South Africa, our most popular location, is the 25th largest country in the world. Visitors are attracted to the country for the lovely vineyards, sandy beaches, stunning mountain ranges, and renowned safaris. Masked behind the country’s beauty and diversity is the prevalence of HIV and AIDS, which is greater than anywhere else worldwide. Our projects in Durban and Johannesburg work to provide care and safety for the vulnerable and affected.
Durban, South Africa is known for its beaches, aquatic experiences, and rich history. More importantly, Durban is home to Bobbi Bear. Operation Bobbi Bear uses colourful stuffed bears to break down language barriers as they are used by children telling the stories of their abuse. The programme’s efforts don’t stop there. They host clinics to treat and listen to those affected, provide care and support, offer therapy and safety to prevent continued abuse, and work with the authorities to make sure justice is served. They also have initiatives to equip members of the community with the skills to address certain situations, save children from abuse, and minimise the spread of HIV/AIDS.
“With Bobbi Bear you really get to see South Africa with all its beauty and political faults; going to court which only highlights the challenges in the judicial system, visiting hospitals, taking care of babies and children, jumping up in the middle of the night because there is a call out; so much excitement and thrill… I do have one advice though; don’t go to Bobbi Bear for the thrills and the hardships; go to Bobbi Bear because you care, you have love to share and you want to get to know Bobbi Bear and the story of the people they support.” Tanja, Bobbi Bear
Johannesburg, the largest city in South Africa, also known as the City of Gold is home to many sites and attractions that add to the excitement of working at Nkosi’s Haven. Nkosi’s Haven is a community that provides education and opportunities to lead to growth and sustainability for children and women affected by HIV/AIDS. Nkosi’s Haven is named after Nkosi Johnson, who was born with HIV and became a national figure in the anti-discrimination of people with HIV/AIDS. He died at the age of 12, but his work continues through the work of Nkosi’s Haven.
“I think it’s hard for anyone to show up at Nkosi’s Haven and not get this overwhelming sense of love and community, you’re just embraced. Everyone who walks in those doors is fully embraced by everyone, by the students, by the kids, by the staff. There’s a lot of needs there, and I think they look towards volunteers as being able to temporarily fill those needs, whether it’s something as simple as attention, or playing with kids, or tutoring them, or even better, just bringing special skills to improve their lives to help the organisation grow. I was immediately at home, I always felt like I was wanted there.” Ryan, Nkosi’s Haven