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The on-going stories from our Manager, Sharon Dreyer.

Travellers volunteers in their droves have been and still are helping the local township communities in many different ways - they have really made a difference! For them and for future volunteers, here are some little tit-bits about what's happening in Knysna.


List of ALL PROJECTS in South Africa


Welcome to Knysna


Andi and Tanja are a young couple from Switzerland who chose to come volunteer through Travellers Worldwide at a crèche in the township of Knysna. On meeting them at the airport I immediately could see they would be making a big impression as not only where they mature, eager to get stuck in helping any way they could but their overall outlook on life was really fantastic.

From the start they were a huge hit with the kids and the staff, handing out food at meal times, assisting the teachers with the children in their lessons, playing with the little ones in the playground and Andy even fixed the children’s blocked sink. He was quite amazed to find that the pipes were blocked with pencils!
They also took part in an outing down to the annual Knysna Literary Festival taking the kids to see a theatre production with lots of singing and dancing. A lot of fun for kids and volunteers!

The days at the crèche were filled with lots of laughter and praise for them- in particular from the crèche Principal Irene. Little did Irene know that there was more in store for her; Andi has done some fundraising back home in Switzerland so he and Tanja surprised the crèche with a brand new fridge/freezer which had Irene in tears of joy!!! But it was not all, the two volunteers hired local company, Kidbuddies, to come and fix the crèche’s dilapidated playground. 6 swings were fixed with secure chains and the old broken fibreglass slide was replaced with a bright new red one. The kids had a lot more to keep them occupied in play time.

So apart from the great hands on help that Andi and Tanja provided at the crèche, they also left a small legacy behind to assist with the daily needs off the little learners which would enrich their time at the crèche. We are all hugely grateful for all they have done!



Food, festivities and fundraising where the order of the evening at Harry B's restaurant on Main road of Knysna on Thursday. Crystal Carelse, the owner and chef of Harry B's, and Sharon Dreyer, the volunteer liaison for Travellers Worldwide volunteer organization, put their heads together to come up with a fun way to raise money in support of the Youth Development centre in Khayalethu South in Knysna's township. This registered NPO is a daily drop off centre for youth at risk and endeavors to get children back into school or alternatively provide them with life and job skills with the hope that they will be able to become employable and self sufficient adults at a later stage. They also receive a little funding from the Department of Social Development to provide adolescent development programs within certain schools in Knysna to target those learners struggling with personal difficulties at school and home in an attempt to assist them before matters get worse and their schooling career suffers.

Crystal and Sharon came up with an all-you-can-eat curry event with Crystal making tantalizing curries in Indian and Thai traditions. Numerous local businesses came forward to sponsor prizes for the lucky draw so some of the lucky guests had the opportunities to win bottles of wine sponsored by Liquor Box, hair vouchers from Knysna Heads & Nail Bar, dinner vouchers sponsored by Travellers Worldwide and Harry B's, pottery art from African Tribal and even a trademark hot cushion made by the YDC.

On arrival guests were treated to entertainment in the form of music by the Sinethemba Marimba band and then the eating started with the Harry B's kitchen and staff serving delicious bowls of mutton, beef, chicken and vegetable curry. After the guests had filled their stomachs, the prize giving started with the master of ceremonies, Michael Smith the director of the YDC, giving a short speech on the purpose and aim of the centre with lots of feedback from the guests. There were lots of laughs and excitement as the various sponsors pulled tickets out of a hat to award the lucky winners of the prizes. Michael also thanked Crystal for teaching four of the young ladies from the centre her cooking skills once a week.

Eventually the night dwindled to an end with lots of happy guests and exhausted staff. The fundraiser managed to raise just under R5000 for the Youth Development centre which will go towards the daily running costs of the centre. This most definitely won't be the last themed fundraiser for the Youth Development centre at Harry B's restaurant as due to the success of the evening, Crystal and Sharon will attempt another one in the next few months.

Crystal, Michael and Sharon would just like to thank all of the guests who supported the fundraiser, the sponsors who donated prizes so generously for the lucky draw and the Knysna Gossip Girls who attended with their partners and were instrumental in making the event such a huge success.


It's not just hard work for our volunteers and interns all the time and they get to enjoy all sorts of activities in their spare time. Travellers Worldwide vet intern in Knysna, South Africa, Daniela Frei, got to enjoy wine tasting at the annual Knysna Oyster Festival. She tried out famous wines from a selection of 200 from all over the country and got to experience why South African wines are so loved worldwide


Travellers Worldwide volunteer, Jack Viljoen, who is participating in a teaching placement at a disadvantaged school in Knysna, had a very busy day on Saturday the 10th of May. Jack helped orchestrate a school outing for his grade 4 pupils to the nearby town of Mossel Bay which is about a 1 ½ hour’s drive from Knysna.

Mossell Bay was the first area in South Africa that European explorers set foot at back in 1488 when Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Diaz landed there on his way to sailing around the Cape of Good Hope. Local archeological deposits though have traced a human history back by about 164 000 years. Mossel Bay has a commercial harbour and is known for its tourism, farming, fishing and also for its natural gas offshore deposits and its gas to liquid refinery so there is a lot of interesting places for learners to visit.

The day started early at 6.30am with 2 buses taking 97 learners, 5 teachers and Jack off to Mossel Bay. Their first stop was the Khoisan cave at the Point which has become a very famous archeological site where evidence of early indigenous people lived. Next stop was down to the harbour to take a look at all the ships and boats docked. The area were the learners come from is extremely impoverished so for many this would have been the first time they got to see a working harbour. The historical Diaz museum was next and all the learners got to take a walk on a replica of the early explorer's boat. The aquarium across the road was also a fun stop where the learners got to marvel at all the fish that inhabit our beautiful South African coastline.

After all the sightseeing and showing the learners some of our natural and social sciences of South Africa, the teachers and Jack decided to let the learners end the day with some fun at the games arcade at the Mossel Bay casino complex. These little things we take for granted but these are all first time activities for the learners. Jack said that the games arcade was definitely the highlight of the trip for the learners. It just goes to show that children the world over love playing computer and arcade games no matter what their cultures or circumstances.

After a long and eventful day, Jack got back to Knysna just over 12 hours later! We are so proud of him! He and the principal have been planning this trip for quite some time and although the children had to pay towards the trip, his father kindly made a donation to supplement the fee so that it was not too expensive for the learners. This trip has definitely been the highlight of his placement and will be a memory that his grade 4 learners will never forget. He has truly had a lasting effect on the learners that he works with and has been an asset to the school he has been volunteering at

IN THE SPIRIT OF LITERACY - Knysna - February 2014

We at Travellers Worldwide are big believers of upliftment through education, so, with March in Knysna, South Africa, being the Literacy festival month, we decided to get into the swing of things and make education a little more fun –and rewarding too!

We enlisted the help of Travellers Worldwide volunteer, Clare Taylor, along with the Grade 7 English teacher, Mr Madola, at a local primary school in the townships of Knysna and they set a theme for an essay writing competition. The theme was “What would I change if I could be president for one day” and we let the kids know there would be prizes for the best work.

The essay also counted towards their term marks so hopefully the extra incentive of a competition would make them work that little bit harder and more creatively.

The essay writing was done over the course of a week in the three English Grade 7 class at the primary school. Clare then read through all the essays and chose the best essay per class, one from the boys and one from the girls.

On Monday the 3rd of March, first thing in the morning, we held a separate assembly just for the Grade 7s. All the prize winners were called up and received their prizes of branded Bad Boy and Bad Girl backpacks filled with matching pencil cases, pens, coloured pencils and retractable crayons which are apparently very popular with the learners. Personalized award certificates were also handed out to the six winners.

Of course we wanted to make sure that all the kids found it a little more fun than a normal essay writing assignment, so we handed out sweets to all the kids before they went back to class. We hope that the prizes the learners won will also be of use when they move on to high school next year.

This is not the first time that Travellers Worldwide has sponsored a writing competition at the primary schools in the townships and we hope that we will be able to carry on this tradition with future learners and volunteers that assist with the learners in Knysna in the more disadvantaged communities on our teaching placements

"CLOTHING DONATION" - Knysna - February 2014

Tuesday afternoons in Knysna we try and take all the volunteers to a local children's home to help with homework and also entertain the little ones and give them the attention they crave. This Tuesday was a particularly fun afternoon as our volunteer Clare Taylor got to donate a huge selection of soccer supporter clothes.

As the children in many cases come from sensitive backgrounds, we are not allowed to take photos of their faces so we had a lot of fun with the children all standing with items of clothes covering their faces! We couldn't help but laugh at them and I'm sure they are going to have a lot of fun in their New England, Chelsea, Manchester United (and more) supporter gear! Thanks Clare!!!



"A PARCEL IN THE POST!" - Knysna - January 2014

Monday evening while cooking supper at my home I received a knock on the door. It was a courier service looking for our volunteer Clare Taylor as they had a huge box for her.

So first thing Tuesday morning I took it into to work with me and Clare got very excited as it was a box of soccer supporter gear and stationary her colleagues and friends had sent over to be donated into the poorer communities to the youth. Clare went through the parcel and we sorted out where the things should be donated.

The clothes in particular were amazing from Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, England and more soccer teams and of the best quality! Can’t wait to see her donate them out! Well done to her and her friends for this kind donation!


Christmas outing for the youth!!!

Volunteering can be hard work, but also a lot of fun!! This morning was definitely one of those occasions. Along with volunteers Clare Taylor and Chris Taylor (no relation), we took 6 of the youth from the youth development volunteer project up in the township of Knysna down to the town for a special treat. First was a Christmas shopping excursion to a local fashion store, Mr Price.  Clare took charge of the two girls (who happen to be a twin) and Chris was responsible for the boys.

All of the youth got to pick out clothes for quite a substantial amount of money from shoes, jackets, skirts, tops, pants, underwear, belts and caps. They all managed to get a complete outfit and in some cases even more. It was such fun to see them choosing the items that they liked and as they are all in their teens they knew what they liked.

While they were choosing their clothes for their ‘Christmas box’ I snuck off to another shop where I bought them all a towel, face cloth, body wash and deodorant spray. After all it’s not only about looking good but smelling good too. So they got an extra surprise on getting back to the car, they were really thrilled.

Just too really make the occasion extra fun we then stopped off at KFC where all the youth got to indulge in ice-creams and milkshakes. So with big smiles, lots of shopping and full stomachs we then took them back to the center where Clare and Chris will now have some fun with drama enactments with the youth. I just hope all the excitement and the sugar rush from the sweet treats doesn’t interfere with the drama

Big thanks to all that made this occasion possible and especially Clare and Chris for keeping everything in control despite all the excitement!


"SERVICE DELIVERY WITH A SMILE!" - Knysna - October 2013

One of the township schools we work with were desperate to get some taps installed for the learners so that they could have access to drinking water. This is obviously something we agreed with 100% so OFF so off we went down to the hardware store.

With the help of two wonderful local handymen that were skilled in plumbing, within a few days we had two brand new taps fitted, two broken taps replaced plus a new sink mixer in the kitchen where the learners get their breakfast of nutritional E-pap porridge.

We also had the traps in the staff room fixed!

At Travellers Worldwide we might have volunteer placements in Africa but we definitely don’t run on African time! The Principal of this school was so thrilled that he hugged the handymen out of pure happiness!

These photos may look boring and uninteresting, but the taps really meant a lot. You learn out here - or anywhere, for that matter - that sometimes a small thing has a huge value!

Until next time, take care


ITS COLD OUT THERE!!! - Knysna - June 2013

The winter has been cold here in Knysna with the whole of the Western Cape Province been hit with a couple of cold fronts.

In some areas there have even been several cases of snow which is something we hardly ever experience here in South Africa. So imagine my joy when my friend Geraldine from Tours for South Africa called me saying she had a donation of new blankets from an anonymous donor that she would like to give to me and do I know of anyone that would be in need - especially children.

Now that is the easiest thing in the world for me to do as I know plenty of needy people! We have a whole township full of people living in poverty and using roughly made shacks as a roof over their heads.

After discussions with Geraldine I collected 3 huge boxes of blankets on Monday. Yesterday I took one box up to the Khayalethu South clinic and handed them out to mother’s with young babies. They went so quickly and I could really have done with a few more blankets.

This morning the children that attend the youth development center for youth at risk that we support were the lucky recipients. As it is school vacations, they are running their vacation program which also targets children from the local community so they have plenty children attending the center. This is quite a blessing as I got to give the blankets out in one go and hit my target of making sure the children benefit directly. The youth at the center were very happy to receive the blankets and I hope it will make their evenings a little cosier during these cold nights.

Thank you, Geraldine, for allowing me to be able to help so many children in the disadvantaged communities of Knysna with your ‘warm’ donation - excuse the pun!


KNYSNA ROCKS!!! - Knysna - May 2013

We have been very busy in Knysna. Travellers Worldwide volunteer, Danielle Evans, decided to throw a party for the little ones at the township crèche she has been volunteering at.

After a massive shopping spree buying hot dogs rolls, viennas [hot dog sausages], crisps, cool drink, cupcakes, lollipops, sweets, dinky cars, bubbles and an assortment of party poppers, the big day arrived. Oh boy, were the kids excited!! As were the staff.

At 12pm the party started and 72 kids got to join in the festivities! What fun and games, but I think the highlight for the little ones was chasing after the bubbles that Danielle blew for them. They simply loved it, screaming with joy and jumping with hands and arms outstretched trying to catch the elusive bubbles. It really was so rewarding to see how much fun they had.

I must give a big thank-you to Danielle for all her organizing and the fundraising she did to make this party possible. A truly worthwhile event!


Danni with donations for the creche Project in South Africa
MANIC MONDAY! - Knysna - April 2013

Today, Monday, was a great way to start the week.

Danni, one of our volunteers at the township crèche, and I had gone shopping with the donation money that she had made through fundraising the previous week. We had bought a new laptop to replace the old PC that was being used by the Principal, Irene. We had also bought a pile of children’s DVDs, educational posters for the walls of the Crèche and a LCD monitor. We envisioned that the Principal would be able to play the DVDs from her new laptop onto the larger LCD monitor.

Danni also donated a huge 16 litre urn to make life easier for the crèche when cooking meals for the kids.

When we got to the crèche, Irene, the Principal, started dancing up and down with excitement. The kids got all excited and the other staff were thrilled.

I am so happy that I got to be a part of this amazing donation. And it’s all thanks to Danni who has been such a wonderful, motivated and humble volunteer. The children are going to miss her a lot (and so will I). And she will miss them.


Danni with donations for the creche Project in South Africa
AREN'T PEOPLE WONDERFUL?! - Knysna - April 2013

We have a volunteer here, Rachel, who's brought her 4-year-old son, Nathaniel, with her on her program at the Safe House in Knysna - and a good thing, too, because over the weekend she took Nathaniel to a play area to enjoy the sunny weather. While they were there, she got chatting to a South African couple on vacation, Ralph and Lalett, whose little daughter was playing with Nathaniel.

Rachel told them about what she was doing in South Africa, volunteering with the little ones and Ralph and Lalett were so impressed that they decided to give a donation towards the kids.  During the conversation, Rachel had mentioned that the two scooters the children had to play with were broken and in pieces.

Thanks to Ralph and Lalett's generous donation, Rachel was able to buy three new scooters for Toffee, Beauty and Takunda, the toddlers at the Safe House. As you can imagine they were thrilled ... and no more fightling over two schooters amongst three children. What bliss!

People are wonderful !!


Scooters donated to the Safe House Project in South Africa
TOYS FOR AFRICA - Knysna - Jan 2013

We are all very passionate about what we do at Travellers Worldwide so when a friend of mine here in Knysna, South Africa contacted me asking if I knew of any crèches in the township that could do with some toys, I jumped at the opportunity!!

Well those ‘some toys’ turned out to be over 4 black bags FULL of toys from puzzles, dolls to dolls houses. Even a High School Musical book and CD- yes I know that is bound to impair their learning?. There were so many toys in fact that I decided to split it up with the Grade R class at a primary school and the crèche in the township as we send volunteers to both and I am very aware of their financial circumstances and troubles. Both have a lot of children in the class averaging at least at 45 children and both are in very impoverished communities and need all help they can get.

The Grade R teacher at the primary school, Songi, was thrilled with the extras to which she could also use in the classroom with the little ones but at the crèche the children literally dived into the bags of toys. They did not even make it inside the crèche, the kids had the toys out as if it was Christmas morning unwrapping presents, and in fact maybe for them it was better than the Christmas they had.

People wonder why I love my job so as a volunteer coordinator in Knysna, South Africa for Travellers Worldwide. Well without a doubt it is from the satisfaction and joy I get in seeing so many smiles on the faces of children who are so deserving of so much more. That kind of rewarding feeling is priceless! And to think that these bags were going to be thrown in the dustbin if my friend hadn’t saved them from their wealthy owners who had no need for them! Some people’s rubbish are others treasure!



Thanks to the help of our volunteers we were able to make a donation to one of our projects we support, a township crèche. Irene, the principal and Charlotte, one of the teachers, were most grateful to receive a surprise package this morning with a few items that they had on their wish list. We were able to buy them porridge bowls and spoons for the children’s daily meal of e-pap which is a nutritional porridge specially developed for the infirm so packs all the daily necessary vitamins and minerals in for the kid’s daily intake. We also bought them a collection of pots and a tea set so that the staff can use it when having guests at the crèche. Our two volunteers, Charlotte and Umair, made it possible for us to make the donation.

Travellers Worldwide makes a donation on the volunteer’s behalf to the crèche.  I hope we are able to send them more hands on volunteers and make more of their wished come true in the future!  


The local Children’s Home is home to over 50 children and is in a township on the outskirts of Knysna town. On a recent visit there, the manageress, Eva, had expressed how desperate they were for the front reception and dining area, where the children eat their meals, to be painted. I must admit the walls looked really grubby and dingy, in various shades of brown, yellow, blue and green. I said I would speak to our SA director, Bill, and see what how we could help. 

Bill agreed and we went and bought the paint that Eva had chosen in a shade called “Purple Tryst” with extra white ceiling paint. So on this beautiful sunny Saturday the volunteers and I headed up to the local children’s home armed with our paint, brushes, trays and rollers ready to tackle the job.

We were fortunate to get two local chaps that I know to help out, which was great as they were a little bit more experienced in the field of painting and decorating - without a doubt it is NOT an area I excel in or enjoy! With their help and supervision the painting went faster than we thought it would.

Becca, from Edmonton in Canada, and Anisah who has joined us from London, got to work on the itty bits around the skirting and all the intricate spots. George, who is our volunteer from Manchester, who is quite a tall chap, did all the intricate bits around the top and helped finish painting the ceiling. We all had a turn at painting with the rollers and within the record time of 3 hours we had finished the job.

At this time the children, who had been playing at a nearby park to keep them out of our hair while we were busy painting, came back to the home and started peering through the windows so they could see what we had been doing. They were so pleased with what we had done; I must say it was a HUGE improvement, many of them telling me in Afrikaans ‘dit lyk mooi’ which in English means ‘it looks beautiful’. That was all the reward we needed and as we drove off down the hill back into town I know that all of us had a huge amount of self satisfaction at the difference we could make in their surroundings and hopefully that will make their lives just that little bit brighter .

I am so grateful for the help and hard work that Anisah, Becca, George and our two local chaps, Byron and Rustin, put in. Painting the children’s home would never have been possible without them- and of course the donation of paint from Travellers Worldwide on behalf of our volunteers. 


A PERFECT DAY! 4th of March 2012

Off we went at the crack of dawn - 6.15 am - to Mossel Bay. It’s a fair drive from Knysna but a beautiful one. My three volunteers had an early morning appointment with a few Great White sharks and we didn’t want to be late and upset them!! So at 8.15 am their journey to meet the ‘white death’ began. 

While they were floating in a cage off the side of a boat being eye balled by one of the top ocean predators, I took it easy walking around the town, looking at the historic buildings - Mossel Bay was discovered by Bartholomew Diaz, a Portuguese explorer, in 1488, which is a lot earlier than when Jan van Riebeek first set up a colony in what is now Cape Town.

Seeing as the volunteers were getting to have fun with sharks and I didn’t want to be left out, I took a walk around the “Shark Lab” , a research facility and aquarium, and watched the Soup Fin sharks swimming around. Then it was back off to fetch the volunteers who, at this stage, were totally exhilarated and also a bit queasy - sea sickness is no joke. The girls and I went and walked around the Bartholomew Diaz Maritime museum and then met up with the chaps and went for a brief tan and swim at Santos beach which is just so picturesque.  

Then it was off to the town of Groot Brak, which lies between the cities of Mossel Bay and George for our next deadly adventure, walking with lions!!! Now although the lion, Mufasa, and lioness, Lila, are only 17 months old, they are fairly big already and I have no doubt that if we didn’t listen carefully to our guide’s instructions, things could get quite scary. The walk itself went so quickly – too quickly -as it was so entertaining to watch the lions playing around. Before we knew it we had to say good bye to them, partly I think because they were getting a bit rowdy, and off we went, tired after a long but very perfect day!


Thanks to a kind donation to the soup kitchen by Andrew and Stephanie Rintoul, we were able to buy the soup kitchen 2 chalkboards and a table and extra chairs. We had a little bit of change left over so we decided to throw a ‘hot dog’ party for the local kids.

On the day we arrived with lots of wolls, tomato sauce and Vienna sausages. It all went very well with Rebecca, one of our volunteers, and I running up and down cutting rolls, heating up the vienna’s and dishing out hot dogs to the kids - some of the bigger ones even devoured two!!

I must say I was really happy with the afternoon ‘hot dog’ party as not only were we able to have hot dogs for  all the kids that arrived but we also saw quite a few new faces and I hope we will be seeing them again in the future.

The soup kitchen is run from a Monday to a Friday after school closes and any of the children who come there will get a bowl of food. This can be anything from soup and bread, e-pap (a nutritional porridge that was originally developed for the terminally ill and those with HIV/AIDS) or soya mince with a starch. This means that at least the children are getting fed, because the area is plagued with poverty, alcohol abuse and unemployment. Sadly, though, for some of the children it’s the only meal they will get a day.

Volunteers painting the Children's Home

Walking a Lion on our voluntary project in Knysna

Hot Dogs are Good!
Hot dogs are good!
NEWS FROM KNYSNA - Knysna - February 2012

Today was a strange day filled with mixed emotions from happiness and excitement to sadness and loss.

 It was an early start for me as I drove off to the luxurious Pezula Hotel and Golf Estate. Towards the end of 2011 I had been in contact with a lady who worked for Coca Cola SA who was organising a team building exercise for their global top management. The team building exercise would be assembling bicycles and she was looking for a children’s home to donate them to. This seemed like such a wonderful opportunity to put her in touch with Ella and Penny at the safe house that Travellers Worldwide supports and give the children who stay there their first chance of their very own bicycle. After a few meetings with the ladies from Coca Cola SA based in Port Elizabeth, everything was set and the day had finally come for the bicycle handover.

When I got to Pezula I could see the huge Coca Cola truck with its mobile stage. I could see the bicycles lying with their teams nearly fully assembled and I went searching for Ella, Penny and the kids at the main hotel. This was such a great outing for the kids, before the presentation started we all were taken for a tour on their golf carts around the grounds and top class golf courts. I had little Tracey Lee on my lap and she just loved it and got so excited! And boy did I laugh when 5year old Imangi on seeing a waterfall thought it was the sea!

After our tour it was off to the “puppy room” which is basically the children’s playroom. They have everything thing there from Lego, colouring books and puzzles to a Wii console, LCD TV and a ‘foosball’ table. The little ones had a great time and played while the facilitators did last minute touches in the preparation to the presentation. We all were then led outside and Ella, Penny and the kids walked on stage. Ella then gave a brief account of the children and how they ended up at her safe house after being rescued from abusive backgrounds. I could see quite a few of these management chaps from Coca Cola was as touched as I was on hearing how hard nearly all of the little ones had had it in their short lives. Then it was time for the various teams to hand over the bicycles to the new owners. It was so great to see the kids trying them out for the first time.

But unfortunately I had to cut the fun short as myself and Vuyo , one of the teenage girls from the safe house, were expected at a funeral and were already running late. After saying our thanks and goodbyes we drove off to Hornlee, a lower economy area, worlds away from the opulence of the Pezula hotel despite only being a 10 minute drive away. With very heave hearts and holding back the tears we went and paid our final respects to Irvin Campher, the operations manager for the youth development center that Travellers has worked with for many years now, who sadly passed away at the age of 32 years old having been such a wonderful mentor and worker with many children from disadvantaged children. The church was full with friends, family, collegues and youth who had also came to say goodbye to this kind, gentle man who had done so much for so many. He will greatly be missed. RIP


SANTA COMES TO THE SAFE HOUSE - Knysna - November 2011

Christmas to me is all about children and giving, so armed with a donation from Rachel who worked in our UK office I hit the Knysna shops with a list of the safe house children’s sizes in clothing and shoes! I wanted to get outfits for all of the kids and wrap them in bright wrapping paper so that all of the children got to open a present and find a new outfit in their size handpicked for them. Unfortunately I had not taken blister plasters as by the end of the day I was exhausted and had a huge blister from all the running around. Despite my ‘war injury’ I must say I felt like I had surpassed myself- and my budget- when it came to all the items I had bought. I managed to get a pair of shoes for every child at the safe house and in most cases a complete outfit. I also managed to pick up a little Christmas tree with the trimmings and flashing Christmas lights to bring the spirit of Christmas tree into the safe house.

But I had gone over my budget and was still short on a few items and still had not even bought food for their Christmas Day lunch, which was something I really wanted to do to make the whole day memorable. With a heavy heart and a very light purse I decided to mention my circumstances on Facebook. Well the response was quite amazing!! Three of my friends made donations to help out with two more pledging donations at pay day!! So not only was I able to buy the rest of the clothing I needed to buy for the some of the children but on top of it I was able to buy the wrapping paper to wrap the presents so that they could go under  their newly bought tree and buy food for their lunch. I’m just so happy to be a part in making their Christmas day a whole lot better as I am sure is Rachel and my other kind friends who have helped out.

The Christmas tree was taken through in the afternoon to the safe house and with the help of little Tracey, Beauty, Vuyo and our volunteers Laura and Elyse, it was put up with the star on the top, tinsel and all the decorations. And while Christmas day is one of our hottest days in South Africa, the Christmas tree even got a little bit of artificial snow despite the children never having experienced snow in their lives. They absolutely loved the tree with its flashing lights and little Tracey started immediately singing some sort of Christmas song –the words were just a repeat of Happy Christmas so it was easy to join in with her singing- and I could feel that indeed there was a lot more of a Christmas feel in the safe house which is exactly what I wanted after all the build up is so important.

On Friday next week we will be dropping off the Christmas presents for each child and I cannot wait to see their little faces then. All the effort will be so worth it and I am so excited for them that I will be coming through on Christmas day to visit the kids and hopefully see them in their new outfits. This year is going to be the most special Christmas ever!!!


Christmas tree in the safe house 
SEASON TO BE GIVING! - Knysna - November 2011

Christmas season is hitting the shops and once again it is the season to be giving and Rachel Heels who used to work in our UK office did exactly that! She sent over a lovely donation through our Bridge the Gap foundation which she and I decided should be split between the children at the youth development center and the safe house that Travellers Worldwide support. 

So on a bright Friday morning myself and our Kiwi volunteer Elyse headed off with 6 of the youths from the youth development center to go shopping at local clothing store, Mr Price, for clothes. The guys were told that they had a set amount they could spend on clothes that they could pick out themselves.  Well, I must say it was a first for me to go clothes shopping with a bunch of male teenagers and what a process it was!!! Teenagers are indeed a fussy bunch and what is it with boys and shoe laces????

Finally after a lot of debating amongst each other on the right shoes, the best deal on pants and the most reasonable t-shirts I paid for all the clothing and it was back off to the township! The guys from the center will only be getting the clothes they picked out in their Christmas box with the end of year Christmas day at the center but they were so happy to be getting new outfits and I in turn am so pleased for them!

Enver, one of the youth from the center was so surprised that someone who had never met him would want to spend money on him!! Thanks Rachel, you helped maker their Christmas this year a lot better!!


Christmas Clothes Shopping in Knysna 

This afternoon had to be one of the most humbling and inspiring afternoons I have had in a long time. After fetching our four volunteers from their school placement we went over to help at the soup kitchen in Concordia Township run by Ella. The particular part of the township were the soup kitchen is very poor but a lot of the free government (RDP) houses are being built so there is a fair amount of development. We immediately went through to the back of Ella’s home where there is an extension were she holds the soup kitchen. Tables and chairs were put out for the children who are all from the surrounding areas, and Ella’s helper carried on cooking a huge pot of ‘samp’ (a traditional maize-type dish) and soya mince. The kids sat down, plates were handed out and the meals were served. All the kids were so good and got quite large helpings I was pleased to see. The volunteers then played with the children (ranging from a baby to a 17 year old girl) and kept them occupied.  

All this time Ella had been away with her partner Penny doing a ‘township tour’, which is how she earns a living, but arrived back with an Austrian couple that were in Knysna on vacation. She instructed me and the four volunteers to come inside and sit and gave us juice and biscuits and this is when things really got interesting. Ella started telling us all about her background growing up on a farm in the Eastern Cape, one of the poorest provinces of South Africa, the youngest daughter to two alcoholic parents. Although she walked miles to the nearest school she preferred this to having to work- which as a 10 year old happened as her mother was sometimes too drunk to work. Eventually she managed to complete her Grade 10 at the age of 17 and dropped out of school to help on the farm but she was always keen to go back and finish her schooling which would be another two years to Grade 12. In the town closest to the farm there were some Baptist church missionaries that took an interest in her and heard of her wish. Bearing in mind it was the apartheid era, the Baptist church allowed all racial groups to attend their church meetings. They decided to help Ella who at this stage was 23 and said they would pay for her schoolings if she would find a school to enrol her. This was a problem as she was way too old for the school at 23 but after a lot of begging and pleading her case one of the schools allowed her to finish her schooling on the condition that she lied about her age to the other pupils and teachers. At the age of 25 Ella finally got her school certificate.  

She then moved to Knysna and walked the streets looking for a job eventually getting a job as a dishwasher at a local Nando’s fast food restaurant. She worked her way up to a kitchen assistant but after not getting the salary increase she wanted from her boss she resigned from Nando’s and went to work for one of the ladies at the local Knysna Baptist church cleaning her house. She was then also approached by a wedding planner to assist her too which she did. Between her two places of employment she worked a 7 day week and had no time to socialise saving her money. She then was asked by her one employer to assist in the office which is what she did. In the meantime she bought a house in Concordia Township with the help of some of the members of the Baptist church. They contributed R25 000 and she put in the other R8 000.

But life in the office started boring her so she came up with this idea and approached another lady who attended her church, Penny, to go into business with her. Although Penny was a dubious about it initially, in 2008 they started there township tours. Around the same time Ella noticed a lot of the children in the area knocking on her door asking for bread as their parents spent more money on alcohol so did not spend a lot of money on food. This bothered her and she decided to set up a 5 day a week soup kitchen. Her warm heartedness did not stop there and she started to set up a safe house for families of domestic violence. She has also set up a foster house and has eight children, victims of violence and crime, living with her under her roof. She also does HIV counselling having been diagnosed with the disease 8 years ago. What an inspiring woman!  

After listening to her incredible story, Ella pulled out two djembe drums and started singing and drumming for us. She then gave all the volunteers an improtu lesson on drumming –which I must say they mastered really quickly. The isiXhosa lesson that followed was not so easy for them though with all of us battling with the clicks. We finished off with a warm farewell from Ella, we shall be returning tomorrow to help in the soup kitchen with this remarkable woman!



Another article about how Travellers Worldwide are helping that was published by the Knysna/Plett Herald

I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to the presentation of the Percy Madala High School Intervention project sponsored by the Department of Water and the Knysna Municipality. The project was started as part of a competition that the Department of Water had set up. 3 of the Grade 12 learners of the school started doing a study of the nearby Khayalethu River which runs through the township and feeds into the Knysna lagoon as part of their project. During their observation they noticed how dirty the river was due to pollution from upstream and how little children from the sides of the river swam in this dirty water downstream. They decided to do something about it and this is how the Water Intervention project started.

Once a month a group of school learners with their teacher go down to the river and spend the day cleaning it up. They also provide black bags to the people who live on the side of the river so that they do not throw their rubbish in the river and there are plans to build a foot bridge across it at a later stage. The 3 learners did so well with their project that they won the provincial part of the competition and went on to compete in the national round in Pretoria.

So on this lovely Thursday at 1 pm I drove up to Percy Madala High School in Khayalethu Township to see what the launch of this Water Intervention would hold. First of all the other visitors and I were greeted and explained what the project was all about. Our next step was to walk the 10 minutes down to the river to observe the learners and staff of the Water Department taking water samples to access the pollution in the water. Easier said than down as to get there you have to walk through a forest area and on a few occasions I nearly went sliding down into the river-which at this time looked a little more like a stream as we have not had to o much water.

Once there, although the locals seem to use it as a dumping ground, you are still enchanted with this little patch of wildlife. The other visitors and I then watched samples being taken only for it to be revealed that this river is in a worse state than imagined with the pollution and health of the river being in a terrible state. We then walked up back to the school, with me narrowly slipping again on the little hike, cursing my level of fitness while huffing and puffing all the way.

As we got back to the school we were led to a huge marquee were we all took a seat in the front rows while half of the school sat in the rows behind us. I had the pleasure of sitting next to the Knysna Mayoress, Ms Eleanor Bouw-Spies, who leaned over and introduced herself. She looked a lot less out of breath than me, who was still red in the face from then brisk ‘hike’, even though she had walked the same trail. We then were introduced to the project by a guest speaker and the learners of Percy Madala High School entertained us with choral singing, drama enactments, poetry reading and dancing on the stage. Then it was time for a speech from our Mayoress and a speech from a representative from the Western Cape Education Department.

After all the festivities an early dinner was served and although I would have loved to have stayed for this- all the walking had given me an appetite- I had to be on my way to fetch volunteers. It was a great day and I must say how proud the school must be of their 3 learners who have set this project up just so that they can try and protect a little bit of our local legacy. They give us all hope that the youth are aware of our planet and are trying to make it a better place.



An article about Travellers Worldwide Volunteers that was published by the Knysna/Plett Herald

'PLETT FOR PEACE' - Plettenberg Bay - Nov 2010

Friday night was the ‘Plett for Peace’ candle concert held on Central Beach in Plettenberg Bay, a seaside town 30 minutes drive from Knysna. This free peace gathering and music celebration was supported by the Green Skin Initiative, which aims to eradicate racial hatred and promote harmony within the human race, so guests were encouraged to paint their hands or faces green or wear green clothing.

Myself and one of the Travellers Worldwide volunteers decided to drive through to go and see the activities. The concert started at 6.30 and ended at 11.30 although we did not stay that late. There were all types of things on the go from belly dancers, to fire dancers to entertain the crowds and various musicians who had volunteered their time. A particularly amazing musician was Ben Badenhorst on electric guitar who was truly creative and really interesting to listen to. Unfortunately as we left before they started we missed out on The Reggae Ambassadors form Knysna’s Rasta community, Judah Square.

There were various speeches made from various religious representatives of the Christian community and the Buddhist Center. We were also led in a meditative chant from the Hare Krishna’s who had travelled all the way from Port Elizabeth to be there.

For the vegetarians there was some great vegetarian food on offer for sale but we snuck off to the nearest restaurant to indulge in some decent hamburgers not wanting to offend the vegetarians.
It was a good night out with everybody being very chilled and friendly- no doubt as no alcohol was on sale. And despite the bad weather and threats of rain the turnout was good. Lots of children were running around and people were holding candles to support the event. This all taking place under the backdrop of the Beacon Isle hotel on one of Plett’s most popular beaches. It was well worth the drive through and hopefully it was successful enough that they will put it on again!
Another weekend away with the Travellers Worldwide volunteers and this time it was an overnight road trip to Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa’s surfing hot spot!! We arrived at lunchtime and decided to hit the Billabong clothing factory shop first, then off to check in at our backpackers and then off for a walk on the beach with the girls, a bit of beach soccer for the guys before we attempted a Braai. As the backpackers we were staying at were having a South African theme evening, we had a Zulu dance display done by a couple of the local kids put on for us before some of the volunteers played a bit of pool and socialised with the other guests.

The girls and I hit the sack not too late which explains why we were the only ones to witness the glorious sunrise over the sea at 7am. Nothing better than sipping coffee sitting on a sand dune watching the waves crashing first thing!! Eventually the guys crawled out of bed and it was off for a farm style breakfast in the town before hitting the surf clothing factory stores again and then back to chilling on the beach while the guys exhausted themselves playing beach soccer again. And still more clothes shopping for the girls and me!!!

Finally we collected our things and did a last stop for food (lots of eating and shopping in two days) before hitting the road back to Knysna feeling quite exhausted. Great weekend break though my only wish being that I had the ability to be able to surf and take advantage of the perfectly formed waves that Jeffrey’s Bay is so world famous for!!
The volunteers and I planned a little road trip for the weekend. First up was the world’s highest bungee jump at Bloukrans Bridge which stands at 216m. Most of the 7 volunteers I went with jumped and all found it a really crazy experience. In fact I still am hearing about it all the time. Well worth attempting although to be honest I still haven’t done and am not sure if I ever will. It’s scarily high!!

Then it was off to Storms River village where we checked into a rustic backpackers for some pool, relaxing and a braai (South African barbecue) around the fire. While we were eating we were entertained by two young Xhosa youths who played dijembe drums for us (very well I might add) and then did a traditional gum boot dance performance which in the words of one of the volunteers was ‘sick’!!

A few drinks and then it was off to bed after a fairly exhausting day. I woke up early the next day to the most beautiful day with a ‘berg’ (mountain) wind blowing. Finally the volunteers were up and it was off to breakfast in the village and then back on the road. First stop was visiting the cheetahs at the Wild Cat Experience. Amazing to see the speed at which they can run.

One of the volunteers was really impressed as he survived having his board shorts nibbled by one of the cheetahs although I don’t quite think that stands as a cheetah attack. Finally we went for a walk through jungle at Monkeyland to observe some monkeys although the volunteers made such a racket that I think they chased all the monkeys away.

Last stop was at the local farm stall and then back to Knysna. A fun but exhausting weekend!
PAINTING OF A NEW MURAL! Thembelitsha School - February 2010
Once again the Knysna volunteers have shown there enormous creativity! Hannah and Danni, two of our volunteers that were doing their placement at a township school, decided that they would really like to brighten up the school for the children by painting a mural on the outside walls.

After getting permission from the Headmistress, they chose a wall, bought the paint, designed a mural and spent many hours hard at work. I think they did a great job with the rainbow in the mural symbolising South Africa’s rainbow nation and with the words ‘I am, you are, we are Thembelitsha” I’m so proud of the two of them!!


NEW BUILDING EXTENSION! Child Care Center - November 2009
Myself and 3 of the volunteers, were kindly invited to the unveiling of the new girl’s dormitory at the Child Care Center in the township on Friday afternoon.

For months the builders have been working on this double storey extension and finally it was ready! It is going to make a HUGE difference to the children’s living conditions as it sleeps 20 and has an additional 2 bathrooms with 2 showers in both. The children had all been dressed in their best clothes and the Center had organised a live musician and a braai (traditional South African barbecue) for the occasion.

After a few speeches from some distinguished people- including the people behind the funding of the new wing-we all tucked into salads, ciabatta bread, steaks, chicken kebabs and boerewors (a traditional SA sausage). The weather was sunny and the whole occasion was extremely festive with a couple of the township dogs also getting a bit lucky with a few scraps from the tables.

What a great way to spend the afternoon; great food, lots of smiling, happy faces and the realisation that 46 children in need have just had their lives enriched for the future!  Sharon
THE WHALE STORY - Local Youth Development Center - October 2009

On this beautiful sunny day at the coast, Travellers treated 18 school pupils from a local township school to a chance to see the production of ‘The Whale Story’ by local theatre group, Lunch Box Theatre, at a local youth development center.

The beauty about the whole excursion was that not only did the pupils and their teacher get to enjoy the production, but the disadvantaged youths did too. The aim of the play was to make children aware of whales and the important part they play in the eco system and although the production was extremely educational and played a lot on conservation, it was extremely entertaining with lots of laughter and interaction between the two actors, Stuart and Mncedisi (from Lunch Box Theatre), their prop on stage, Wanda the Whale and the kids!

After the production was finished, Lunch Box Theatre group initiated a drama workshop which after a little bit of initial shyness, all the children- including the teacher and volunteers- joined in! Although very noisy, as one can imagine, it was so great to see how much fun everyone was having, adults included, and how involved everyone got in their freeze frame sketches.

I hope that we can initiate an event like this again in the future as apart from the children learning something in a fun way, it helps so with their confidence and the interaction between everyone involved can only be a positive influence! Sharon

NEW FOOTBALL BOOTS! Thembelitsha School - September 2009

Here is a photo taken in the staff room at Thembelitsha with 14 of the 16 soccer boots we sponsored for their U13 football team!

The local Primary School in the township do so well in the local school football tournaments DESPITE some of the children not having any shoes or playing with just one shoe on! How they do this we don't know, but it shows the level of enthusiasm they have for football.

The school was desperate for football boots so Travellers thought it would be a great idea if we could assist them and supplied football boots for the whole Under 13 team and their reserves!! This was even more important as they had a really important game coming up.

We managed to supply 16 of the team members with new football boots and the children and school football coaches were absolutely overjoyed! Sharon


First thing on this beautiful South African winter’s morning, I set off for the prize giving assembly at one of the local Primary School.s that we work with. Two of our volunteers, Michelle and Helen, had organised a writing competition with the three Grade 6 (approximately 11 years old) classes. The theme was ‘Why I am proud to be a South African'. The essay had to be at least one page long.

Michelle and Helen spent the whole weekend marking the essays, as they are contributing to the children’s term mark, and finally had chosen a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner with 5 runners up prizes for each class. All in all, that meant 24 prizes were handed out. The school that Michelle works at in the UK, St Marks Primary, has kindly donated 100 pounds so we went and bought lots of prizes from R100 shopping vouchers to stationary sets and beautiful journals.

I had put together some certificates to be awarded with the prices, and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners read their prize winning essays out to the whole assembly and I must say it made me very proud of them ... and proud to be a South African!

The whole idea for the competition and prize-giving came from Michelle and Helen, who have both been actively assisting with teaching the children (Michelle is a teacher in the UK). They are also both lovely girls who are really proving their worth in a very short time at the school.

I will be sending through lots of photos and some videos of the event and these will appear here very shortly. Sharon

Youth Development Center  - Khayalethu South, March 2009

Today I decided to have a break from the office and see what is going on at some of the projects. First stop was the Youth Development Center in Khayalethu South to see how one of our current volunteers was coming along.

On arrival all the little children from the crèche ran screaming with joy and excitement towards her, hanging off her every limb so that she was virtually grounded! Within in about 10 minutes I also had the same treatment with the kids virtually queuing up to be picked up - totally exhausting - and their energy levels don’t wane for a second. Next it was time for their breakfast which was a bowl of ‘pap’, a form of porridge made from maize meal which is a staple of any African diet, and onto their lessons.

One of the Travellers volunteers (who would prefer to remain anonymous but who I would like to thank nonetheless - you know who you are) had paid for their classroom to be carpeted and it was the first day that they got to ‘christen’ it. Surprisingly enough when their teacher, Nomphu, walked in the room, they became silent and all 11 little maniacs magically turned into little angels!! They sat so obediently and listened while she gave them a lesson on ‘my family’. So sweet to watch, unbelievable change from just 30 minutes earlier. While they sat down to draw a picture of their families, it was time to say goodbye.

My next ‘port of call’ was the Child and Youth Care Center, literally two blocks away. A past volunteer had come up to visit them so I decided to join her. After greeting all the staff, who, despite having the daunting task of caring for 46 children, seem to be permanently in a great mood and welcomed us with big smiles, we went through to the activity room to see the babies. There are only 5 babies at present there in the mornings, with 19 toddlers away at crèche during this time and the rest attending primary and high schools. We sat and played with the little ones until they got tired and it was time for their naps.

We, at Travellers Worldwide, had been lucky enough to receive a rather large donation from a past volunteer so we had put it to good use by donating all the school uniforms and some stationary for all 22 children attending school.

Again I would like to thank the Travellers volunteer who made it possible for all the children to get new school uniforms; you know who you are, too! The children and all the staff were thrilled!

I am so proud have been able to have been a part of this, it has made a huge difference to the children’s lives and they all look so sweet in their new uniforms - although I can’t say how long they will appear new!! LOL Sharon


Recently, Travellers Worldwide and Sunridge Primary played host to two volunteers from Calgary, Canada, Adele Campbell and Jacqueline Smith. Adele and Jacqueline spent 4 weeks assisting Sunridge Grade R teacher, Crystal September, with her learners.

They became so attached to the Grade R children that they decide that they wanted to do a little more to brighten up their lives and their classroom so with Travellers Worldwide helping to donate the paint needed, the girls painted a fantasy mural on the back of the Grade R classroom wall.

The children also managed to get their faces painted once the mural was complete and insisted on painting the girls faces too. What fun! Well done girls for putting so much effort in to making a difference to the little ones. Sharon

KNYSNA STREET KIDS PROJECTS - Providing hope and help to troubled young people - January 2009.

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There has been some excellent news this year for the street kids project in Knysna!

Over the last few years they have had great success with their work, but nothing can compare to their success this year. The project re-opened last week from the Christmas break and the group of children that were at the center last year decided to go back to school this year, this is amazing progress indeed! Michael who runs the center says 'We had 14 children on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, we registered all 14 of them at different schools in the area. On Wednesday we started with our after-school program and I fetch them every day from 14h00 at the different schools so that they can join in on the after-school program. I'm so excited about all of this.

One of the cases that stands out the most, is a young boy of 12 years old turning 13 this year and has never been to school in his life! This is due to a lack of proper parenting. He is now at a school and we are now negotiating with the Education Department about his placement in an appropriate level. I couldn't ask for something better. In the morning we have now 7 youth but slightly older than the ones that went back to school.

We are already focussing on life skills such as beadwork, pottery, recycling and gardening. What a great start to 2009!

Read more about this placement and how you can get involved.

BIG CATS ... AND MORE BIG CATS! - Knysna October 2008

Wow, did we do something incredible today or what!?!

After spending a few hours at the Love Life Center up in the township watching the football tournament between Sinethemba and various other street children foundations (some as far off as George), which was great fun- lots of sun, soccer and a live DJ with a lot of dancing, we headed off to the Wildlife Awareness Center just outside of Plettenberg Bay, to take part in their ‘Wild Cat Experience’.

We first got to watch a presentation which unfortunately I didn’t pay much attention to as I was totally side tracked by the two 8 week old cheetah cubs playing at our feet! They are undoubtedly the sweetest, friendliest balls of fluff you have ever seen!

Then we started the tour. First we went to visit Chester, the 17 month old male cheetah and his female feline companion, Zimbali. He’s beautiful! Magnificent ... and he knows it! We then went to see the smallest wild cat (weighing in at 1 ½ kilos) and one of the sweetest, the Black Footed Cat or Anthill Tiger as they are otherwise known. She wailed when we left her and her father as she loves human companions.

Then it was off to the Serval enclosure. This amazing wild cat is a lot shyer and was so well camouflaged by its coat in the shrubs it was quite hard to spot it! Next were the two playful 6-month-old male cheetah cubs. One of them was totally obsessed by the bows on Siobhan’s (a volunteer staying with us) shoes, that we had to sneak out before he tried to grab them again! Then it was off to see the beautiful Caracal family, father, mother and son. They are so majestic and have the most incredible colouring and appearance - just like painted ladies – beautiful! Last but by no means least were the two African Wild Cats who, as they were just being fed, were not too interested in our presence! What a wonderful afternoon!

Many thanks to Len and Sandra from the Wildlife Center for a truly wonderful ‘Wild Cat Experience’. Sharon

Frame by Frame Art Gallery  - Knysna October 2008

Finally the big opening for Frame by Frame Art Gallery was upon us!!

Frame by Frame is the art gallery and framing shop co-owned by Sue Maule of By Design Graphic Design Company. Carolyne, our graphic design volunteer, is doing a two month work placement with them so has been very actively involved with the opening preparations, in fact the beaded lamp shades at the entrance of the gallery she helped bead!

All five of the volunteers living at Newton Street and myself (Sharon) attended this fun event. There was an exhibition to coincide with the opening party with art supplied from various local artists which Sue had handpicked so it was of a very high standard, a wine and malt bar( with beer supplied by Knysna’s own local brewery, Mitchell’s) and a body painted male model on display! Shame, I hope he didn’t feel the cold too much! The party started at 5pm and even our SA Director, Bill Fussell, popped in to see what the fuss was all about!!

Then after a great event it was off to Oldies pub for the volunteers for dinner and drinks while I chose the quieter option of seafood pizza at Chatters restaurant around the corner!! Well done to Carolyne- I’m very proud of you girl- and Sue Maule and her crew for a great opening and evening! Sharon

Young Miss Sunridge 2008 - The 21st Anniversary Celebrations

On the evening of Friday the 29th of August, Sunridge Primary School held their 21st Annual Modelling Competition. There were six categories overall; Miss Sunray, Miss Sunshine, Miss Sunbeam, Miss Sunridge, Mr Sunridge Junior and Mr Sunridge Senior. The many contestants graced the runway in casual and evening wear and with so many stunning contestants to choose from, they gave the judges a really difficult task.

The guests were also entertained by the wonderful singing of Chandré Claasen and the amazing dance troops, ‘Steppers United’ and the ‘Ex-Konvicts’. The evening was a great success and was all part of Sunridge Primary’s 21st Anniversary celebrations.

Sharon says, "On the Friday (29.08) night, Lana Robinson and I got to be celebrity judges for the Miss Sunridge Primary School Modelling Competition which was such great fun (although much harder than what the job implies). She said it was a great way to have ended her placement having really enjoyed it.

All the volunteers loved Knysna and they have planned to have a reunion here with a list of things they still intend doing, like diving with the sharks at Mossel Bay. They all became great friends and helped each other out as much as they could. They all came with the right attitude from day one and were really a pleasure to have staying here at Newton Street."

Sinethemba Party
For her last day at Sinethemba, Lucy Dean put together a party for all the kids there. They played musical chairs, pass the parcel and pin the tail on the donkey (lovingly drawn by Lana Robinson). We all attended the party and could see how much the children enjoyed themselves. Lucy had bought cake, snacks and cool drink and all of the kids got to win prizes of bars of chocolate and sweets. When it was time to leave everyone was very sad, one little girl, Petronella, cried her eyes out!! It was then straight on to skydiving and then off to Cape Town for her and Clare O'Connell. Sharon

Dorothy Broster Children's Home , Knysna, March 2008

Just a happy story!

"Poppie" (Rolishia Lamini, 'Poppie' means 'little doll' in Afrikaans)

In 2007 Travellers volunteers Sarah-Jane Green and Elizabeth Elster were volunteers in Knysna, and spent many afternoons at the Dorothy Broster Children's Home.   They fell in love with Poppie, her little sister, Geraldine and baby brother, Tabang.  

Sarah-Jane has made it her project to sponsor Poppie's school fees at Knysna Primary School for the rest of her schooling, and Liz will take over Geraldine's fees when she starts school in Grade 'R' in 2009. 

As she had had no formal pre-school training, Poppie struggled a bit in Grade 1 last year, and as a result her teacher has decided that she should repeat Grade 1. She is much more settled this year and coping better too, gaining confidence all the time.  

Poppie has this year started ballet lessons with a private teacher, Sidwell Roman, who is a professionally trained ballet dancer, and has been running a ballet school for children of all ages for many years.

He is very kindly sponsoring Poppie's lessons. Sidwell organises wonderful shows every second year, which are well attended, so hopefully Poppie will be part of the next production! Sharon

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Knysna, February 2008

The efforts of our volunteers are always rewarded, particularly in the case of little Luvuyo (nickname Siya) who you can see pictured on the right.

Siya was involved in a playground accident in December which caused him to suffer a stroke.  He was left unable to speak, his vision severely impaired, and partial paralysis caused him to loose the use of his right arm. 

Before his accident, Siya was a bright and happy child who would always seized the opportunity to be center of attention.  He excelled at school and loved to play soccer with his friends and the way his eyes now light up when given a ball hides the frustration he deals with every day.

Sarah Davies is one volunteer who particularly bonded with Siya, and, after dropping the other volunteers off at Chris Nissen and Tembelitsha we go to Siya’s house to collect him for school.  Siya is so happy to see us approaching and though he only attends school for an hour and a half a day and cannot take part in the normal lessons, he loves to walk around the classrooms with Sarah and play with the soccer ball as much as his disability allows.  The time she spends with Siya has made such a difference to his days and Sarah will never forget how important this time is both to Siya and to herself. Sharon

TEMBELITSHA SCHOOL, Knysna November 2007

Hi All, After a sticky start yesterday, when the staff room was taken over by Health Department eye tests and things, we have at last started painting the Tembalitsha staff room.  The new colour is similar to the present one, just a bit brighter and happier.  It is really in need of a fresh coat of paint.

Colin and Wesley are there to help, and Becky Higginson and Kirsty Lomas are really excited to be part of the project.  They have a 'free' day, as their teacher is away until Monday.   

All the teachers we come across are really excited too, and can't wait to see their new, smart staff room! Even Victoria, the cleaning lady, is there boots and all scrubbing the little abandoned kitchen, which we will paint too.

The pale green curtains are washed, and are about to go to Dynamics for a 'tint' to navy blue - all in keeping with the school colours. Once the basic coat is dry, we will get stuck in drawing and painting African designs on the big windowless wall, and then organise the furniture, kitchen etc. Sharon

Tembelitsha School, Knysna, October 2007

At last our carefully painted 'Music and Drama room' has been christened! To add to the occasion, over the past couple of months all the broken windows in the school have been repaired by the Department of Education, which is really great.

I attended Nicole's recorder lesson at Tembelitsha yesterday, and was so impressed with her! She was so sweet and patient with the children. By the end of the lesson she had them all playing 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' (well, the first two lines!) quite well together. They are hoping to play at assembly on Monday, and after just 4 or 5 lessons, that will be quite an achievement!!

The children have given themselves the very ambitious name of "The Ghetto Girls Group of Stars"!

Both Temba Bella and Mimi Grootboom looked on, and are both keen to learn the recorder too. Once we can get Temba to play this song on the piano, we will have the beginnings of an orchestra! The Music Department at Tembelitsha has been born!!! Pretty exciting stuff.


Newton Street Volunteer House, Knysna

News that is not entirely project related but still without a doubt worth mentioning is Pretty, our 'home executive', who is the unsung hero of Newton Street!  She willingly, energetically and happily keeps order in the Volunteer house, and never complains!

She is a true star!


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Tembelitsha School, Knysna, September 2007

A little bit of news from Knysna ...

On Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd September Tembelitsha celebrated its 10th Birthday with dancing, singing, lots of speeches, nail and face-painting for the children, food stalls which included a braai (barbecue!). The volunteers helped out with the nail and face-painting and organised a game called 'Guess the Teddy's name' Sharon

IKAMALETHU CRECHE, Khayalethu, Knysna, September 2007

Ikamalethu Creche is run by Gladys and her sister, Maud, in a small wooden building in the Khayalethu township in Knysna. They look after between 40 and 50 small children, aged 3 – 5 years, in a very small space. Gladys has taken every opportunity to attend training sessions, and she is a very organised person, and all the children are beautifully behaved and obedient.

On the way to the Orphanage one day, we noticed this small building with little chairs and tables outside in the tiny garden, and decided to see if we could lend a hand. Some time ago Travellers purchased a jungle gym/swing, and this has at last found a good home!

Our present 5 volunteers, Kim, Emily, Tess, Karina and Claire spent Monday putting the jungle gym/swing together (the kit came with no instructions or pictures!) and did an amazing job. On Tuesday holes were dug (willingly done by David, a gardener), cement poured in and the four ‘legs’ of the swing firmly bolted into the concrete.

Today, Wednesday, these energetic volunteers painted the outside of the building, which has brightened the appearance up no end. Gladys and the children are thrilled!

They are planning to line the inside of the wooden walls with board soon, and we have promised to come and paint the inside walls after that.

A small article and photograph appeared in the Knysna/Plett Herald today, and all in all the volunteers are very happy and satisfied with this project, and feel they have done something very worthwhile!  Sharon

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Knysna News : Aug 2007

At last we have managed to co-ordinate taking Flo Hannaford, a local piano and singing teacher, to Tembelitsha for a first piano lesson with Temba Bella, one of the teachers at Tembelitsha. The plan is to teach the teacher to teach the children, which could take some time!  They have a wonderful piano, which has been dormant for a couple of years.  Flo also hopes to get a choir together, and give them some tuition too. 

Last Monday saw the christening of the new speakers and microphone donated by Travellers;  Temba Bella did the honours, and started Assembly using the microphone, and after a few volume adjustments, children lined up to say poems and read for the rest of the school.   A small group of students was selected to help set up the equipment every Monday for Assembly. 

After school various animals wander around the grounds looking for scraps and crumbs, and these chaps eventuallly made it up the steps, after slipping and sliding now and again!  They found their way into the new garden area, when the fence was not quite complete and are really happy the teachers want to grow vegetables just for them!  

The last photograph of is Anna Visciano handing a cheque for 600 Dollars to Bill at a tea party in the office, as a donation towards fencing for Tembelitsha!  Left to right are Laurie, Emily, Karina, Kim, Jennifer, Tess and Anna with Bill in the middle. Sharon

List of ALL PROJECTS in South Africa

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