Dear Friends of Golden Sunbeams,
Today we would like to take you behind the scenes of our organisation and report on two exceptionally courageous young women: Elena Gregori and Lia Marcie Reinfelder.
The two 18 and 19 year old adventurers come from the area around Stuttgart and only graduated from high school last year. Despite the uncertain situation, Lia traveled to South Africa on January 6th and Elena on January 14th, 2021 to do voluntary work for us for 6 months.
Elena already knew as a little girl that she wanted to work with children. She gained her first experience in Old Age homes and with mentally handicapped people. She switched from a normal high school to a high school with a social science focus in order to gain knowledge of pedagogy and psychology. Her dream was to broaden her horizons by traveling and working with children – preferably in Africa. Elena and her family had never been to Africa before, and Elena’s wish was to get to know the culture and society of Africa.
Together with her friend Lia, who she met at her high school with a social science focus, the departure was planned for January 6, 2021. To be on the safe side, both volunteers underwent 2 Corona tests before leaving for Africa. Elena received the first test result an hour before leaving for the airport together. Her Corona result was positive, which meant she could not begin her trip. Lia made her way to Cape Town alone. Having arrived safely she awaited her friend, Elena. The latter received the result of the second test shortly afterwards which was negative but the aircraft left for South Africa without her. Elena bravely quarantined in Germany, to be able to finally fly to Cape Town.
Like Elena, Lia Marcie graduated from high school with a focus on social sciences. Lia has travelled a lot with her family and has also been to Namibia. After graduating from high school, she completed internships in kindergartens and in a home for the disabled. Lia quickly realised that she would like to work with children in the future, preferably in countries that do not have unrestricted access to education, as is the case in Europe. And so Lia decided on South Africa as well.
Like most of our volunteers, Elena and Lia live in an apartment on the beach, right by the sea with a view of Table Mountain and False Bay in Cape Town. The apartment is provided by the “travel2volunteer” agency and its manager Patricia van der Westhuizen. In non-Corona times, around 12 volunteers lived happily together, currently there are only three brave young women.
One of the two apartments available for volunteers even has a swimming pool. More information about the agency and the apartments at https://www.facebook.com/travel2volunteersa/
Dear friends, many of you are already familiar with our Bright Future Edu-Care Center in Asanda Village, which we have been promoting since 2016 and which has not yet received state approval. Sobayi Ntombezanele is principal whom we all just affectionately call “Zanele”.
Elena and Lia are currently supporting our dedicated and wonderful kindergarten director Zanele in her daily tasks. Unfortunately, due to the corona pandemic, this kindergarten is currently only looking after 25 children which is almost 50% less than under normal circumstances.
It is very important to us that our volunteers gain a realistic impression and a very good and varied overview of the work of Golden Sunbeams e.V. For this reason, the two volunteers will also attend a second kindergarten in Asanda Village at a later date: Sikuthale Pre-Primary school is now subsidised by the state and normally looks after 150 children. At the moment there are less than 50 children.
If you look at the photos of the two of them, you can only tell from the masks that something is different here from what it used to be… The children absolutely adore Elena and Lia! And Elena and Lia are totally enthusiastic about the people, their friendliness, their joie de vivre and their incredible gratitude for the tiniest little things! Keeping your distance is almost impossible in this job.
On weekends and holidays, there were and are many opportunities for the volunteers to discover the surrounding area and to get to know the country and its people better.
Elena and Lia have not regretted their decision – Adventure South Africa in Corona times – and are happy that the longest part of their visit is still ahead of them!
And we are happy and grateful that there are such courageous and committed young people who support us on site! Thank you very much, Elena and Lia!
If you have friends, children or acquaintances who are also interested in an internship at Golden Sunbeams e.V., you can find more information under this link https://www.goldensunbeams.org/de/spenden-mitgliedschaft-ehrenamt/ or just write to us.
Britta and Bernd