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Surrounding the beautiful region of St. Lucia, there are rural villages which have very few resources for health care. The main goal of this project is to increase the support available to these communities and to make a difference in the health and the lives of these people. Through home-based care, grassroot initiatives, and clinical support, this project has given aid and assistance to those who are too sick or too poor to seek help.

The prevalence and impact of HIV in these communities reflects the importance and need for volunteers to educate and raise awareness within the rural villages. Through education and support, this project aims to alleviate the stigma that HIV/AIDS carries in these communities and improve the lives of those carrying the virus. 

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Location of the Project:  St. Lucia, South Africa
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Project length:  Min 2 weeks - Max 12 weeks
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Arrival Airport:  Durban International Airport
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Volunteer Work:  Medical aid, HIV/AIDS awareness education, community outreach
Age:  18 - 80
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Number of Volunteers:  Up to 6 international volunteers
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Important Note:  Daily transfers between accommodation and project site and a donation made to the local organization are included in the placement fee.

What's Included

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Accommodations:  Comfortable lodge with rooms for 2-4 people
Food:  Three meals a day (excluding Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch)
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Airport Transfers:  Included on arrival and departure days. (For odd week departures (3, 5, 7 etc), there is an extra charge for transfer to the airport on departure day.)
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Insurance:  Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
Orientation:  Orientation, with all necessary training, provided upon arrival and includes lessons on the background of healthcare in South Africa, basic Zulu language courses and introduction to St. Lucia.
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Support:  Local in-country team and 24hr emergency support

What's not Included

Flights, personal expenses, some weekend meals, and visa (if required)

St. Lucia, South Africa is a charismatic town on the northeast coast of the country featuring beautiful, rugged beaches and breathtaking landscapes. St. Lucia is located within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, which was declared South Africa's first Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is referred to as "Africa's premier bush-and-beach destination." The park encompasses nearly half a million acres, providing a stunning and ecologically diverse area where five different eco-systems coexist. From savannahs to wetlands, to swamps to beaches, St. Lucia is home to both a wealth of wildlife, as well as to the Zulu tribe with its vibrant and lively culture.

As a volunteer, your contribution will consist of various healthcare-related initiatives at the following projects: 

  • Home-based care/nutrition: Conduct home-visits to chronically-ill or injured patients who are too sick or poor to get to a clinic to provide comfort and emotional support to patients, as well as nutritional supplements and treatment adherence advice
  • HIV/AIDS support group: Facilitate discussions around the issues surrounding the disease, such as discrimination and stigma and deliver basic health and nutrition information to a group of adults
  • Family empowerment program: Improve the quality of life in a holistic and sustainable way for families urgently in need of assistance
  • HIV education classes for adults: Promote adult educational opportunities targeting parents and grandparents to explain, educate and inform community members about HIV/AIDS
  • Gardening/building and refurbishment: Build and maintain the community vegetable garden and repair schools, day-care centers, orphanages and other run-down buildings in the community.
A typical day: Your day will begin at 7:00 am with a healthy breakfast before you head out to your morning project at 8:30 am. After lunch at 12:00 pm, it's time to resume your afternoon tasks. Your work day will end at 4:30 pm, at which point you will return to the volunteer house for a debriefing and to discuss the schedule for the next day. Dinner is served at 6:00 pm, followed by free time to relax or explore the area.

During school holidays activities may differ from the usual schedule, but the work will be equally engaging and rewarding.

Internet
Internet:  You can use any of the internet cafes in town.
Laundry
Laundry:  Weekly laundry service is available at an additional fee.
Accommodations
Accommodations:  You will stay at a large, comfortable, fully furnished guest house with a lounge, satellite TV, barbeque area, garden, and even a swimming pool! The house is about a five minute walk to town and a 30 minute walk to the beach. The house is staffed with a cook and laundry/cleaning staff. All bedding is provided, but please bring your own beach towels. Rooms are shared with 1-5 other volunteers and the house is staffed with a cook and housekeeper.
Food:  Three meals a day are provided, except Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch (for these meals, you are encouraged to try the local cafes and restaurants or buy groceries at the nearby supermarket). Breakfast consists of hot or cold cereal, toast, coffee and tea, and is available on a serve-yourself basis. Lunch and dinner are prepared by the chef at the volunteer house.

Please take note of the project's minimum requirements:

  • Minimum age 18
  • Medical/pharmaceutical training recommended
  • An interest in medicine or public health
  • First Aid certificatation strongly encouraged
  • Prior reading and understanding of the HIV/AIDS virus
  • Necessary immunizations (please consult your local travel clinic)
  • Police clearance form

During your free time, you are welcome to explore any of the various exciting outdoor activities or culturally-enriching sites St. Lucia and the surrounding area has to offer. Past volunteers have enjoyed surfing and snorkelling at Cape Vidal, going on a game drive through iSimangaliso at night, as well as weekend trips to Thanda Reserve or Mozambique. 

Project Orientation (Included):
On arrival in St. Lucia, you will receive a comprehensive orientation, including:

  • Introduction to St. Lucia and the surrounding area
  • Starter-kit for HIV/AIDS education and an HIV/AIDS Q & A session
  • A basic language course to learn some basic words and sentences in Zulu, the local language in St. Lucia
  • Background on the healthcare system in South Africa and prevalent diseases and their effects 

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