I decided I wanted to come to South Africa last June. I have always wanted to volunteer with children, to make a difference in another country and to challenge myself. I am here for 6 months before returning back to England. I originally trained as a chef but decided that it wasn’t for me so I went back to college and did a course in childcare. This involved being at college for 1 day a week and 3 days working in a day nursery. Once I qualified as an ECD teacher. I got a job working in a Day nursery where I worked for 1 and a half years. I started working with the 3-5 year olds before being moved to working with the babies. I enjoyed working with the babies much more.
I have known Sofi all my life as she is a family friend and that is how I came to be a volunteer here. I arrived in Winterton in February and live with Sofi and her family and I volunteer at the Place of Safety. I work closely with the house mums and one of the German volunteers (Nora). We got a new member of staff at the place of safety at the beginning of March and I mostly work with her as we both cover the day shift together.
There are currently 14 children at the Place of Safety including 4 young children who don’t go to school or pre-school. I usually work Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4.p.m. I spend my time looking after the babies and I help out as a house mum when needed. We have a 10 month old, two 19 month olds and one who is almost 3. I help with keeping them stimulated throughout the day and encourage them to do activities. They can get very messy! I made gloop using corn flour and water and they loved it, making lots of mess. Another activity I did with them was to fill a plastic bath tub with some water and bubbles, give each of them a cloth and get them to clean a plastic doll. They had a great time. One of the babies just held the doll and spent about half an hour cleaning it. They got rather wet.
When I first started at the POS I went to the old crèche at Isibani and collected all the old bits of card board and plastic and tubes so that we could use them to make things. Junk modelling is a great way to get the kids to make toys and get them creative. We made shakers using seeds and plastic yoghurt pots. I also got them painting egg boxes.
I wrote a feeding chart for the younger children. I wrote what they should be eating, how much they should be eating and when they should be eating up to the age of 18 months. This was to help the house mums and so that everyone is on the same page. It is now a big poster on the wall. I have recently done a poster about road safety. The kids at the Place of Safety have no clue about road safety so I am hoping that I can help to change that. I like to think that in the time they are at the Place of safety we can make a difference in their lives and we can influence them for the better.
I hope I am making a difference in their lives and that I continue to do so.