Volunteer! Come and Join!
Make a Difference that counts and make Nelson Mandela's Dream for 'better life for his people', work!
The Dreamcatcher Foundation is rather unique as it started 25 years ago with the intention to empower an identified number of individuals, mostly women (Kamammas), to liberate them from poverty and lack of skills and opportunities, so they can live Nelson Mandela's dream: 'a better world for all'.
Their community programmes have been developed over a quarter of a century, and they have put a lot of hard work and effort into realising this mission. The founder of Dreamcatcher, is still a volunteer after 25 years! The difference Dreamcatcher, ably assisted by Volunteers with a host of skills, in communities across the land is visible, tangible and can be witnessed in the lives of those who have benefitted The money goes back into community, also that of the income of the micro entrepreneurs, as the money circulates IN the community and thus stimulates micro (one person) and small (less than 10 staff members) businesses and creating many jobs in the community. In this way, a classic, sustainable economic model is realised, developed by Dreamcatcher which is now seen by many places of learning and development agencies as one of the best, futuristic local economic development models with long term poverty alleviation results, in the world. So joining Dreamcatcher you are joining an outcomes based organisation with a track record spanning a quarter of a century, as an involved team member, making history and building new lives with us!
Volunteers will assist, observe, share skills and gain knowledge in local clinics, schools & community based projects serving a host of disciplines in the community. This is a hands on experience, with mind blowing personal growth opportunities, whilst making a difference that one can see that counts. All the volunteer daily working programmes are tailor made to the skill of the volunteer and matched to the need in the community. Medical projects are suitable for volunteers with every medical background. The privacy of the patients and that of the volunteer community, is respected at all times. In terms of the community projects, It is the aim of Dreamcatcher to welcome all volunteers who would like to make a difference to the lives of the people in whose communities they are placed. Assisting and living in these communities will not only leave a long-lasting memory to the lives of the locals who live there, but to yours as well!
Our Community projects
Although we have a whole programme on community work, just as life, projects evolve all the time. One day the community needs to have a school build, small business development, communication and so forth. By the same token, the next month teaching at a school or a HIV patient needs some counselling or we need your skills to help us to minimize waste in a community and transfer knowledge and skills on how best to do this. We have listed the Dreamcatcher communities where you can volunteer, but as we tailor all our volunteering for every client and a need which arises in the community, specific projects are not listed. Dreamcatcher is currently working with two additional towns, who have great needs also, to develop their volunteer programmes. It takes approximately 3 to 4 years to prepare a community and the projects, and the hosts with whom the volunteers interface. With due diligence and in recognition of the needs and circumstances within a community, years of experience at grass routes have created a special bond between Dreamcatcher and the communities and experiences in those communities we assist in developing. With Dreamcatcher: The communities at grass routes are recognised as the custodians of their environment and their destiny, and who are consulted at all times. We have literally walked besides and with the community over many years.
It is at grass routes, in the regions, towns and countryside, with the local people, where Dreamcatcher has spent 25 years. The philosophy of Dreamcatcher and thus the volunteers with their caring hearts and hands, is to help people, to become the best they can be where they live, WITHOUT urbanising to the cities where, what Dreamcatcher describes, "the jobs, housing and highways are of gold but an unfulfilled dream and quickly shattered and changed to a life of harsh hardship away from the extended family back home". Urbanisation, which is a world wide phenomenon, and the high unemployment rate, has had disastrous consequences in South Africa. The Dreamcatcher communities are situated in towns all along the most beautiful travel routes in South Africa and offers two important things to the volunteer: To contribute to the long term benefit and leave their footprint and impact on the individuals and community they are in, whilst simultaneously the volunteer has amazing opportunities to explore and see the "real South Africa" over weekends , which can take on the form of a weekend Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, East London or Johannesburg or Durban, or enjoying a safari and the other incredible and diverse visitor attractions, (which for sure are not to be found in the over populated cities)!
What can you do?
- Gain or share teaching experience in various schools and a tourism training institute
- Assist with teaching English to children and also tutor their teachers and community leaders through the Adult Literacy and learning programmes
- Unlock the digital divide by teaching computer skills
- Knowledge and skills transfer on how to minimize household and small business waste and awareness of the impact of waste and energy consumption on the environment.
- Co-ordinate and spear head developmental games with pre-school children and take part in sports afternoons
- Sport training and encouraging poor, yet talented youth and children to reach for their potential
- Help develop artistic and musical skills
- Work & observe at primary health care clinics, typical of the health care needs of the largest number of South African population and local or regional hospitals
- Joining the HIV/Aids home based caretaker, field workers, HIV/Aids support group meetings for both adults and children affected or infected with HIV/Aids, go to the VCT Clinic - this is the local health clinic where the patients get tested for HIV/AIDS and collect their medicines and speak to counsellors.
Social Service projects
- Caring for abandoned, orphaned, abused, or runaway children and youth. The main purpose is to feed them and give them a positive perspective to life again. You will work with the probation officer, local volunteers and the auxiliary social worker and help set up or assist with the life skill programmes for these children.
- Assist at day care & skills development centres for (physically and/or mentally) disabled children
- Home for the aged people; Visit the old age home and spend some time with the elders.(senior and ageing citizens). Read them stories, help feeding them and taking care of little things they don't manage to do anymore.
- Implode your knowledge of micro and small business development into the community to help create employment at local level
- Help with building and improving the educational facilities in the community
- Help with keeping the beach/marine and village environment clean and tidy
- Consult & advise best ways to manage and reduce waste IN the community
- Tailor made programmes to suit your skills or your needs for university research etc.
- Experience the local culture - and even learn a local language and lifestyle
- An opportunity to explore South Africa and travel unique paths and lifestyle experiences
Depending on your project or combination of projects you will generally work Mondays to Fridays from 8am to 4pm with 30 minutes to 1 hour lunch break but days and times may vary from project to project. (Times depending on the season). Volunteers are encouraged to be flexible and be advised that changes may occur due to the needs of the projects and unforeseen circumstances.
Generally: Have dinner and spend time with your host family. In case you wish to be involved with community activities during the evenings please consult your local site mentor.
During the weekends you will have time to explore the area. Please take note that it is not the task of your Homestay hosts to show you around, nor is it included in your volunteer fees. If you wish to explore the region, please contact your local site mentor or Dreamcatcher for assistance. Many opportunities exist to explore but being part of the local community is an endearing and unique experience. There are many tours and safari options available, perfect for a weekend break (depending on your volunteer location), and Dreamcatcher is happy to assist volunteers with any arrangements they may wish to make.
Support and advice is available on a 24/7/365 basis by a well developed Dreamcatcher tried and tested communication and mentoring mechanism.
On arrival in Cape Town all volunteers undergo a comprehensive orientation programme, which is included in the fee, provided by the project manager. Developed over 25 years and researched in terms of volunteer needs to be the best volunteer they can be, this Dreamcatcher orientation programme, which is mandatory at the onset of your stay with us for just 2 days, has been acclaimed by volunteers who have been with us. It offers and equips you and is also a great learning experience.
Accommodation and meals
Volunteers will reside in a family atmosphere in our homestays. Homestays with Kamamma is a ground breaking project of poverty alleviation and building of universal bridges of intra-cultural understanding. Homestays have been acclaimed as one of the top 3 projects in the world in the' Investment in People' Category, offering unique and authentic day to day contact with the locals in the communities and home-from-home hospitality. Through this project Dreamcatcher has now communal houses for volunteers as well. Your Homestay hosts and homes have been chosen for their welcome, high level of authentic cultural and lifestyle experience, level of service, and safety. All the Homestay hosts have been trained to receive visitors and offer a heart-warming home-from-home experience.
Please Note: Experience has shown that volunteers living together and working closely with their local site mentors and project managers is the best way of guaranteeing their safety, and being able to attend to their most pressing needs. The site mentors reside with the volunteers in their host communities and it is expected that all volunteers will stay only in the accommodation provided for them. It is not permitted for volunteers to spend nights away from the house in nearby towns or villages unless on pre-arranged sightseeing excursions. The benefit of living in a Dreamcatcher community is that the volunteer will benefit fully from integration into the community and the local volunteer community feels encouraged that it is not a "I the volunteer and them the people approach", instead the volunteer becomes one of the community and are thus 100% ensured of full co-operation, getting to know the community, so every party will benefit.
Basic food, which means 3 meals a day, will be provided by your local hosts. Breakfast normally consists of cereals and toast; packed (sandwich) lunch to take to your project and a nutritious home cooked dinner (meat & vegetables, rice or potatoes & salad). You can join in on the cooking at your host family if you like. South Africa is blessed with an abundance of fruit, vegetables, and meat like lamb, beef, fish, pork and poultry. This is home from home cooking at its best. Special dietary needs like vegetarian or diabetes can be catered for. Please mention this in your application. Whilst everything is done to provide varied and interesting meals, they will generally be quite simple and volunteers are requested not to be overly fussy or ungrateful with what is provided for them. However, advance notice of any food allergies or specific food requirements is essential.
Volunteers should fly into Cape Town Airport (arrangements to be me made by volunteers themselves) where they will be met by a Dreamcatcher staff member and taken to the volunteer accommodation.
What is included
- Airport transfers to and from Cape Town International Airport on arrival and departure
- Full orientation programme
- Full board and lodging at the homestay including 3 meals a day
- On-the-ground assistance from local project managers and site mentors
- Any residue besides the small fee added to the financing, is imploded into the Dreamcatcher Foundation Development programme, to support our projects including funding of items such as medical supplies, building materials, equipment and supplies, school and teaching and sporting resources and even create work in the local community. These fees can also be used to buy vehicles, equipment and even new housing for volunteers in order to expand the project.
- Dreamcatcher has a long history of accountability and outcomes based development.
What is excluded
- Personal travel insurance for the duration of the placement which must include cover for repatriation
- Flights to Cape Town
- All items of a personal nature - curios, gifts, clothing
- Email/internet and all telephone calls
- Soft drinks, wines and spirits
- All visas for border crossings if appropriate
- Any excursions over and above the planned itinerary in Cape Town (see above). For example volunteers may wish to travel down the Garden Route, to see the ostriches or visit the Wild Life ranch etc. The local project managers can help plan these for you in conjunction with Dreamcatcher with whom they are in constant contact.