nature’s Valley Trust in October 2009 fulfilled one of her life-long goals in not only being a link between nature and people, but also to effect the change she wants to see in the world.
- SURF SCHOOL DIRECTOR -
In 1989, when Gary Kleynhans was 26 years old, he opened the first surf school in South Africa. He recognized the need for a surf school when local parents, who had seen him coaching his own kids, asked him if he could coach their children too. Gary’s Surf School was born and he went on to coach children who later became professional surfers; guys such as Damien Farenfort and Brandon Roberts.
Gary also wanted to provide surf coaching to disadvantaged youth who couldn’t afford to pursue the sport, so he started the first surfing development programme in South Africa. This programme later became known as the Extreme Surf School and it has produced some very successful surfers including the first black South African Longboarding champion.
Gary chose Muizenberg beach as the location for the surf school not only because it has the best surfing conditions for beginners, but because it is his home town. He grew up surfing the waves of Muizenberg. Now twenty five years after he first opened the doors of the surf school, the school is still going strong. It is locally and internationally recognized and has featured on several international television channels including CNN and BBC.
He continues to spread his love of the sport and is constantly coming up with new ways to further the sport of surfing in South Africa. Most recently Gary launched his own surfing label called African Rhythm and his label is sponsoring the 2014 Western Province Longboard Team in the South African Longboarding Championships.
- VERVET MONKEY PROJECT DIRECTORS -
Dave set up the Vervet Monkey project in 1989 together with Arthur Hunt and between them, worked hard together to change the status of the Vervet Monkey which is now classified as ‘normal game’ in Limpopo province.
Josie initially volunteered at the project for a month in November 2005. The experience of being able to make a difference motivated her so strongly that she returned just a few months later after selling her house, quitting her much-loved job and moving to South Africa for a few years originally as Volunteer Co-ordinator.
Josie & Dave share the same passion and got married a couple of years later and now run the project together. “Volunteering changed my life, seeing the continuous achievements of the foundation along with our dedicated team of voluntary staff and volunteers still inspires me every day to help protect such a sensitive and unique yet persecuted primate.”
- ELEPHANT & RHINO MONITORING PROJECT COORDINATOR -
Craig is a leading conservationist and field ecologist with more experience than most could claim at the end of a career.
He was the head of the Overstrand Nature Conservation Department in the Western Cape of South Africa, a job that clashed with the numerous illegal fishing activities targeting Perlemoen among other species.
Craig founded and ran the successful anti-poaching unit M.A.R.I.N.E.S., and lead the Betty’s Bay Baboon monitoring program that investigated the human-baboon interactions.
- OWNER OF PISCES DIVERS -
Mike’s love of the ocean started from a young age, years before he discovered scuba diving in 1987. A true child of the Cape, Mike spent endless time crayfishing, surfing and exploring the kelp forests of the Peninsula before finding his way into professional diving.
While at university, Mike became a Divemaster and travelled to Egypt to work for a year in the Red Sea. Once becoming a PADI Instructor, he and his wife travelled to Thailand to work and play in the crystal clear, warm waters.
Pisces Divers started in 2002 and has grown from a dedication for diving and teaching into the 5-star PADI Instructor Development Centre that it proudly is today.
Situated in sunny Simon’s Town, Pisces Divers offers daily dives, specialising in seal and shark diving. Whilst Mike doesn’t get to dive as much as he used to, the adoration for scuba diving and the ocean is still a defining passion in his life; a passion that he shares with all.
- OWNER OF ASHANTI LODGE -
Lisa Kröhn started one of the first backpacker lodges in Cape Town, “Ashanti Lodge Gardens” in 1993 and it has since expanded to include 2 more guest houses and a travel centre as well as an additional backpackers property in Green Point.
She is also a founding trustee of the Tourism Community Development Trust (www.tcdtrust.org.za) which started in order to assist in channeling her guest’s charitable contributions to where they would be best utilized.
- OWNERS OF STOKED BACKPACKERS -
We fell in love with Muizenberg during our first surf lesson with Gary at Gary's Surf School over a decade ago. We remember his warning clearly: surfing is highly addictive. He was right!
We started Stoked Backpackers in 2012, as it was a perfect way to combine our hospitality, love of Muizenberg and Cape Town, and stoke for surfing.
“Stoked” is to be completely and intensely enthusiastic, exhilarated, or excited about something. We look forward to sharing the stoke with you!
- OWNER OF BROWN SUGAR BACKPACKERS -
Brown Sugar Backpackers was established in 1998. I have been the owner since 2005 and transformed and upgraded the hostel into the largest and most popular backpackers in Johannesburg.
I love people and being an experienced traveller myself, know what our guests need to make their stay with us most enjoyable, comfy and satisfactory. The whole property is supplied with natural piped gas to secure hot showers, even if we are fully booked or experience any unplanned blackouts. We have a large kitchen and braai (BBQ) area where you can whip up your own meals or order home cooked meals from the kitchen.
In 2014 we upgraded and replaced all the mattresses to ensure that our guests get a good night’s rest. We offer free Wi-Fi and internet stations, scrumptious breakfast, lockers and storage as well as tea & coffee. We have our own drivers and offer cheap shuttles to any location on our local map or you can walk to the shops in this safe area.
Please visit the Brown Sugar website for more information.
- OWNERS AT ELEMENTS LODGE -
We are a German couple who have been travelling back and forward to South Africa for 15 years. In 2012, the love for this country, its sunny weather, the amazing wildlife, the beautiful beaches and the great water sport possibilities persuaded us to move over from Germany to make CapeTown our home.
We love meeting new people from all over the world and are very passionate about running our guesthouse since we took it over from the pevious owners in January 2012. Our lodge is situated in a very safe and quiet living area in Table View and the nearest MyCity bus station is within easy walking distance from Elements Lodge.
For volunteers, we offer accommodation in our four bed dormitories with a shared bathroom, access to our communal kitchen to prepare your own meals, as well as access to our Braai (BBQ) area. Unlimited wireless internet is available for a small once-off fee.
During your time off you are welcome to relax in our tropical garden by the pool, in the hammock or in our comfortable day bed. We are available every day at the lodge and are always happy to share advice about the local area and to take care of anything you might need. We can arrange almost any activity under the African sun for our guests! From kite surfing, kayaking or kloofing to paragliding off Table Mountain and lots more...
We are looking forward to welcoming you at our lodge!
Please visit the Elements Lodge website for more information.
- HOMESTAY FOR PENGUIN VOLUNTEERS -
My name is Janice and I along with my Golden Retriever Monty, my Jack Russell Jesse, my cat Tasca and the old man of the house Rocky, a 44 year old Meyers parrot, look forward to being your host family during your stay as a volunteer at SANCCOB.
As part of the SANCCOB family I am thrilled to have you share my home while you learn the joy of working alongside the SANCCOB team to help rehabilitate our African penguins as well as our other beautiful coastal birds.
Having worked at SANCCOB I am able to relate to the wonderful experience you will have including all the highs and lows that come with the job.
You will have your own bedroom, use of Wi-Fi, T.V, washing machine and garden. I am located close to public transport and only a 5-minute drive to the beach. I look forward to welcoming you to my happy home away from home.