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Organization Review

Overall Experience: 
If I had known what was waiting for me in South Africa, I would never had been nervous to go. After finishing high school, I went to South Africa to volunteer for Philisa Abafazi and it turned out to be the best decision I've ever made. I was there for 3 months and I worked alot with the children in the chrildrens programme and it taught me a lot about the problems in Lavender Hill (where Philisa Abafazi is based), but also a lot about myself. When the 3 months were over I was not ready to leave this place, but I had to continue my travels which took me to Tanzania. After a month there I realised I missed South Africa and Philisa Abafazi so much that I had to go back. So after a couple of emails I was on the plane on my way 'home' to South Africa. This time I ended up staying for 4 months with Philisa Abafazi. I really enjoy working with Philisa abafazi and see the difference the work does to the community. Its amazing to be a part of it. Especially because the staff and director of Philisa Abafazi gives you a lot of freedom to choose what you want to do and where your skills would help the most. And in Philisa Abafazi there is space for everyone and there special talents. Do you know something about social work, computer, farming, sports, psychology or business? Then Philisa Abafazi is the right place to volunteer. When you volunteer with Philisa Abafazi you stay with a host family and I believe that is the best way to really experience a new country and culture. My host family became my real family and while being home, I think of them every day. Philisa Abafazi chooses the host families which means you are placed in a 100% safe environment. I learned a lot from my host family and their children became my sister and brother - especially after the sibling fights we had with each other :) After 7 months working with Philisa Abafazi I returned to Denmark and it took me a long time getting used to being home. I missed South Africa, I missed Philisa Abafazi, I missed the work and I missed my south african life in general - so I decided to go back. While writing this review I have been to South Africa 4 times, all in all 1½ year and all the times working for Philisa Abafazi and Im planning the next trip there. Philisa Abafazi gave me all I was looking for in volunteering for an community based organisation. I had responsibilities and I felt like a was a part of the team and not just a volunteer. Some of my highlights of my stay were doing the childrens programme, walking through the township only meeting smiling faces and warm people, participating in the struggles and seeing how government doenst really seems to care about the people living in rough conditions, playing vollyball with the children, hearing my name in the streets and seeing people wave at me. I loved every bit of the work, and I havent had another job where I every morning was looking forward going to work. The Philisa Abafazi staff is truely amazing people who sacrifices their own time to give it to the community. I learned a lot from the staff there and they became my best friends. They also gave me good ideas of what to see in my free time and all the things I had to do while being in South Africa. I have the greatest respect for the women there and the director who are all working really hard to give the people of Lavender Hill a better life. I haven't met people with such a dedication and passion before, it is amazing - and infectious :) I wont hesitate recommending Philisa Abafazi to everyone who wants to volunteer where the need is big and the help is truely appreciated. Its hard work, but the smiles on the childrens faces are worth it all. When the women hugs you when they see you and the elderly women says; 'God Bless you' whenever they see you, then you know you are volunteering the right place. South Africa and Philisa Abafazi is no long just a country and an organisation to me, now its my home and my family. Please don't hesitate to contact me, if you have any questions or comments; Anna Jensen