An experience to forget

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BlairS95's review of GVI Gap Year

★☆☆☆☆

“An experience to forget”

Written on: 21/05/2017 by BlairS95 (1 review written)

if this was a real volunteering organisation it would be free or a fraction of the price.

I signed up initially to do the construction program in Nepal in 2015, but due to the earthquakes all the programs were cancelled so I signed up to do the same program in Cape Town the following year as they would not refund me. On the run up to going they sent me information to prepare for hard work and to prepare mentally for living in poor areas, this was complete rubbish. The base was situated in a wealthy and gated area that had hot water, comfy beds and a Domino's and a Nando's just down the road. They also state that they work in places that are poorly funded and have limited resources, again this was complete rubbish. The school that volunteers teach in was newly built and had plenty of resources (probably more than some schools at home), the orphanage had several people a day come with donations and food. All the programs in Cape Town were a joke, myself and 3 others left after the first week.

GVI Cape Town Programs

Construction
Description: “volunteer’s help with renovation projects at sites within the community. Working mainly at educare centres to improve facilities and to help create positive learning environments for the children.”
Reality: Replace a few old screws, which makes a massive difference to the children’s learning experience and spend the rest of your time baby-sitting and getting head-butted by kids – such a wonderful experience.

Teaching
Description: “Our Teaching volunteers are based at ACJ Primary School and work with individual children from Grades 4 and 6 through one on one tutoring sessions providing support with a Literacy and Numeracy focus. We also provide reading support groups for the children and run after school group workshops for all age groups. “
Reality: Spend a lot of your time at the orphanage helping dish out breakfast and lunch, spend 3 hours in the playground watching kids running around, avoiding getting head-butted and have 3 X 15 minute lessons in a class size of 50 children singing songs and colouring in.

Healthcare:
Description: “Our Healthcare volunteers are involved with setting up and implementing health and hygiene practices across sites within the community. We work with the children and adults through fun informal educational workshops.“
Reality: spend most of your day doing the teaching program and then in the afternoon carry out stretches on a child with cerebral palsy. The staff member will demonstrate this by using the child as a dummy; you should not be allowed to do this sort of thing unless you are qualified.

Women’s empowerment
Description: “GVI aims to assist in gender equality through various educational, healthcare and income initiatives. We also aim to facilitate and encourage dialogues between empowered women, helping them to share positive stories of change and increasing the opportunity for them to become more involved in key community issues.”
Reality: spend most of your week doing the teaching program and then possibly twice a week, if you are lucky, you teach the women that run the orphanage how to use a computer and type, they pick it up very quickly considering they all have smartphones. Then, you create colourful posters and mind maps like you would with the children (not patronising at all). There is no wonder a lot of the women did not show up.

I would highly recommend GVI to anyone that has money they want to get rid of and for those that say that life goes by too quickly because this experience will show you that life can be painfully slow.

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