The grey matter certainly was not doing its job when I decided that enough time had gone by and the blogging had to begin, come hell or high water. Preferably neither hell or high water as I am the sun and calm water type of gal.
So I said to myself “Self, you need to start at the beginning and let is flow”.
Before I get carried away and you think I am rude, let me introduce myself. My name is Michelle and I started out as the Social Media Manager for AVIVA Volunteers. I am the new kid on the block and really enjoyed my fancy title and the chance to interact with the volunteers and check out the projects and do the odd tour and excursion with the Volunteer. We have a great team – some on the forefront and some in the background whom you may get to meet or may not, but everyone is 100% utterly and totally dedicated to making your volunteering experience, one to remember. And don’t take my word for it, you just need to listen or read up on our testimonials which are heart-felt comments of the experiences of volunteers who have come and gone and come back again. (Just saying, the gun we held to their head was not loaded at the time of their giving us their testimonials. Just needed to make that clear).
AVIVA started operating in 2001 and became fully operational in 2002. We have a very well run, beautifully furnished Volunteer House in Table View, Cape Town which is totally dedicated to the Volunteers. This is the responsibility of Megan our wonderful Volunteer Coordinator (more about her later) who mothers everyone all the time. In fact, when Volunteers return to South Africa for a holiday, they always contact us to find out if we have room for them. They like it and Megan, THAT much.
It is difficult when you are sitting on the other side of the globe Googling or Yahooing or Facebooking to find an organisation whom you can trust. There are so many out there. Much more than when we first started out way back when. When we started we were one of the first in South Africa and then voluntourism became a huge hit and soon others followed suit and wham bam, you now have a choice so vast that it makes your head spin. Fear not. We are legit. Here are some facts about AVIVA we cannot hide from and which gives you an indication, if not a guarantee, that we will not take your money and head off on some safari, only to leave you stranded at the airport. That is not us. That is not the AVIVA way.
- We are an official member of Cape Town Tourism and have been since 2003.
- We are registered with the South African Tourism organisation.
- AVIVA is a full member of SAYTC (South African Youth Travel Confederation).
- We are registered as a Gold Corporate member of the Volunteer Centre which is affiliated to the International Association of Volunteer Effort (IAVE) and the United Nations Volunteers (UNV).
Those accreditations alone, should give you a warm fuzzy feeling but, if not, you can be rest assured of the following:
- What we say on our website is true.
- The testimonials on our You Tube channel are genuine.
- When you book you are able to connect with past and present volunteers and talk to them directly about their volunteering experience or to make friends with them before you arrive at the Volunteer House.
- Your safety is our No. 1 priority.
- Your enjoyment and the enjoyment of your project and of our country is tied in first place with your safety.
- We provide you with in-country support and look after you from the time you arrive until you leave.
That is AVIVA Volunteers in a nutshell. Volunteering in South Africa with AVIVA is the one option when you are wanting to experience a holiday, another country and volunteering with peace of mind.