"Every person has a name, every name has a story, and every story is important to Gap Year South Africa."
Gap Year South Africa offers various volunteer and adventure programs that are geared towards implementing sustainable methods of development in order to enrich the community member’s quality of life, as well as innovating the way in which Volunteering can impact the world.
We value the youth and we understand that they will have a direct influence on the longevity of this planet, therefore we nurture the responsibility that we have to empower them with the necessary skills and knowledge required to promote healthy lifestyles and cohesive existences in environmental and social affairs.
This is at the core of our DNA and it is what defines us an organisation. It is what filters down into every aspect of what we do – from the mind set of how we impact the communities, to the integrity of how we run our programs, and it is how we define what we see as valuable volunteer work.
We have introduced ecological infrastructures into the Gap House – to teach the youth how to live self-sustainably and about the importance of health and well-being – good and healthy food can optimise your bodily functions and alter your state of mind to ensure a productive and well balanced lifestyle therefore we cook healthy balanced meals with greens grown from home, and harvested by the volunteers themselves.
We encourage the youth to utilise the natural play ground that makes Cape Town so special and surrounds the Gap House. So we promote regular exercise with yoga, runs on the beach or in the wetlands, hikes in the mountains, surfing and sunset walks – we are positioned perfectly as we are nestled in a valley between the mountains and with the beach on our doorstep.
We promote resourcefulness in the programs that we offer and give the volunteers the opportunity to explore their own creative expression – from the natural sphere of gardening to the more artistic sphere of crafts, art and dance. We encourage our volunteers to initiate programs for themselves that are structured around their personal interests and abilities, and we help them to implement these programs into the communities, giving them a platform to share their skills with community members.
Our Programs are directed at addressing issues in our communities that we see as pressing and relevant, such as addressing the issue of food security by promoting self-sustainable living in dire conditions. We promote education in terms of healthy expression and safe environments for community members to learn how to change their current difficult situations into positive prospective. We do this by setting up craft and art classes for teenage girls run by the volunteers themselves, we introduce gardening for those who need to connect with the outdoors and give back to the community. We love soccer and sports to connect with the boys through a universal language that all can relate to, helping to bridge the gap, and giving the volunteers a healthy way in which they can build trusting relationships with the children. We work together with our national parks to promote the conservation of our beautiful country.
These are just to name a few, and every volunteer brings something different, which we harness into a productive and helpful program that communities can benefit from, and volunteers can learn from.
Last but not least we teach the volunteers that they are all valued, they all have a useful role to play in our communities, and their heart is greatly appreciated in this country – they are building a nation, and what they learn here with us, we believe they will take home with them and impact their own environments in a positive way.
MORE ABOUT CAPE TOWN
“Human creativity is self-evident here – it’s one of the things that made the city a World Design Capital in 2014. From the brightly painted facades of the Bo-Kaap and the bathing chalets of Muizenberg to the Afro-chic decor of its restaurants and bars and the striking street art and innovation incubators of the East City and Woodstock, this is one great-looking metropolis. The informal settlements of the Cape Flats are a sobering counterpoint, but these townships also have enterprising projects that put food from organic market gardens on tables, or stock gift shops with attractive souvenirs.” Simon Richmond, Lonely Planet South Africa