SAVE Volunteering

Why choose SAVE Volunteering?

SAVE Foundation is a registered non-profit organization (NPO) that assists communities in Africa. We are NOT a booking agent, all of our community projects are run and funded by our local NPO/ Foundations on the ground. Our work involves setting up and facilitating sustainable community and conservation development projects in South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi as well as assisting non-profit organizations that are actively involved in the local communities. We now also offer several wildlife conservation projects including pre-vet, white shark and wild cats.

The fees we charge for programs only covers unavoidable costs including accommodation, transport, and a donation to SAVE to help finance the projects.

In exchange the volunteer contributes to community development, experiences African culture and makes new friends.
Every little bit helps volunteer for 2 weeks up to 2 years!



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Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing experience

I've spent almost 10 weeks with the kids of the program and I had so much fun. They are so lovely and I made a good connection quickly. When I walked into the classrooms, they all jumped up to me and all wanted my attention. I was looking forward to see them everyday and they taught me a lot. Because of the conversations with the older kids, I realized how much more you can value life. Even though you can not change their lives completely, you always have an impact on their lives.
Besides the kids, I stayed with a lot of other great volunteers with who I had an amazing time discovering Cape Town. Although I was here for 10 weeks, I still hadn't seen everything. I made lots of good memories with my friends over there and I would love to come back one day!

  • Traveling alone is no problem
  • Good communication
  • Great impact
  • Expensive
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Yes, I recommend this program

Best volunteer program

Volunteering with SAVE allows you to meet the best people, and the best kids.
You will learn a lot, be helpful, and you will see the difference you are making in their lives.
The program and what you will see will make you rethink the way you live everyday in your home country, and make you realize that you can help, even if you feel like it’s not much.
You will also have time to visit the beautiful city of Cape Town, and have so many new experiences with your volunteer friends.
Definitely the best experience of my life.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Cape Town, Education

Stay longer than 2 weeks! This program is a great way to travel and get to know other people from around the world, while also getting the full South Africa experience. It offers you a way to volunteer during the week days but also travel and experience adventure on the weekends. You have no idea how much an impact this program can make until you do it! The children and teacher give off such positive energy and you can’t help but be happy when your with them. Great program leaders and very safe. Would highly recommend for anyone wanting to travel and volunteer!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I never realized how much an impact working in the townships could possibly have. These kids and teachers have so much to offer and it has changed my perspective on life!
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Yes, I recommend this program

Best experience of my entire life!!

The volunteering was way more special than I thought and I had all sort of good expectations already but the experience was still able to surprise me in a good way. The support the foundation gives to us and all the love we receive from the children actually shows that when u go there u are supposed to give something to them but u are the one who gets the most beautiful feelings and memories u could ever ask for. After my short 2 weeks the only thing I know it’s that I’m so coming back! Loved every single moment!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would stay way more than 2 weeks! It was not enough at all💗
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Yes, I recommend this program

yee haw for South Africa!!

Absolutely loved it !! Truly there is no experience quite like it, I grew so much as a person and learned so much about the world around me.

I traveled alone and had no issues at all!! Jess (one of the coordinators) was there the whole time and helped so much!! I would recommend going for as long as you can (1.5 months is a good minimum). I left in February to April and the weather was great!! I met so many people there that I love and am still friends with. The connections I made have made me into a new person, South Africa will always have a very big piece of my heart !!!

If you’re thinking about it, JUST DO IT!! You won’t regret it!!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would go longer honestly!! Two months is a great amount, simply because there is so much to do and so much to see!! The longer you are there the more impact you’ll feel in the community as well!!


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Martine Haugen

Martine Haugen is from Oslo, Norway and studies law at the University of Oslo. She works at a youth center run by The Norwegian Red Cross every Tuesday, and loves every part of it. She enjoys traveling, partying, and watching her favorite soccer team, Manchester United!

Why did you decide to volunteer abroad with SAVE in South Africa?

I was getting quite tired of studying law at home in Norway, and wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue.

I decided to take a break from my studies and do something I had wanted to do for a long time--travel!

I’m working at a youth center run by the Norwegian Red Cross in Oslo, and I wanted to bring my experiences from that into a completely different place. And SAVE was perfect.

What made this volunteer abroad experience unique and special?

Everything! It’s not an underestimation when I say that I had the time of my life! I made friends from all over the world, and the friendship we developed was something really special.

We worked together, ate together, partied together, spent our free time together, we really did everything together! And of course, seeing the kids react so thankfully for the work we do.

It is a wakeup call for all of us coming from rich countries where people are taking all the material goods for granted!

Tell me about one person you met. [It could be a local, a fellow program participant or a member of the SAVE staff]

It’s pretty hard to choose one from all of the amazing people I met. My best friends down there – Mike, Frederik, Marc, Sofie and Kristina – made my stay ten times better than I ever expected, and I’m so happy that I have kept in contact with them.

But I think the one that made the greatest impression on me was Nikki. She runs the project in Skandaalkamp. Even though I wasn't in her group, she made me realize what a true hero she is.

She was always concerned about getting enough food for her babies in Skandaal, but she always found a way to figure it out! She made t-shirts with the handprints of the kids and sold them to the volunteers.

She also made bracelets and did everything she could think of. She is a person that thinks more about the kids than herself, and thanks to her, the kids in skandaalkamp can get food and education!

What was the best moment of the entire trip?

This is not an easy question either, haha! My entire trip was awesome, and it’s difficult to pick one moment. But one day we had swimming lessons with the kids where we were trying to teach them how to float.

One of the girls was holding onto me really hard, begging me not to let go of her. I asked her to relax, and said I would be right there. I held her back under the water while she laid flat, and after a while, I removed my hands from her.

She was floating on her own, and I have never ever seen a smile that big! She was hugging me, saying thank you, and wanted to float around in the pool all day!

The christmas party afterwards at Elundini was also perfect! All of the kids got a gift, and they were running around with big smiles the whole day!

How has this experience impacted your future? (Personally, professionally, etc)

Well… I decided to continue with my law studies when I got back to Oslo. But, I was more motivated than before I left.

Now I’m sure that I want to use my law degree to work for human rights and children’s welfare! Personally, the trip made me a lot stronger.

Traveling alone to a completely unfamiliar country was a good experience.

Even though I was terrified when I left Oslo, I came home with hundreds of impressions, and felt like I could never ever complain about my life in Oslo again.

I still think about all the kids I got to know in Cape Town, and I miss them more and more.

Before I left to South Africa, all the poverty was just something I had seen on television. Now, I relate the poverty to faces. The faces of the kids that I was so lucky to work with every day…

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.


Job Title
Cape Town Supervisor
Shannon is a local South African with a passion for people. Not only does she love spending time at the projects whenever she gets the chance, but she also enjoys meeting new people from around the world and facilitating their volunteering.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favourite travel memory would be a toss-up between seeing Piccadilly Circus and arriving in London.

After my flight from Cape Town, I had to catch an overland train into the city. We were running late for the train and made it just as the doors were closing. Once I was on board, I turned to see my friend still on the platform and the train pulling away. She had both our tickets and neither of us had working phones. Needless to say, it was a very stressful half-hour waiting on the next platform to see if she had boarded the next train with my ticket. I can laugh about it now, and I'm very proud of dealing with that situation as a 19-year-old first-time traveler.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Working for SAVE has definitely improved my self-confidence. It's taught me to be comfortable speaking to large groups of people and a lot about different cultures and languages. I love that I can now work with people from all over the world and know how their culture will affect their work and adaptation to South African life.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

I don't really have a best story, but I do have favourite moments. Many of these include making life long friendships that are still as strong even from halfway across the world. Even better are the memories of those friends coming back to the work and family they have here in South Africa some of them as many as 4 or 5 times returning.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

If I could go to any of the programs we offer, it would probably be one of the programs outside of South Africa.

I have always wanted to see more of this beautiful continent and meet more of the amazing people that dedicate their lives to uplifting and improving their communities. I know how blessed we are here in SA, and I also know African's are so resourceful, I would love to see how their cultures and communities work without the resources most of us in South Africa take for granted.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

I think the proudest I have ever been of our team has been in a time of dire crisis. Sadly, our company (staff and volunteers) were exposed to the ugliness of drinking and driving - a huge problem in this country - but the way our team pulled together and took care of each other, the victims and volunteers were incredible. A true testimony to what a family we really are.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I think being a successful company is all about communication, observation, and teamwork. Communication, to me, is not only conveying information but HOW you convey information and listen to information conveyed to you.

Communication goes hand in hand with observation - observing the way people deal with and react to situations is vital to knowing your team and navigating roles and responsibilities.

Lastly, teamwork - teamwork is obviously working together, but also helping each other, stepping out of your role and filling in a gap.