After 2 years developing our organization from opposite sides of the world, Brian and I finally meet in Cape Town, South Africa to begin our Southern Africa adventure.
As you can see, the website is now live, and looking great! After receiving a Google Grant to help advertise our website to international volunteers we are half the way to connecting international volunteers and community based organizations directly and making volunteering more accessible.
We knew when we started Volunteer Alliance that there were limits to what we would be able to do from our home countries. We needed to take the organization to the community based organizations and developing countries that we were trying to support. This is why I am now writing from Cape Town.
More specifically I am writing from Vrygrond on the outskirts of Cape Town. Vrygrond is a community of approximately 40,000 living in informal housing. The community suffers from unheard of unemployment rates, of close to 80%, and very limited education. However you only have to spend an afternoon in this community to know that there are a lot of really good people here. The best example of this is our first community based organization, Where Rainbows Meet.
Where Rainbows Meet responds to the needs of the high number of abused children, at risk youth and the unemployed population of Vrygrond, and it is probably the best start to our trip that we could have asked for.
Brian and I are staying with Mymoena, the founder and manager of Where Rainbows Meet. Mymoena started Where Rainbows Meet to answer the needs of the local community. The story of the Where Rainbows Meet is truly inspiring. It was started out of the back of Mymoena’s car, parked at the gateway to the community. In 3 short years Where Rainbows Meet has grown to a respected community training and development center. The organization now has over five buildings, five strong community programs and band of loyal followers.
Brian and I have worked across a number of the different volunteer opportunities at Where Rainbows Meet in the past week. In addition to working with Michael (the funny head of administration with some serious dance moves) to develop Where Rainbows Meet Volunteer Alliance profile, we have worked in the garden project (a throw back to my first ever job as a child), helped with the children at the early child development (including a graduation ceremony that was on par with my University graduation) and learnt to dance…. ish (it is not easy being white and having no rhythm).
My personal favorite has been working with the children in the early child development program. So many wide eyed children, so full of life (and energy). This program takes in children off the street, provides them with a safe environment and gives them food and music. Brian and I were lucky enough to see over 40 children graduate from the program while we were staying. As a volunteer we would play with the children. It is such a simple and gratifying experience working with these children.
Where Rainbows Meet have big plans for the future. And with the team that they have running the organization I have no doubt they will get there. Volunteers have the opportunity to develop and implement new programs. There is a lot of scope within these programs and plenty of people in the organization wanting your support.
For anyone wanting to volunteer in South Africa, Cape Town or specifically in the areas of early childhood, youth development, adult development, women’s programs or small business development, please visit the Where Rainbows Meet profile and request to volunteer. I am sure you will not be disappointed!
Brian and I will be traveling through South Africa and up to Tanzania over the next 6 months. Hopefully we will be meeting with many more organizations like Where Rainbows Meet. I encourage you to follow our trip on this blog. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact either Brian Somers or Cameron West.
Thanks for reading!