God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

pensée of a Catholic priest

23.09.2009 Doing good..

Doing good isn’t that easy. How often do we have requests from people from overseas wanting to do something good. This means in many cases they envisage themselves helping HOPE Cape Town in some practical and personal way. This is difficult in many ways. HOPE Cape Town is not a children’s orphanage in the wild of Africa, but a professional organisation working in state institutions like primary health care facilities (also called township clinics) or Tygerberg Children’s Hospital. We simply cannot take everybody as a volunteer and this creates very often disappointment. South Africa too has rules and regulations, and very often, the question of a working visa ends the dream of doing good. But also being in the country guarantees not a volunteer post. The person must be suitable, the work must be meaningful and beneficial to the causes of HOPE Cape Town and its’ patients and clients.

So we try to balance every request and look for its merit. But even if it would fit, an organisation like HOPE Cape Town can only take a certain amount of volunteers at a time. There must be supervision and guidance. We have in the moment two volunteers at any given time from “weltwaerts” which is an initiative from the German Government to give young people a chance to discover their talents while working abroad. Add one or two more and we are already at the end of our capacity.

It is interesting to see that also elderly persons want to contribute and we see more and more requests from those, who are retired and seek for a meaningful purpose for the years after work. And as Cape Town is a prime destiny on the world map, there are months were we have to answer every day several requests. This leaves me for example sometimes a bit unhappy to deny such requests as I am sure the person on the other side of the world just want to do good. And I have to concede that wanting to do good is getting more and more difficult in our days.

So how does HOPE Cape Town choses its volunteers?
After getting an application we are looking whether the person can fund himself/herself completely and whether the skills or requirements are fitting in with the requirements of HOPE Cape Town and its actual work. If it matches and a place is available the person gets the go ahead to come and join HOPE Cape Town for a certain period of time. The volunteer will have a supervisor whom he or she reports to on a regular base.

Besides the volunteers we also have most times medical students doing an elective student programme and we more and more have also PhD students who make use of our connections into the township communities for their research. It goes without say that all is done in accordance with the regulations of the ethical committee of the University of Stellenbosch if so required.

Filed under: General, HOPE Cape Town Association & Trust, Medical and Research, Networking, , , , , , , , , ,

HIV, AIDS and HOPE – thoughts of a Catholic priest

Being a Roman - Catholic priest and working in the fields of HIV and AIDS in Africa is often a challenge. Living in Africa has also its challenges. On the other hand I feel very much blessed having all the three. So you will find stories and reflections about my work, about the church, South Africa and Africa and essential information and developments in the field of HIV and AIDS. And in between personal stories and thoughts. You are most welcome to leave a comment or to get in touch with me - blogs - "thinking loud" so to speak is a ways of communication and exchange of ideas.

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