Hero Holidays Volunteer Programs

Hero Holidays Volunteer Programs

About

Hero Holidays is a social enterprise offering meaningful projects in and around Johannesburg South Africa.

We believes it is here in the ‘golden province’, Gauteng, South Africa where Hero Holidays volunteers will gain a true African experience while at the same time enhancing life for disadvantaged communities.

Hero Holidays’ Volunteer Programs addresses some community challenges, by providing a small but positive contribution to much greater issues.

Our wish is: To see the image of volunteer travel shift away from people jumping off a plane saying "I'm here to help you!" to saying "I'm here to learn from you, how I can be of help, now, or in the future."

Reviews

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Andrea
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

We spent a couple of days with Lorraine in Joburg - couldn't have been better! We had the best overview and cultural introduction to South Africa, thanks to her.

We then moved to Dinoken reserve, where we spend the rest of our journey, helping and sharing time with the project Babies in the Bush. Amazing experience! Highly recommend anyone to jump in!

The experience was amazing - it helps you understand how many things you have you don't need and even all the things that you are missing! South Africa is a passioning country, people are absolutely welcoming and the Hero Holidays program (Babies in the bush) together with the Butterfly farm down in the Dinokeng Reserve made me realise how important it is to spend your time - and your free time - on projects that make out of this world an amazing place.

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asma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience was excellent and I highly recommend this program. it is very organized and the staff is very professional and friendly, the overall vibe is very positive and productive. the kids are an inspiration and it is heart warming to work with them. just to give you peace of mind, the area is very safe and everyone is helpful. I think the program needs more supplies and staff to be able to operate better and take on more kids. if you are thinking of goin, don't doubt it and make the decision now :)

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Kerryann
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This experience was unique as everyday was different, from what we did in the morning with different projects around the creches (arts and crafts with the children, sports, painting furniture...) to the afternoons working and playing with the babies and young children at the Butterfly centre.
Living on the farm was great and I especially liked being able to walk around and picking oranges with the children for their afternoon snack which they enjoyed a lot too!
My favorite part of this experience was being able to interact with so many children and, at the Butterfly centre, children ranging from a few months old to almost four years old. It was very interesting learning each of their various likes and dislikes and being able to anticipate their reactions to different situations.

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Cecilie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I knew that volunteering was going to be one of the greatest experiences of my life... I saw this as putting myself through a test, to become stronger individually and more independent. I’m only 20 years old and I just finished high school. So I was very nervous about leaving everything behind. I thought traveling alone would be a huge challenge for me. But my experience as a volunteer in this fantastic program Hero Holidays have put together helped me to achieve these goals easily. With the love from the people of Soweto and an open mind you can go beyond expectations and hopes. I expected to help and give other people in need, but in the end it was me who should be thankful. Thankful to the people who wanted to share their everyday life with me. The amazing teachers at Thabaneng Primary School and the Teachers at St. Martins De Porres. My time by their side will forever stay in my heart. The things you will learn from an experience like this are unimaginable. There really are no words big enough to explain how great this have been. You need to go there and feel it for yourself! I have learned so many things from this trip and I know for sure that I will come back one day. The 5 weeks I spent in Soweto with Lebo’s backpackers staff, the teachers and the people behind Hero Holidays are some of the best 5 weeks of my life. Now I have 48 kids, a family and friends from the other side of the world. That I see as one of my biggest achievements in my life. Making up your mind about travelling far away is challenging in many ways, but following your heart and trusting yourself and your decisions are one of my most important lessons I have ever learned.

What would you improve about this program?
I wouldn't change a thing...
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Laura
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I stayed for 3 weeks with the butterfly change for children and can only describe it as one of the best experiences of my life. The children are the lucky ones who have been saved and who are looking for their forever homes but while they wait their child hood is second to none. The mamas who are with the children look after them as if they are their own, they are brought up with respect, knowledge, dignity and in a great child friendly environment. Not only are the children taught in 3 languages they have several acres in which to run around and play in complete safety where they encounter different experiences everyday. Through the help, love, determination and courage from lize, her family, volunteers and people like Lorraine who advertise, fund raise and look after butterfly these children and many more after them have the best start in life.

I find it humbling that children who have had some really rough starts to their very short lives experience such happiness and joy and when volunteers are there they are treated like one of the family.

The work while at butterfly can be demanding and at times hard but the rewards of seeing children run to you in the morning and want to cuddle and play more than make up for it.

I keep up with Lorraine on a regular basis continue to strive to do what I can not only for butterfly but also for the surrounding community. Lorraine and lize have hearts the size of the sun and the moon and these kids couldn't be in better hands during their early years and crucial developmental stages - I know for a fact that next time I'm back in SA I'll be heading to butterfly to see the kids and lize and see what I've missed!!

Programs

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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Theto

Job Title
Photographer and Community Manager

What is your favorite travel memory?

Taking part in Hero Holidays' kids in Nelson Mandela's Soweto program. Through this experience, I met a lot of versatile people traveling to Soweto in search of history and knowledge.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I've developed better time management skills and increased my knowledge surrounding different cultures worldwide. I'm now more confident using a camera, and have had the change to grow my digital marketing skills.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

A participant named Valance from Iceland told me once that she had never made an African friend before. She was nervous about interacting with others, and was surprised to see how her experience with Hero Holidays compared to the expectations she had.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I love younger kids, so I would choose Babies in the Bush. It's secluded and the best place to retreat from city life. I also love animals, and it's based in a nature reserve.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

As a team, we give back a lot. I especially enjoyed March 21st, Human Right's Day, as we played with children all day and made them lunch and ice cream - the smiles on their faces were priceless.

What do you think will help your company to continue to grow in the future?

We definitely need more volunteers who are willing to share their skills and talents to join the program, and focus more on those interested in giving back and exploring around Johannesburg.

More Interviews