For the past few months, we’ve been lucky enough to have a group of motivated volunteers with us from Israel. In the short space of time that Project 10 has been volunteering here, they’ve already managed to run a maths camp for Amaoti high school learners, prepared meals for the feeding programme and learnt some isiZulu through isiZulu classes run by our very own Sifiso (Life Skills mentor).
Through international volunteer groups, The Domino Foundation is able to exchange knowledge, expose our beneficiaries to different cultures and build international ties – all extremely valuable experiences for us. Shani Silove, South African Project Director of Project 10, shared her thoughts on their Durban experience and what it means to be an international volunteer.
What is the vision and purpose of Project 10 and how is this implemented?
Our vision is to empower young Jewish adults to give their time and skills to create sustainable projects in developing and vulnerable communities around the world. We aim to offer young Jewish adults from across the globe the opportunity to explore what it means to be an activist and to meet and be inspired by local people doing amazing work on the ground. In order to promote sustainability and strengthen local communities, we initiate projects in the three fields of informal education, public health and agriculture.
Why have Project 10 decided to come to Durban?
Durban is the first urban centre and is located close to a small Jewish community who were very enthusiastic to have Project Ten in Durban. Additionally, the Victor Daitz Foundation is major contributor to our programme and they were keen for us to work with local communities in KwaZulu-Natal.
Are South Africa and your home country similar?
Yes, both countries have a long and complex history, which affects current social, economic and political structures. Both countries are also different from their neighbouring countries and have the potential to grow and develop in unique and exciting ways.
What have been some of the team’s defining moments during their Durban experience?
Seeing people their own age who are living on the street and are using substances such as glue as a way of coping with their life circumstances. It has given them a lot of perspective as to how lucky they are in their lives with loving families and all their basic needs met.
What lessons have your team learnt?
They’ve learnt not to judge a book by its cover and that sometimes it takes time to really see things as they are.
How has the Maths camp been going?
The Maths camp has been fantastic. We have a good team who are working well together, the kids are having fun and thanks to the generous donation of Domino we are able to feed the children too. It has been great to give the children an enriching experience together with the maths skills. For example, teaching measurements by measuring the map of Africa and learning about their own country while gaining maths skills.
What advice would you want to share with other volunteer groups?
To be open minded and to realise that many things you see are different from what you are used to but some things are always the same. All children, no matter where you are in the world, want to have fun, want to learn and they want to be loved.
With the Festive Season upon us, Yuval Ezbal (right) and Amit Sosman (left) wished their isiZulu teacher, Siphiso Hlongwa, “UKhisimusi omuhle!”, the local good wishes for Christmas. He returned the greeting with “Chanuka sameach!” to mark the upcoming Jewish Festival of Lights. Amit and Yuval are in South Africa as part of the first group of volunteers with Project TEN, an apolitical international programme that operates centres in Mexico, Ethiopia, Ghana and Uganda, drawing volunteers from all over the world. The programme combines volunteer work with local communities and service-learning in the fields of international development, culture and identity. Project TEN is involved with a number of the programmes of The Domino Foundation where Siphiso is a facilitator in the Life Skills programme. The Foundation is a non-profit organisation that creates essential structures geared towards supporting programmes that are meeting the physical, emotional, cognitive and spiritual needs of individuals and communities in KZN and the Western Cape through mercy, justice and empowerment.
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