Pippa Cope - Retreat Centre ManagerBig Changes at TRC

2018 will see some big changes at the Tara Rokpa Centre. Since 2002, resident volunteer, Pippa Cope has been developing and running the Centre. She is now building a beautiful eco-house on the Tikologo site, in order to retire. This means that we are looking for a Retreat Centre Manager to continue the running of this highly beneficial centre. The starting date for this position will be July 2018.


The Tara Rokpa Centre is a peaceful retreat centre in the Groot Marico District, situated on 280 hectares of land. TRC hosts a variety of retreats and events throughout the year, on our Main Site, the Tikologo Permaculture Site and in Tara’s Valley, and can sleep up to 60 participants. Although our roots are Buddhist, the centre is multi-purpose and offers opportunities for spiritual, emotional, social and environmental healing.

Volunteers, both on- and off-site, run the Centre, along with full-time, caretaking, catering and housekeeping staff, with the support of a Management Committee.

The Retreat Centre Manager will report to the Management Committee, and supervises paid staff and volunteers on the main site, corner property and in Tara’s Valley.

Responsibilities of the Retreat Centre Manager

These include:

  • Preparation for retreats, including catering, shopping, housekeeping and maintenance
  • Smooth running of weekend retreats, including accommodation plan, menu, Octagon set-up, supervising catering staff, addressing issues from participants, snake and insect removal
  • For longer retreats, preparation of Compassion in Action sign-up forms to ensure daily tasks are carried out by participants
  • Clearing up after retreats and locking all properties
  • Supervising all staff, including catering, housekeeping and caretaking staff on main and corner properties
  • Supporting catering staff to plan daily meals for volunteers and retreat participants in Tara’s Valley
  • Attending to casual or drop-in day visitors, or those requiring casual accommodation
  • Planning for on-going maintenance of the property and rubbish removal
  • Attending to vehicles including tolls, licensing and maintenance
  • Maintaining all equipment
  • Purchasing gas needed for all sites
  • Basic first aid
  • Taking responsibility for the TRC kitchen and main site gardens
  • Keeping area clean especially around the office
  • Liaising with Tikologo and Tara’s Valley staff, ensuring that properties have caretakers when staff take leave

Work hours

10 hours a day during retreat periods (weekends and month-long retreats in November and December) and 3 hours a day during quiet times.

The Centre usually closes for 4-6 weeks during winter (June and July).

Successful​ ​applicants​ ​will​ ​likely be

  • A mature individual, or a couple, particularly Buddhist dharma practitioners.
  • Someone comfortable with a quiet lifestyle in the bushveld

In​ ​return​ ​TRC​ ​offers:

  • A stipend of R6000 per month
  • Accommodation, including gas and electricity, valued at R8000 per month
  • Meals and beverages, valued at R2500 per month
  • 21 days paid annual leave (timing negotiated with the on-site team)
  • A lifestyle that offers meditative space, access to wide variety of retreats and events, particularly focused on healing and dharma.
  • Access to a library of books by spiritual teachers, particularly Buddhist teachers.

Other conditions of service will comply with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (No. 75 of 1997) as amended by the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Act, 2002.

Application Process

Please submit applications with current Curriculum Vitae, including three contactable and current references, to the Management Committee at: tararokpacentre@gmail.com

Deadline for submissions: 28th February 2018, with interviews to take place in March.

The Management Committee will only contact qualifying applicants.

Detailed Guidance for Weekend Retreats

The tasks have been divided in four stages:

Prior retreat (usually activities that need to be undertaken on Wednesday and Thursday since most retreats start on Friday, however in case starts on Thursday these activities shift a day and have to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday)

Start retreat (the first day of the retreat, most of the times Fridays)

During retreat (the second and following days of the retreat, most of the times Saturdays and Sundays)

Post retreat (the day after the final day of the retreat)

Prior retreat:

  • Work with the admin staff to plan for each retreat and or casual bookings (this includes a accommodation plan, guest list including contact numbers and diet requirements)
  • Supervise catering staff and shopping lists
  • The staff is aware of the events and a system of staff coverage will be in place
  • Organise a catering plan in place which can be followed by the catering staff. Drraw up the plan with staff in conjunction with available volunteer catering manager for retreats and between retreat times
  • Put a proposed menu in place on the day before shopping trips to Zeerust, retreat menu day before shopping (take into account gluten free diets (no gluten free bread is available in Zeerust, vegan diets and any other dietary requests)
  • Double check accommodation after housekeeping has taken place
  • Light dusting of the accommodation

Start retreat:

  • Give an introductory talk at the first evening meal
  • Prepare accommodation and public areas
  • At the Octagon, lay out the mediation cushions for the appropriate amount of participants (and teacher)

During retreat:

  • Supervise catering staff
  • Deal with customer feedback
  • Make sure the beverage and snack station is well stocked
  • Heat a prepared soup for the guests at night and clear up afterwards
  • Write the lunch on the menu board
  • Switch on the lights in the communal area at night and switch them off at around Nine o’clock
  • On the last day of the retreat, empty the dana cash boxes, so no cash is left lying around. Distribute dana and tips to the appropriate people (this may involve changing SA Rand to any foreign currency for people from abroad)

Post retreat:

  • Supervise all the accommodation and public areas to be used
  • Organise housekeeping and catering staff
  • Check accommodation houses for maintenance issues such as leaking tabs etc. James is responsible for fixing this
  • Sort out leftover food of the prepared dishes (freezer, use for lunch or throw out when necessary). Kitchen staff usually does this by themselves
  • When visitors have left, store food and electronic catering equipment in the kitchen area and lock all accommodation, with the lights, electricity and gas switched off
  • Clean out all rented accommodation by housekeeping (wash bedding, replace bar of soap if necessary)