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TLC Children's Home

About

TLC is a fun-loving, hard-working, family-focused organisation that cares for 32 tiny babies under the age of 3 years upon admission. There are also 36 children between the ages of 3 and 24 years living at TLC on a permanent basis. A major portion of TLC’s work (together with social workers and the department of social services) is to find permanent families for the tiny babies, preferably reunited with their family. If this is unsuccessful then we try to get them placed in local foster or adoptive care and if that is not possible, we petition the authorities to get them placed in permanent families overseas. We aim to have these babies placed into permanent families as soon as reasonably possible.

We rely heavily on volunteers to support the Mamas (employee caregivers) in our nursery and have had over 1000 volunteers serve with us since our founding in 1993

Reviews

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Olivia
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

I would go back in a heartbeat!

TLC was a truly the best experience of my life. The families who run this amazing organization are so driven in making a difference and helping as many babies as they can.
They are wonderful at training new volunteers and easing you in slowly.
The work is extremely fast pace, it's HARD work and can be exhausting, but so incredibly fun working along other volunteers from around the world.
Accommodations are decent and with room and board provided this is a very affordable place to volunteer.
I volunteered for 6 months and it was a wonderful length of time and I could have easily stayed a year. I miss TLC so much and will go back one day.

What would you improve about this program?
When I first arrived there were very few volunteers so our work load was huge, working 14 hour days. Other than that though the system they have going is great, I'm always encouraging people looking to volunteer to go here, since it's a smaller organization run completely off volunteers, they need all the help they can get!
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Erika
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

TLC is a life changer <3

I had the opportunity of volunteering at TLC (The Love of Christ Children’s Home) for 1 year starting October 2015 – October 2016. I would encourage people to stay for a longer time than 2-3 months as I feel it allows you to become a part of the community and allows the children and you to connect on a greater level as their caregiver. TLC takes care of your meals and your housing, but still allow opportunities to go to the malls and stores to buy other foods or items you may need. TLC is a place that you not only get to impact others but leave being impacted and changed forever. TLC taught me so much about culture, diversity, poverty, unconditional love and time management. The task of caring for newborns, babies, toddlers and school aged children is A LOT of work! Our tasks as volunteers include: cleaning the nursery, preparing snacks and bottles, laundry, bathing the little ones, diaper changes, playing and caring for the babies and some overnight shifts. Although it is a lot of work, it really is an incredible experience where you are pulled emotionally, mentally and physically but also leave as an improved individual. TLC provides some really great training around working with babies with different needs as well as different programs like “circle of security”. These opportunities are incredible empowering and train us how to love and impact the babies we care for. It is a place where the other volunteers and the TLC community become not only your peers but your family! I left TLC with more knowledge, more friends and a fulfillment I have never felt before (2 years later I am still in contact with staff members at TLC and many volunteers). I have gone back to TLC for a few visits and will continue to do so! TLC is a life changer and I would recommend it to EVERYONE with a heart to love and care for others, this place will inspire, challenge and encourage your soul for the better.

What would you improve about this program?
Security was the only thing I would improve, however since I have been there MANY changes have been made resulting it the experience being a 10/10 for me!
Read my full story
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Hannah
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

TLC will always have a place in my heart

I first volunteered at TLC in July/August 2005, and went back every year whenever I could until 2011. Overall I think I spent a year there but spread over different times. During my times there, I got to love and cherish so many precious little and not so little human beings and truly felt a part of the family.

I felt very well looked after at TLC and learnt a lot, both about childcare but also about myself. It led me to train as a primary school teacher and I'm still in touch with the friends I made there from all over the world.

Volunteering at TLC is, however, extremely hard work and you have to be dedicated to the lives of the little souls you look after. Waking up at 5.30 every day can be tough, until you walk into the nursery and get early morning cuddles from the most adorable babies whose faces light up as you go to pick them up out of their cots. Even though I loved my time there, I would make potential volunteers aware that this is not something you do to have a good social life. I did manage to explore some local sites and joined in the family / volunteer fun, but primarily you are there to dedicate your every waking hour to these wonderful babies.

I loved TLC so much, I had to keep coming back- that surely speaks volumes. Once you've been to TLC, it's forever a part of you.

What would you improve about this program?
I was always happy to get on with the jobs that needed doing, and keep the interests of the children at heart. However, this was often a female dominated environment, and added to that were different cultures, and this occasionally led to misunderstanding. It's an exhausting and at times stressful job, so you have to be prepare for that.
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Daria
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience, really!

Guys, if you are in your gap year and looking for international experience while wanting to make an impact - this program is for you! I was at TLC twice for 6 months each time, and I loved every minute of it! Working with the babies is the most rewarding experience I ever had in my life. And even if you don't have much experience with the kids - no worries, TLC will teach you everything you'll need to become a great caregiver!

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Taqueesha
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

I miss TLC everyday.

When I arrived at TLC I was only 18 years old, I was worried that I would feel alone, being my first solo trip overseas. Thea and her entire family made me feel welcome and loved. From the moment I stepped on to the farm I love every minute of being apart of this amazing ministry. Not only did I get to help raise beautiful children, I got to love babies who needed it the most. The friendships I made I still have many, many years later. You become a family with all the people you work with, and you work together to help save, and care for the most beautiful babies and children. TLC makes sure you are safe, and at no point was I worried for my safety.
I can honestly say that TLC changed my heart, and my life. I believe that I left a huge part of my heart in Africa at TLC and I cannot wait for the day I return.

What would you improve about this program?
The program has been perfected over the years. The only issue is when there is a shortage on volunteers which they try their hardest.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because serving at an orphanage was always something I have always wanted to do. I wanted to move abroad for 1 year so that I would be able to be a part of the culture and community, not just passing through as if I was on vacation. Africa was also a dream of mine to visit, so why not do both? Accompanying the dream of travel with the dream of servitude was something that I could not escape, it was totally my calling at that point in my life.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

This was something I did recently after graduating and therefore my university did not assist me. I navigated everything on my own from finding the agency I wanted to work with off of Google, to applying for a visa and moving my life across the world to South Africa. As much as my program did not give me the actual tools to relocate, my program did teach me the thought process to learn to be "comfortable with being uncomfortable" and for that, I am so very grateful.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I think a piece of advice I would give someone who was traveling abroad would be not to travel somewhere with the mindset it will be "like home". Embrace the culture and the differences without holding it to the standards you're used to, it's so much more enjoyable that way! I think a huge barrier for most people I encountered volunteering at TLC was that they were constantly saying statements like "This food doesn't taste like the food I'm used to" or "The temperature at home gets so much cooler in the night, it's too hot here". Traveling is a new chance to learn and live and enjoy different things!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

An average week at TLC consists of caring for babies and toddlers with activities such as playing, feeding, changing nappies, cleaning, reading, bathing, snuggling, laundry, and dishes as well as some overnight shifts every other month. A typical shift starts at 6am and ends once the group you are caring for falls asleep. Depending on the volunteer number at the time, volunteers get one day off a week which leaves some valuable time for exploring and replenishing all that energy you've been using on some of the most beautiful souls you will ever meet!

My biggest fear would have to be feeling lonely or not "fitting in". Going abroad means leaving all the people you know and love behind you, however chatting with new people you meet, going out and experiencing different activities with others and be willing to be vulnerable, voicing needs, worries and thoughts are recipes for friendship. I left TLC with more friends who actually now have become more like family to me (even 2 years later). When I look at the ideas I held on loneliness now, I see it as a choice. The choice lies with whether you choose to live in your head and your thoughts, or whether you choose to open your heart or not.

How has this experience changed you?

I think this experience has taught me how to love unconditionally and have compassion and empathy with situations I don't always have lived experience with. Going to South Africa allowed me to see different cultures, people, belief systems and a way of living life simply yet profoundly. It taught me to not take the little things for granted such as wifi, safe transportation or walking alone down the street at night. TLC has given me a new outlook on life which is; to be grateful, to love deeply and not be afraid to hold back.