SAVE Volunteering

SAVE Volunteering

About

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!

Founded
2006

Reviews

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Hailey
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!!
Default avatar
Hailey
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I CANNOT STRESS HOW GREAT IT IS TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS PROGRAM. Truly life changing. I’m 22 and went by myself & had no issues at all!! Jess (one of the coordinators) really gives it her all and is there for you the whole time. I met so many fiends around the world and have trips to go and see them all!! I left in February - April of 2021 and would recommend going for at least two months & this time of year was beautiful.

If you have been dreaming of a trip like this, THIS is the one to do!!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
i would go LONGER than I did, it really is that great!!!
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Pierre
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

There is no word strong enough to explain what i was living that all time in South Africa. All the things I’ve been through, people I met , things I did .. it’s deep in your soul and your body and that changed me for the rest of my life honestly. It’s really hard to explain, you just need to try this experience and to live it 200% and do everything you can.
The organization helps you to do activities, find good opportunities , help people in need,... it’s a mix of emotions all the time. This is unbelievable, still have nostalgia of those moments and people.. I would definitely recommend to try and to go there !

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Just be yourself , be open minded ; discover as much as you can , talk , laugh , cry , share , and you are going to live one of the best experience of your life..
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Cristina
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Two years ago I went in Cape Town and I did the volunteer with Save Foundation. There are to many word to describe my experience with them, but no many to describe what I felt. If I can describe it in two words I will use beauty and love.
You will fall in love with Cape Town as town, with all the beautiful place to visit and to know their history. You will see an other face of Cape Town, because if you go in the middle of the town, you will see skyscrapers, hotels. But if you go to the suburb with Save Foundation, you will fall in love with this town. The suburb has a name and it is Dunuun, it is not a save place, but the kids and the teachers that you will meet, they are gorgeous and the kids shine when they see you.

You will update your vocabulary to describe all the moment with them, they are amazing, they are like a volcano of happinesses, they always smile, they want a lot of hug, they are amazing. When you spend the time with them, you forget about your personal problems, in the moment they are your target.

You will find a family in Save Foundation, because you will live for a short moment of your life with other volunteers from all the country of the world. You will make new friendships and when the experience will end, you will stay in contact for a long a time.

I really suggest you, to do this experience with them.

Default avatar
Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

SAVE is an amazing company that really cares about their volunteers and the communities they help. I spent two weeks volunteering in Dunoon with SAVE and from the daily family dinners, car rides to placements and the placements themselves, it’s difficult to choose a favourite experience!
The other volunteers you meet will only enhance the experience, and I am still in contact with most today!
If you are looking to volunteer in South Africa, I highly recommend SAVE as you know you’ll be safe, enjoy your time and contribute meaningfully to the project.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

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!
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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.

Shannon

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.