Monday, 15 October 2012
Have you ever considered taking a year off after school to 'find' or discover your self a bit more? Maybe you have been racking your brain as what exactly you should do during your gap year. Volunteering is a credible and enriching experience that allows you to make a real difference to less privileged people's lives, while discovering and learning a lot about yourself at the same time. Let us introduce you to Action Volunteers Africa: (AVA), a post-school enrichment programme placing South African school-leaving students into structured 6-12 month volunteer learnerships in a variety of NGOs and other service organisations throughout the country.
All South African school leavers, even those who are recipients of the best secondary education available in the country, are finding that their futures are not as clear or certain as they used to be. Competition for places in the country’s universities is fierce, entry into the job market is more difficult and many school leavers are uncertain about where and how they will fit into this changing landscape.
The AVA programme aims to assist school leavers who find they lack direction and confidence about their future options the opportunity to access, utilise and grow their skills by working in NGOs who have made, and continue to make, a critical contribution to civil society.
AVA will offer recent matriculants a chance to work for between 6 months and a year in one of a wide range of South African NGOs providing essential services to under-resourced communities. Students placed in NGOs by AVA will gain a deeper understanding of our diverse society and the chance to appreciate the challenges facing the vast majority of South Africans.
This experience will reflect well on their CVs and assist them in their future endeavours in educational institutions and the working world.
The AVA programme will partner with NGOs offering services in various fields including HIV/AIDS, sustainable livelihoods, support of Orphans and Vulnerable Children, environmental issues, recycling, human rights, gender equality, education, rural development etc., thus providing students with the opportunity to offer their services and make a tangible contribution to the building of the country in an area they feel drawn to.
AVA aims to be largely self-sustaining, operating on a fee system where students on the enrichment programme will be charged a monthly fee. These fees will be used by the host NGOs in the development of structured working and learning programmes and in training, orientating and integrating the volunteer students into their staff for 6 months to a year. The remainder of the fees will be used to run AVA, a registered not-for-profit company and to assist in the development of a trust fund to provide bursaries for scholars who cannot afford to pay fees. Sponsorship from various sectors will also be sought to fund bursaries.
AVA volunteers will be supported and closely monitored during the contract period, with access to debriefing sessions and through sharing with AVA staff and other AVA volunteers at regular intervals. Formal evaluations and performance appraisals during the contract period, conducted in partnership with the AVA volunteer and the host NGO, will assist in the volunteer’s development. On successful completion of their contract volunteers will be presented with a certificate detailing the work they have done as well as a letter of reference from the host NGO.
The AVA experience will enable young South Africans to engage in a real and meaningful way with a variety of communities and causes and give them the opportunity to play their own part in the transformation of our complex, rich and diverse country.
Contact AVA:185 Landsdowne Road
Tel: 021 671 3150
Fax: 021 683 4688