Projects Abroad Volunteer Programs in South Africa

Video and Photos

Sunrise Special Care Centre Christmas Concert!
Veterinary Medicine internships in South Africa with Projects Abroad
Veterinary Medicine internships in South Africa with Projects Abroad
Law & Human Rights Internships in South Africa with Projects Abroad
Law & Human Rights Internships in South Africa with Projects Abroad
Projects Abroad Volunteer Program in South Africa
Projects Abroad Volunteer Program in South Africa
Volunteer teaching in South Africa with Projects Abroad
Volunteer teaching in South Africa with Projects Abroad

About

Become a valued volunteer in South Africa with Projects Abroad! Every year we send dozens of volunteers to South Africa to take part in projects that include: Teaching, Child Care, Equine Therapy, Conservation & Environment, Sports, Farming, Creative & Performing Arts, Building, and Culture and Community. We also offer internships in : Nutrition, Journalism, International Development, Veterinary Medicine, and Law & Human Rights. This is your chance to enhance your professional skills in a setting where volunteers can make a profound difference.

During your time as a volunteer with Projects Abroad you will have the opportunity to travel and explore South Africa. This is a beautiful country and we're proud of the work we're doing here.

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This really is the opportunity of a lifetime! - We'll take you to five different countries around the world, where you'll gain a whole host of experience to make your resume shine & contribute to a better world.

Discover more & Apply! - Limited spaces available.

Popular Programs

Do volunteer work with children in South Africa and focus on supporting early childhood development.

Teach surfing to underprivileged children and adults and help develop the community.

Gain practical experience with animals and support staff at a shelter or help rehabilitate seabirds at a rescue center.

Teach computer skills to disadvantaged children and adults while experiencing life in vibrant Cape Town.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

96%
based on 19 reviews
  • Impact 9.5
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 8.9
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 8.9
Showing 1 - 15 of 19
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Milly
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life-changing

My experience with Projects Abroad was like no other, I had so much fun working with kids and getting to know the other people on the trip and I’d do it again in a heartbeat! I felt like I was actually making an impact in the children’s lives which is so fulfilling and it made me want to help even more people around the world. The social part of the trip was great as well, they took us all around Cape Town to do loads of different activities including cycling, trampolining, surfing and going out for dinner. We also did a few community projects in the township where we gave out food and helped with a women’s day event, this was an incredible experience as we got to know loads of the people in the township as well as the children. If you want to travel and make even a small difference in the world, I’d 100% recommend projects abroad!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Go in with an open mind and be willing to try new things.
Response from Projects Abroad

Hi Milly,
Thank you for your review on our High School Specials, Care & Community Project in South Africa. I’m delighted that you had a positive and rewarding experience. Your involvement with the project is hugely appreciated by Projects Abroad and the local community. We look forward to you volunteering with us again.

Harry Kent, Head Office Coordinator for South Africa

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

New experiences and new friends

I was in Cape Town for a Human rights and law project. We had a supervisior who always stayed near us, so we never felt insecure. Also our host family was super cool, we felt save and got the best meals everyday. However also the project was great. We met a lot of people, who were so impressive. They showed us, how they live even if most of them had no money. We tried to help them every time we were in the townships with cooking or creating schools. We also had a moot court to see the legal aspect in South Africa, it was an unbelievable experience to work on a case which really happend. To understand the whole topic between black and white people we visited a lot of museums and historical buildings. And next to all the beautiful moments, we met a lot of new people and found friends for life.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Always be open minded, even if people look different or have no money, they can be the nicest people you meet in your whole live.
Response from Projects Abroad

Hi Svea,
Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this excellent review. Projects Abroad and the local community really appreciated your help on the High School Specials Law & Human Rights project in South Africa. We hope to see you again soon on one of our projects or internships.

Harry Kent, Head Office Coordinator for South Africa

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

2 week internship in SA

I did this internship because my school required us to do one at 16. I have been interested in human rights and law for a long time and thanks to this experience I know for sure that that is the path I want to pursue. The staff were very helpful before, after and during the trip. They gave me a lot of space to work on my own and with others despite my young age and I was able to get in direct contact with the clients. I felt very respected and felt like what I was doing actually had an impact which definitely makes it worth the expenses. I hope that I can go again and would recommend the trip to anyone who has an interest in law or any other subjects (projects abroad offers so many types of volunteer programs!). I still think about my experience very often and would recommend 100%

What would you improve about this program?
I heard many good stories about the different hosts but I was not completely happy with the one I had.
Response from Projects Abroad

Hello Lara,
Thanks for leaving your review about our Law & Human Rights project in South Africa. It’s warming to hear about your story, what an experience you’ve had – I’m sure you’ll remember it for a lifetime! You are most welcome to volunteer or Intern with us in the future.

Harry Kent, Head Office Coordinator for South Africa

Default avatar
Layla
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Farming in Cape Town

Young Farmers trip to Cape Town, I had the most amazing time learning how to plant fruits trees and vegetables. We made vegetable patches for families in the townships and it was great to feel you were making a difference.
We went to Sozo and helped plant some vegetables and make new patches. We also helped out at woman’s day, which was a really great thing to help out with, it was very inspiring seeing all the women doing their talks, it was great fun with the dancing and singing. We went on the peninsula tour and saw the penguins, which was lovely to see. The food was great and I tried many different foods, such as ostrich and kudu.
Of course coming to South Africa we enjoyed the safari and tourist things, such as skating and shopping. I had the most amazing experience that I will ever forget. Our host was amazing and did us delicious food.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve racking moment was the travelling and meeting the host family but there was no need to be nervous. It was a little nerve racking waking around the main town of Cape Town with the crime of pick picketers etc.
Response from Projects Abroad

Hi Layla,
Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this excellent review. Projects Abroad and the local community really appreciated your help on the Farming project in South Africa. We hope to see you again soon on one of our projects or internships.

Harry Kent, Head Office Coordinator for South Africa

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

Human rights and law volunteering SA

I have never experienced anything quite like this in my life! I went to the human rights and law volunteering in summer, 2018 and it's incredible how big of an impact those 2 weeks can have. As someone who had never been to africa before, let alone Cape Town, it was an opportunity to see the different lifestyles and cultures of a new country. What surprised me the most was the religious and cultural diversity in Cape Town. We stayed with a host family for the 2 weeks with around 10 other volunteers and occasionally had our meals together. During our time there, we went to court and witnessed a man on trial for a rape case, went into parliament, were separated into 2 groups and had to solve a real-life murder case which had happened a few years back, met some volunteers from another school and practiced debating with them, amongst many other things. These experiences were incredible and I am so lucky to have been able to practice skills like these which I know will be essential for my future. During our spare time, our supervisors took us to see the cultural sites of Cape Town including the table mountain, the gangster museum, the parliament, robben island, the water front, boulders beach, and muizenburg beach where we were taught how to surf. we also had volunteering days once a week. The first week we went to a primary school where there were about 30 children and cooked for them, painted the outside of the building as it was worn away and played, sang and danced with the kids. The following week was womens day, so we held an event for all women who were previously imprisoned and painted their nails, gave them hand massages, brought food for them . From these 2 weeks, I made friends for life who although I only knew for 2 weeks have become some of my closest friends. I have learnt so much from this experience and done things which could not be possible without this volunteering program and would without any hesitation, recommend this program to everyone, regardless of whether or not you want to study law in the future.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
On our last day, we went to a South African restaurant and ate springbok, ostrich and another kind of meat which I had never tried before but they insisted we try as it was a traditional dish.
Response from Projects Abroad

Hi Bengu,

I'm so glad to hear you had a rewarding experience on our High School Specials Human Rights project in South Africa. Your effort towards the project is greatly appreciated. We can't wait to have you back again with Projects Abroad.

Harry Kent, Head Office Coordinator for South Africa

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

Great Experience with the Projects Abroad Human Rights Project

Overall, Great Experience!
This summer I took the Bar Exam to become a lawyer. After taking the exam, I wanted an opportunity to gain legal experience while going abroad. Projects Abroad was the perfect combination of that. On the project, I learned a lot which taught me how to manage a high case load of indigent clients who cannot normally afford paid legal advice. The supervisors on the project were great. They were easily approachable and always answered my questions. I worked mainly property, family, consumer, and employment types of cases. The Human Rights Office also handles claims from refugees who have settled in South Africa. On Mondays, I would go to the Townships which are low income communities and I would meet with clients and give advice to help achieve their objectives. I also continued to meet with the same clients as they would come to our office for appointments. I felt like a gained a great legal experience working abroad, and I would definitely love to do another project!

My host family was amazing. They truly cared about me and made me feel welcome. I enjoyed sitting at the dinner table with them each day and talking to each other the day went.

The other volunteers were great. I met new friends from various countries around the world. Outside of the project, I would go to dinners, do tours, hikes, and social events with the volunteers that I met.

Cape Town was amazing. So many activities to do there from several hikes on Table Mountain, walks on the beach, surfing, scuba diving, shark cage diving, whale watching, wine farm tours, peninsula tour, etc.

I had a truly memorable experience and really enjoyed my time in Cape Town!

Response from Projects Abroad

Dear Thomas: Thank you for sharing your experience in Cape Town! It's great that you were able to get involved in such interesting cases and help clients in disadvantaged situations. It's amazing how much you can help while you are also learning yourself. Hopefully you can come visit your host family soon, as well as your new friends from around the world!

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

My unforgettable experience!!...

My trip to South Africa was phenomenal! I am blown away by the beauty of the country and the people! I volunteered for the child care program in Cape town for two weeks. I worked directly with the children and assisted the staff with creating programs that will enhance their social-emotional development and academic abilities. The other volunteers and I taught the children basic hygiene practices through songs and visual prompts. Seeing the children learn while having fun was very rewarding! The principle was constantly expressing her gratitude and pointed out how happy the children were having us around to play and learn with. I will never forget all the moments of playing, singing, eating, having small talks, doing arts and crafts and reading! They will forever stay in my heart and memory.
I am impressed by the professionalism and support Projects Abroad staff members offer. Being that it was my first time traveling alone overseas, I was nervous and skeptical about booking my flight. The travel team was patient with me and helped me book my flight. This gave me a sense of peace and security. I appreciate the attentiveness staff members provided during my stay in South Africa. They made sure I was safe and satisfied at all times.
My host family were sweet and welcoming. The meals were delicious and there were always snacks and fruits available (which helped for long days at work). It was interesting living with five roommates from all around the world. I was able to learn about different cultures and upbringings. From talking about our day at work to going on unforgettable adventures together, everyday was filled with excitement! I will forever be grateful to Projects Abroad for creating such amazing opportunities for people to give to those in need in exchange for a life changing experience. I went on this trip with an open heart to help children and came back filled with compassion and hope!

Default avatar
Jordan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Law & Human Rights Placement In Cape Town

I spent an incredible eight weeks in Cape Town with the Projects Abroad Human Rights Office (PAHRO). Most of my time was spent travelling to townships to meet with clients and researching and drafting legal documents alongside PAHRO’s staff. On Wednesday afternoons, I helped run educational workshops at the Bonnytoun youth juvenile detention centre. While much of what I worked on was challenging, I always had a strong support system in place. PAHRO’s staff were open to any questions and checked up consistently to make sure I was comfortable with my role. As well, I became close with several other law students from around the world who were volunteering within the same placement.
Cape Town is an amazing city, and Projects Abroad encouraged me to take advantage of all it had to offer. During nights and weekends I took part in a number of activities with other volunteers. My favourite memories include surfing at Muizenberg together every Friday, Braais at Mzoli’s, climbing Table Mountain, and Saturday mornings at the Old Biscuit Mill. I also enjoyed spending three days on the Garden Route along the African coast. Undertaking meaningful volunteer activities while experiencing Cape Town’s culture made for a trip that I’ll never forget.

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

Cape Town

I spent three weeks of my summer break volunteering with Projects Abroad on the Physical Therapy project in Cape Town, South Africa. I worked at a day centre for individuals with disabilities. Projects Abroad provided me with the unique chance to work in the field of Physical Therapy while exploring a new country and culture. I worked 8:30-2:00 Monday to Friday in the day centre and then the rest of the time was to do mine as i pleased. After work or on the weekend you could find me on various adventures with my several housemates (i lived with a host family). We went on the garden route, hikes and wine tours. My host family was so welcoming. They did everything possible to make sure I was comfortable! The Projects Abroad Staff took me around Cape Town on my first day to make sure I knew how to get around and help me purchase anything i may have forgotten or needed. They were so supportive in the days leading up to my trip and while I was there.

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Hannah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering at a Special Care Centre

My name is Hannah Elliott-Higgins and I am currently a junior studying psychology and art/art history at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. During my senior year of high school, I spent some time debating the idea of taking a gap year and volunteering before heading off to college but eventually decided against it as the excitement of starting college set in. However, half way through my sophomore year of college I began to think again about how wonderful it would be to be able to take some time to simply volunteer and experience the world through my own eyes and not through a strictly scholarly lens.
I worked with a gap year/semester coordinator to decide what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to work with children and if possible work with those with developmental disabilities. I was put in contact with Projects Abroad South Africa (Cape Town) and I could not be happier with the way everything went. From my first email contact with Projects Abroad I could tell it would be a wonderful experience. They were prompt to respond, answered every question I had, and provided me with all the information regarding my placement and living situation in a vert timely manner.
During my time in Cape Town, I volunteered at the Sunrise Special Care Centre 5 days a week and had the weekends to myself, I absolutely loved the work, which consisted of basic occupational therapy and physical therapy as well as care taking. There was a bit of an age range with the majority of the children begin between the ages of 6 and 14 and then a few young adults (early 20s). Everyone I worked with was kind and welcoming and spoke very highly of their past Projects Abroad Volunteers.. Every week, I would meet with volunteers from other projects to talk with one of the volunteer coordinators from Projects Abroad. If there were any issues, they were always available to help out.
I lived with a host family who lived one street over from the Sunrise Special Care Centre and I cannot speak highly enough of them. They were wonderful and made me feel completely at home. They gave me and the two other volunteers I lived with breakfast, lunch, and dinner an the mother was a wonderful cook. I have certain dietary restrictions and they were wonderful about making accommodations for me.
Overall, this was an incredible experience for me and I would strongly recommend Projects Abroad for anyone who is looking to take a gap year, semester, or even just a few weeks off to do service work. It is an unforgettable time and i would do it over again in a heartbeat.

What would you improve about this program?
As part of payment for the program we paid for our meals. However I have some dietary restrictions and because of this I had to buy a fair amount of my own food, but still had to pay for food from my host family that I did not eat. This is one aspect of the program I would change, perhaps by making the food payment separate from the living payment.
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Texan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Must Volunteer in Cape Town

I had a wonderful time volunteering in South Africa with Projects Abroad. I took a career break to work on a business project in a Cape Town township to help an educare centre (an early childhood school) with its business planning. The opportunity was simply amazing! Not only did my work help young children in need but I forged lasting relationships with the school staff, Projects Abroad staff, other volunteers, and my host family. The program costs are nothing in comparison to the benefits I received. We worked during the day from Monday to Friday and had ample opportunities to travel and site-see around town and the country. I was in Cape Town during August and September. This is the end of the winter season. One suggestion for winter traveling, be prepared! Please do not let the temperature reading fool you, like it did me. It does get rainy, windy and cold in Cape Town. Coming from an extremely hot climate, I had a little temperature shock. However, it did not take me long to adjust and I had the best time of my life. Also, remember to review the safety precautions for Cape Town and just always be an alert traveler. I never had any issues, and actually had such a wonderful time that I’m planning to do it again next year!

What would you improve about this program?
I would have packed slightly differently. I brought too many dress clothes since it was a business project. Considering I was working in a school, even though I was on the business side, I wish I would have known to pack more casual clothing.
Default avatar
Mariska
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Human Rights in South Africa

Last summer I have worked for the Human Rights Office, which was a unique experience. The work that you do at this office exists out of helping rather poor people with legal issues, like domestic violence. Furthermore, a lot of refugees come to the office, with problems relating to their asylum applications. By talking to these people and doing research in order to write legal opinions in the hope to eventually solve their problems, you get the fealing that you can actually do something good.
In addition to the project, the organisation also organised a lot of activities during the week, which is a nice way to meet people and to get to know the South African culture.
During my time in Cape Town, I stayed at a host family, which is I think the best way to get to know the South African culture and I was staying at a really nice host family, they really made me feel at home.
Overall I think Projects Abroad is a really professional organisation, which offers a lot of nice programs, nice activities and makes sure that you are staying at a nice host family.

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Katharina
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Special care in Cape town

I started my Day every Morning around 8 o'clock. One of project Abroard drivers picked me up and drove me to work. Sunrise special Care is a Center for Children with profound intellectual disabilities and Takes Care of 30 Children from the Age of 5 yrs- 28 Years. The atmosphere is adorable! The Caregivers and the Children are very friendly and i felt comfortable from the First Second on. My Job was to support the Staff with the Feeding, Tube feeding or changing the children. Also i was able to decide myself what i wanted to do with the Children ( e.g colouring Inn, singing, going to the Garden). My Day ended around 2 o'clock when i got picked up again. Sometimes i used my afternoons for going to the Beach, to town or to meet other volunteers. I always enjoyed meeting other People, to learn about other cultures or just to exchange experiences. The Weekends were always packed with activities like socials, sight seeings or enjoying the nightlife of capetown. I felt in love with Cape town pretty fast and i would recommend it to everybody to experience it!

Default avatar
emilyk64
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Care and Surfing Projects in Cape Town

I volunteered at a creche for kids in the morning in Vrygrond, a township in Cape Town, where parents frop there kids during the day while they work or look for work. The kids were absolutely amazing we had fun introducing games such as duck duck goose, watching movies, doing writing exercises, singing, and playing. the kids were ages six months to six years old and everyday you were greeted by an enthusiastic "TEACHER!" from all of the kids. In the afternoons I hopped on the train for a quick ride to Muizenberg where I taught surfing at the Surfing Project where kids would get free surfing lessons in the afternoon. We led them trough warm ups which included building sandcastles they would practice turns on and practicing paddling on surfboards drawn in the sand. Then we would take to the water for some fun in the waves! Afterwards if time allowed we could play some wave tag before the kids had to wiggle out of their wet suits and head home.

On the weekends and at night we got all of our fun touristy things in I was able to go skydiving, shark cage diving, hike Table Mountain, visit Robben Island, visit Seal Island, hike out to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope, watch a soccer match at the world cup stadium, watch a Western Province rugby match, go on a sunset cruise, go to an ostrich farm, and go on safari!

An incredible trip overall; if you're looking for a place to go with plenty of adventure and a phenomenal volunteer experience then look no further than Cape Town!

Default avatar
Suzanne
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Projects Abroad changed my life.

I volunteered with Projects Abroad in their PAHRO (Projects Abroad Human Rights Office) department in South Africa as a part of the two-week special volunteer programs that Projects Abroad offers. As a minor, this was by far the ideal volunteer situation for me. I felt extremely safe and welcomed into the home of my host mother, and placed in this home with two other volunteers in the same program as me, so we were able to commute to work in the mornings safely in a group.
To be entirely honest, the work we were doing was not top-notch or life-changing for the individuals in Cape Town's townships that we were 'aiding'. The woman in charge of our group was distracted, unorganized, and not particularly helpful. However, what I have learned and gained from this program has truly changed my life. The people that we were there to help, the women and children of Cape Town's townships, impacted my life more than I can simply describe. The individuals there shared such a profound sense of community and joy for life, despite their very unfortunate living conditions, and the other young people in my volunteer group shared my passion for helping others and really taught me a lot about life. My host mother is one of the most wonderful people I have ever met, we still keep in touch and she taught me about the South African ideology of "ubuntu", which I have carried with me since leaving the country and this has truly become my motto in life.
Since returning from the trip, I have attempted to continue in this spirit of ubuntu and raise money for the building of a safe house in one of the townships. I still keep in touch with the wonderful members of my volunteer group, as well as my host mother.
In short, it was the people that I encountered, not really the program itself, that truly made this trip as wonderful and life-changing as it was. My entire view of things and take on the central ideology of my life has changed because of this trip.