SAVE Volunteering

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!


20 Briza Road
Cape Town
South Africa


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Yes, I recommend this program

A friend told me about the SAVE Adventure program and he was so excited I immediately booked my trip. When I left I really needed the escape from Holland since it was super busy and stressful with university and social life. Form the moment of arriving I was in good hands. They showed us around Capetown and the group of fellow volunteers were beyond amazing and we became good friends very fast. I never wanted to go to bed, just to spend more hours awake at SAVE. Also, waking up was never so easy and fun since I got to work with all the people around me and the kids again. I felt like a kid myself and enjoyed every bit of it. It made me reflect on my own life, and I found out what is important in life for me. I would have never been the person who I now am, without the SAVE experience. Everything was well arranged, there was plenty room for own projects, if anything they support that. So to conclude; take on this adventure! It is definitely worth everything. The organisation takes care of its volunteers, its staff and its kids in the Townships. It is very trustworthy. Have fun!

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Yes, I recommend this program

My experience with SAVE volunteering was so incredible that it’s hard to find words to give justice to everything I gained from working with all the kids in Cape Town. From each activity, I have personally learned many valuable life lessons in helping others. I began to realize that there is nothing more valuable than helping people who are not able to help themselves. In a world today that's so revolved and obsessed with money, it was fulfilling that I did something to make a real difference in the life of these little kids.

Overall the work was far more rewarding than I expected. I've learnt so much and I wouldn't trade this experience with anything else. I’ll never forget the smile some of the children gave me. I've volunteered three times with SAVE by now and I can recommend everyone to volunteer with SAVE :)!!! I don't know when, but I know that I'll go back one day!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Enjoy every moment that you're in South Africa (before you realize you're back home). And most important of all: make new friends with people from all over the world. You're making lifetime experiences in South Africa so it's very nice to share this together with other volunteers.
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Yes, I recommend this program

I volunteered with save for three month on their educare program and it was the best three months of my life! The kids and the teachers gave me so much life and inspiration. The relationship I built with the two teacher at Good Hope will forever be a most valued memory. I am so happy to be back and working with SAVE. Working in the community everyday is a true privilege i’m very grateful for. I think volunteering with the projects save offers is a valuable and educational time spent that everyone will take wisdom from. Instead of a nice vacation in fancy places, you should come here and do something meaningful for our dear kids and community. The accommodation the volunteers stay in feels like a home and the staff is always very helpful if we feel like we are missing something and making sure we are comfortable.

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Yes, I recommend this program

It’s amazing to be a part of something bigger than yourself. I met such an amazing people, every single one had a different way of living. Togheter you help the kids to have a better life. You will love the kids with you’re whole heart. Education is the best weapon to change the world. Save is not just a organization, save is a family where you can be a part of. The food was cooked by such a sweet women. But you have to understand that she has to cook for more than 40 people, and they also need the money for food in the townships. So the food is good! But different than you maybe used to. The location is perfect, close to the beach, supermarket, shoppingmall, little restaurants, 30 minutes to the center of Cape Town and there is a swimmingpool.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be open minded. Meet new people all over the world, be ready for new adventurens and help the kids at the project with the best you can.
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Yes, I recommend this program

The staff at SAVE absolutely make this experience amazing. Cool, down to earth, helpful, I can’t say enough about them. The projects are fun and impactful. The kids are great and you can see this program is making a difference for them. I did the holiday project which consisted of beach days, surfing, educational scavenger hunts at the waterfront, hiking and more. The Table View location is a short walk from a nice beach with plenty stores and anything else you could need nearby. You will have some down time and days off to explore. There are some amazing hikes nearby like Lion’s Head and Table Mountain. Downtown Cape Town isn’t far at all. This was an experience I will be forever grateful for and hope to come back soon! Thank you SAVE!!!!!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Come with an open mind and willing to lend a hand where ever needed. Make friends and explore the area


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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!
Swimming lessons in the pool by our house!

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.

Renee van den Hurke

Renee van den Hurke, SAVE Volunteering volunteer leader

What position do you hold at SAVE? What has been your career path so far?

I’m a volunteer leader at SAVE. I finished my bachelors in education at a university in the Netherlands. I worked in hospitality while I studied. And after my studies, I worked as a teacher at a primary school in a low developed area in Eindhoven.

I traveled a lot all around the world and I’ve always been organizing things. I’m the busy bee of the family. I work every day at the crèche in Skandaal kamp and coordinate the volunteers.

I give training to the volunteers about teaching and fundraising and help them out with their daily questions. I’m also the PA of Nikki and do administration and fundraising for SAVE.

What inspired you to join SAVE?

In November 2013 I started at SAVE as an volunteer I was supposed to stay for 2 weeks but I felt in LOVE with the kids and stayed for 2 months.

After that I traveled for 8 more months all around the world and went back home to the Netherlands. I knew I couldn’t stay at home so I contacted SAVE about coming back.

My passion is to work with kids and help them and make a difference in their lives. SAVE gives me that opportunity. I work with children every day and I’m really making a difference.

Because I am such a busy bee, SAVE is perfect for me because there is always enough work to do and to organize when you work with volunteers.

What does the future hold for SAVE - any exciting new programs to share?

Hopefully I can stay forever. Right now I have no idea for how long I will stay but at least a year. Though I’m already sure it will be longer.

We've got a lot off plans to work on. Right now I’m busy writing a curriculum for SAVE that we are going to use at all the crèches with the volunteers.

We want to set up a training school to train local people to work at the crèches. We want to open new crèches to help more children. We are busy with setting up more fundraising programs in South Africa and overseas.

We will never stand still. There are so many more people we can help, that we will always improve ourselves as an organization to get the opportunity to help more and more people!

What is your favorite story so far of a volunteer's experiences with SAVE?

Every day is my favorite story. The minute we drive into the townships and the children see us they start running to the gate, clapping their hands, shouting your name and you will see the biggest smiles ever.

Every day I experience that moment and everyday I’m getting goose bumps all over my body and getting this warm feeling inside. When the kids run to you and give you a big hug and a kiss, that changes your life.

When the kids can’t speak English when they come to school for the first time and the next day they keep on repeating that one word they learned the day before.

And I feel honored to experience my favorite story every day and that favorite story is worth it everything I had to give up at home.

Any tips for travelers considering volunteering in South Africa?

Be open-minded. Live the day. Follow your heart and don’t forget a day without laughing is a day not living!!