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October 27, 2010

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October 27, 2010

As a volunteer for ASAP, I spent one year in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. I lived and worked in a small town with a community-based organization of women caring for orphans and vulnerable children affected by HIV/AIDS. Out in the field (on site visits) I got to really experience life in South Africa and meet incredible people. I saw orphans trek to the nearest village health worker's home for nutrition, nurturing, and support. Most of the village health workers have gardens and feed the orphans what they grow (spinach, cabbage, onion, beetroot, potato, corn, carrot, etc) combined with basic food parcels of semp & beans, pap, and soup. The kids would often show up looking very tired and grumpy, but once they had food in their bellies they came to life! Full of laughter and energy. After that, I would often bring art supplies and we would paint and craft together. It was incredible.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

so many ways. It was eye-opening to see the way these people lived, and how little they are forced to survive off of. With ASAP, the children are able to get balanced meals so that they have the energy to go to school. Through ASAP their school fees are also paid, without which many of the schools would turn them away.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

help them look for more people willing to volunteer for extended periods of time. The community-based groups can always use help with grant writing and reporting, and child assessments on the ground.

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3 hours of volunteer time for this nonprofit will...

Photograph our community-based organizations on-site; teach an empowering workshop to rural women; teach peer education to orphans and rural youth; support our in-school libraries with books; conduct on-site visits to assess households and gardens in rural areas.