Volunteer Programme has it all: Rural Projects plus Kruger Safaris
Young volunteers have a unique opportunity to combine helping a Catholic mission with experiencing the wildlife of the Kruger Park. Catholic Volunteers Africa offers an ongoing 14-day volunteer/safari programme in association with Kruger Park tour operator Viva Safaris.
Volunteers participate in community-empowering and self-sustainable projects. On their free days, they are taken on safaris free of charge.
“It is a really unique, exciting way to enjoy Africa’s wildlife and simultaneously make a meaningful impact on people’s lives,” said Jean-Luc Mauvis, a coordinator of the programme.
“Our beneficiary is the Catholic parish of Acornhoek, with outstations spread over an area of about 150km squared,” he said.
Parish priest Fr Suko Missay MCCJ said the building projects in his large area are important to the people he serves.
“We have 40 different communities in a very poor and very dry area,” the Comboni priest said.
Fr Missay’s aim is to build small chapels for worship for Catholics in remote areas, some groups numbering just 30-40 people.
“It’s difficult for them to build chapels,” he said, explaining that this is why his parish is appealing for volunteer helpers.
“The people need help from generous hearts,” Fr Missay said.
Catholic Volunteers Africa
Catholic Volunteers Africa runs over 14 days, twice a month. Youths from all over the world are invited to apply, as are, of course, South Africans.
Accommodation in chalets with free WiFi and food is included in the project, as well as transfers from and to Johannesburg.
“Projects include cement-block making, vegetable garden development, fish farming, academic support, and the building of classrooms and churches,” Mr Mauvis said. Volunteers will be working with professionals.
The safari programme includes extensive day and night game-drives, a bush walk with rangers, and a visit to the Moholoholo Rehab Centre for injured and orphaned animals.
Although the project, which has been endorsed by Bishop Joe Sandri of Witbank, is called Catholic Volunteers Africa, it is open to anyone, Mr Mauvis said.
Volunteers don’t need particular skills to take part. “Our projects have been designed to allow volunteers of different physical strength, talents and interests to choose the type of work they prefer,” he said.
Groups are limited to 24 people. The cost for the 14-day programme, including excursions, is about R18 400, to cover basic expenses. Participants must cover their flights to Johannesburg, travel insurance, lunch on four days, and personal expenses.
For more information and to apply for the programme, visit www.catholicvolunteersafrica.com or e-mail JL@catholicvolunteersafrica.com
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