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International Volunteer Work with Children in South Africa

General Care Projects

Located on the southern tip of the African continent, South Africa is a country of rich natural resources and stunning landscapes. Though despite its emergence as a strong economic power, the country sadly still shares many of its neighbors’ issues of high unemployment with vast numbers of the population living below the poverty line.

The infamous townships are full of people desperate to create a better world for their children. Since unemployment is high at almost 40%, these poorer areas are full of basic social problems like alcoholism and domestic violence. Parents are not eager to have their children affected by their surroundings and attempt to keep them busy through crèches, schools and after school activities, though this is not easy with limited or no funds.

Projects Abroad provides much needed hands on support to these crèches and after school clubs, which enables them to keep their costs low while still providing a safe and stimulating environment for these children to grow up in.

Whatever your age, abilities, or level of experience you are welcome to join a volunteer Care Project in South Africa. All we ask is that you have enthusiasm and commitment to the work, staff team, and of course the children.

You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our South Africa Care Management Plan.

Volunteer at a Care Centre in South Africa with Projects Abroad

Volunteer plays with toys with orphans in an Orphanage on the Care project in South Africa

Projects Abroad has links with a number of crèches in the townships and poorer suburbs of Cape Town to provide much needed care for disadvantaged children in the area.

Volunteers working in the crèches help the children to learn basic but important life skills, and make sure the children are ready for the day and have had their meals. Structured work is vital, to help prepare the children for school and create a calm and constructive environment.

You will work alongside your project supervisor to create a work plan that you and the children will follow. In addition to this, sports, art, music, and drama are always popular activities on these placements. Start a choir, put on a play, or organize a sports day!

Local staff are often overworked and don’t have the time to give the children much one-on-one attention. You could be the one to make the difference by inspiring the children and maybe even the care givers too.

Volunteer Profile Carrie Upton shares her volunteer story from volunteer with children in South Africa
Carrie Upton
What really amazes me about this community is that they have so little yet they always offer so much, and never turn anyone away. Whenever I'm asked about my time in South Africa I'm always told that my eyes light up, but inside I'm sad because I miss them all so much. If I could go back I would and to the exact same place and people, and maybe this time I wouldn't come back. Read more...

Volunteer at a Special Needs Placement in South Africa

For volunteers with experience working with special needs, Projects Abroad has a Special Needs placement in South Africa at a care centre for children and adults. The centre helps people who are affected by a wide variety of disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, autism, or Down syndrome. Help is always appreciated at this placement, so volunteers should not be afraid to take initiative and teach the children songs, play games with them, and give them lots of emotional support.

Volunteering with Children in South Africa with Projects Abroad

A South African child smiles brightly at a care center.

All of the volunteer Care Projects in South Africa are eager to have volunteers with fresh ideas and energy to help the permanent staff. We try to take advantage of all of our volunteers’ talents and skills that can contribute to the care and rehabilitation of the children, so let us know how you can help.

Our Care Coordinator in South Africa also organizes weekly workshops and meetings with the Care volunteers. The workshops will provide you with an overview of the care system in South Africa, advice on how to best prepare for your work at your placement, and ideas for new activities for you to organize. The workshops are also a chance to discuss any issues you may be having and to receive and give feedback.

The Care placements in South Africa usually have their main vacation periods for about five weeks from early December to mid-January and for the month of July. There are also shorter week-long breaks over Easter and at the end of September/start of October. Alternative Care projects involving informal teaching and community work are available during these times and our local staff will advise you of exact dates when you apply. 

If you are interested in combining some care work with a range of community projects and building work, please take a look at our Community Township Project

Volunteer Profile Volunteer Sean McEwen shares his experience on the Care project in South Africa
Sean McEwen
I do not regret a single moment of my two and a half months. If you were to give me a ticket to go back tomorrow, I wouldn’t think twice about it. I have every intention to head back. Cape Town has a very special place in my heart and it opened my eyes to a new world and to what life is all about. Read more...

If you are a high school student and first-time traveller you may want to consider our High School Special programs in South Africa. For those aged 50 and above we recommend taking a look at our Grown-up Special program in South Africa.

This project is available for less than a month if you don't have time to join us for a month or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for shorter durations for both the host community and the volunteer. Although you will gain valuable cultural insight and work intensely within the local community please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone participating for a longer period.

All volunteers participating on standard projects in South Africa have the opportunity to spend one week on a Conservation & Environment project at the end of their main placement. For more information, please visit our African Bushveld Conservation & Environment Project in South Africa page. Our Combinations Page explains how you can combine not only projects, but also destinations.

South Africa Care Management Plan

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