One of our past volunteers, Kora, spent six weeks volunteering in South Africa with Bobbi Bear as part of her Masters in Public Health. Read all about her experience below and how it contributed to her finding her purpose as a lawyer.
What did your volunteering work consist of?
My volunteering consisted of work at the drop-in centre, where sexually abused children came together, and I mainly provided play time with them. I also provided court support for children and families going through the court system in relation to sexual abuse cases. I also worked at the tree, where community members would gather under the tree for visits and receive donations and support.
What were your expectations before starting? Did these match up to your experience when you finished?
My expectation before starting was that I wanted to learn more in the area of sexual abuse, as much of my Masters of Public Health research at the time was in sexual violence against women and children. My expectations were certainly met and I learned a lot more about abuse, why it happens and the system in South Africa for prosecuting abusers.
How do you feel the experience changed you (assuming it did)? Was there any career benefits for you?
Yes it did change me. I have since become a lawyer and a lot of it I attribute to my experience in South Africa. I have worked in family violence law and other areas of human rights law. I have a few experiences which led me to be a lawyer, and this was definitely one of them.
In your opinion, should people volunteer
I definitely think people should volunteer with Operation Bobbi Bear. There are many ways to volunteer and give back. If going overseas isn’t for you, you can fundraise in your own country and send money to Bobbi Bear that way you can do this here.
If you want a front line experience, then volunteering with Bobbi Bear is probably for you. It opens your eyes to a lot of things that you may not have been aware that the human race was even capable of.
Why should someone choose to volunteer with Bobbi Bear?
I liked Bobbi Bear because the staff were great. They take care of you and you have the opportunity to do a lot in a short time.
Can you name the 3 most impactful moments your volunteering experience provided you?
- Meeting Sdudla, one of the CSO’s, who had gone through so much and had recently lost her young son in a drowning, and seeing how strong she was despite everything that happened and the pain she was feeling.
- Jackie Branfield. One word: Amazing.
- Learning about sexual abuse and how often it occurs in South Africa.
To learn more about our programmes with Bobbi Bear in South Africa, click here.