South Africa

Long Term Volunteering

Friends Of Africa have had one Long Term Volunteer in South Africa. Bernie Connolly, a primary school teacher, spent two years in 2008-09 teaching English and working as an in-service teacher trainer in Holy Family Primary School, Mogwase, an SMA parish in the diocese of Rustenburg. During her time there and with the help of Friends of Africa, Bernie opened the first school library in the local area. This has proved to be extremely beneficial in furthering the academic achievements of the children.

Short Term Volunteering

Friends of Africa have had a group of Short Term Volunteers in South Africa for six weeks each summer since 2007. The volunteers have been involved in some of the following projects:

Building and Renovation Projects

Our volunteers have been involved in a number of building and renovation projects over the years, including the building of a pastoral centre in Zeerust, the renovation of a creche in Zeerust and the building of a chapel on the outskirts of Rustenburg.

The pastoral centre is a place where the local community can come for classes, much needed medication, and training in new skills. The centre has also been extended to include accommodation for new members of staff, who provide training in language and culture.

Our volunteers working on the creche renovation were involved in laying new carpets, painting walls and improving the outdoor playground and our volunteers involved in the building of the new church worked with the local community, painting, designing murals and preparing the church.

Tlokweng Summer Camp

In 2011, Friends of Africa began a new camp in the parish of Tlokweng. At the camp, the local children were taught in summer schools during their holidays about the sacraments. They also took part in games and sports. The camps were fun, enjoyable and of great benefit to the local people.

Some of our short term volunteers have also worked in orphanages and hospices, including St Catherine’s in Mogwase.

Check out 2014 Short Term Volunteer Beth Bradley’s account of her six weeks volunteering for further insight into the experience of volunteering in South Africa!


Short Term Volunteering

Summer Tuition Camps

In 2007, Fr John Gallagher (SMA) asked Friends of Africa to help him run a Tuition Camp for young Maasai boys and girls in his parish of Moita, Bwawanni.

Our short term volunteers have been working on this project every summer since 2008, spending 6 weeks providing intensive coaching to these Masai children in preparation for their exams.

Through fundraising initiatives Friends of Africa have helped to build classrooms and all-weather basketball and bolleyball courts, thus improving the facilities for the primary and secondary schools in the area.

To date Friends Of Africa have had no Long Term Volunteers in Tanzania.


Long Term Volunteering

Friends of Africa have had at least one Long Term Volunteer in Zambia almost every year since we began working there in 1998. Over the years our volunteers have been involved in a number of different projects, including building and street children projects.

Our current volunteer, Anita McWilliams, a social worker from Draperstown, Co Derry, has been in Zambia since November 2012. She is based in Kitwe, a city in the Copperbelt area of the country, where many young children live on the streets. Anita is involved in two main projects as a volunteer - the Friends of the Street Children Homeless Shelter and the nearby Twafwane community.

Friends of the Street Children Shelter, Kwama

Friends of Africa work alongside a local charity, Friends of the Street Children (FSC), to provide support and care to street kids in Kitwe. As part of her work with FSC, Anita is involved in three main programmes to respond to the needs of the children - Street Outreach, Rehabilitation and Reintegration. Along with a local social worker, Anita has been successful in tracing family members of children who have been living on the dangerous streets of Kitwe. In some cases children have been happily reintegrated into family life. Many children however, are unable to return home and they receive care and rehabilitation in the Friends of the Street Children shelter. At the shelter the children attended classes, play sport and learn skills that will help them to live on their own or reintegrate with their families.

Twafwane Community

Twafwane building project was started by the SMA fathers in 2006, in an effort to provide housing for individuals and families who were identified as being some of the most vulnerable in the area. Many FOA volunteers have played a major role over the years in the construction of the 64 houses.

The building project is now complete and Anita is involved in community development in Twafane, training residents of Twafwane in community enterprise with the aim of establishing small sustainable projects that will eventually be run by members of the community, providing a living for 50 families in the area. Anita has also been heavily involved in managing the building of a new preschool for the community. The construction of the preschool is almost complete and will double as a community centre in the evenings and weekends.

For further details of Anita’s work check out her Zambia story, attached at the bottom of the Zambia section of this page.

Short Term Volunteering

Friends of Africa have had a group of Short Term Volunteers in Zambia for six weeks each summer since 2001. In recent years our volunteers have been heavily involved in assisting our Long Term Volunteers on the Friends of the Street Children and Twafwane projects in Kitwe.

The volunteers also have the opportunity to visit and work in local schools and Training Centres. In the parish of Mufulira, the volunteers have been involved in aiding with the delivery of courses in Computer Literacy, Carpentry and Seamstressing, to train individuals in a new occupation. This summer, our volunteers have been helping with the building of a new preschool in Chippolukusso, Ndola. It is planned that some of next year’s Short Term Volunteers will have the opportunity to teach in this new preschool.

Check out 2013 Short Term Volunteer Megan McCullagh’s ‘My African Journey’ video in the ‘Gallery’ section of our website for a further insight into the experience of volunteering in Zambia!

School Groups

Friends of Africa became involved in taking school groups to Africa in 2010. The school groups, generally consisting of 12-14 students, spend approximately 10 days volunteering in Zambia, South Africa or Tanzania during the Easter holidays.

We train and prepare the students for their time in Africa, organise their trip and send a charity representative to Africa with each group. The schools commit to a five year association with Friends of Africa, with a responsibility for raising much needed funds for our projects in Africa and helping to raise awareness of our charity and its work.

There are currently four schools associated with Friends of Africa - each of these schools has sent at least one group of volunteers to Africa:

  • St Patrick’s Acadamy Dungannon (Zambia 2011 & 2013)
  • St Patrick’s Grammar School Armagh (Tanzania 2012 & Zambia 2014)
  • Holy Trinity College Cookstown (South Africa 2013)
  • Sacred Heart Grammar School Newry (Tanzania 2012)

This year St Patrick’s Armagh sent a group of 18 volunteers (14 students and 4 teachers) to Kitwe, Zambia. The group spent the majority of their time working in the old preschool in Twafwane and the Friends of the Street Children Shelter in Kwama.