The orientation program at Hands is the opportunity to orientate you into the Hands at Work family and to give you time to learn and understand our vision, values and structure. We look to plug you into a team as soon as possible to give you the chance to quickly enter into Hands family life in all ways. You will also have the chance to visit key Hands at Work activities and stay with a community family. We’ll work out, together with you, where you may be involved longer term and train you accordingly. As a volunteer, we ask that you come with an open heart and a willingness to serve in whatever way is needed. Volunteers serving with Hands at Work are able to encourage and support our local communities by their very presence. The skills and abilities that you bring with you can be used to empower and equip people to help Hands directly. The metaphor we use to describe our volunteers working in community projects across southern Africa is “scaffolding:" temporary, yet essential aides in building a project and leaving it stronger than upon arrival. Volunteers arrive at our Hub for varying lengths of time and serve local workers in a variety of areas, always maintaining the goal of building the centre’s capacity to effectively care for the poor and vulnerable and supporting local ownership and sustainability.
Adam Bedford, a 22-year-old university graduate from the UK, shares about his experience of the six-week Hands at Work orientation programme for new volunteers. He lives at the Hands 'village' in South Africa.
I first touched down on African soil in April 2010 in beautiful rural Zambia. At the time I was halfway through my studies and the thought of visiting Africa, let alone moving there, was little more than a romantic dream for the distant future. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, a free ticket to Zambia landed in my lap.