BY JAMES SMITH
There are many projects and programmes taking place in and around Stellenbosch that enable students to make a difference in their community. From teaching children to read, to planting trees for climate change and giving puppies some much needed love, there is no shortage of opportunities for Stellenbosch students to make a positive difference this new year. We have chosen five organisations leading the change in Stellenbosch, and they need your help to continue doing their influential work.
Vision Afrika is a non-profit making a difference right on our doorstep. The Vision Afrika Primary School in Kayamandi aims to support the next generation of “leaders, business makers and skilled workers” in South Africa. They have many opportunities for Stellenbosch students to lend a helping hand, such as tutoring and mentoring learners up to Grade 12, supervising and entertaining younger children in their Aftercare programme, or caring for toddlers at their onsite crèche. Take some time out of your schedule to teach, support and inspire the future of our country. Visit the Vision Afrika website, https://visionafrika.com/ to read about their many success stories and sign up to volunteer.
Animal Welfare Society Stellenbosch
The Animal Welfare Society Stellenbosch is an NGO that has been looking out for our four-legged friends for over 60 years. AWSS is committed to supporting mistreated and neglected dogs and cats in the Stellenbosch community. They provide veterinary care, shelter and facilitate a successful adoption programme to ensure their furry guests find a loving home.
Stellenbosch students can get involved by volunteering to walk and socialize with the cats and doggos, as well as assisting the AWSS with events, cleaning and the maintenance of their facilities. If cuddling cats and hugging pups is how you want to spend your free afternoons then check out the AWSS website for more information, https://www.awss.co.za/. (Did you know? Die Matie donates all its leftover newspapers to the AWSS to use in their dog kennels.)
The Great Labyrinth Project
Portulacaria afra, Elephant Bush, or better known as Spekboom! No matter what you call it, this “wonder plant” could be South Africa’s greatest gift to the fight against climate change. Spekboom are 10 times more effective at reducing carbon than traditional rainforest trees, and 100 times more effective than pine trees.
The Great Labyrinth Project is planting 90 000 of these miracle plants to create a labyrinth, thereby encouraging environmentalism, meditation and mindfulness all in one project. Once the Spekboom are fully grown they will draw around 765 tonnes of carbon emissions from the atmosphere every year. The Great Labyrinth Project needs volunteers to help with digging holes, planting and watering. If you want to join others in rolling up your sleeves for the environment, you can find more information about volunteering on the GLP website, https://www. greatlabyrinth.co.za/.
Pebbles Project encourages volunteers to use their interests to give back to the community. Whether its education, health, nutrition or skills training, there is an opportunity for all Stellenbosch students to make a difference. Pebbles Project places emphasis on education to “enrich the lives of disadvantaged children and families in the Wineland farming communities in the Western Cape”. Volunteers can assist these communities by helping with tutoring, meal planning, community outings, as well as sports and cultural events.
If you want to share your skills to improve the lives of others right here in the Winelands, then get in touch with Pebbles Project on their website, https://www.pebblesproject.co.za/.
Stellumthombo are dependent on volunteers to ensure the success of their programmes. Each programme aims to “cultivate hope” within the vulnerable members of the Stellenbosch Community. Stellenbosch students can put themselves forward to become positive role-models for underprivileged children as mentors, whilst encouraging and assisting in literary and exercise activities.
Stellumthombo also support the homeless people in Stellenbosch, adopting a holistic programme of support with which they hope to make a sustainable difference.
With the range of volunteer opportunities available and their operations focusing on the Stellenbosch communities specifically, this organisation makes it easy for Stellenbosch students to make a difference in this town. Visit http:// stellumthombo.co.za/ for more details.
* Do you have your own project or a suggestion for a worthy cause that requires volunteers? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can spread awareness on our social media platforms.