Volunteers will be placed in a township named Imizamo Yethu (often referred to as Mandela Park), located in the scenic seaside of Hout Bay Valley area of Cape Town. Originally created in the early 1990’s to accommodate an estimated population of 3000, the township has grown rapidly and is now home to approximately 40,000 people, many of whom live without the basic amenities such as electricity, running water and proper sanitation.
Imizamo Yethu is also one of the most diverse townships in the Western Cape Province – having only 30% South African citizens, and the rest of the population consists of other African nationalities including Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Somalia, Ethiopia, Congo, etc.
Volunteers working here will get a unique insight into how all these different African cultures come together to live side by side. Unemployment is one of the biggest challenges faced by the people of Mandela Park, but through sheer resilience and an overwhelming spirit of “Ubuntu” (ancient African word referring to the philosophy of Human Kindness and Compassion), they survive from day to day.
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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. We majorly follow the first come first serve policy. 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 will be 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 Cape Town, South Africa volunteer projects:
Volunteers must be 18 years or older at the time of joining the project.
Volunteers joining the medical volunteer project must be either Pre-Medical, Medical or Nursing student or possess other qualifications related to medical and nursing field such as CNA or EMT. Medical professionals such as doctors and nurses are also welcome to join the program.
The participants need to have an open mind and flexible attitude for working in a new and different environment.
The volunteer should bring energy and enthusiasm to make a difference.
Clean Criminal Background Check Report for participants joining Childcare and Teaching Projects.
The participant must be in good health.
Yes, you are welcome to take part in South Africa Volunteer Program as part of a group. We welcome families, friends, high school students, college/university and corporate groups to volunteer together in the volunteering programs. Volunteering Solutions has hosted large student groups as well as families coming to volunteer in the program. We have hosted groups from universities in the UK, the USA as well as other countries.
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.
Yes, we will provide you with the Certificate after successful completion of your program. The Certificate is provided on request.
All volunteers need to arrive at Cape Town International Airport (CPT) on the program starting date i.e Sunday.
The assigned driver from a backpacker airport pickup service would be waiting for you with a signboard in the arrivals area and you would then be transferred to a hostel accommodation in the city. A brief orientation session takes place on Monday morning.
The projects are placed in and around Cape Town. The city is located with one of the most stunning backdrops of Table Mountain and offers beautiful beach locations and countryside. Cape Town is one of the most popular destinations in South Africa and is also very cosmopolitan with people of different religions, race, and beliefs living together in the city.
Volunteers in Cape Town work in the city as well as in many different community suburbs such as Grassy Park, Athlone, Philippi, Mitchells Plain, and Belville. Projects are located close to city center as well as in suburban areas and townships.
Volunteers usually work for 4 to 6 hours a day depending on their program. You will have weekends off to travel. However, volunteers need to be flexible, open minded and understand that work requirements can change as well on certain occasions.
All travelers traveling to South Africa should have a valid visa.The citizens from most of the European (including the 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 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.
Cape Town International Airport (CPT) is very well connected and has direct flight connections from European, Middle East, African and some Asian destinations.
South African Airways, KLM Dutch Airlines, Qatar Airways, Emirates, British Airways, Lufthansa, Kenya Airways, Condor Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Air France and Singapore Airlines are? some of the major airlines that have direct connections to Cape Town.
Cape Town is a safe city and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa. It has been rated as one of the best places to visit in the world by New York Times in 2014 and receives millions of tourists every year. As in any major metropolis around the world, 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.
All participants are recommended to consult their physician or travel doctor before traveling to South Africa. To view the general list of vaccinations recommended for your travel to South Africa, click here.
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 program coordinator or a member of the local coordinating team will take you to your placement and introduce you to everyone after giving you a basic orientation about the program/city/culture etc. You will be told about the directions to the project from your accommodation and the mode of transport which you can use. Most preferred mode of transport within the town is the Public Bus, taxis. The coordinator will be happy to guide you regarding anything that you need to know.
Volunteers in Cape Town are provided accommodation in a volunteer house/ hostel or in homestays in suburbs and communities. The volunteer house/ hostel is centrally located, close to the city center as well as to many cafes, restaurants, and delis. Living in the volunteer hostel is a great opportunity to meet other like-minded volunteers from around the world. Volunteers staying in the volunteer house/ hostel will get 2 meals a day (Breakfast and Dinner) from Monday - Friday. Volunteers staying at homestays will get all the meals at accommodation itself. This would be a great opportunity to savor the local delicacies.
While staying with a host family during volunteering in South Africa, you will live in one of the local communities of Cape Town. There you will experience life in a typical South African family, which will be a great cultural experience. You will be provided 3 meals a day, prepared by your host – Breakfast before your project, a packed lunch to take with you and a delicious home cooked meal for dinner.
Unfortunately the entire volunteering experience is as much about volunteering on your project, as it is about cross-cultural exchange and community building. A lot of that happens through the housing that we have set up by being with like-minded people. Additionally, for safety reasons all volunteers must live in the allotted accommodation.
Yes, however, you must inform us in advance and also mention about any dietary requirement in your application form.
Depending on your project placement, you will get evenings and the weekends free, to travel and explore the places. In the evenings, volunteers usually get together and go out for social gatherings, eat out or just relax at the volunteer house. Weekends are free and you can go for short weekend trips.There is a lot to do in Cape Town and you will never experience a dull moment in the city. You can explore the city and go to different places such as Bo-Kaap, Robben Island, climb the Table Mountain or just relax at one of the beautiful beaches in the city. You can also take the Western Cape tour and explore the beautiful wine lands. Get in touch with the country coordinator and know more about the places you can travel to.
Your program fee does not cover your personal expenses. You will need to provide for yourself your personal expenses, such as bottled water, local transport, telephone, shopping, sightseeing etc. However, you should carry around $70-$80 per week for your basic personal expenses. This amount can vary and you would need a higher amount if you choose to go on weekend trips out of town.
On arrival, you can change your foreign currency into South African Rands (ZAR) from the Cape Town International Airport. South Africa has a modern banking system and there is an abundance of ATMs and foreign exchange outlets in the city.
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.
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