Charity: Free State Care in Action (FSCA)
No stranger to work in the NPO sector, Hendrien de Klerk from Bloemfontein took up the position of Volunteer Co-ordinator at Free State Care in Action (FSCA) as part of the Vodacom Change the World initiative. Offering a variety of services that provide a holistic solution to the social challenges faced by the Free State community, FSCA has 17 social work services facilities, 14 old age homes and 17 day care centres set up across the province and relies heavily on its volunteer base to achieve its many objectives.
Hendrien was appointed to assist with the training and management of the volunteers that carry out the various projects and services and to bring structure to the organisation. The FSCA volunteers run soup kitchens across 43 towns, grow their own vegetables to supply the soup kitchens and feed those in need. They are also involved in job creation projects and training. “I am thrilled to have spent time working with these wonderful and dedicated people,” says Hendrien, “I have always believed that volunteers are little angels who quietly do their work, largely unnoticed, but who form the backbone of an organisation. During my time spent volunteering, I discovered that even the smallest town has its angels. I was able to train over 700 volunteers and set a standard for volunteering within the NPO. The training included project management and communication skills, but was largely about empowering the volunteers and helping them to understand their value in bringing about social change. Now those volunteers assist 25 social workers who render services to more than 152 000 people in need in 43 towns in the Free State. There are many challenges that volunteers face, but at the end of the day, they bring sunshine to the lives of others.”
At the end of her term as a CtW volunteer, Hendrien was offered a position as Senior Social Worker at the Association for Persons with Disabilities Free State (APD Free State), which she gladly accepted. After only one month she was offered the position as Director of APD Free State. “I am sure that part of the reason my application for this position was successful is the fact that I was part of the Vodacom Change the World programme because there were some other very experienced applicants. I grabbed this opportunity with both hands and, after 4 months in this position, I know that my experience with the CtW initiative prepared me for what was lying ahead. I still get up in the morning with the inner excitement of coming to work with the main aim to change the lives of people with disabilities,” says Hendrien.
“My year with the Vodacom Change the World programme will always be one of the best things that happened in my life. It was not only a tremendous learning experience for me, but it opened doors on several levels,” she concludes.