Danielle Matthews a local student from UWM, will be traveling to South Africa as a volunteer, to assist underprivileged families and children.
Danielle will participate in a unique travel program in South Africa, this summer as a volunteer, working on sustainable development projects for local communities and assisting children in need. Under the leadership of an organization called International Student Volunteers (ISV), Matthews will join 20 to 50 other individuals from around the globe in a four-week program, which will be divided into two equal parts — one part volunteer project, the other part adventure travel.
During the first two weeks in South Africa, volunteers will dedicate their time developing community infrastructures and working with families and children who live in extreme poverty. To generate the greatest impact, ISV volunteers will work alongside local education and community leaders to improve education, income and community living standards. Through these partnerships, volunteers are offered a diverse range of projects, such as developing education and sports programs for children, assisting in local schools, constructing community gardens, schools and medical clinics, painting educational murals and building playground equipment for children, HIV/AIDS education and supporting water sanitation development.
Following the volunteer portion of the trip, participants will embark on an educational adventure tour, traveling throughout South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique while immersed in the local cultures. Matthews will explore some of South Africa’s most exciting locations, experiencing such activities as caving in Swaziland, snorkeling with whale sharks and manta rays in Mozambique, visiting the Cradle of Mankind and learning local tribal dances. Participants complete their educational tour of South Africa on an overnight wildlife safari at the edge of a game reserve filled with lions, giraffes, rhinos, hippos and other African wildlife.
Through the ISV program, Matthews will gain a deeper appreciation and greater sense of stewardship for the natural wonders of South Africa. One sentiment that seems to hold true for many ISV participants upon returning home is their sense of fulfillment, knowing that they’ve contributed something of value to and made a difference in the environment.
“I have been active in my community since I was teen,” says Matthews. “With ISV I will able to expand my volunteering efforts from locally to globally and that is not an opportunity I can pass up.”
South Africa has the second-highest number of HIV/AIDS patients in the world; about one in seven of its citizens, including children are infected with HIV. But this isn’t the only devastating fact that plagues the country. While South Africa’s turbulent history may be known worldwide, what some don’t know is that more than 25% of the population is still unemployed and the nation is continuing to suffer an uneven distribution of wealth, following the apartheid regime. This has led to the perpetuation of the great divide between rich and poor, leaving many South Africans living in extreme poverty and struggling to meet every-day needs. Many South African children experience the brunt of these conditions, affecting their home lives, health, education and subsequently their future. With a greater importance placed on education and infrastructure development, carefully structured volunteer programs provide a means to make a real, lasting difference in South Africa.
While international travel can be costly, ISV guides participants on how to fundraise for their trip, providing them with fundraising materials and the help of a student fundraising advisor. Some students work part-time jobs or reach out to family and friends to pay for their trip. All I have is myself and a part time job to support myself while I am in school ,” says Matthews. “But I am motivated to raise not to be held back from this once in a lifetime opportunity due to my financial status.”
Those interested in making a donation to support Matthews volunteer efforts can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More about International Student Volunteers (ISV)
ISV is one of the world’s highest rated volunteer programs and focuses on sustainable volunteering and eco-conscious tourism. One of ISV’s goals is to create an opportunity for students to experience a once-in-a-lifetime adventure where they can meet new people, discover new places and travel with a purpose that benefits both the student and the host country.
Since 2002, ISV has offered life-changing volunteer projects, providing more than two million volunteer hours to disadvantaged communities around the world. Every year more than 4,000 students travel with ISV across six continents. ISV is based in the USA and has seven other offices internationally.
Volunteer projects are operated in partnership with well-established, localized conservation organizations, including government and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private reserves and farms, and local grassroots community groups. ISV volunteers have the opportunity to become a part of local communities that partner with ISV to develop hands-on volunteer projects and many have enjoyed lasting friendships as a result.
For more information about International Student Volunteers and on how to join Matthews in South Africa, visit the ISV website at www.isvolunteers.org.
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