African Impact

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9.2 / 10 after 28 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

Founded in 2004, African Impact are ground facilitators of volunteering in Africa. We offer a wide range of both community & conservation projects & are specialists within the industry. 

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It is really difficult to put into words how fantastic this entire experience was. Several months returned from my three weeks at Thanda and I still can not stop smiling.

I was very very nervous, having never traveled much before, and certainly never having traveled alone. But from the minute I landed in Durban and was greeted by African Impact staff, I felt completely at ease. Everything was explained right away, I was never guessing where I needed to be or what I needed to be doing. The staff there is incredible. Everyone from the guides to the business managers to the cooks was incredibly friendly and helpful and cheerful. The happiness and joy is contagious, even when you are in a new environment and very jet-lagged!

The first day included a lot of orientation. All of the information we needed was presented to us, which was a LOT of information, but necessary to have. The project aims orientation was very intense as well; there is a lot to learn and remember! I would definitely recommend reading through the information they give you via email ahead of time!

I felt like I really knew the importance of the data we were collected, and exactly how it was being used. It was great that members of the wildlife management team, the ecologist, APU, etc, were often stopping by for dinner or joining us on projects. It allowed us to really understand everything that goes into maintaining a healthy reserve and how the work we were doing helped this.

I feel like I accomplished quite a bit in three weeks, and I left feeling like I had really done my part towards a cause I care greatly about! On top of that, I had so much fun! Great friends, great times. All together, a life changing experience.

Program:
Location:
Posted: December 23, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Sarah13
Age:
29

Comments

Thank you so much for this wonderful testimonial. We are thrilled that you found value in the program, that you understood and enjoyed your contribution to our conservation efforts and had such a great time. We hope to welcome you back on project soon! Best, The African Impact Team

My experience with African Impact was nothing short of incredible. A few well chosen words cannot do justice to the kindness I experienced in Zambia and working with African Impact. It started upon arrival and being introduced to the staff, fellow volunteers and my accommodations for the next few weeks. I felt at home immediately. The individuals I was fortunate enough to meet in the community have genuinely impacted my entire perspective on how we view our peers. The students refer to their fellow classmates as 'friends'. In referring to others as your friend, almost instantly your world becomes so much larger. I felt welcomed and I welcomed every moment I had to spend with these friends I've made. I can't think of a moment working in the schools where I wasn't smiling, laughing, or learning something new about the locals.
I took part in a sports development project for 2 weeks. It almost isn't fair how much fun was had; and how much I learned as well. Walking around Livingstone and I was sure to see someone that I had played football the day before with, or tag rugby; anything! Everything was so well organized by the staff. The relationship African Impact has with the community is one that ought to be recognized and reflected back here at home. I can't wait to go back!

Program:
Location:
Posted: November 14, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
24

Comments

Dear Volunteer, Thank you so much for this great review and very positive affirmation of the kind of volunteer experience and contribution we're trying to make in Livingstone. We're so pleased you had such an amazing time on project and can't wait to welcome you back soon! Sincerely, The African Impact Team

In the summer of 2012 I volunteered in Livingstone, Zambia as a Teaching & Community Development volunteer. I had always been an avid supporter of non-profits, particularly those focused on the fundamental human rights of access to water, hygiene, health and sanitation. But fundraising alone just wasn’t enough. Money, whilst essential for emergency relief, doesn’t always get to the root of the issue in driving sustainable change. I needed to roll up my own sleeves and put my own two hands to work.

Waddling off with the world’s heaviest backpack drowning my frame, I started the epic journey from Manchester to Livingstone. I pictured what was ahead, excited yet nervous to experience first-hand a world so unlike my own. But nothing could prepare me for the experiences I was about to have, the deep friendships I would form, and the profound and pervasive impact on my outlook on life that was round the corner.

Arriving at the volunteer camp, I was physically exhausted from travel but mentally impassioned with adrenaline running through my veins. I was led to my dorm where I dropped my bag and sat on my bunk. I took a moment to reflect on my surroundings, and the stark contrast from my bedroom at home. Hard floors, basic beds, and a single shelf for my belongings. Here, necessity trumped luxury; western materialistic tendencies replaced by practicality. Setting the tone for the weeks to come, I felt comforted by the modest environment before heading out to meet with the other volunteers.

Waking up to my first working morning, I was roused by what lay ahead. I jumped into the rickety volunteer van and travelled some 35 minutes on uneven roads to a local under-resourced school to support as a teaching assistant for underprivileged children, many of whom travel over an hour on foot simply to attend. Stepping my first foot into the classroom, I felt butterflies rising up and dancing around my stomach: ‘What if they don’t like me? What if I can’t give them what they need? How can simple old me make a difference?’ Sat upright in a dusty classroom with broken windows and inadequate desks, 7 eager-eyed children looked back at me. As the morning progressed and the nerves faded, I was struck by the politeness, the obedience and the sheer desire to learn and ‘do better’ for themselves and their family. Mesmerised by their infectious smiles and sincerity, I felt honoured to teach them. Later I’d learn it was them who were teaching me.

After a short lunch break, I headed back on the volunteer van to head to the afternoon community projects. The nature of these changed each day, but my first day involved supporting at Maramba’s local Old People’s Home. I could never have envisaged what lay ahead.

As the entrance opened, I was greeted by a mini-community – various huts with the odd tree dancing around them - a warm, inviting and a safe and happy place. As I looked closer however, reality struck me. A scene of limping dogs and emaciated figures, too tired or too delinquent to notice the van passing through. I felt my stomach sink and my eyes begin to well-up. This was real – not a moving picture on a television screen - and I was right in the centre of it.

Stepping out, I was told we had to go into the huts and encourage the residents to come to the communal area and join us for games, colouring and music. As I precariously set-out, passing head-first through a wall of flies, I encouraged an old blind man I later learnt was called ‘Patrick’ to join us. He spoke no English, but despite the barrier of language, his warming eyes said a million words of sincerity. As the games commenced, I looked up to the room around me. Time appeared to freeze. To the left, a blind woman with a deformed mouth and dementia-ridded, blissfully happy making patterns with crayons and singing to herself. To the right, a volunteer playing the guitar and singing with two old men, tapping their feet and nodding their head to beat of the rhythm. Ahead, a group of women grazing over books, fascinated by the colourful pictures and deep in thought. Suddenly all my apprehension dissolved. These people were so frail, so old, so sick, so deformed and mentally confused, living in a dirty, fly-ridden community. Yet they enjoyed the pure gift of living and took deep joy from experiencing the simplicity of the moment. I can’t put into words how I felt at that very moment, but the feeling will stay with me forever.

As the weeks went by, I continued to spend my mornings teaching at the local school, and my afternoons on a variety of community uplift projects. At the farm, I helped plough and water the tomato and banana plots; James the farmer – despite losing his brother the day I arrived – never failed to wear a heartfelt smile upon his face. At the After School Club, I was swarmed by young children eager to play, hold my hand and with so much love to give, some as young as 6 holding their 4 month old siblings strapped to their back. And at the Adult Literacy Classes, I taught Rachel and Ann basic verbs and adjectives. At the end of my time with them, Ann stuttered that she wanted to give me something to show her deep appreciation, but apologised that she had nothing to give. I told her that her smile and eagerness to learn was a gift in itself – and it really was.

When my final day arrived and I had to say goodbye to my new family and friends, every bone in my body and neuron in my brain struggled to resist the inevitable. My time volunteering had pulled me out of the routine of life and placed me into reality. It opened up a whole new world to me. A world I did not want to leave.

So whilst intending to teach in Zambia, Zambia taught me. Firstly, as a volunteer, I have seen the reality of life at its most basic core. To see communities of skin and bone, families struggling to get by, and hear the graphic stories of the Medical Volunteers treating malaria and leprosy-ridden homes. These things make you appreciate anything above the core basics of life – anything not absolutely required for survival, even something as simple as a hair tie or a pair of socks.

Juxtaposed to this is the unbelievable happiness many people in these places display. And not a false smile, but a warming heart-felt joy for the simple things in life – for the taste food, the refreshment of water, the sound of music, and the companionship of family. This incessant heartbeat of contentment pulsed through every local I met.

Finally, on a personal level, not only did it teach me resilience, inner strength and confidence when faced with a radical culture shock and testing situations, but it enabled me to develop both as a leader and a team member. Moreover, it challenged me to think differently about the world, about what we value in life, and how each and every one of us is empowered to make a positive difference in this world.

Zambia was truly magical to me, fostering a zest for life that energises and drives my desire to continuously improve every day. I will never forget it.

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 14, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: CarlyD
Age:
24

I never wanted to go to Africa. I am 59 years old with 6 children and 14 grandchildren. I always thought I could use my resources to help those in need closer to home, but my youngest daughter wanted to teach in an orphanage in Africa, so I was volunteered by my wife to go with her. I didn't realize until I got there that God was calling me to Africa. WOW!!! First of all, the African Impact staff are wonderful. We worked closely with Norman Moyo in the Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe community project, helping and teaching in the Rose of Charity orphanage, cutting firewood at the old folks home in Chinotimba, pumping water by hand for the community gardens, teaching at the village schools. His love of the people and his commitment to helping them improve their lives was fantastic. He opened my eyes, not only to the great need, but also to the great benefits that can be provided by a volunteer like me, and how the standard of living for the people of the villages can be improved so dramatically by just a few people who really care and have the ability to channel resources to their aid. I will never forget holding the young boy Angle in my arms, and seeing his huge smile as the light of comprehension lit up his face as I taught him mathematics. Playing soccer with young teenagers like So Bright and Nigel, and wondering if a small donation from me could go toward buying soccer shoes for these young men.
I guess what I'm saying is that I found that the local people who are going out of their way to help their fellow countrymen was the greatest revelation to me. These are people I can trust, and if i choose to send donations to them after I leave Africa, I am confident they will use the resources to help the people with the greatest need.
One of my concerns before arriving was about our safety, but upon arrival I felt totally safe at all times. The drinking water in Vic Falls is safe due to a purification plant outside of town. While doing our volunteering we were always with knowledgeable staff who kept us safe, and even when we went into town on our own, the people in the city were happy and a delight to be around.
Learning about and participating in the Lion Encounter project and helping with the other research projects was just an added bonus, and I haven't even mentioned the other volunteers from all over the world. They were amazing - so passionate and dedicated. I was really impressed.
I am now dedicated to helping African Impact in any way I can. I am working to get donations, and I will be speaking at various organizations to encourage volunteerism with African Impact. As I said above, the experience has changed my life, and I will be connected to Africa for the rest of my life.

Program:
Location:
Posted: June 13, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
59

If you are looking for a volunteer experience that is legitimate, sustainable and enjoyable all whilst making a truly valuable impact then look no further, African Impact is the largest on the ground facilitator of volunteer opportunities in Africa! So where you want to be and what you want to do is totally up to you, and trust me, you will be in safe hands!

So i chose to volunteer in sunny Cape Town with the teaching projects out there. I spent half my time supporting teaching at a pre-school in a local township and the other half with GAPA (Grandmothers Against Poverty & Aids) - a truly incredible project that supports grandmothers to provide after-school care, fun and food to children within the largest township community, Khayelitsha.

I learnt more than I could have imagined, not just about the culture and lifestyles of the communities, but also about the nature of volunteering itself. It's about offering support whilst remaining completely sustainable, less about the hand outs and more about enabling and empowering others. This means that your impact is truly lasting and unforgettable.
At Luntu you will meet some very special children who will fall in love with you as soon as you walk in through the front door! Their squeals of joy and the songs they will teach you will buzz around your head forever. I spent most mornings reading stories, teaching English and supporting their play.

GAPA volunteers help to support grandmothers in providing a safe place where children can simply enjoy being children. Grandmothers often become parents again to their grandchildren as the middle generation are affected by HIV/aids, the project enables them to get together, offering care, love and attention to the communities children and also gives them an opportunity to start earning a small living again, making and selling unique hand-made toys, jewellery and accessories which make fantastic keep-sakes and souvenirs! You will have fun organising games and singing songs, playing cards or painting pictures in the dusty yard. As a Primary School teacher back in the UK, I was amazed at what you can do with little resources! The children are strong, happy, motivated and independent. They will fight for your attention and obsess over your hair, they will love you just for being there.

You will have plenty of fun at the volunteer house, making friends from all around the world. Theme nights, pub quizzes, coffee shop crawls! You will be pretty well looked after too by the wonderful Shecky and Jane! The cooking is traditional, delicious and dinner is always on the table when you come home from project! They’ll even do your washing for you so that you can concentrate on the important things, like enjoying yourself, sorting resources or planning for more fun!
You will never be on your own, fellow volunteers will become your family out there and with constant support from African Impact project co-coordinators and Interns you will work together to plan fun and engaging activities and not forgetting the incredible local project leaders who are always on hand for a quick Xhosa lesson or two!

Cape Town is so vibrant and colourful, it’s constantly buzzing! There is so much to see and do that you will be spoilt for choice! We spent our weekends and free time exploring Obs (the volunteer house local town) where there is an eclectic mix of late night coffee shops, pubs, clubs and live music! We clambered up Table Mountain and abseiled down again, sampled tasty treats at the Biscuit Mill markets. We then joined the Cape to Addo tour at the end of our volunteer adventure, where we bungee-jumped, braved black-water tubing and bare-back Ostrich riding! We sunned ourselves at a citrus farm and spotted elephants on Safari – a perfect way to round off an epic South African adventure. There are plenty more opportunities from shark-cage diving to sky diving, the possibilities are endless and your volunteering experience will be unforgettable.

So here's a few tips:
- Bring a jumper (it gets cold indoors!)
- Be open minded (if your friends want to stop off to try sheep’s head on the way to project – do it! Try the local treats, they will leave you wanting more no matter how strange they seem!)
- Learn some Xhosa – the go go’s will appreciate a ‘molo!’
- Why not pack a few extra resources in your back-pack – kids love to play cards and parachute games!

Volunteering provides a broader perspective on all aspects of life, it deepens understanding and ignites intrigue. To volunteer is to learn, to enjoy, to experience. To be excited, exhilarated and to explore a sense of awe and wonder. If it does all this for you, just imagine what you can do for others.

Volunteer with African Impact Cape Town City Projects - You know you want to!

Program:
Location:
Posted: February 12, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: sophiex90
Age:
24

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