Harding Special School
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Volunteers: Why are they here? What do they do? Who are they?
Each year Harding Special School welcomes two German volunteers for 13 months to our school.
These volunteers are young adults (between the ages 18 and 27), who are interested in coming in contact with life in a different country and inspired by contributing to international understanding – by becoming aware of global relations, learning to think critically and overcoming cultural biases. They are experienced in working with children and see this as an opportunity to find out more about their interests for future working life. For instance, some old volunteers have even decided to become a teacher or occupational therapist after this year.
The volunteers are sent to South Africa by a German organization named “Weltweite Initiative für Soziales Engagement e.V.”, which works together with the German government. This organization selects, prepares and sends these volunteers to their projects in developing countries all over the world. It is not their goal to send people into these countries to “help the poor”, but to build up new relationships, learn about other cultures and contribute against social injustice. This can only be done if these relations are understood and faced personally. This is one principle the organization represents: the best way to understand something is to be confronted by it. Following quote sums up, what they stand for: “living with each other, learning from each other and standing up for one another”.
In the 3 weeks of preparation for their voluntary year, the volunteers are taught skills useful for their projects, join an Anti-racism-training and become aware of what images they spread. They are also well prepared to be able to adapt easily to South African life by learning isiZulu and about South African history and culture.
At our school the volunteers can choose their tasks freely suitable to their strengths and interests. They may assist in therapy and classes, do sports, play and be creative with the children. By taking the kids to hippo therapy, helping them at study time or assisting teachers by doing individual work with slow learners, they undertake important jobs for our school. But one of the most important aspects of their job here, is to be a confidential person, a friend and also a role model for our children.
Volunteers: How can one even begin .......
To thank the generations of volunteers who have:
~ served us with such self sacrifice
~ left family and friends just to love us
~ given up their time, their careers to give to use
~ been both blessings and gifts to us all
~ shared their amazing talents with us
~ taught us and enriched us
~ become friends and family
How simple it sounds, we say "Thank you from the depths of our hearts. We are so much more because of you."
2005-6 Eva & Laura
2006-7 Florian & Philip
2007-8 Simon & Stefan
2008-9 Andi & Bengi
2009-10 Franzi & Nelo
2010-11 Claudia & Simon
2011-12 Caroline & Camila
2015-16 Carli & Sofie
2016-17 Franzi & Anni
2017-18 Annika & Kurosch