When I first went to South Africa it was to do an internship during my studies in Social work/addiction treatment. I looked around for options and figured out it would be hard to do it on my own. Where would I stay, how do I know my internship will be a good one, what if something happens to me when I am in a country so far away from home or if I for some reason need to change my Internship placement? How can I make sure my school will accept the internship placement? What I did was book my internship through a company that organises volunteer and internship packages that includes accommodation, internship placement, introduction days and the assurance of them being responsible that everything would run smoothly.
This was very expensive, but I felt like I did not have a choice and I really wanted to go to South Africa. I also found a scholarship to apply for, that would cover some of my costs. When I’d spent a while in Cape Town I started to realise how much I actually paid and started to question the company about where my money actually went. Obviously someone was making good money from this. It irritated me a lot but overall I had an amazing time and I’d never regret it. But after all I could have saved so much money and used it for something better than to make someone rich from me coming to actually help those in need. Of course I learned a lot from my internship but my biggest purpose was to try to do something good, for people that needed help. For that no one should have to pay a crazy amount of money.
With this is mind, we are now running African Sunrise as a similar company, but we do not believe in overcharging, we would like more people to be able to come and experience South Africa and to learn more about social work and the cultural differences and to go back home with a more open mind and feel like South Africa is now part of their life! We charge money to cover our costs. That would be us having decent salaries (but still low), an office, a car to be able to pick up and drive students/volunteers around; and things like wifi in the office and also the 14% tax and VAT we need to pay as a company in South Africa. What you really pay for though, is the safety of knowing things will be organised when you arrive, that you stay in a safe place, that your volunteer or internship placement is serious. You get a proper introduction to Cape Town and are shown how to get to the internship/volunteer placement and to know you have someone backing you up if there are any problems that come up during your time here. We also make sure to donate a high amount to the NGO you are placed at, and if you stay with a host family we ensure that they get a decent payment from us. All this is based on my old experiences and from doing research on what other companies are donating and paying host families.
As a company we also have our main mission of spending lots of our time with community work and to help NGO’s with fundraisers, so one could say that you are paying us to have time and money to help others. Both CJ and I have years of experience in community work, social work and fundraising and it is what we both have closest to our hearts. We are building up Breaking Bread Community Development, which is an NPO working with the homeless of Observatory, the area where we live, have our office and where our interns and volunteers are staying.
If you pay us to organise a volunteer experience or an internship you will be part of our ”family” and will always feel welcomed back at any time and we will be here. What you start here, and leave when you have to go back home, we will continue.
- Tania Sincic, African Sunrise