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Rural Medical & HIV/AIDS Awareness, Zululand
Volunteers group photo Volunteers group photo

Rural Medical & HIV/AIDS Awareness, Zululand

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

A must to volunteering project!

From the very first moment that I went out into the communities with Shwele I felt welcomed and informed of who we would be seeing and what their situation was. I was humbled by the community members acceptance of us, their smiles were infection even when their life was a struggle. The Medical Program is a community necessity, I feel the Africa Impact is doing a very good job here.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    1

  • Program Administration

    1

  • Living Situation

    2

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    5

Do your research - voluntourism

South Africa, Zululand, St. Lucia - this place was an absolutely dream!! Hippos in your backyard and the ocean in the front. The surrounding communities that I worked in were so welcoming, and I was so blessed to stay for 3 months to be able to create close relationships and connections with the people we served, healthcare workers, and the people in St. Lucia. However, it breaks my heart to see what African Impact is doing there. African Impact is a voluntourism organization - they are a for-profit BUSINESS. When I arrived, I expected to be working in an orphanage and an HIV/AIDS program - both of these projects are nonexistent. The only reason an HIV/AIDS education workshop was done was because I took it upon myself to create an educational program for primary schools and then led the workshop on my own. I put in a lot of extra time, on top of being on project all day, and money into creating the best program I could, just because it is something that I am very passionate . I felt like AI didn't appreciate or care any of it though. If for some reason African Impact were to lose funding for St. Lucia, not one of their programs would remain. AI targets individuals who are interested in helping and travelling, they send completely unqualified individuals out into vulnerable communities and make them think that they are making a positive impact. Then, they book you for your tours and safaris for the weekend and send you on your way in a few weeks. Not to mention, they overcharge for the tours and who knows what the extra money is going towards. I worked so hard to try and change things in my 12 weeks and it breaks my heart knowing that the things I did are probably no longer being done. Like many others said, the local staff is absolutely amazing!!! Shwele, Nok Nok, Non, and Nobu are some of the sweetest women and I loved getting to spend time with them!! For the most part, AI treated them well. However, there were times that the women were clearly frustrated with the management team and situations were not handled correctly whatsoever. My advice to anyone who is interested in volunteering is DO YOUR RESEARCH!!! Find an organization that fits into your values and morals, along with a project that best suites your talents. It's all intentions and African Impact's intention is to make $$. My time in St. Lucia was absolutely amazing, I learned so much myself and others, but all that credit goes to the relationships I made along the way!

  • African Impact responded to this review May 08, 2018 at 5:46 PM

    Hello Ashley,

    Thank you so much for your review and we are really sorry that you had a disappointing experience. Both Lindsay (who worked really closely with you in St Lucia) and Jen (our Operations Manager) have emailed you personally to follow up on this review, but we would also like to respond. Firstly, we absolutely are a business and by no means suggest that we are an NGO. We do have our charity arm, the African Impact Foundation, who manage volunteer donations, sponsor projects and monitor everything we do to ensure it is in the best interests of the communities we work with. 70% of a volunteer’s project fee goes directly back into the project you work with, so in this case, it goes directly back to the team on the ground who use this money to ensure you have everything you need (including accommodation, transport, resources to use and qualified staff to take care of you). The other 30% is used for sales and marketing, ensuring we can recruit volunteers to support our community members and projects, actually pay our amazing team of staff who work incredibly hard for community development and conservation in Africa, as well as develop new and useful projects across the continent. A full breakdown of our costs and where your money goes is available on our website and any of our staff members would be happy to chat it through with you.

    Secondly, we definitely encourage volunteers to do their research before booking a placement with any operator around the world. As you did not book directly with us, we’re sorry that you weren’t fully informed African Impact and were under the impression you were completing an internship with an NGO. We have spoken with the agent and want to make sure this doesn’t happen again. We are exceptionally proud to be one of the top rated volunteer organizations in the world, so will definitely take your feedback and do our best to improve this experience.

    Thanks Ashley and please don’t hesitate to reply to Lindsay or Jen so that they can speak with you more.

    The AI Team

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    5

  • Program Administration

    6

  • Living Situation

    4

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    8

House problems

The house was not ready for volunteers to be placed in it already, as the wifi was not working and the showers were not hot. And I did not have the feeling that there would be enough money in order to make it feel like a home yet.

  • African Impact responded to this review March 26, 2018 at 8:29 AM

    Hi Tessa! Thank you for volunteering in St. Lucia on the Medical project for the last two weeks. We appreciate your flexibility during the transition into a new volunteer house. Our staff are currently working to fix the WiFi access in the house as well as home improvements to ensure a “home away from home” feel. Our main goal was to welcome volunteers into a safe, comfortable house while providing the best assistance within the projects and communities. We hope this resonates with your experience. Keep up-to-date with the project and renovations on Facebook or email us at [email protected] if you'd like to chat your stay.

Overall Rating

6/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    4

  • Program Administration

    3

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    5

  • Day to Day Life

    7

St Lucia healthcare (medical) program

The St Lucia projects are fantastic whilst you are working with the ladies from the local communities. (Shwele you rock!). I was immersed into such a great culture full of hope, happiness and fun. It was an amazing experience to be able to help guide the community to lead a healthier life without limiting any of their cultural beliefs. I have developed so many close relationships with members of the community and it was heartwarming to visit the same residents each week and put a huge smile on their face - It's the best feeling there is. The nutrition program was by far the best and most helpful during my stay and I wish I could have participated in more nutrition projects. The volunteer program was great however, i felt the african impact foundation and on site managers don't have much control over what goes on - this left me feeling a little helpless when it came to things like not being able to drive the support group to the beach as it had to be approved by the foundation - this was saddening. However this did not stop me from having a great time with the ladies and the community!

  • African Impact responded to this review March 05, 2018 at 5:06 AM

    Hi Brodie. Thank you for your wonderful feedback. Our Foundation helps monitor our projects and provides tools and expertise that help to ensure our sustainability. Our Foundation has been fortunate enough to implement long-term, positive change in the lives of individuals, families and communities in Africa. In saying this, the sustainability can only be maintained by safeguarding all stakeholders involved. In ensuring the safety of the community, a process does need to be followed which is unfortunately not an immediate one. We apologise if this disappointed you but we hope you feel that you impacted the community in numerous other ways. Please us at [email protected] if you have any further questions.

Overall Rating

6/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    3

  • Program Administration

    3

  • Living Situation

    6

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    5

  • Day to Day Life

    8

St Lucia healthcare

The St Lucia healthcare project has good potential to be a very beneficial program for volunteers and community residents. However, at the present time I found my overall experience to be rather unpleasant. Shwele was the only part of the program that made me want to continue my involvement in the community. She was extremely helpful and kind to volunteers and her care for the patients in the community was above and beyond. I feel a lot more planning and time needs to go into the project before it can run effectively.

  • African Impact responded to this review March 05, 2018 at 5:06 AM

    Hi Tamsyn. Thank you very much for your feedback. At African Impact, we pride ourselves in our projects and our staff. This project was set up to address the high rates of HIV/AIDS in the area and the lack of community support surrounding the virus. For this reason, our volunteers are a great helping hand to the community. It’s in this regard that we are saddened to hear of your unpleasant experience. Have you any suggestions as to how we can amend our planning and timing on project, please don’t hesitate to us at [email protected]

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    6

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    8

Review

Overall it was a great experience. We were immersed in the Zulu culture and learned how to interact respectfully with the locals. The projects kept us busy and we learned a lot. It was great having the Zulu women to teach us the community and their customs.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

AI Saint Lucia

I really enjoyed the people we were able to work with and help through my two weeks at this project. Every week there was a schedule which made it easy to know where you were going to be and with who.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    8

Review of Saint Lucia, South Africa

I was a medical volunteer in Saint Lucia for two weeks in November. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of medical work I was able to help with. However, I am currently in my senior year of nursing school in the United States and felt comfortable completing home visits, working in the clinic, and teaching on health topics in local schools. The largest obstacle to overcome was the language barrier, but if I were a longer-term volunteer it would be easier. Overall, African Impact is a great program to work with and the people you'll encounter are incredible.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

St. Lucia medical program

I participated in the medical program in St. Lucia via African Impact and it was an incredible way to immerse myself in the community, learn a new culture, and truly impact the local people we served.

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    7

  • Program Administration

    6

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    7

  • Health & Safety

    6

  • Day to Day Life

    8

Medical volunteer in St. Lucia

Working with African Impact as a Medical Volunteer in St. Lucia was an incredibly challenging experience, but a formative one that allowed me to learn and grow tremendously. Overall, it was a great way to travel and see more of the world while working to serve the community.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Eye-opening, safe, full of fun

I was on the medical project for 4 weeks. There were mainly two parts in the medical project: helping in the clinic and visiting local patients. There was a list (which expands as new people want to join) of patients who are inconvenient to go to clinic, and medical volunteers go to their house to assess their health status, give some medicine, and sometimes help them exercise. No medical education background is required for any, but some knowledge AIDS, stroke, and some other diseases can definitely help. Sometimes the medical volunteers worked together with the education group, so I experienced educating local children as well.

I had a great time working with other volunteers, and I really learned a lot diseases and Zulu culture. The faculty member tried to assign me (and everyone else) on different tasks everyday in a week, so I was never bored and got the chance to experience a lot. Volunteers must be accompanied by a Zulu person to enter the village, and I learned a lot Zulu culture from the Zulu ladies. It was really pleasant to go on projects and interact with local people. I felt the things we did were really impacting local people's life. They appreciated our help and were willing to learn more healthy life from us.

Meanwhile, I felt very safe living in the volunteer house and quite convenient in St.Lucia. The activities we did on weekends, including safari and hippo tour, were amazing. Overall, it was a really eye-opening experience, and I enjoyed staying in St.Lucia.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    4

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    7

St Lucia

I had a lot of fun on this project. The Medical Coordinator was really fun and helped the volunteers to understand what they were doing and taught them many things the patients and how healthcare is done in rural South Africa.I would recommend this project to those with or without medical experience.

Overall Rating

6/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Living Situation

    4

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    7

A summer in South Africa

Overall, the program went well. I was disappointed in the fact that I did do anything that I signed up for in regards to HIV/AIDS Prevention and Awareness, but I would try another African Impact Project.

  • African Impact responded to this review March 17, 2017 at 5:44 AM

    Hello Summer,

    We am sorry to learn that you were disappointed with the content of your Medical volunteer experience. It is not always possible to schedule HIV Awareness with our community partners.

    We are also very sensitive to all of our patients needs on our medical program, many of whom still have a stigma attached to discussing their personal situation and illnesses.

    We are, however, striving to improve and enrich the HIV elements of our schedule to ensure that future volunteers feel that we have met and exceed their expectations.

    Our partner agencies are also being reminded the full spectrum of opportunities our Medical program provides to volunteers, to ensure expectations are managed accordingly.

    Thank you for your feedback,

    The African Impact Zululand Team

Overall Rating

7/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Great starter volunteer program

This was a very warm, friendly volunteer opportunity with comfortable living conditions and accommodations. There was ample amount of time for relaxing, touring, and enjoying the other volunteers' company. The managers and project coordinators were fun, cheerful, energetic and positive. This is a great way to get your foot in the door to volunteering in another country. There is time spent with the locals in the community but it is not overtaxing.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    7

Grateful for the experience!

My experience overall was very good. I enjoyed the opportunity to engage directly with the families in the community and feel a small sense of providing hope and help to many during my two week stay. I saw how grateful the patients were for the medical support, their appreciation for the care we showed in visiting them and asking their health and wellbeing. It was also very meaningful to be able to share simple kindnesses with their family members .. especially the children. I would be interested in knowing how `i might support the project in some small way (perhaps with food parcels) in the future.
The town, while small was interesting, colorful and I found the local friendly and warm.
Outside the project work, the free time activities were varied and interesting.
Several other volunteers and I took a weekend and went to the Thanda Game Resort, which was a huge highlight of my entire time. I would highly recommend it.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Ambrose's African Impact review

The introduction to for the African Impact St Lucia program was very informative. In addition, the few information nights provided a great amount of detail for the organisations that we were involved with. Overall the experience, of volunteering with African Impact was a pleasant one and would highly recommend it to other volunteers.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

African Impact had a huge impact on my life

I honestly cannot say enough good things African Impact. The 3 weeks I spent in St. Lucia have been ones I will cherish forever. Everything was very organized and we were always busy doing important, while still fun, jobs and activities. I felt really welcomed by the AI family and community from the minute I got off the airplane. I hope to come back and volunteer with African Impact again.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Best life experience ever!

Yes, definitely the best life experience ever! I've learned so so much here, helping people who really need it in a different world i've only heard of. This made a lot of impact on me and i know it will still make a lot of impact on me when i'm back in Holland.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Day to Day Life

    8

Rural Healthcare in Zululand

Excellent experience on the medical programme with African Impact. The staff and communities are very welcoming. Definitely a must do!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    8

Rural healthcare in St Lucia

African Impact do an amazing job in the rural areas of Zululand. They put all their time and effort into the work they do to make long-lasting differences for the people there. As a returning volunteer I've seen changes they make and its worth every minute they put into it.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Khula and Ezwenelisha medical support

From the moment I arrived in South Africa my experience has repeatedly taken my breath away and consistently provided so many special moments.
The team in St Lucia; Sianne, Lorna, Emma and in particular the indefatigable Kim alongside the remarkable ladies from the community; Shwele, Nokwethemba, Mumsy and Nonhlanhla all work so hard to ensure that the work in the community is sustainable and focused towards enabling the community to support themselves to grow and develop.
The patients we see on a daily basis are also a wonderful example of positivity, from the first Gogo we saw here with terminal breast cancer to a young former security guard who lost the use of his legs after being shot in the back, all who live here exude a positive energy that it is impossible not to be inspired by.
There have been some hard moments which, on a project like this, are difficult to avoid, but they are part of the ebb and flow of life here.
Highlights that stick out for me are the support group I was fortunate to lead despite losing my voice! There I discussed my own experience with HIV, sharing my story with a remarkable group of women and community carers who can now spread the message of HIV prevention and treatment through their own community.
The physio sessions were another high point for me, seeing genuine progress in the patients we saw using simple materials like stress balls and rubber bands!
The other volunteers, Kathryn and Gemma have also made this experience special for me with a dedication to care for their patients that has been wonderful to witness.
Off project at weekends there have been many opportunities to explore, including a night away at the wonderful Thanda game reserve, the elephant interaction and sailing down the estuary watching the hippos and Nile crocodiles, as well as a beach and bush horseback safari!
It has been my absolute pleasure to come and visit and work on this remarkable project and I feel confident that within a short period, I will be back.

That's the thing with this beautiful place; once is never enough.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    7

Volunteering

As an African American traveling to the continent of Africa on behalf of African impact this experience was an eye opening transformative, educational and uplifting journey. I would encourage anyone considering volunteering to do likewise.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    8

Unbelievable experience in Zululand

I had such an amazing time volunteering. I enjoyed all of the projects so much. It's an eye opening experience and you learn something new on project every day. The staff and Zulu team are great. They do such a good job managing the projects, making them sustainable and meaningful.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

St. Lucia healthcare

St. Lucia is a beautiful area, but lacks a lot in regards to healthcare. On project we were able to provide some much needed healthcare, while getting to know many of the wonderful patients on a personal level. It was extremely rewarding to see how much our patients appreciated the work that we did. The volunteer house is located in a very safe and beautiful part of town, and there is always something fun to do on the weekends, when you are off from project.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

African Impact Volunteer / South Africa

African Impact Volunteer / South Africa. I loved it here. It exceeded my expectations. I wish I could stay longer. All of the people here were so wonderful. -------------------------------------------

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