OUR APPROACH & VALUES
Our vision is to make a difference in the lives of children and animals in South Africa, and to facilitate a truly rewarding experience for our volunteers. We believe in the incredibly transformative role of volunteering and are committed to the projects we work with. We work with existing projects, communities and talents to empower them, both with financial and physical resources, and unlike many other volunteer organisations, are transparent with the volunteer to show them where their funds are going. The work of the volunteer in the time that they can commit to the project can be described as them being a piece of a giant jigsaw puzzle with each piece adding to build a brighter future for the communities.
We also believe that one of the greatest learning experiences for any young person is to experience life in a foreign country, to get to understand different cultures, languages and life skills, and this is why we have a dedicated team to facilitate our high school exchange program. Students live with a host family for a term or a year and attend a local school, getting to know what life in South Africa is truly like.
We have over 12 years experience in volunteer and high school exchange programs in South Africa. Over 3000 volunteers and 1500 high school students have passed through our doors in this time, with each year our involvement and progress grows in the communities we are involved in. We are a small organisation that gives back to the projects we are involved in because we are firmly driven by our desire to make a difference in the projects & schools. We want to connect you to Africa, the projects and the communities you will be involved in and facilitate an experience that may well change your life forever. Volunteering provides a sustainable platform, in the absence of funding to make a meaningful difference and to show people, less fortunate than ourselves – that we care. We build humility and gratitude, rather than arrogance and demands, and we welcome anyone with open arms to come help us build a healthy, happy, peaceful South Africa.
Volunteers are hosted in a safe, happy and established environment, a home from home – where they can discover the beauty and challenges of living in South Africa and walk away with a rich experience, which they will carry through life. We work with a team of people around the city and the country, coordinators and facilitators, below is short descriptions of the 'core' You2Africa team…
TOBY DIXON – FOUNDER
Toby has been passionately involved in youth travel for over 20 years (but he says that makes him feel old!). Born and raised in Scotland, he has travelled extensively and worked in youth travel ever since the travel bug bit around the age 18, after he completed studies in Travel & Tourism. Firmly in love with South Africa and living permanently here for the last 12 years Toby is daily inspired by the lessons that Africa can teach and the difference that one person CAN make.
Toby is a doer, an organiser, a facilitator. He has served as chairman of the Volunteer South Africa Association and represents the industry globally at conferences through WYSE Work abroad partnerships with other like minded volunteer motivators.. Toby believes passionately in what we do, he loves what we do, he lives it and breathes it. Toby personally meets with each and every Cape Town volunteer on our Friday orientation days – its his favourite day of the week (he likes to think this is keeping him young! Toby looks forward to welcoming you to this wonderful country and facilitating your volunteer experience to be one of the best journeys of your life.
LEONARD JACKSON – LOGISTICS MANAGER
Leonard gets you from A to B, and so much more. An esteemed gentleman, Leonard is one of those true gems, an authentic Cape Town soul, who gives off his own 'madiba magic'. Leonard sorts out transport, conducts his own fascinating tours around Cape Town, hands out tissues and band aids and fatherly hugs as required. Leonard is a great friend & listener and he is committed to the safety of You2Africa volunteers.
CANDI HORGAN – PROJECT COORDINATOR
Candi has spent 12 years volunteering in the townships and rural areas of South Africa, she has worked with government, ngo’s (National government organisations), churches, cbo’s (Community based organisations), traditional leadership and all sectors in society, with a program that has sought to build a violence free, stress free society. A vision which continues today, through the philosophy of Ubuntu.
Candi was trained to facilitate a youth leadership programme, and now applies much of that learning in a practical reality, working with volunteers who wish to make a difference in people’s lives and to eliminate some of the suffering due to poverty, unemployment, HIV and AIDS and alcohol and drugs. Candi’s role is providing the much needed support and guidance, and to act as a bridge between different cultures, matching skills to projects in the communities and connecting people with people. She has worked in the two communities of Masiphumelele and Ocean View for over 15 years, and knows both the challenges and successes of running programs and projects, as well as volunteering.
MICHELLE DUTTON – HIGH SCHOOL EXCHANGE PROGRAM MANAGER
Michelle brings nearly two decades of travel industry experience and international exchange experience to her position as program manager for High School Exchange at You2Africa. Michelle's passion are travel and sport and both have enabled her travel, live in and experience many different countries. Michelle's primary role is overseeing the running of the program, liaising with international agents on student related matters and providing support to the high school coordinators working with her keeping the students in South Africa safe and committed to the program structure.
After graduating high school Michelle left South Africa to study in the USA where she ended up staying for almost 12 years! During her time in the USA Michelle received her BSc and Masters degrees, coached tennis at a university and taught in a high school. Life abroad has enable Michelle to understand the stresses and strains of adapting to a new culture and of living away from home. Michelle wholeheartedly believes that with a free exchange of ideas and cultures, changing our complex world by understanding others is possible and what better place to start than with young mind
BERNIE JASON – HIGH SCHOOL COORDINATOR
Bernie's role as a support worker is a perfect outlet for her incredibly caring and nurturing nature, where her main priority is looking after and providing support of the students enrolled in the high school exchange programs. Bernie thrives on the experience as she gets to care and watch the students grow as they come into our country to experience a new culture and family. Her home is always busy with exchange students popping in to spend some time with her family. Bernie always gives the biggest hugs when the exchange time comes to an end, but very often meets the students again when they come back for a holiday with their families and keeps in contact with them as they grow into young adults.
DANIELLE BUNN – VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR
Danielle has been chasing her dream to live and work in the volunteer Tourism
industry in South Africa since her first visit at 16 years old (12 years ago)!
Originally from the UK and residing in Cape Town for the last 3 years Danielle
focused her studies around her passion for travelling and completed her degree in Adventure Tourism Management. Danielle has been working with local and national projects around South Africa the last 3 years and has a true passion for the country,
its people and the culture. As Tobys side kick Danielle is a key part in the operations, development of projects and orientations every Friday introducing the new volunteers to the beautiful “Mother City” that is Cape Town! Danielle loves meeting the new volunteers and getting involved on the projects once a week or more and enjoying South Africa to its fullest at every opportunity whether that be surfing, hiking, festivals and socialising with friends.