The 3 things you have to do for Christmas in New Delhi

16 November 2016

With Christmas almost around the corner, it certainly is the time to be jolly and why wouldn’t you be?

Sign up for the if I could… Christmas volunteering experience in New Delhi to make the festive season even more jolly for yourself and those who need the work of a changemaker like you.

You’ll be immersed in a development sector experience that’s making real change for the people (and animals) of the city, and take a cultural trip that you can’t get back home!

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If you’re looking for a unique way of celebrating Christmas away from home, here are some of the other interesting experiences that you can expect in New Delhi over Christmas.

Connaught Place: the heart of the Indian capital, around Christmas Day this area buzzes with activity. It is decked up with Christmas lights, decorations, seasonal sales stalls and street food vendors. We recommend trying out Peanut and Jaggery Chikki (traditional Indian stick-jaw candy) that you can get from the street food stalls.

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Attend a Christmas Mass: Get the feeling of a traditional Christmas and visit the Sacred Heart Cathedral, which is decorated with bright lights and shining stars at least a week before the 25th. It is one of the oldest and most significant churches in Delhi. The main events here are the Feast of the Holy Family of Nazareth, the Christmas Vigil Service an hour before midnight on 24th December and the Morning Mass on Christmas day.

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Christmas market: Come December, Christmas markets spring up all around Delhi. One of the popular markets in the city is the German Christmas Market where you’ll find German Christmas cakes, German sausages and beer, apart from the usual gift items and Christmas decorations.

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Another popular Christmas market in Delhi is the Christmas carnival at Select Citywalk mall in Saket. The carnival has India’s largest Christmas tree (70 feet tall) and has several stalls where you can buy gifts, decorative items, cakes and candles and sample amazing different foods.

if I could… offers you the opportunity to truly embrace the spirit of the season by giving back and supporting children at risk (and other worthy initiatives) while warmly celebrating a joyous holiday.

What are you waiting for? Book today!

Some cool things you didn’t know about Cape Town

14 November 2016

With Cape Town being one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, it is safe to say that the internet is inundated with information about our beautiful City. Through a few Google searches and a quick read over a few articles, you might think you know just about all there is to know on “The Mother City”. However, we thought that some interesting trivia on Cape Town from an insider’s perspective would make for an interesting post:

  • Cape Town was NOT originally founded by Jan Van Riebeek and the Dutch East India company when they landed to setup the half way port that has now become the Castle of Goodhope. Instead, it was founded some time before that by Portuguese explorer, Bartolomeu Dias, and was initially called “The Cape of Storms.” But there were many people living in the area before the European settlers arrived…
    In around 2300 BP (Before Present), hunter-gatherers called the San acquired domestic stock in what is now modern day Botswana. Their population grew, and spread throughout the Western half of South Africa. They were the first pastoralists in southern Africa, and called themselves Khoikhoi (or Khoe), which means ‘men of men’ or ‘the real people’. This name was chosen to show pride in their past and culture. The Khoikhoi brought a new way of life to South Africa and to the San, who were hunter-gatherers as opposed to herders. This led to misunderstandings and subsequent conflict between the two groups. The Khoikhoi were the first native people to come into contact with the Dutch settlers in the mid 17th century. As the Dutch took over land for farms, the Khoikhoi were dispossessed, exterminated, or enslaved and therefore their numbers dwindled.
Cape of Good Hope / Kap der guten Hoffnung

Cape Town is credited with being the South Westernmost point of the African continent

  • Remains of old hand axes have already been found near Cape Town dating back to 750 million years ago, playing true to Cape Town’s nickname of “The Mother City”.
  • National Train service provider, Metrorail, has locomotive roots dating all the way back to 1859. An old steam engine by the name of “Blackie” was brought down to South Africa to help build one of the first railway lines in the City.
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“Blackie” the steam engine can be found standing in Cape Town Station for all to see.

  • One of the busiest and oldest streets in the C.B.D, Adderley Street, was originally covered by wooden blocks, only being covered with tar much later on.
  • The oldest living tradition in modern day Cape Town is “The Noon Gun”, which fires at 12pm everyday (except for Sundays) to signal that it is midday to the rest of the City.
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The bang of the Noon Gun on Signal Hill let’s everyone in the City know when the clock strikes 12pm

  • Contrary to popular belief, it is the V&A Waterfront and NOT Table Mountain that is South Africa’s most visited destination.
  • South African doctor, Dr. Christiaan Barnard, performed the world’s very first human heart transplant  at Groote Schuur Hospital in Observatory, Cape Town all the way back in 1967. He then went on to perform the first lung transplant in 1971.
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Dr. Christian Barnard (left) performing the first heart transplant in the world (right) at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town

  • Cape Town is actually situated on an underground river called “Camissa” which means “Place of Sweet Waters”.
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The Camissas River till streaming steadily underground until this very day.

  • The internationally renowned wine industry in Cape Town is one of the oldest trading wine industries in the world outside of Europe and the Mediterranean. It dates all the way back to 1659.
  • Afrikaans which is commonly used in Cape Town by people of all races (owing to it’s Dutch history) is the youngest listed official language in the world.

While we don’t promise that these random tidbits of information will do anything to make your visit to Cape Town more exciting, we do feel proud in the fact that we managed to give you some insight into some of the things not commonly known about this City.

(images in this post are sourced from the internet)

How India will give you a whole new perspective on life

9 November 2016

“If there is one place on the face of earth where all the dreams of living men have found a home from the very earliest days when man began the dream of existence, it is India.” – Romain Rolland

From slums to traffic jams to extreme weather conditions, Delhi is a city where beauty lies in its chaos.

Home to the world’s oldest and most diverse cultures, Delhi is a perfect example of how people from religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Christianity, Sikhism and Islam live together in one community. The well-preserved historical monuments such as the Red Fort, Qutab Minar and Humayun’s Tomb are like storybooks carrying great tales of the past. Set aside some time while you volunteer in Delhi to take a tour around some of these awe-inspiring cultural and historic sites.

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But if you’re not in the mood for something ancient, you could visit India just for the food! Although Indian food is heavily influenced by religious and cultural choices and traditions, the use of a combination of herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables make it an absolute delight.

What you can eat

Apart from the famous curry, what is worth trying in Delhi is the street food called ‘chaat’. Indian chaats are typically savoury snacks found on roadside food carts and are very tangy and spicy on the palate. Delhi is a city of culinary wonders and eating out in the capital is always a delightful adventure. From mouth-watering samosas to buttery paranthas on street corners, the city is known for its delicious fare.

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As an if i could… volunteer from another country, you may find yourself in a fix when having to choose from a myriad restaurants. All kinds of cuisine are available and there is a place and an item on the menu to cater to each and every kind of palate and pocket. So, whether you are a vegan from Bali, a hardcore carnivore from Iceland or a steak lover from America, as long as you are ready to get your heart stolen by New Delhi’s food, you are in for a treat.

Who you’ll meet

Delhi-ites are very proud of their hospitality and you will find them to be one of the warmest people who treat their guests like gold. From a street vendor to a posh businessman, what you will notice in common is that they are always ready to help! If you are shopping at a local market and someone notices that you are unable to convey your message to the vendor, they will immediately jump at the opportunity to help you in translating. It is quite serendipitous to see that despite all the chaos, everyone finds a way to keep smiling and going out of the way to help strangers, especially foreigners.

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How you can celebrate

Grey skies, misty air, heat relief, spicy food, foggy views, boots and scarves, jam-packed transport and endless opportunities for romance, friendship and travel – Delhi winters are the stuff that poems and songs are made of. There is definitely no dearth of celebration in Delhi, but December brings with it more festivity than most months; Christmas, new beginnings and plans for the new year mark the season. Besides the great weather (occasionally very cold though), there is a tangible festivity in the air with everyone experiencing end-of-year abandon. Offices shut, markets and malls get lit up and restaurants get creative with their menus. Praise the lord and just in case the day after Christmas is a downer, know that you have more days (until the second week of January) legitimately dedicated to relaxing and indulging in other fulfilling activities.

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How it will change your life

We all look for experiences that broaden our perspective and change us for the better. India is far from a simple country. The culture shock you experience upon arriving there almost demands that you change your horizon and look at things in a way like never before.

When a stranger helps you or even when a child you helped touches your feet and folds hands to express how thankful they are to you, there is no way you cannot feel a feeling you have never had.

What we say about India can never do justice to what you can actually experience there, but rest assured you will not leave the same person.

Change your perspective this year and come and volunteer with us in New Delhi. Click here to apply today! 🎄

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5 networking events to attend when you intern in Cape Town

17 October 2016

Despite its reputation, life in Cape Town is not only picturesque sunsets and world-famous wine farms. There’s a strong start up and entrepreneur culture in the Mother City, and that means there are many ways to get networking for good when you come and intern here.

And one of the things we really like about the start up networks that have grown here in recent years is that they are often set up with a good purpose in mind. Networking events are no longer just about making business contacts or sales leads — here in Cape Town, they’re becoming much more about sustainable, inclusive ideas that can serve the people of our city with creativity and purpose.

Here are five great, free events that happen in Cape Town every month (with a new theme each time) that we recommend checking out when you’re here:

Think Thursdays

THINK.Thursday is a regular meeting of like-minded activators to have energised conversations for positive change. They meet on the third Thursday of the month for an interactive talk or workshop, hosted by a young thought leader in a topic relating to social, environmental, economic, behavioural change etc. It is an opportunity to meet individuals to exchange and challenge ideas, and collaborate. Tickets are around R50 and the events happen at 75 Harrington Street in Gardens.

Get info about Think Thursday’s next event on their Facebook page.

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Development Drinks

A Touch of Madness in Observatory and Project 90 by 2030 host a monthly get together for NGOs across all sectors. This event is an informal gathering to meet, chat, network and get to know the work of others, share experiences and create synergies.

Get Development Drinks updates on A Touch Of Madness’ Facebook page.

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Silicon Cape Tech Talks

The initiative aims to start a conversation and create a global brand — to plant a seed and foster the concept of the Silicon Cape in people’s minds and on their lips around the world as the emerging Silicon Valley of Africa. The talks want to create an environment and a perception of the area as a world-class location and destination that is not only capable of delivering but already is. Free talks take place at Workshop 17 at the end of every month and have topical themes.

Get Silicon Cape event info on their Facebook page.

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Creative Mornings

CreativeMornings is a monthly breakfast lecture series for creative types. Each event is free of charge, and includes a 20 minute talk, plus coffee! The events happen on the last Friday of every month, in over 150 cities around the world. Each month has a worldwide theme that inspiring local speakers are invited to talk on.

Find out more about Creative Mornings Cape Town on Facebook.

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Rise Cape Town’s Learning Lunches

Rise is a community of the world’s brightest thinkers and doers, from rising startups to industry leaders. They’re working together to create the future of financial services. They hold free lunch events roughly twice a month in the Woodstock Exchange.

Find Rise Cape Town’s next lunch date on their Twitter page.

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Apply for an internship in Cape Town today to come and take advantage of these vibrant networks in the city!

Working with a Purpose – How Gandhi’s legacy inspires us

27 September 2016

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to love forever.”

These are some among many other quotes by the world famous activist, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, better known as ‘Mahatma’ Gandhi.

gandhi_suitWho is he?

Born on 2nd October, 1869 in Gujarat (the north west part of India), Gandhi later became the pre-eminent leader of the Indian independence movement in British-ruled India. Gandhi’s father was the Chief Minister of Porbandar and his mother was a religious woman, who infused the Jain pacifist teachings of mutual tolerance, non-injury to living beings and vegetarianism to the family.

By the virtue of being born into a privileged caste, Gandhi received extensive education and went on to study at University College London at the age of 18.

What made him popular?

In London, Gandhi pursued the philosophical study of religions, including Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism and others. After clearing the English Bar and finding it challenging to work in India, in 1893 he accepted a year’s contract to work for an Indian firm in Natal, South Africa. His first encounter with South Africa and the then prevailing ‘apartheid’ system troubled him greatly.

Gandhi spent the next 21 years living in South Africa and railing against the injustice of racial segregation. He was also once thrown out of a moving train carriage, despite having a purchased ticket. The racial bias towards his countrymen encouraged him to become an activist and fight against segregation. He then founded a political movement, the Natal Indian Congress, which stood for non-violent civil protest. He began to gain fame with this method of protesting.

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His motto of working with a purpose

Upon his return to India in 1916, Gandhi began his struggle, as a political and spiritual leader, to free India from the British rule.

He adopted non-violent techniques and promoted peaceful social disobedience throughout India and South Africa. In 1922, he started the Salt (Dandi) March, during which he and his followers walked over 230 miles to the sea to collect their own salt to oppose the heavy taxes being levied on salt by the British government in India.

His ‘work with a purpose’ motto also led him to invent the spinning wheel, known as the ‘chakra’ which allowed people to make their own clothes, rather than depending on the British.

He often felt that India would not be free until it learned to make things necessary for living. In 1947, Gandhi’s struggled efforts finally paid off and India gained its independence from the British rule.

Gandhi Jayani Celebrations

Each year, India celebrates Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, which falls on 2nd of October, in order to pay tribute to his life. The day is declared as one of the three national holidays in the country and all schools and offices go on leave, and some even conduct plays and ceremonies in Gandhi’s honor.

Popularly known as the ‘Father of the nation’ or ‘Bapu,’ Gandhi gave India and the world the principles of truth, non-violence and honesty, which are still remembered and widely used today. On the day of his birthday, the President and Prime Minister of India, along with other eminent figures pay their homage to the Gandhi memorial, situated at Raj Ghat in the capital of New Delhi.

We, at if i could… admire and believe in Gandhi’s words of wisdom, particularly this: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Through our growing partnerships in South Africa and India with grassroots organisations in need of skilled, young professionals, we offer opportunities to serve in developing nations and create impactful change.

Get started finding your purpose and apply today!

Contact us for more information