Swaziland is one of the smallest countries in Africa and is located on the southern hemisphere meaning the seasons are flipped from what you are used to in most Western countries. Wildlife and beautiful scenery are abundant. The Swazi cultures and traditions are also largely emphasized. There seems to be a general consensus that Swaziland is a perfect place for a photographer.
Wildlife Conservation: Community Development: With the high AID/HIV rates, many families are in need of support. Volunteers can help out by building homes and beneficial structures for those families. Throughout the building process volunteers can also interact with children who are affected by the high AID/HIV rates.
Education: If you are interested in teaching then Swaziland would be a perfect place to do so. Volunteers work with local schools to help teach underprivileged children with various subjects such as English and Math. This is another opportunity to become a role model for young children needing a strong support system.
Youth Support: Working at care centers is very important in Swaziland because there are many orphans due to the high rates of AID/HIV infections. A lot of the kids need support and a fostering environment and volunteers can give them that through community development programs. Volunteers can improve the care centers, help with food, plan activities and teach the children important life skills.
Planning Your Trip
- How to Save Money While Volunteering: A visa isn’t necessary unless you stay in the country for more than 30 days. If you plan to stay more than 30 days, you can extend the stay once you are in the country at the Immigration Department. Also do not go in and out of Swaziland at night by road. There are many incidents of recurring car thefts. Remember that the Swaziland currency, Emalangeni, can only be used in the local area. Also try to avoid political gatherings that may become unpredictable. Also the locals largely respect the monarch and their political views seem to be more conservative.
- Volunteer Support: Make sure you have the contact information of the embassies from your countries. They can keep you up to date with important information in case of an emergency. Each volunteer organization should have some sort of resource and support for foreigners. For example, the Peace Corps in Swaziland offer emergency support in case of any unforeseen happenings.
- Health and Safety of Volunteers in Swaziland: Compared to other countries, Swaziland is on the safer side for crimes but again there are high risks of AIDS/HIV among the people. You may need to be extra careful about STD’s. Similar to other countries, avoid walking at night alone and watch for your belongings. The emergency number is 933 if you need medical assistance.