Michael’s Daughter Katherine writes about her volunteering experience……
In October 2016 I was flying over the equator for the first time to begin a four week stay in South Africa that changed my outlook on life and began my love for African Impact, a charity that will always be close to my heart.
Before that trip I had raised just over £1000 for teachers from a village in Kwazulu-Natal to go on to a teaching training course.
I really wanted to go back and came across GAPA ‘Grandmothers Against Poverty and Aids’. It was an after-school centre in the township of Khayelitsha near Cape Town, run by Grandmothers for children with nobody at home after school.
Friends and family helped me raise £1200 toward a visit to Robben Island. The grannies had lived through the struggles of Apartheid and their stories really touched me. We were able to take 90 children and 15 grannies.
As the buses arrived, the kid’s faces were pressed up against the windows, smiling, excited and ready for the day ahead. They loved being on the boat, pointing over to dolphins shouting ‘look fish, big fish!`
As well as dolphins, most had their first experience of seeing turtles, penguins and seals. It made me realise how secluded it can be living in a township so close in terms of miles but so far in terms of opportunities to see them first hand.
On the Island our guide was a former prison inmate who was there alongside Nelson Mandela and we could see it through the eyes of someone who experienced life there.
I was shocked by how the inmates were treated due to their colour and it was hard for me to imagine how life was under Apartheid.
I want to continue fundraising for this wonderful charity. GAPA has a big place in my heart both for the children there and the amazing job the grannies do.
To find out more about volunteering like this visit