Volunteer Africa 32 Degrees South (VA32)
VA32 have been placing international volunteers in high need community, education and conservation programs on the wild coast of South Africa since 2004
Since the inception of our pioneering Wild Coast Schools Program in 2004, VA32 has not only grown the number of programs in the area which we are able to offer, but has developed the structure and support of each program to ensure that volunteers get the best experience possible while volunteering in Chintsa. Our volunteer programs themselves are run either directly by VA32 or as a collaboration between VA32 and local partners. We aim to promote sustainable development in the communities and environments that we work with whilst addressing both current and long term needs and challenges which are being faced by local South African communities and the environment.
Volunteers and interns are given the opportunity to join these programs which offer life-changing experiences, which contribute to the growth and forward movement of a developing country, offer personal skills development and the opportunity to be a part of a very special community.
Fair Trade Tourism
The Wild Coast Schools Program which delivers computer literacy lessons to rural school learners in and around Chintsa, was the worlds first volunteer program to be certified with the Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) mark. In 2010 the Fair Trade team first visited the program to inspect all aspects of VA32 from personnel to training, meals to marketing!
Two aspects of this process which stand out to us were our "social investment" and "business return to the community" where FTT attempted to quantify how much our time and work has put back directly into the community. In 2010 it was estimated that VA32 put around R 400 000.00 worth of time and money into the local community through our programs and initiatives; a figure which helps us to see how much of a difference our volunteers really make. We hope to grow this figure even more as our organization develops further.
Our Fair Trade status is reviewed every 2 years and was most recently renewed in 2012.
Award Winning Programs
In 2014 our flagship project the Wild Coast Schools Project was nominated in the top five Outstanding Volunteer Projects in the World at the Global Youth Travel Awards. In 2015, in collaboration with project partner International Student Volunteers (ISV), the Ubuntu Building Project was awarded third place in the same category.
2015 also saw parent-company African Heartland Journeys (AHJ) celebrated as a top Tour Operator in the Eastern Cape at the Provincial Lilizela Awards.
Over the last 12 years the team at VA32 have strived to grow and develop our programs in a way that is constructive and beneficial to both community members and volunteers alike. Our programs are highly structured and planned so that volunteers know exactly where they need to be, what tasks they need to complete and why what they are doing helps, they get 24 hour support from experienced, on-site program co-ordinators, as well as our general staff from Nomakwezi our "voliie house" manager to Karen who runs the day-to-day needs and travel logistics in the VA32 office. We have identified these key factors as highly important to international volunteers that help participants get the most out of their time volunteering and to feel and see that they are making a real contribution to their chosen program.
Our support doesn't end when volunteers leave Chintsa. We build strong relationships with our volunteers and we know that their experience here is often a once in a lifetime thing. The friends that are made on such an experience are extremely important and that's why we keep in touch! We have a huge international network of past volunteers (many of whom return) who we keep in touch with. We are always available for a chat or email any time. Volunteers also receive newsletters on a bi-monthly basis through email and social media channels. The newsletters are designed to keep you in touch with your program, encourage you to participate in fundraising campaigns and receive special discounts and offers on future trips.
All Inclusive Volunteer Experiences
VA32 offers all-inclusive volunteering experiences; all program transport, meals, accommodation, orientation and support is pre-organised by our team to ensure that volunteers can immerse themselves into their program, trouble-free, upon arrival. 15% of the program fee goes directly into the schools, projects and reserves with the remainder covering running and administration costs such as food, fuel, accommodation and staff salaries. VA32 receives no support from the government and relies on paying volunteers to continue running our initiatives and organisation.