A few weeks ago I was invited by Better SA to get off my butt and take part in a volunteering initiative that would see us renovating and revamping Siyazingisa Primary’s school library in Gugulethu. Apart from the obvious intention of refurbishing the existing school library for the 1000+ school children that attend Siyazingisa, the event was also momentous because this was the official launch of Better SA’s volunteer program in Cape Town!
Having had a successful launch in Johannesburg, and after seeing the need for their service, Better SA has now launched their “Uber of volunteering” service in Cape Town too.
But what is Better SA?
The below excerpt is taken straight off their website:
“Described by SA’s media as ‘The Uber of volunteering’ Better SA’s Hop on Hop off volunteer bus service is taking all the hassle out of volunteering. The service is free of charge and each experience is fully facilitated, ensuring that volunteers make the biggest impact in the time they have available.
The only requirement from the volunteer is that they book a spot on one of our buses, arrive and hop on. Better SA does the rest.
The Hop on Hop off volunteer bus service runs every Saturday morning, between 8am and 12pm. When volunteers arrive at any of our bus hubs they are greeted by Better SA team leaders who brief all on the community and organisation being visited. Once at the organisation, each volunteer is handed a pack complete with a step by step guide on how to complete the activity and all supplies needed. Volunteers spend 90 mins at the organisation before boarding the bus and heading back to their cars. It does not get easier than that.
Volunteer activities range from teaching computer skills, playing educational games and typing up hand written CV’s for the unemployed to visiting the elderly, painting inspirational murals and environmental clean ups.”
As briefly mentioned above, Better SA is a service and a beneficiary of the My School, My Village, My Planet foundation that aims to connect volunteers / ordinary citizens (like you and me) to incredible volunteering projects around Johannesburg and Cape Town. They have actually been described as the “Uber” of volunteering in South Africa, which is just incredible.
Just one of the many reasons that I love Better SA’s service is how easy they have made it for people to get involved. Seriously. Go check out their website here >> https://www.bettersa.org << and see for yourself how simple the process is. Check out their calendar, sign up and simply meet at the collection point! Dead easy.
I think that (and I speak for myself here) so often we (as citizens) do want to get involved in helping out where possible but the process to get involved has been a genuine barrier to entry or a barrier to help, but now with a streamlined and simple process we have an incredible opportunity to get involved sitting right at out fingertips. Literally.
How can I get involved?
Again, it’s as easy as heading to https://www.bettersa.org/upcoming-events/ and signing up for the next event in the calendar. It’s literally that easy. Or as Better SA describes it: “The only requirement from the volunteer is that they book a spot on one of our buses, arrive and hop on. Better SA does the rest.”
Siyazingisa library revamp:
So no that you know a little bit more about how Better SA is improving the lives of South Africans in need and literally making our country a better place, let me tell you a little bit more about our morning spent revamping the Siyazingisa school library.
Firstly, we all met at the Better SA pick up point at the Mupine Golf Course in Pinelands and hopped into the Better SA shuttle. We didn’t have to bring anything other than our willing hands. When Better SA says that they “take care of the rest” they genuinely mean it.
When we arrived on site 20 minutes later, we found that Better SA’s ground team had prepped the library for us. Books were ready to be sorted, paints and palettes had been laid out, new furnishings were stacked outside the library ready to placed in and the whole structure just need the 10 of us to literally get stuck in and set everything up. So we painted, we packed and stacked, we put our backs into it for the children and within two hours we helped created a beautiful space for young minds to come in and soak up the invaluable information that a school library provides.
On a personal note; I loved the library when I was in junior school and I know that hundreds and hundreds of learners are going to rediscover that same passion I once had as a child in this new library. But I also know that even if only one learner falls in love with this space the same way that i did when I was a kid, then it was all worth it, and I’m sure that Better SA feels the exact same way.
Thank you Better SA for inviting me to take part in this initiative and to get my hands dirty. I can guarantee this won’t be my last experience with you guys!
Here’s a video of our experience and more pics below :)