Volunteering in South Africa
Mpondweni Schools Trust
We‟re delighted that you‟re interested in volunteering for Mpondweni Schools Trust this
year. Please read this information carefully and also read the FAQ‟s on the website. If you
have any other questions email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you decide to
apply, please download the application form and the guidance notes from the website or
email us so we can send them to you. Application deadline: 11th March 2010.
You will be working in a rural Zulu schools in the KwaZulu-
Natal province; teaching basic English, Maths, Geography,
Sports, Arts and Crafts. The age range of the pupils is
between three and fifteen; and you will be teaching mixed
ability classes of between ten and thirty children in a class.
The Mpondweni Trust Fund was set up by local business
resort owners Lynette and Raymond Heron, local business
resort owners to fundraise and provide teaching materials,
accommodation and volunteer teachers for the underprivileged young people who live in
the area surrounding area their business: Spion Kop Lodge. Most children walk between
three and ten kilometres to school everyday, taking them around two hours. They make this
long journey because they realise education is key to their development. The government
provides one meal a day for every child that attends school, although sometimes this food
runs out before the end of the month and the children go hungry.
The school is being developed this year so there maybe no electricity, few teaching
resources and building work might be underway so volunteers need to be flexible and
resourceful. The young people who attend the school are vibrant, happy, energetic, eager
learners; who enjoy meeting visitors and love sport, singing and dancing.
About South Africa
South Africa occupies the southern tip of Africa, its long coastline stretching more than
2 500km from the desert border with Namibia on the Atlantic coast southwards around the
tip of Africa and then north to the border with subtropical Mozambique on the Indian Ocean.
The low-lying coastal zone is narrow for much of that distance, soon giving way to a
mountainous escarpment that separates it from the high inland plateau. In some places,
notably the province of KwaZulu-Natal in the east, a greater distance separates the coast
from the escarpment.
The garden province of South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal is a subtropical region of lush and well-
watered valleys, washed by the warm Indian Ocean. One of the country's most popular
tourist destinations, the province stretches from Port Edward in the south to the borders of
Swaziland and Mozambique to the north.
About Mpondweni Schools Trust
Mpondweni consists of 49 pupils who are the children of the local farm labourers and
labour tenants in the valley and on the R 600 district road. Because of its location some
children walk about 10 Km to school, sometimes barefoot. The parents see the value of a
formal education and understand that they are giving their children an opportunity that they
may not have had themselves. Although the home language is Zulu, officially lessons are
meant to be taught in English; however the teachers themselves are not completely fluent
and parents don‟t necessarily speak English making it hard for the pupils to practice at
There are several teachers at the school who you will work alongside: Mr Mbele, Miss
Dubazni and the headmistress Miss Welcome and children are grouped into grades one,
two and three; grades four and five; and grades six and seven. Imagine how hard it must be
for them to teach classes with such a range of ages!
At the school the buildings are in a reasonably good condition, however there is no
electricity, therefore no photocopy machines, computers etc. The floors are concrete,
making them very hot in summer and extremely cold in winter. There are no ceilings in the
roofing, so no insulation and the windows need glazing. The children are provided with a
basic meal in the morning, which is prepared on an open fire.
Although the facilities are limited, the teachers and pupils have good attendance records
and enjoy going to school. The children are always smiling, happy and ready to learn!
About the trip
Dates - the exact dates have not yet been confirmed but the group will depart on approx
21st August 2010 and return after four weeks volunteering on approx 18 th September 2010
or if you would like a week free time you would return on 25th September 2010.
If you are a member of staff and will have difficulty with the proposed timings please contact
Travel - The team will meet up at Leeds Met and travel together by minibus to the airport.
The flights haven‟t yet been finalised but volunteers will either fly to Durban. Volunteers will
then be collected from Durban and taken to the accommodation.
Support for volunteers – Cara will be travelling as part of the group and will be there to
support the volunteers. In addition the family who own spion kop, Lynette and Raymond
Heron will make you feel welcomed, supported and well equipped to do your work. The staff
in the volunteering office at Leeds Met will also be on hand and there will be someone on
call 24/7 for the duration of your trip.
Accommodation – volunteers will stay at Spion Kop lodge, the accommodation is very
good and you will have access to hot water and the lodge will provide most of your meals
Free time – the working hours will be set most days but there will be planning and other
preparation but it won‟t be all work though and there will be some free time to relax at the
lodge, hang out with your new friends or take part in some of the many cultural activities
that are easy to organise. After the project work has finished, volunteers are free to explore
and travel if they wish for the rest of the time. Please note that you will need to plan and
fund this part of the trip yourself. Don‟t worry; we can give you ideas of things to do
depending on your budget.
About the cost – approx £1400
The overall cost for each volunteer is about £1400 (including return flights to South Africa,
transfers in the UK and accommodation). However all students are eligible for some
subsidy from Leeds Met depending on what „tier‟ they are (have a look at the pricing
information on the website for more info about tiers). Staff may be able to apply for some
faculty funding. This project is slightly more expensive because all your food is provided.
The costs and payment deadlines are as follows:
Staff £1400 1st April Deposit due
Tier one students £1260 18th June Second payment
Tier two students £980 13th August Third payment
Tier three students £700
1st April 18th June 13th August
Staff £150 £625 £625
T1 students £150 £555 £555
T2 students £150 £415 £415
T3 students £150 £275 £275
What isn’t included:
Spending money – we recommend £10 per day.
Insurance for students (see next section)
The cost of the free time in week five
Pre-departure activities and commitments
There‟s quite a lot for volunteers to do before departure. If you are interested in applying
you must make sure that you will have enough time to prepare for the trip in between your
studies and your work. As well as fundraising activities there will be a compulsory team
briefing. In addition to this you will need to do fundraising some of which will be as a group
and some you will probably do on your own. There will be other compulsory meetings to
help you get prepared for the experience and talks about essential health information and
environmental issues. Although it‟s not spread evenly, we‟d recommend allowing and
average of 3 hours a week from when you find out you get a place to departure.
Don‟t forget that the preparation for the trip will add to your personal development!
Below is a list of key dates. Dates for the sessions that are not listed below will be sent out
to the team or agreed in the first team meeting.
11th March Application deadline
12th March Find out if you‟ve been short-listed
19th March (all day) Interviews/ selection process
19th March Find out if you have got a place
1st April All paper work to be completed and returned
23rd April (16:00 –
19:00) Team briefing
18th June Second payment due
13th August Third and final payment due
13th August Donations and fundraising money to be paid in
21st August (approx) Group departs
18th or 25th
September (approx) Group returns
Autumn 2010 Team reunion and evaluation meeting
Please note that in addition to this volunteers will need to arrange for vaccinations.
Leeds Met does not cover insurance for students; you need to make sure that your travel
insurance covers South Africa. It is a condition of participation in this trip that you take out
personal insurance to cover contingencies such as medical needs, theft and cancellation.
We can provide information on this nearer the time. Staff volunteers will be covered by staff
insurance but the policy only covers the time period spent volunteering, and does not
include additional travel.
Fundraising to buy sports equipment that you will be using with is a requirement to being
accepted on the trip. As well as providing much needed funds for your trip, we think it‟ll be a
great way for you to get to know your team. Lots of our previous volunteers have had great
success fundraising and some have continued raising money after they got back (after
being so inspired by the work of the organisation). We‟ll help you with your fundraising and
encourage you to work as a group. Previous examples include cake sales, abseils,
sponsored walks and even approaching companies for donations and this year the whole
team will have the opportunity to take part in the Great Student Run (5km) on the 9 th May.
Don‟t forget, volunteering and fundraising look wonderful on your CV!
Minimum fundraising target: £100
Paying it forward
Have you heard of “paying it forward”? – it‟s the idea that if someone does you a favour and
you can‟t necessarily pay it back, you pay it forward by doing a favour for someone else.
With international volunteering it‟s slightly different but along the same lines. We love it
when volunteers help out after they have returned from abroad, this includes helping to
prepare the next team, being interviewed for the website or publications, helping us with
important research, coming to awareness raising events (e.g. stands and open days),
helping us to do talks, helping with more fundraising and providing quotes for marketing etc
We‟ll ask you to do at least three of these things when you get back.
Personal and academic development
We will help all volunteers with a personal development plan if it's needed and all
volunteers can also sign up to the Global Citizen Awards. Visit www.leedsmet.ac.uk/gca for
Air travel is one of the most polluting means of transport. For this reason we ask volunteers
to off-set the environmental damaged caused by the travel by taking a pledge to minimise
their negative environmental impact in other ways (recycling more, being more energy
We love to hear how our volunteers are getting on and it's useful for prospective volunteers
to read about the experiences of their predecessors. For this reason we ask volunteers to
contribute to our volunteer‟s blog which means writing and sending a few words every now
and again from abroad. To find out more about the experience of volunteers on our trips,
read entries from last year‟s blogs: http://www.getjealous.com/leedsmetsouthafrica2009
How to apply
An application pack can be downloaded from the website. Read the „How to complete your
application form‟ and FAQs on our website and return completed forms to
email@example.com. Suitable applicants will be invited to attend a selection day
on 19th March 2010. Selection will be based on your suitability for the role and the potential
for personal development.