South North continues growing
Just like the North-South component at SAGE Net, the South-North component, i.e. the voluntary service of South Africans in Germany, was also strongly affected by Corona in 2020. This interim period, without volunteers here in Germany, was very unusual, as in the past one cohort had usually replaced the next. However, this phase also offered the opportunity to continue working together to improve the South-North component. We have incorporated a lot of valuable feedback from South-North volunteers from previous years and are continuing to develop the programme.
It quickly became clear that the South-North programme is not only close to the hearts of the alumni who have already been here in Germany, but also that many of the North-South volunteers who have been to South Africa themselves want to further improve the volunteering experience for South Africans in Germany. The South-North AG offers an excellent opportunity for South-North and North-South volunteers to stay in touch after their stay in the other country. It quickly became clear that the South-North AG was of interest to both North-South and South-North volunteers and a large group was formed, which is now divided into three further sub-groups. In addition to joint virtual meetings in the large group, where everyone can update each other, there are thus also smaller groups that meet more frequently. The three groups are working on finding new volunteer positions, host families and developing a new mentoring concept.
Mentors have always been responsible for accompanying the volunteers on site and with the new concept they should get a more precise idea of weltwärts and the South-North programme, as well as their own opportunities for further training.
The search for new volunteer placements serves to further expand the cohorts of South-North volunteers in order to welcome more volunteers to Germany in the future. Host families are also an important new part of the South-North programme at SAGE Net, as they can ideally make volunteers feel at home in Germany even faster. SAGE Net is very happy that so many volunteers are involved in the South-North AG and we are still open to new interested people who can imagine joining us!