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Volunteering at Aussenkehr Farm

Max Schlör on the Aussenkehr Berg_edited.jpg
Learning from and with each other at Aussenkehr Farm

Außenkehr Farm will due to its successful winegrowing also called "the wonder of the desert". In fact, it is a green oasis on the banks of the Orange River, which forms the natural border between Namibia and South Africa. Few tourists come to Außenkehr Farm. Instead, it attracts thousands of seasonal workers from across the country when it´s harvest time. The farm is now regarded as "Namibia´s breadbasket", because table grapes thrive along the river and end up on the tables of Europe shortly before Christmas, giving the people here a modest livelihood. With global warming, the market advantage of the earlier wine harvest compared to South Africa is disappearing, so people are increasingly focusing on the cultivation of other fruits, such as dates and mangoes. While approximately 5,000 people live permanently at Außenkehr Farm, the community swells to up to 15,000 during grape season. Many bring their children with them, who either go to the grape grower´s kindergartens or to the local elementary school. When the grape season is over, they sweep seasonal workers home. However, many leave their children behind so that they can attend school all year round. And so friends, neighbors, relatives or even older siblings take care of them - which sometimes entails major social conflicts and challenges.

If you drive to Aussenkehr Farm and drive along the main road, the settlement gives the impression of a well-run historic holiday village, consisting of small huts made of reeds and corrugated iron, mud houses or complexes of huts surrounded by reed fences. Only on closer inspection does one realize that it is a so-called "informal settlement" acts. The settlement came about over time without urban planning and official building permits, so that there is no supply and disposal infrastructure: there is no power supply, no sanitary facilities and no organized waste disposal. At best, the residents can obtain drinking water from loose water hoses. And yet, Aussenkehr Farm is loved by its residents "The village"called.  It is roughly divided into three blocks: In one there is the public elementary school and a small private school - the "Norotshama Lodge"- as well as the houses of the office workers of the winegrower ORVI. In the second live most of the Kavango and Zambezi residents. Here is the Nedtower (= radio mast), which is revered because it connects the remote community with the world. And in the third block live the people from Nama, Herero and Oshiwambo. The supply of the people with the most necessary things is taken care of here in Außenkehr Farm. There are a variety of mini markets, clothing stores, hairdressing salons (for the typical "braids"), photo and copy shops, but also many shebeens (= taverns) and at least 11 churches. 

Our commitment here at Aussenkehr Farm was encouraged in 2019 by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts. It was suggested to us that the basic idea of our "Volunteer Projects" from Paternoster/South Africa also to Namibia. After an initial exchange with the Namibian Directorate for Education, Art and Culture, a team of teachers from Außenkehr Farm was sent to Paternoster to get to know our exchange and education concept there. A year later, in the middle of the Corona pandemic, the general conditions were in place for our first team of volunteers to start their work at the Außenkehr Farm elementary school.

In addition to the exchange of volunteers, we are committed to setting up a new school library. The topic of promoting reading was and is the central purpose of our Stuttgart foundation and is therefore very important to us. We are currently involved in this project together with the University of Namibia and the Directorate for Education, Art and Culture. In 2019 there were only a few handfuls of well-worn books for the 800 school children. In the meantime, thanks to many donations, there have been a few more, but still too few for the large number of inquisitive and language-talented children.

We are aware that child and youth work and the social change it envisages takes time to achieve lasting success. Therefore, in 2020, our foundation made a commitment to the community for 10 years committed to engagement in Aussenkehr Farm, in order to continue to work with passion and great commitment on the common mission: "To equip the youth of Außenkehr for the future and to maintain their local heritage". We are supported by the non-profit organization "Aussenkehr Project Trust", which was founded by the foundation in Aussenkehr Farm.

This is what awaits you on the outskirts

"During the last few months at Aussenkehr I have experienced a wonderful and incredible development. From the first day to the last I received so much love from the people around me. I received an incredibly warm welcome from the teachers and the community. Volunteering is not common in Namibia and is only seen as the work of the "white rescuers"... In the beginning it was very difficult to work together with the German volunteers because there are cultural differences and the way we Namibians do things do, differs from the German one..." A Namibian volunteer reports - read more  

So the best time of your life awaits you - if you are ready for it!

First of all, the fantastic nature Namibia with its spectacular flora and fauna, with breathtaking landscapes and the countless colors that sand and rock can take on. And of course you are expected exciting encounters with people: with children and young people whose lives follow completely different laws than you have learned and experienced. Encounters with local tutors and teachers who go about their work with confidence and are happy about every helping hand. Of course, the encounter with other volunteers who, like you, have to find their way here in a foreign country and find their way around. And in any case it is an encounter with yourself: since you will most likely gain experiences far away from the familiar paths at home that will accompany and shape you for the rest of your life. You will learn new things that will amaze you and you will experience limits that will allow you to grow. So leave your German know-it-all at home and go on the journey with an open mind and curiosity! Experience has shown that things usually turn out differently than you think.


The internship in the middle of the Namibian outback is certainly a unique opportunity for a great time - but of course it cannot be compared to a stay in a holiday club. Here everyone notices how quickly their own comfort zone literally melts away. That climate is hot and exhausting and especially in the summer months some Europeans struggle with the high temperatures. The classrooms are not air-conditioned and at best there is a fan. Even if yours working hours are similar to a German all-day school, the working days seem long because the commute is too far to retire to the dormitory at lunchtime. On the weekends, however, you usually have a lot of free time for relaxation or together activities. A good opportunity to play dominoes with the teacher-neighbors, climb the Außenkehr mountain or paddle alone or with a guide on the Oranje River or just swim like the locals at Sandy Bay, a bathing spot in the Orange River. Or just do nothing?! Small highlights for our volunteers are the one or two weekend trips that the schools organize for you. 

At the Aussenkehr elementary school you will be used according to your qualifications but also according to your wishes. In the morning you can sit in on the classes and support the class teachers or teach in the class of your choice - it´s all up to you! If you are studying teaching or special education, you can take over the learning support (Special Needs Club) from grades 1 – 4 in the morning. If you study social sciences, you will find yourself mainly in the subject "Window of hope" and you can design it on the basis of the teaching requirements and carry it out independently.

Ours starts in the afternoon Life Skill Workshop Program– the core of our foundation activities. There are offers such as gardening, reading, board games, arts and crafts that are firmly established, but you can also offer other life skills that you master very well. We are always happy about new ideas and your know-how!

Basically, you are never alone in action, you are always part of a big team! You will be guided by a German or Namibian long-term volunteer who lives with you. At the school, the principal, Ms. Suzie Kadhikwa, is there for you, as well as the two teachers, Mrs. Liandri (grades 1-4) and Mrs. Selma (grades 5-7). You live in "ORVI Boulevard" - that´s what our volunteers affectionately call it. It is a settlement of permanent houses that are rented out to the workers and employees of the vineyards. You share the sparsely furnished house with the other German and South African volunteers and you live in double rooms. Here you have the opportunity to cook together, do the laundry and of course exchange your experiences in a relaxed atmosphere.

Life in the immediate vicinity of the untamed nature of Africa or the local crime certainly require one different risk awareness than we are used to from Central Europe. But don´t worry: You will receive advice and tips on this, as well as all other information about your work, your stay at Außenkehr Farm, but also all practical information about arrival and visa as part of our two briefing sessions, which we will organize for you in our foundation in Stuttgart.

A documentary produced by the Namibian TV station NBC in May 2022 about our volunteer project at Aussenkehr Farm.

You should bring that with you

Our projects are characterized by respect for all living beings, love and passion for the small and large people who live in need and poverty, which they are not to blame for and which they - without help - very probably cannot escape on their own. It is the way of our foundation, where it is possible for us to create places of refuge and time windows for such people and to fill them with positive ideas and emotions, but also knowledge and pedagogical know-how, so that these people gain new creative skills shape their future for the better.

On the other hand we want open-minded and curious young people who are able to reflect on themselves, their behavior and their work who are open to other perspectives and who really WANT TO LEARN: from and with each other. So we are looking for young people with heart and mind, with foresight, energy and initiative, with a desire to take responsibility, to develop further, to try new things, with courage, willingness to get involved in "less is more". No "white rescuers"!


  • Are you currently studying or have you completed your bachelor´s or master´s degree?

  • Do you have practical experience with children?

  • Your specialty is teaching, special education, social sciences or engineering?

  • Do you enjoy working with children and young people?

  • Ready to go the extra mile?

  • Do you like working in a team?

  • Can you improvise?

  • You speak English well?

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Dates and terms for 2023-2024

Please consider carefully whether you can cope with the remoteness of Aussenkehr Farm, the simple living conditions and the high temperatures from November to February. It is also important how much time you give yourself for this important life and work experience. Your assignment lasts at least 4 months. Ideally, you aim for one stay of 6 or 8 months (then a short break in between is guaranteed). In any case, you need a visa, which must be applied for in good time.

For 2023

our teams are

We look forward
to see you in 2024!

Jan - Jun 2024
bis 31. Jul 2023
Okt/Dez 2023
Mär - Aug 2024
bis 30. Sep 2023
Okt 2023 /Feb 2024
Jul - Dez 2024
bis 31. Jan 2024
Feb/Jun 2024
Sep - Feb 2024
bis 31. Mär 2024
Jun/Aug 2024
Jan - Apr 2024
bis 31. Jul 2023
Okt/Dez 2023
Mai - Aug 2024
bis 30. Nov 2023
Feb/Apr 2024
Sept - Dez 2024
bis 31. Mär 2024
Jun/Aug 2024

For students of the Dualen Hochschule Baden-Württemberg:

Jan - Mär 2024
bis 31. Jul 2023
Okt/Dez 2023
Okt - Dez 2024
bis 30. Apr 2024
Jun/Aug 2024

How do I apply?

Please write to us in English or in German what motivates you to take part in our project in Namibia and to help shape it. Attach your CV with picture and IMPORTANT! your desired start and period of time.

Please send your application to

Nothing is as authentic as the voices of those who have already become part of our team.

We regularly ask our volunteers for brief feedback on how they experienced their time in Namibia or South Africa with our local team and the children and young people. What they write touches us regularly and is at the same time a source of motivation.

A day in the life of a volunteer in Paternoster - 2018

Life Skill Program Paternoster Volunteer Project - 2019

3rd Paternoster Project Conference - 2019

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