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December 21, 2018

Making a Positive Impact in South Africa

impact tour blog post

Last month I joined a very special group of travellers to embark on a journey to South Africa, but it wasn't just an ordinary trip. It was one designed to combine the best of sightseeing with plenty of opportunities to give back to the local community. There was so much to see in South Africa - Cape Town was stunning, Kroger National Park was incredible, but the volunteer opportunities were truly the highlights of the tour for me! It's not often that you have the opportunity to discover a beautiful country while being able to give back.

While on tour we had the opportunity to volunteer at the Knysna Education Trust, delivered Hippo Rollers to a community in Knysna, and visited The Pebble Project in Stellenbosch. All great organizations making a big difference in their communities.

Knysna Education Trust

Knysna Education Trust

At the Knysna Education Trust (KET) we spent an amazing day at a pre-school funded by KET learning how the children there benefit from the trust and from the Collette Foundation. At KET they focus on improving the quality of teaching, learning and development for young children of the greater Knysna Community. By focusing on early childhood education, they are giving these children the path to such a bright future!

When we had gotten to the pre-school, after being greeted by the warmest smiles and hugs from the children, we were able to jump right into volunteering! Some of us read to the children, others planted a garden, and some prepared lunch for the day. I was able to help build an activity wall in the playground and the children were so excited to see the wall being built. They played with it as soon as we finished.

It is so impressive what the Knysna Education trust does for the children of Knysna, and it comes through in the kindness of the staff and the children.

Water is Life: Hippo Rollers

hippo rollers

As easy as it is to access water in our homes, there are still communities across the world that do not have access to water like we do. In many communities, water is collected from afar and carried by women in small buckets back home. Through a partnership with the Hippo Water Rollers Project, the Collette foundation is able to provide Hippo Rollers to impoverished communities to help improve access to water.

Hippo Rollers were designed to alleviate the problem of accessing clean, drinkable water. These barrel-shaped containers hold, transport and store 24 gallons of water - which can collect up to 5 times more water than a simple bucket. The rollers are safe and easy to use and children and the elderly are able to operate a full roller over any terrain.

On our tour we delivered 100 Hippo Rollers on behalf of the Collette Foundation to a small community in Knysna. As we waited for the handover ceremony to start, the community sang in unity to celebrate the arrival of the Hippo Rollers. Working together to pass out the Hippo Rollers to these families in need, we were able to see the gratitude and appreciation for these life-changing tools first hand!

The Pebbles Project

pepples project

The Pebbles Project focuses on supporting the children and families in the farming communities of the Western Cape. Their mission consists of 5 main pillars: education, health, nutrition, community and protection. On our visit, we spend the morning at one of our schools in Stellenbosch where they provide day care, pre-school and after school programs to farm families.

While we were at the school some of our guests worked together to paint a large entrance sign for the school, and the rest of us packed up some treats that we just knew the kids were going to love! Once we were done helping around the school, we joined the children for play time, blowing bubbles and playing soccer. We really enjoyed spending time with the children of the Pebbles Project.

Working at Collette, there are so many opportunities to give back to the community locally, but to be able to explore a new country and have the opportunity to make a positive impact was such an incredible experience. When people from such different cultures come face to face and interact with one another, they find that they have more in common than they could have imagined. With each shared smile, the world becomes a little smaller.

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