SAVE Volunteering Humanitarian Projects

Video and Photos

Surf project SAVE
Surf project SAVE
Skate project SAVE
Skate project SAVE
My Honey Bees
My Honey Bees
We are doing fingerpaint
We are doing fingerpaint
All my kids.
Pure love.
That smile and those eyes makes me happy.
One day we made moustaches out of PlayDooh. The kids just love fantasy play a lot... and selfies obviously ;)

About

SAVE Volunteering is a Non-Profit Organisation. We are NOT a booking agent: we run, manage and fund all of our Humanitarian and Wildlife Projects with the help of volunteers.
We believe in transparent and sustainable programs that impact our local community and wildlife.

The volunteer fees go towards, food, accommodation, transport, orientation and the rest of the money gets donated to the NPO for running costs such as stationary or meals for the children and meals for the Wildlife.

Join one of our amazing projects and leave with a life-changing experience!

Highlights
  • Help us better the lives of the children on our Humanitarian projects and the Animals on our Wildlife project.
  • Educate children to better their future on our Humanitarian projects and build structures and homes for our animals on our Wildlife projects.
  • Form a relationship with our children and see the world through their eyes on our Humanitarian projects. Protect Africas Wildlife on our Wildlife projects.
  • Learn about conservation and Africa’s wild animals on our Wildlife projects. Learn about patience and hard work on our Humanitarian projects.
  • Have a close animal encounter with some of the human tolerant animals on our Wildlife projects. Spend time with children in need of your affection and attention on our Humanitarian projects.

Popular Programs

African Pride Project

You will work on an environmental sanctuary for any captive-bred big cats. Assist animals that once had no hope and learn about conservation and Africa’s wild animals.

Big 5 Wildlife Course

A once in a lifetime experience indeed! Experience Africa’s unique environment and wildlife, be part of the difference that returns the environment to its natural, original state.

Shark Conservation Project

Learn about the behavior of Great White Sharks and other species and spend time at sea obtaining help, support, and encouragement from Marine Biologists.

Sport & Youth Development Project

Children living in impoverished communities have a huge need for youth development projects which serve to teach them valuable life skills such as teamwork, structure, discipline and which uplifts their self-esteem through the realization of talent.

Cape Town Community Development Project

The main objective is empowering the local community and supporting them with their basic needs. We regularly distribute food hampers to the underprivileged and clothes in the winter. We engage these communities in regular education, motivation, and social upliftment programs and exciting events such as fun at the beach, various sporting activities and movie outings that are hosted throughout the year.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

94%
based on 90 reviews
  • Impact 9
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 8.9
  • Value 9.4
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 46 - 60 of 90
Default avatar
Kieran & Jo
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The absolute BEST experience

In December 2014 my husband and I joined the SAVE Team in Cape Town and it is without doubt the best decision we could have made.

We worked at both the Babes Creche in the Du Noon Township and at the Sunshine Educare School in the Skandaal Settlement in Cape Town, both built by the tremendous SAVE Organization.

During our time there I was proud to play a role in redecorating the Creche ahead of the new term, building a new Toilet Block, Putting up fences, working on the Vegetable Garden, the Adventure Surf Club (getting taught to Surf was an amazing bonus!) and most precious of all spending time with the fantastic children who live there and who will be a constant inspiration to me of how we can be happy even through the toughest of circumstances.

The whole experience of volunteering with SAVE was great, the staff are so passionate about what they do and go above and beyond to improve the lives of the communities they are working with, and they take such good care of their Volunteers, the accomodations great, the foods great and the social life - wow, I think i'm still a little bit hungover :)

We tell anyone thinking about volunteering that SAVE is the best choice, spending time there will change you forever in the best possible way and you will be sure to make friends for life.

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

Thank you SAVE

First time I had ever done something like this, and I loved it so much, I kept extending. My project was settlement and from the first day I enjoyed every second of it, from the teaching and seeing the children actually learning what you taught them, to making them a schedule and making a gold star reward chart, which when they received a gold star you saw their little face light up. I liked how I was able to get so involved in the school, and little things I introduced to the school with hopefully stay there, like when they leave the class, they have to say 'thank you teacher' before leaving. Also how we did work on the school after the children had gone for nap time. Volunteering at Sunshine has changed me, which I can only thank everyone at SAVE for and I will have to come to back, as I need to see those children again, as I felt as I was there for so long, that I built up proper bonds with the children.The staff were approachable and most of them made me feel like the volunteers and staff were on the same level.

What would you improve about this program?
The only way I think this program could be improved is that volunteers should have to be there for a minimum of a month. As it must be hard for the children to keep seeing new volunteers and also means they start misbehaving when they see a new volunteer because they will think they will be able to get away with it. They need more structure in their life.
Default avatar
Klara
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best decision of my life!

Volunteering with SAVE is without a doubt the best decision I've made in my life. I have already gone back and I plan on going again and again, that's how great it is.
The first time I stayed for two months and then I went straight home to make more money to go back and see my babies at Skandaal camp. And after 9 months I found my self back in South Africa and their are no words to describe the feeling I felt my first day back, seeing all the kids again and see how they have grown. Lithemba was more involved in the classes and not as shy, Alulo looked healthier and happier, Thumelo and Pinky got some new dance moves, Asanda was eating much more, Olona had learned a lot and China as well, Trevano had learned to play with the kids and was much more active during the classes, always wanting to sing about the tiger and Santei hadn't changed a bit. I can go on and on. These kids really changed my life and I love the all. Each day I miss them more and more. I can´t wait to book my third time.
Cape Town feels like home to me, the SAVE staff is amazing and the environment is extremely beautiful.

What would you improve about this program?
I have been twice to the same project with 9 months apart. I loved seeing have much progress the kids had made and all the improvements on the school housing, the new toilets and the new jungle gym. There is nothing bad to say about that. But I was hoping for a little more improvement on the kids learning. I think it needs to be more clear what former volunteers have taught the kids and what needs more focusing on.
Default avatar
Fas
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable

I've been lucky enough to travel my entire life, and interact with many cultures. However, this is my first time doing any sort of volunteer work. I thoroughly researched before as to what organization to volunteer with, and I could not be happier with my decision volunteering with SAVE.

The staff at SAVE made everything easy and were welcoming from start to finish. Everyone who you meet at the end of the experience becomes family. By doing volunteer work and exploring one of the most beautiful places in the world, you end up creating a lifetime full of memories in a short period of time.

I can't thank the people at SAVE enough for the experience. The enthusiasm,care, and effort they put in showed how incredibly important doing volunteer work is.

This is what travels all about, the people you meet along the way and how they and everything else you see and do changes you.

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

Changing

Theres tons and tons of great and breathtaking stories worth sharing.
But that shouldn´t be the goal of travelling there.
The best thing of working with SAVE is changing things all the while changing yourself.

What would you improve about this program?
Communication is key.
Default avatar
Saskia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing South Africa

On my first day working on project at one of the preschools and 'trying' to teach I was overwhelmed and I had no idea of what I had to do. On my last day at project I had about a 100 kids dancing and singing along with me on their favorite song.
Doing volunteering work for SAVE changed the way I look at the daily things in life. It has been an amazing experience, from making kids smile every day to developing myself on so many levels.
Besides working on the projects every day I also met a lot of really cool people. By living together with all of the other volunteers, working together and discover Cape Town together you will end up with some unique friendships all over the world.
I have been back in the Netherlands for six weeks now. I still think of my time in Cape Town every single day. I miss the kids, I miss all the amazing people working for SAVE and I miss Cape Town itself. I will be traveling to Denmark in 3 weeks to visit some of my friends and I hope to be traveling back to Cape Town next December.

What would you improve about this program?
If would have to change one thing on the projects I would spend more time on getting the teachers more involved in our classes. Volunteers are only there to help for a 'short' period, while the teacher work with the kids all year. I think by involving the teachers more we could make even more progress in the long term.
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Melissa
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The cliché made into reality

I came to South Africa knowing I had to be there for three months. In the beginning everything was overwhelming. You never really know what it is, before yogurt there, you know? but i was only positively surprised. After a few weeks, you start feeling very home. You make friends you would't think possible, and the work with this kids is Amazing. Cape Town itself is quite extraordinary, which you're going to realize really fast. But it would never have been the same, if i hadn't been volunteering. You get to see the other side of all the beautiful nature and the sweet food. The experiences you get with the other volunteers gives you a friendship, you can't compare with anything else. The time you spent with the kids makes you happy and sad at the same time. But this is the kind of thing you can't write down, you have to go down there to see it yourself. When I think back now, i know, that I learned more from them and this trip, than i could never give back to the kids I went down to help. Expensive, indeed, but you can never calculate the kids and the love you get, in money. Sounds cliché? But this is my story. And it changed my life forever. hopefully something changed a little for the kids as well.

What would you improve about this program?
Instead of concentrating only on the kids, I think it would be an idea to concentrate on the teachers and eventually the parents. Maybe. It would take time, yes, but it also did with the kids. Otherwise you would have to wait about 50 years to 'change the system'.
Default avatar
Meredith
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wonderful experience

I have traveled before but never volunteered abroad. This gave me a whole different perspective of the culture. It was so rewarding to work with children and help them learn as well as learn from them. The other volunteers and SAVE staff were all great and I did not want to leave this project once it was over. It was the most well rounded traveling experience I have ever had.

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

My life changing South African experience

Throughout the duration of my five weeks spent in South Africa I had the pleasure of teaching a class of 0-3 year olds at Babes Educare in the township of Du Noon. These were some of the most affectionate children I have ever encountered in my entire life. I woke up every morning excited to arrive at the school knowing that as soon as I cracked open the front door I would be bombarded with an endless amount of hugs and kisses as the kids chanted “teacher! teacher!” I will never forget my first day at the crèche- I had absolutely no idea what I was doing… Taming the classroom was way harder than I ever expected. The principal of the school heard the ruckus from outside the classroom and as soon as she entered, the kids immediately scurried to their seats and threw on their most pleasant and innocent smiles- they had such a genuine admiration for her. She explained to me the dynamics of the classroom; 5 students on the reading carpet, 6 students with the building blocks and 6 students with the toys. Easy enough, right? Well, it took some time, but after about a week and a half of attempting to master my “angry face” I finally gained some respect. Every day was truly an adventure with these hooligans, they never failed to make me laugh until I had tears strolling down my face. After five weeks you can only imagine the connection I formed with each and every one of my students- I never thought it would be so hard to say goodbye. On my last day of project, the principal visited my classroom once again… this time, as opposed to helping me control the kids, she came to inform me of what an incredible job I had done working with them. She recognized how much I loved them and said she’s never seen anything like it. She wished me safe travels and hoped that I would return to Cape Town in the near future. This warmed my heart more than you will ever know. My time spent in Cape Town, was unlike anything I have ever experienced. I will never forget the feeling of utter bliss that filled my entire body when I would return to the hostel after a work day. Knowing that I was making an impact on these children’s lives was enough to satisfy me. I will be returning to Cape Town hopefully this December and I cannot wait to watch my students continue to grow and excel in all of their endeavors.

What would you improve about this program?
If I had to change one thing about this program I would make sure that each volunteer was required to stay at least a month. It is a tease on the children to fall in love with their teacher who is leaving in a week or two. It would help to form more of a connection with the classroom.
Default avatar
Bonnie
4/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Elundini School for Disabled Students

I volunteered at the Elundini School in DuNoon. Very disorganized program and SAVE leader. No follow through with students that need specific programs and materials. Seem to only care about monetary donations.

Response from SAVE Volunteering

Hi Bonnie.

Thanks so much for the very valuable feedback.

We are here to ensure the volunteers and projects benefit in the best way possible.
I apologise for the project leader not assisting and we have put into place further structures to ensure this does not happen in the future.

Elundini is one of the hardest projects we have, it is emotionally as well as physically draining.
The school is currently being licensed as a fully registered care centre by the government. This means that structures and curriculum are now enforced by the education department.
We look forward to a great 2015 with the school and kids and thank you for you support and time on the project.

Thanks Carla

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

Variety

SAVE offers a variety of projects which makes it possible to work at all kinds of places. You can work with children, disabled and healthy, help building a garden in a settlement or build a jungle gym; everything is possible.

During the surfproject I participated in, you start the mornings by working at a creche with children from the age of 2-6 years. If you want you can always ask to go to another project in the mornings. So if you think another project suits you better, or if you just want to work with disabled people for once in your life; SAVE offers it all. This variety of projects gave me the opportunity to learn working with (disabled and healthy) children and do some communitywork once in a while.

During the afternoon I went back to the volunteerhouse, ate a delicious lunch made by Yussef (awesome guy eventhough you cannot hear a word he says), grabbed a wetsuit and surfboard and left to the beach. At the beach you learn to surf yourself after which you can help teach children from a township to surf. If the weather or the waves are dissapointing, volunteers can think of any other sport to do with the children. You learn them some life lessons and the importance of being healthy!

When all the experiences become too much there are enough possibilities to relax. We used to go out to grab some drinks and dance in the evenings or just relax together. When you have the weekends off you have enough time to do whatever you want, a safari, shark cage diving, the movies, mzoli's (awesome!). Whatever you want to do, there is always someone that wants to join you and your programleaders will be happy to call you a cab or just join them yourselves.

To summarize; SAVE is an amazing organization driven by the right enthusiastic people who will join you in great and bad times. You will become part of their family and you will want to go back the second you set foot home.

What would you improve about this program?
In my view SAVE can do a better job with (online) marketing by using things like Facebook or twitter more efficient.

Since SAVE is based on donations it is running as good as it possibly can. The only way the program(s) can be improved is to gather more resources. The SAVE team is always listening to the volunteers' ideas for improvement and if possible use these ideas to improve the programs.
Default avatar
David
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Indescribable

We taught 126 children to count to 20 in english. Together with people that was at first was strangers, which eventually became life long friends, the experience I shared with them is something I always refer to as indescribable. The children was between 1- to 6 years old and we taught them more than just counting. We taught them how to differ colors, what the meaning of the 7 days of the week stands for, the 12 months of the year and how to differ a square from a triangle. But most importantly, we gave them our love. And they gave back a kind of love that I think is very rare and precious. Everyday we woke up, ate breakfast together with the volunteers and was given a ride to different projects. At my project, we had control over 126 children in 2 separate houses. What most people think is that these children needs more attention and that is of course extremely true. The children in poverty needs us. But what most people doesn't understand, is that we need them. More than ever. I have learned so much about values after participating in SAVE Volunteering. The best thing was the first time 67 children at the same time screamed my name when I entered the school in the early morning. They did that every morning until I left after that day. It is definitely the highlight but also a big difficulty because the last day was very sad and emotional. I would love to hear their voices, to see their bright smile and to give them hugs and love every day of my life. As a poor student, I learned how much I can give individually and realized how big of an impact we can all do together.

What would you improve about this program?
I would prefer more volunteers to the project I was on. We were 8 volunteers (in general) in charge of 126 children and sometimes it was very hard to maintain control. In the start our water source that we gave to the children was very limited but we all changed that by buying a big water tank so we could provide a bigger amount of water to each child.
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Maurice
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing event

My visit to South Africa and the SAVE project was life changing, it was the perfect balance between volunteering during the week. With working days from 08.00 till ~15.30 and doing socials and having fun after and in the weekends. The impact we made on the childrens life was amazing, and that's the reason I'm going back in November! Great staff and a perfect location for the volunteers to stay.

What would you improve about this program?
If I could change one thing, it would be the communication between project leaders and volunteers. Sometimes there was miscommunication or even no communication at all.
Default avatar
Monica
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

2 amazing months

I spend two months in Cape Town at the adventure surf club. I worked 4 days per week, before noon we where at "Babes crèche" to teach children between 2-5 years basic English, and in the afternoons we taught children how to surf. I am really glad I did this , I had so much fun! The other volunteers were very nice and we had a really good time together.

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I would have changed was the directions what to do at the crèche. Many volunteers, including me, don't have any teaching experience. Especially not how to teach small children.
Default avatar
Eddie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

SAVE Experience

On a day to day basis, we were informed on what were needed to do on that day. Because of the holiday recess, the organizational skills were quite choppy. But overall the staff and volunteers were awesome. I had a great time connecting with the children and the people there. I would definitely recommend this program because of the people I worked with and the children.

What would you improve about this program?
Have a plan during the holiday break!