Volunteering in Israel

South Africa: Medical Outreach and HIV/Aids Awareness

The Mission is located in the Limpopo Province about 450kms northeast of Johannesburg. The Limpopo province is the link between South Africa and countries further afield in sub-Saharan Africa. It borders Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique. Volunteers will support community members in the Limpopo Province, Modjadji area, which consists of several villages.  

About the project
This project is run by the Tshega Mission established in 2004 in view of supporting vulnerable individuals, families and their communities. Most of the activities will take place at the Tshega premises, the primary school or in the villages.  You will reach the children through education by providing them with a normal environment and supporting them in all basic needs. 

St. Lucia is perfectly situated within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, declared South Africa's first UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, also called "Africa's premier bush and beach destination."  The area is simply stunning, with swamps, beaches, wetlands, and savannahs, making this area incredibly ecologically diverse. The area is also home to the Zulu people, an incredibly lively and colorful culture.  This setting offers you important insight into the rural South African medical field.

About the project
Surrounding the beautiful region of St. Lucia, there are rural villages which have very few resources for health care.  The main goal of this project is to increase the support available to these communities, and make a difference in the health, and the lives of these people.  Through home based care, and clinical support, this project has given hope to those who are too sick or too poor to seek help.

In the surrounding communities to St. Lucia, many myths about HIV/AIDS still exist.  It is still believed that the virus is a result of witchcraft, and the result is that those infected are often rejected from their own communities and families.  Not many people know how the infection is transmitted, and even fewer know how to deal with it once they have it.  Through education and support, this project aims to alleviate the fears that HIV/AIDS carries in these communities, and improve the lives of those carrying the virus.

Upon arrival in St. Lucia, you will have a detailed and thorough orientation program.  This will include:

Introduction to St. Lucia and the surrounding area
Overview of the medical outreach program and the needs of the local community
Introduction into the syllabus used for HIV/AIDS education and a question and answer session to help with your own questions
Introduction and visit to various projects in the area
Basic language course - words and sentences in Zulu, the local language
Working through the "Welcome Pack"
Throughout the project, you will always have the support and guidance of experienced volunteer coordinators.

Volunteer work and contribution
Volunteer work varies and includes many elements that are involved in improving the medical situation in the area, such as home-based care, assisting clinics, HIV/AIDS awareness,  community outreach, farming, and first aid care.   Some projects may include:

Assisting with rural home-based care and treatment
Providing comfort and ensuring patients are taking medications
Giving out food parcels and donations
Helping to weigh patients and take temperatures at clinics
Explaining (through a simple method approved by the UN) what HIV/AIDS is and how it affects the human body
Education on how the virus is transmitted and how it can be prevented
Providing community support groups
Building and refurbishment of the local community buildings and villages
Assisting to serve lunch for a nearby orphanage, and playing educational games
Farming and nutrition awareness
First Aid for day care facilities.  

The average day of work starts at 8:30am, with a lunch break from 12:30-13:30, and finishes at around 16:30 with a debriefing session.  18:00-Dinner at the volunteer house each evening.

Volunteers will have the priveledge of staying in the large and comfortable guest house, fully furnished with a large lounge, satellite TV, barbeque area, garden and even a swimming pool!  The house is about a 10 minute walk to the town, and a 15 minute walk to the fabulous beaches of the St. Lucia Estuary.  The house is staffed with a cook and laundry/cleaning staff.  All bedding is provided, but please bring your own beach towels.  Rooms are shared with 1-4 volunteers.  Members of the local team will also be staying on the property, and available for your assistance.  3 meals a day are provided, except Saturday dinner, and Sunday Lunch, where volunteers are encouraged to try the local cafes, and restaurants.  There is a supermarket nearby.

Not just work...St. Lucia is a fabulous area with a lot to offer.  In addition to your beautiful volunteer house grounds, volunteers are encouraged to explore the surrounding area.  You are able to easily observe South Africa's magnificent wildlife in their natural and organic habitats.  Trips and activities are optional with a little planning and help from our coordinators:

Game drives in the beautiful Hluhluwe and Umfolozi National Parks (US$100)
Hire a car and visit the beautiful beaches that surround St. Lucia

Snorkel at Cape Vidal
Whale, dolphin, and sea turtle viewing (seasonal)
Hippo and crocodile cruises on the St. Lucia Estuary
Weekend trips to the stunning Phinda Private Game Reserve
Dolphin swimming in Mozambique (overnight - US$300)
Photographic tour in the dramatic Drakensberg Mountains (3 nights - US$650)
Prices are subject to change, and these activities are not included in the main cost of the project.

Minimum Requirements
Minimum age 18
Medical/pharmaceutical training not required but recommended
An interest in medicine or caring for others
First Aid certificate strongly encouraged. 
Prior reading and understanding of the HIV/AIDS virus
Full medical and travel insurance
Necessary immunizations (Consult your doctor)

To apply for this program, see Medical Outreach and HIV/Aids Awareness

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