Volmoed Retreat Centre Programs for Reconciliation

by The Volmoed Trust (for Healing And Reconciliation In South Africa)
Volmoed Retreat Centre Programs for Reconciliation

Volmoed Retreat Centre is a beautiful place of healing and reconciliation for those who visit, who discover the beauty and the peace. However, the past few months have continued to be challenging for Volmoed in these longer-than-expected pandemic times. South Africa is now entering the third wave of Covid-19, and has officially moved to a more strict lockdown level with more restrictions, as it is slowly beginning to distribute vaccines.

This means that only individuals, families and very small day visitor groups can come to Volmoed.  Fortunately, we have had a few of these over the past months. The large national and international groups that bring in the needed income are not yet able to come to Volmoed. The financial situation thus remains very challenging. 

Our big excitement these past months was the induction of the new director, Tony Schnell, in early April. Staff, residents and visitors gathered for a festive time despite the rain, which is a sign of blessing in African culture. Sadly, our picnics got washed out! We look forward to building the future at Volmoed, one step at a time.

However, ongoing operational costs along with maintenance needs and upkeep of the retreat centre have increased with the pandemic. After the epic flood rains in May, and the rainy weather that continues in these next winter months, the roads need to continually be fixed, along with checking roofs and cleaning gutters. This takes staff time away from other needs. However, our staff are fantastic – they keep their sense of humor, get the work done, act as a caring team, and are always a joy to work with. 

We truly hope that during 2021 the vaccines will be rolled out, and that Volmoed can continue to welcome people to his place of healing and wholeness, reconciliation and peace. 

Thank you to all our donors!


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Thank you for your ongoing support for Volmoed Retreat Centre! Keeping to Covid-19 regulations under level 1, we were thankfully able to hold a one day youth event in late November, and a fundraising Christmas Carol picnic in December. After Christmas, lockdown in South Africa went back to level 3, which added further restrictions, so once again, we had groups planning to hold week-long programs who postponed or canceled.
 
However we do have some individuals, couples and families who come for rest, quiet, isolation, respite from the difficulties of life in Covid-19 times, and to enjoy the beauty and the peace. We are grateful even though the bookings are slow, and we are mostly less than half full at weekends and often empty during the week. This means that our staff are still paid at 60% and working 3 days a week.  Given the large property and upkeep needed, we are behind in our maintenance but we hope that during 2021 we will be able to raise enough funds to go back to paying full time salaries and 5 days work a week. Staff morale  continues to be high and they give their all to their tasks and their work. They make Volmoed the special place it is.

Big news is that the founding directors Bernhard and Jane Turkstra retired at the end of November, after thirty-four years building Volmoed into what it is today. They did an incredible job over the years. The new director Tony Schnell began in January, and is the perfect person to take Volmoed to the next level. We are also pleased to report that we have new members on our finance committee and our fundraising committee. Both these groups held meetings in January. We have added two new trustees to our board, including a staff representative and a graduate of the Volmoed Youth Leadership Training Program.


Volmoed is on the move and the future is hopeful despite the enormous challenges. Thank you to all our donors and all who support Volmoed Retreat Centre so generously.

 


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Thank you for your support for Volmoed Retreat Centre! It is a place of healing and wholeness, rest and respite for those battered by life’s struggles. In the past it has held programs for local and international groups dealing with issues of reconciliation and violence, including experiences of war. However in 2020, Covid-19 stopped all of the usual activity and no visitors were allowed for months. 

Volmoed shifted focus to act as a space for shelter, so that visitors could return with permission from the local authorities. Now as South Africa has moved to level 1 of lockdown, visitors have returned but only as individuals and families, and it is still slow, with not enough income coming in. All the groups canceled and have not felt safe enough to travel or to gather here in their groups.  

  

No groups have yet returned, and though we were excited about an international group booking for November, they have just canceled due to the second wave of infections in Europe. This has had huge impact on our income, and our staff continue to operate on three days a week of work and 60% salaries. It is not possible to do all the work in three days a week but everyone has stayed hopeful and optimistic. The team spirit at Volmoed is fantastic!

There are a couple of other building projects that are funded by outsiders that have helped to keep Volmoed going but we need to raise $20,000 for the next five months to avoid retrenching staff.

We refuse to believe we will need to lay off staff and are working hard to raise money to pay the utilities, insurance, staff pensions, maintenance costs, and all else that goes to keep this beautiful, healing space going. 

Thank you for your help and support! 

 

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Organization Information

The Volmoed Trust (for Healing And Reconciliation In South Africa)

Location: Hermanus - South Africa
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @VolmoedYouth
Project Leader:
Wilma Jakobsen
Hermanus, South Africa
$5,078 raised of $20,000 goal
 
34 donations
$14,922 to go
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