Children of Kurland Village
On the edge of the Tsitsikamma Nature Reserve in South Africa and in an area overlooked by Peak Formosa, is the rural township of Kurland Village. In stark contrast with the upmarket tourist haven that is Plettenberg Bay just down the road, Kurland Village is by and large, a poor rural community, with high unemployment, alcoholism, domestic violence and HIV.
A number of NGOs and volunteers from around the globe have been working to uplift the community, with an emphasis on the education of of the kids of Kurland Village as well as more immediate help with daily necessities and housing. I had the privilege of visiting Kurland Village as well as a couple of pre-schools with an ex volunteer and found the experience both humbling and inspiring. People are warm and welcoming and there are many people in and outside the community who work tirelessly to contribute in whatever way they can.
One observation I made was that the womenfolk of the community seem to be the doing the lion’s share of the work for the community, be it running soup kitchens or teaching in the schools. I noticed a lot of men just hanging around the street corners idling. Perhaps a longer stay in the community will reveal otherwise but this was my initial observation.
The children are the hope of the future of this community and it is not surprising that the majority of the community and volunteer projects are geared towards improving the education of the kids, often having to work alongside parental indifference towards education, as well as domestic violence or just the hardships brought about by poverty.