Volunteering Solutions provides affordable and meaningful opportunities for those who are keen on volunteering with children in the Port Elizabeth region of South Africa. The program is located at the Walmer Township, a relatively calm and easily accessible area. Poverty, child neglect, alcohol abuse and a high unemployment rate are some of the many challenges this community faces on a day-to-day basis. The diversity of needs and great lack of services for this community shows in terms of a shortage of educational institutes. There are only 2 primary schools and 1 high school available to the children of Walmer.
Being a volunteer for the childcare project, you'll be playing a crucial role in the lives of the little ones who have to deal directly or indirectly with HIV/AIDS. They are for example orphaned and are living with family members (e.g. grandparents) because their parents died of AIDS-related diseases. The number of absentees at school is high due to a lack of guidance, family support, and financial means. Volunteers are expected to guide and support these children through mentorship and social support.
While this would be a challenging task, it'll be equally satisfying as well. Shower the children with utmost love and care, teach them basic lessons, help them dream and also guide them to live a happy & healthy life.
This volunteering program would be perfect for high school and college students as well as gap year travelers and backpackers who are eager to be a part of social change through some active contribution.
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It is advised to apply for the projects once the volunteering/ traveling dates are decided as there are limited spots available. Our service is based on first come first serve basis. As soon as you decide the travel dates, we suggest you apply for the program and hold your spot.
Usually, it takes around 10-12 working days for the application to be processed and placement to be confirmed. After we review your CV and documents, your booking is confirmed and the booking confirmation is updated in your ‘My Account’ and you can view the information in your account. The application acceptance depends on the availability of seats in the project as well as the eligibility criteria of the program (age, skills and experience etc.).
Below are the necessary requirements to participate in the Port Elizabeth, South Africa volunteer projects:
Yes, you are welcome to take part in the Volunteer Programs as part of a group. We welcome families, friends, high school students, college/university and corporate groups to volunteer together in the Port Elizabeth programs. Volunteering Solutions has hosted student groups as well as families coming to volunteer in the program.
It is important to prepare yourself and obtain local knowledge about the country you are about to visit. Once you apply for the program, we shall provide you with the pre-departure guidebook that has all the detailed information about the lifestyle and living in South Africa. Life in this country is a little different from anywhere else in the world, and you need to adapt their ways to immerse yourself fully. Apparently, the locals might appear to be lazy, always late, talking loudly, chaotic and a little hot-headed - but once you start spending time with them, you'll realize how good at heart they are!
Yes, most definitely you can, as we believe every participant brings something new to the project. If you do not have previous experience, we offer you the opportunity to have a great start with us. We make international volunteering easy – not only are our Volunteer Abroad opportunities rooted in offering you extensive support, but they are also very affordable. No matter whether you choose the Township Volunteering Program or the Penguin Rescue Center Program, you’ll have an incredible experience with us.
Yes, we will provide you with the Certificate after successful completion of your program. The Certificate is provided on request.
Volunteers need to arrive at Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ) from where you'll be picked up by our local coordinator and transferred to the volunteer house.
Your airport pickup is included in your fee when arriving on Monday or any other day of the week. If you choose to arrive on a weekend, we will gladly organize a cab to pick you up (or you can take an Uber) to any accommodation of your choice. We will collect you there on Monday morning at 9 AM to start your stay with us.
If you prefer to come to us directly over the weekend, as well as when you depart again, we will charge an extra Weekend Fee of R200 (15 EUR) for your pick up or drop off. An additional R250 (20 EUR) per night for any extra nights outside of your booking dates. Please discuss your personal preference with us to make sure all is prepared for you.
Like in any new country, you need to take general precautions for safety. You will be given safety precautions and instructions by the local coordinator team during the orientation as well as in your Pre-departure handbook after you become an enrolled participant.
As we offer free WIFI, you will be able to Skype, use Facebook or other forms of social media to stay in touch with the family and friends back home.
To be connected in South Africa, we will give you a free local SIM card to use locally and to phone us if you need us. Please make sure your Smartphone is SIM lock free to be able to use this card.
Safety is an issue that is paramount in the minds of volunteers visiting South Africa. Safety is important to us and by following just a few guidelines your safety in South Africa can be increased incredibly. Although South Africa is in many aspects a developed country, much of its population, particularly in rural areas, live in great poverty.
When you stay in South Africa, the odds are that you will have a safe and incident-free volunteering period. However, crime and violence, as well as unexpected difficulties, can happen.
Hoping to help you avoid serious difficulties during your visit to South Africa, you should keep the following in mind:
Port Elizabeth is a malaria free area; in fact, we have very little mosquitoes at all. It is best to contact your local physician before you leave your country to check what vaccinations they advise you to have. Rabies is NOT common here and no real risk, so no need for that.
However, while there are risks anywhere you travel, South Africa has a relatively salubrious climate and the levels of hygiene, health care, and water treatment make it a pretty safe destination. Our policy is that we do not allow volunteers to be exposed to any serious health risks. Guarantees are impossible to give but we do believe that we can offer healthy working environments for volunteers, staying within reasonability of risks involved of course
Yes, for all participants, it is mandatory to have a valid travel medical insurance for their trip. Volunteers have the option to purchase Travel and Medical Insurance at a nominal extra cost from Volunteering Solutions. To provide the best option to our participants, we offer comprehensive insurance coverage in collaboration with a leading insurance provider.
If you already have a valid Travel and Medical insurance, you can email us a copy of the same. It is also advised to bring along the Insurance documents during your trip.
Your fees will cover most of your expenses but if you like to enjoy a beer or soda, want to buy some souvenirs or fancy a nice dinner eating out, we advise you to bring some extra money. Basically, keep the money for your personal expenses and trips that you would wish to take.
Bring clothing for a variety of weather conditions. Even though it is Africa, it is not always hot and especially in winter, the nights can be cold. So bring a wind jacket and some long trousers, a hat is always handy on sunny days and good shoes for weekend outings.
We encourage volunteers to get in touch with former Volunteering Solutions South Africa program participants and also other program participants joining our projects. You are recommended to join the Volunteering Solutions Facebook Page or Facebook Group to communicate with other participants.
To read alumni interviews from past participants, visit the Meet a Volunteer page on our website.
All travelers coming to South Africa need to have a valid visa.The citizens from most of the European (including UK & Ireland), African and South American countries as well as the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand do NOT need to obtain a visa beforehand and can stay in the country for a period of up to 90 days. However, you must have a passport valid for at least 6 months period.
All participants joining the South Africa volunteer projects for more than 90 days, need to apply for volunteer Visa at the nearest South African Embassy or Consulate. Along with the Visa application, you need to attach the required supporting documents. Volunteers are provided with the necessary supporting document for their South African Visa application. More detailed information shall be provided after you become a Volunteering Solutions’ enrolled participant.
There are not many direct international flights to Port Elizabeth - you will probably need to fly to Cape Town or Johannesburg and then take a connecting flight to Port Elizabeth.
South African Airways, Mango Air, and Com Air have flight options to Port Elizabeth.