Volunteering at Pasture Valley

Since 2003, Pasture Valley has welcomed men and women from the US, UK, Ghana, Norway, and elsewhere throughout the world as both short- and long-term volunteers. We are looking for responsible individuals or married couples with strong Christian values, a love for children, and a desire to help. Because of the wide range of activities in which Pasture Valley is involved, we accept volunteers with a wide range of skills, interests and experiences: everything from small business management to preschool to construction or maintenance.

Volunteer with the childrenVolunteers at Pasture Valley help with a variety of activities in the children’s home, the plant nursery and/or on the farm. Typically, volunteers spend their mornings assisting in the preschool or around the farm, afternoons doing sports, dance or other activities with the children, and evenings helping the children with homework or teaching computer skills. On weekends and holidays, volunteers help host birthday parties or other events, lead arts and crafts sessions, provide tutoring for children requiring extra help with their subjects, assist with the home’s garden, or help with other tasks. Pasture Valley is always in need of the assistance of a trained or experienced preschool teacher or specialist in early childhood development, and individuals capable of assisting with various administrative tasks, including bookkeeping.

Whatever your skill set, we can find a job for you at Pasture Valley!

Additionally, Pasture Valley is involved with a number of organizations that provide home-based care and palliative care for individuals living with HIV/AIDS, run support groups for people affected by HIV, provide trainings on HIV/AIDS and related health issues, do HIV testing and counseling, and conduct outreach activities to help impoverished families meet their needs for food, clothes, children’s school fees, and other basic needs. Volunteers with interest or prior experience in HIV or other health-related fields may be able to assist, on a part-time basis, with one or more of these projects.

Currently, Pasture Valley is working with a local NGO working to provide skills training in traditional and non-traditional handicrafts as well as business skills to women who have been abused, abandoned, widowed or otherwise affected by HIV. The project aims to provide useful experience, a reliable income and social support for all women involved, as well as acting as a forum to discuss key issues of HIV/AIDS prevention and other health issues. For this project, Pasture Valley is seeking volunteers with skills or experience in business, marketing, arts and crafts, skills training, grant-writing, or health education. If you are interested in assisting with this project, please specify your skills and experience on your application.

Eligibility

Prospective volunteers must be at least 18 years of age and proficient in English. Pasture Valley accepts applications from individuals of either gender, as well as married couples. While individuals are certainly welcome, preference is given to married couples. Because the majority of volunteers work with the children’s home, it is important that they have a love of children and Christian values.

Cultural Considerations

Prospective volunteers must be patient, open-minded and respectful of other cultures, as culture and tradition are very highly valued in Swaziland. All volunteers will experience a certain amount of culture shock in adjusting to the living conditions and prevalence of poverty in Swaziland, the limited availability of modern conveniences such as internet, language differences, the fluid concept of time, unpredictable public transportation and any number of other cultural factors, in addition to homesickness. In particular, female volunteers may be irritated by gender inequalities, sexual harassment, or the cultural norms that require women to dress more conservatively than in their home country. Prior to their arrival, all volunteers will be given an orientation packet that provides a more detailed introduction to Swazi culture, siSwati language and other important information.

Accommodation

volunteerhouseTo accommodate volunteers, Pasture Valley has a small 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom cottage on the farm, right behind the children’s home. The cottage offers all the basic amenities, including a refrigerator, running hot and cold water, a washing machine and a small kitchen area. Volunteers may be required to share this same facility with other volunteers from time to time.

Costs

There is no fee for volunteering at Pasture Valley. However, volunteers will be expected to finance their own flights to and from Swaziland, their own meals and incidental expenses while in Swaziland, as well as all medical expenses (immunizations, etc.) and visa fees incurred by the volunteer. It is essential that you arrange adequate health insurance to cover any accident or illness for the duration of your stay. A contribution towards accommodation electrical/heating costs would be appreciated.

To apply

If you would like to volunteer at Pasture Valley, whether for one month or up to one year, please take look at the information that we require and then email us. Additionally, we ask that applicants submit an updated résumé or CV and at least two reference.

Please note: For many (but not all) countries, no visa is required to enter either South Africa or Swaziland. It is important to check this and other requirements before arranging travel. (For example: South Africa will require you to have a number of blank pages in your passport and that your passport is not close to expiring). If you wish to stay for more than three months you will need to obtain a work permit from the Swaziland Department of Home Affairs, which will be arranged upon your arrival.

Swazi Government Website- check Visitor section and look for entry requirements for your country

Visiting South Africa: visas