Volunteer Programs in Africa

volunteer programs in africaA volunteer typically performs a service for free, but the value that happens in the giving of a service often is beyond the measure of money. Learning new skills and discovering more about who you are and what you want to do with the rest of your life is a fantastic reward. This is on top of the fact that you are helping others to improve their quality of life. The choice to volunteer in Africa can mean that you provide vital service to a community that would otherwise not have it. There are many well known business coaches and successful entrepreneurs who agree that in order to get ahead in life; you must help as many others along the way as you are able.

Volunteer programs in Africa will

  • Help others and make the world a better place
  • Desires for activism, self-exploration and building communities
  • Interest in various cultures, activities and international issues
  • Desire to have new and different experiences
  • Connect with the African community
  • Supporting a cause by putting actions behind your words

People that take part in volunteer programs in Africa usually do so through an organization, either for or not for profit. They are given first hand information from the organization leaders and other volunteers about what to expect.

Men and women of all ages who take part in volunteer programs in Africa have seen that they can make some level of difference to the local people that are normally at the mercy of corruption and political instabilities. Getting involved in volunteer programs that help families and communities establish productive methods of agriculture and grass roots business has actually made a dent in the economy and led to the recent cancellation of Africa’s foreign debts by the rich G-8 countries.

The personal satisfaction you will gain will stay with you for the rest of your life, as will the skills and insights you acquire while engaging in this type of activity. It can actually open your eyes to areas of interest and directions you never knew existed. Travelling the world naturally broadens your perspective and helps you to become a more sensitive, culturally aware person.

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Volunteers Direct Eventful Week

There is always plenty to do in your spare time in and around Cape Town but this past week has been particularly eventful for the international volunteers at Volunteers Direct.

international volunteer work

On Monday night we took the volunteers to the 12thAnnual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture at the University of Cape Town. This year’s speaker was Sir Sydney Kentridge QC, internationally renowned advocate and lead lawyer for the Biko family at the inquest into his death.  The title of the lecture was “Evil under the sun: The death of Steve Biko” in which he gave a  chilling account of how Steve Biko, founder of the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa,  died while in police detention 34 years ago.

Steve Biko died aged 30

Wednesday evening we arranged tickets for the Premier Football League clash between Ajax Cape Town and Kaizer Chiefs played at the World Cup stadium. Each volunteer kindly invited and paid for one kid from the township. Thankfully the local side Ajax won 2-1 in an entertaining match.

This past Friday one of the pupils known as Mr Bubbles at Hout Bay High School, which is one of the local schools where the volunteers teach, invited us to a tour of the local mosque where his father is the Imam. He gave us an interesting look into the culture and religion of Islam and its history in Cape Town.

The week was rounded off by the great news that our “star” Grade 3 pupil who we help teach at the local township school, Oranjekloof Primary, has been accepted at the fee paying Kronendaal Primary School for January 2012. This is a fantastic opportunity which should greatly improve his education. His fees and full expenses are being generously paid for by our recent Belgian volunteer, Annabel.

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Wonderful Weekend in the city


The big added bonus for international volunteers working in Cape Town is the huge variety of activities to choose from over the weekends and in their spare time.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu in his Springbok Rugby gear meets international volunteer Seth

Last weekend got off to a great start when Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu arrived for breakfast in his Springbok Rugby shirt after the Friday morning mass at St George’s Cathedral. It was the opening day of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and the Springboks are defending their world title.

Friday night saw the first of the Musical City Hall Sessions which kicked off Cape Town Creative Week with a bang. The line-up included jazz group Kasivan & The Lights and piano and guitar duo Congolese Ray Lema and Brazilian Chico Cesar. The highlight of the evening was award winning singer Thandiswa Mazwai. Who did a great take of Nelson Mandela’s first speech which he gave from the balcony of the City when he was released from prison.

After a quick lunch at the Hope Street Market on Saturday it was off to the Out The Box puppetry and visual performance festival at the Hiddingh campus in town. Many of the shows were aimed at children and families but the ones we saw were decidedly grownup. Madame Touxflouwe was a bloody B-grade-shock-horror show and Punch and Judy in Afghanistan very topical.

All these events were within walking distance of the volunteer accommodation in town.

Sunday morning started off on a serious note commemorating both 9/11 and the death of Steve Biko at the Cathedral. We then watched the first Springbok rugby match of the world cup against Wales which was a bit too close a win for comfort. We enjoyed the sun walking on Clifton beach in the afternoon watching paragliders jumping off Lions head


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Matt Ward – Testimonial

Thank you for the past 3 weeks. Learnt a lot from the experience but also loved every minute! Loved coaching the kids (who never ceased to impress with their skill and ball control) I’m definitely coming back out next year.

Matt Ward, 22, English, 20 June 2009

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Joel Dunston – Testimonial

Did the Cape Town Community Sports/Township Teaching project 3 summers ago and loved it! Would recommend it to anyone else.

Joel Dunston, 22, English, 3 March 2010

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Madeleine Paine – Testimonial

I miss Cape Town so so so much. Saw the pictures of the Girl’s Home being redone, AMAZINGGG!!!!! It looks phenomenal. The girls must be so pleased. I’m planning on coming back to Cape Town sometime next year – hopefully the time will fly.

Madeleine Paine, 19, American, 24 March 2010

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Tricia Kenworthy – Testimonial

I enjoyed my time in Cape Town there so much – the best of my four voluntary service in Africa.
I had wonderful experiences of everything – the sea, sightseeing and culture – while I was doing my bit for the kids!


Tricia Kenworthy, Retired School Governor, English, 10 August 2010

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Emma Devenport – Testimonial

I’m missing cape town!!!
Thank you for looking after me so well during my stay…I had a fab time, and I have loved getting to know you both…fingers crossed I make it back to Cape Town soon!!

Emma Devenport, 35, English, 26 February 2010

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Camilla Gregory – Testimonial

Had a fantastic time in Cape Town, Thank you again!! Karen and you are a great team making my time in Cape Town lots of fun. How are all the children? Hope term is going well. Look forward to getting underway with some of the plans.

Camilla Gregory, English, 20 January 2010

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Family Volunteering in Cape Town


Volunteers Direct and the children of Imizano Yetho township have just said a sad farewell to their first “family of volunteers”.

Originally the father, Nick and eldest daughter, Kim, aged 18 had volunteered to continue our Volleyball Project at 5 Cape Town township schools. Nick is a top coach in the Netherlands and Kim plays top league volleyball.

The family later decided that younger daughter, Jessie,15 and mum, Ellen, should also be involved and they all booked their tickets to Cape Town.

Jessie, also a good player, helped with the volleyball while Ellen assisted the teacher in a Grade 5 class at Oranjekloof School and in the afternoons helped with our Homework Class.

Due to our local contacts we accommodated the family in a lovely apartment directly across the road from Camps Bay’s palm fringed beach.

The family interacted well with the kids of the Imizano Yetho and were able to get some feel for life at the opposite end of their spectrum – the 2 girls attended the weekly Girls Club run by Nandipha, where issues such as AIDS, teenage pregnancy, rape and general poverty are openly discussed.

They attended Sunday morning service in the makeshift township church, and supported the school football games, and together with our full group of 8 volunteers they took township children to watch Ajax Cape Town play an exciting match at the new Cape Town stadium.

Through our involvement with St George’s Cathedral we managed, over breakfast after the morning Mass to introduce the family to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and he was, as usual, on top form.

During a long holiday weekend the family took a trip up the beautiful Garden Route with our sister company – Trek Direct. Besides the scenery they enjoyed a sunset cruise on Knysna Lagoon and had fun riding ostriches at a show farm in Oudtshoorn.

All in all a tremendous month’s experience and what a great decision to bring the whole family. We are sure the past month will leave a lasting impression on their two teenage daughters

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