Monthly Archives: August 2019

Why you should be part of the tribe?

Amparo Velasco
Africa Dream Director 

Every year, the Africa Dream Foundation, chases a new dream, a new project in a new location, and a new challenge, that comes from the urgent necessity of the high amount of children, adults and elders that living in extreme poverty and illness conditions. The challenge of every year is bigger… and it adds to a new cause that is currently maintained, and that are completely funded with the support of our partners in Chile.  

Every year, different professional are sent, who give away their time and work to a location, with a clear objective from the beginning. This objective can be in a new school, hospital, community vegetable patch… Doctors, agronomist, teachers, engineers, technicians, physical therapist, physiotherapist are needed, and anyone that feel in their heart the thrust, the strength and the will of coming out of their comfort zone to work in the hardest conditions that they will face in their life, but with the satisfaction and joy of being part of a tribe it is unforgettable. 

For every volunteer that the foundation sends, for every project that is going to be develop, we must assure a permanent flow of incoming that will allow us to settle the accommodation, with all that implies, assuring all the necessary conditions. We don’t take chances. We have to be sure to cover all the expenses before we start planning a trip, to buy supplies and before we nurture hopes. 

The only income to develop and build this amazing work is your contribution. With your commitment and monthly contribution, we can; design, plan, assess and fulfill with a project of caring, healing, educating, growing, and creating dreams and hopes for every children and adult. 

Today we have a new dream that is an urgent matter: The Eswatini orphanage. This project seeks to take in and look after abandoned children and with some disability. It is necessary to cover all of their basic needs, such as, accommodation, health and diet, but also, we have to help them to develop themselves as autonomous adults, give them

 tools, teach them how to move forward and how to live better. First of all, a medic and an engineer will travel, and they will perform a lifting of the current conditions, just as much as in infrastructure as in the general condition of the children, so in the few weeks that the professional are there, can give them the therapy and care that they will need, and also a special education.

The contribution of every partner is vital to fulfill this dream. It is amazing how meaningful it is. No amount is too small. You can’t imagine that with 5000 CLP monthly, can feed an entire family for a hole month, in Africa.  It can change the life of some many that they need it! 

For this reason, we are asking you to become a partner. With your contribution we can keep working and making true this Africa Dream.

Karla Jimenez: Our new volunteer send to Eswatini

Karla Jimenez is 34 years old and she is a Civil Industrial Engineer. She was born in Temuco city and she has been living in Santiago since the last 3 years. For almost 10 years she was a hockey field player and also is passionate about photography, music, books and volunteer works – specially with kids and elderly. 

Nowadays, Karla prepares her suitcases to become the first volunteer that is going to Eswatini this year, with the mission to create a preliminary report of the most urgent necessities of the orphanage, which is the one that the foundation will start to collaborate in its next operation. 

A few hours on beginning her journey, Karla tells us about her motivations and expectations regarding to this new challenge in her life.  

—What is your interest on making a voluntary work? 

I strongly believe that helping a person to have hope, it’s invaluable, if we all contribute with a grain of sand, from each individual possibility, we could make a big difference in the life of children and families that live in poverty. That is the personal reason that motivates me to contribute to a more just society: to have the possibility to connect with needed people and create a space to give, at the end of the day, they give us the chance to learn from their experiences and how to face life, which I think it remunerates to any fulfilled effort; which is much more that you can give as a volunteer. 

—Why did you choose a voluntary work in Africa? 

In the years that I lived in Araucanía Region – the one with more poverty in our country – I tried actively to collaborate in voluntary works. When I got to Santiago, I looked for institutions that were committed to help the needy and by chance I met Africa Dream Foundation. 

Personally, I always had the dream to do a voluntary work in Africa, but I had the idea that it could only be done if you were a doctor. When I met the foundation, I saw the big opportunity that they provide to every professional that is interested on doing a voluntary work in the poorest continent in the world, where sadly the children work since they are 5 years old, instead of studying and playing. Hence, definitely, it is a dream come true. 

—What motivated you from Africa Dream Foundation? 

First of all, I think is amazing that they don’t close the doors to any professional if you compare it with other foundations or ONGs, and how they can contribute from their own knowledge. Besides, the receipt of the manager, the team and volunteers it is extraordinary and friendly from the first minute. They make you feel like home and it is a place where every idea it’s a contribution. In addition, the projects that are set up, seek to provide knowledge to the African people so they can have the tools to overcome the poverty without the support from any institution. 

—What do you expect to contribute in the Project that you will perform at Eswatini? 

The Africa Dream Foundation is giving me the chance and had trusted me to go as an engineer at Eswatini. My work will consist in collect information in a 200 children’s home, most of them in a disability situation, which I hope to transmit in detail of the reality of the place to the volunteers that are going to come after me, so we can create projects in this areas of health and education that can contribute the best as possible. 

—What message you would give to those who are thinking on doing something like this but they don’t dare? 

I strongly believe that this voluntary work in Africa is going to be one of the most important experiences that will have in my life and I invite them to do it. Life is one and now. The payment and personal growth it will be worth it, also, to have the opportunity to contribute, even at the minimum, to overcoming poverty in this continent, it is priceless. 

—What would you like to say to the Africa Dream’s partners? 

The most important thing is to express gratitude to the contribution to every one of the partners, because many professionals, of every specialty, can provide something to Africa, in my case to children who need it, since they are rejected and abandoned for being in a disability situation. Through our projects and thanks to their contributions, they are helping to change somehow the life of people from the other side of the world, where life is so tough and different from our reality. 

I also want ask to our partners, to invite their families and friends to become part of this noble cause, which its own purpose is to deliver tools the African people so they can leave that poverty circle, specially the children.

The experience of an ex volunteer

Ignacio Vilches
Agricultural Engineer
Director Africa Dream

The Origin 

My volunteer work started on January 2011 and ended with my return in February 2012 and I have been bound to the foundation since that moment. I have trained new volunteers, participated in competitive fundraising for new projects and in interviews to spread our work in mass media.    

The restlessness for helping has been with me due to a family formation, something that became stronger during my university phase, while working in the CCAA in my faculty, during summer and winter jobs, missions and by performing my job as a firefighter. 

The concern of going as a volunteer to Africa came after, when I was working in the Ministry of Agriculture. During this time, I received an email where they were looking for an agronomist to manage a community project in South Africa. The project made so much sense to me because it meant giving my experience and knowledge to the service of the community that needed it, and, at the same time, it was an opportunity to test myself and to come out of my comfort zone.  

All of it raised the question as to where I was going to arrive —including culture, language, believes — but at the same time, the challenge as a life experience was unmeasurable, therefore my initial doubts vanished once I accepted taking part in the project. I was going to be there during the second year of the project that the foundation started, with the support of our counterpart in South Africa, a Salesian Sisters mission — Catholic order — responsible for the Holy Rosary School. 

Without a doubt I must say that in this important process I had full support from my family and friends.  

Volunteer work 

The Project was taking place in the Xitlhelani village, in the province of Limpopo in South Africa. It is near the northern border with Zimbabwe and Mozambique, right next to one of the biggest parks in Africa: Kruger Park. This place is known for being a very rural zone, far away from the big metropolitan cities in the country — Johannesburg is 7 hours away from this place by car — where two local ethnic groups live together: the Tsonga tribe and the Venda tribe, as well as refugees from neighboring countries that are looking for opportunities. These refugees are escaping the dictatorship in Zimbabwe and from the civil war that took place in Mozambique between 1977 and 1992 — with more than 5 million displaced people. Basically, there are no “white people” in this area.   

The Project had 3 big lines of work. The heart of the project was a community project. It consisted of resume the work with women, housewives, usually widowed or separated, that were in charge of a vastly extensive family group — in these groups there were always a lot of kids, and it was also normal to find elderly people —. The origin of these women was the Tsonga tribe, Venda tribe, Mozambican and Zimbabweans. The Salesians would lend the land and we would give them corn seeds — this is the base of the diet in sub-Saharan Africa — and peanut. We also supported them with tractor hours to prepare the soil. Along with that we helped them during the entire process, and they received training in the Agricultural Ministry support office.  

The second line of work was as support in the school, as a teacher for kids between 4th and 7th grade in their science class. In this situation, basically all classes would be made in an experimental garden where the vegetables, herbs and fruits were cultivated, under the concept of permaculture (sustainable agriculture with the environment). The idea was to show different kinds of crops that could develop in the climate of the zone — savannah with fresh and dry winters, and warm and rainy summers — with mechanized irrigation — the water is a very scarce resource in this continent — and sustainable in the environment.   

Lastly but not less important, the work done with the kids in the village and the refugee camp. This job consisted in giving value to teamwork, improvement and integration through sport. This was done twice a week with kids from 7 to 13 years old. 

The Experience 

It wasn’t easy at first, since there was certain rivalry and discrimination from the kids in the village toward the kids belonging to the refugee camp in Rhulani.   

With the help of another volunteer, called Natalia, we would bring the kids from the camp closer by truck, after school hours, and we would use the facilities that the school, managed by the Salesian sisters, would provide for us. The result of these activities was amazing. In average, it was more than 20 kids that participated each week, creating strong friendship bonds. Later, Natalia replicated this modality with the girls in the refugee camp.     

Looking at it from afar, what would be the main thing that I learned from this experience? 

Without a doubt the happiness, the affection and the generosity from the people that I met along my stay. It is something that cannot be repaid, especially in those moments when I felt the distance from my family and friends. The development of respect and tolerance was just as important. This was significant so that I could face a world that was so very different from the one I was used to, and it was also the foundation to create bonds with the community that took me in.  

Another thing that I learned from this experience was how the support from the team in Chile was important, so that I could develop my work in this remote place, and moreover, give my family security that things were being done right and in a very serious manner. 

Undeniably my vision of the world changed after my experience in Africa. One realizes that life is much simpler than what we believe and besides, the meaning of being a community and having respect for one another has been getting lost.   

A message for future volunteers

My advice to you is to take full advantage of this experience, one that is unique and unforgettable. There is so much that we can contribute to the community to which we arrive and much to receive as a volunteer. The friends that you make stay forever, so much so that after 3 years, I went back to Africa with my wife and the affection from the people was still the same

Donar ahora


Santiago, Chile
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