Mentor Abused and Abandoned Children in South Africa: Volunteer + Adventure

Join ISV and tackle some tough issues faced by the youth in South Africa, form close friendships, and pass on strength, courage and knowledge to children in need.

International Student Volunteers (a non-profit organization) offers you the chance to volunteer with an organization that works to recognize the potential inherent in youth, diverting them away from destructive behavior and providing them with empowering opportunities. After giving back, you will then reward yourself by participating in an incredible two week adventure tour, where you’ll enjoy wildlife safaris, rappelling down mountains, surf lessons, horseback riding and so much more!

Emerging from its apartheid history, South Africa’s townships are poverty stricken and HIV/AIDS ravaged with many children left orphaned and vulnerable. Volunteers on this project assist these children and their community. The center was established in 1986 as a children’s shelter for abused and abandoned children from the community and 20 years later is one of the leading Child and Youth Care programs in South Africa. Based at a youth center, volunteers will be teaching life skills that they are missing or overwhelmed families are struggling with.

All services offered at the center are contextualized within community needs and broader socio-economic influences current within South Africa. You will make a difference with these youth, encouraging discussions, job skills and long term objectives providing hope to young people faced with the inevitability of unemployment, lack of resources to study further, family breakdown, substance abuse or the death of constructive support structures. The tasks selected for ISV volunteers were chosen to help breakdown cultural barriers and taboo topics. We hope that by providing vulnerable youth with educated, young ISV volunteers, controversial issues can be discussed and information disseminated in a nonjudgmental and safe environment.

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What to Expect?

Volunteer Project:

ISV volunteers will be working in pairs with groups of 5-10 young people aged 15-20. The topics used in the life center program may seem obvious knowledge to volunteers, however to this particular community, they are topics that are often not discussed. It is important to educate youth on issues such as sex education or drug use–many of which volunteers would normally discuss with their parents/guardian. For young people without a stable family structure in their lives, these issues are not often discussed and affect their futures.

Through education and job skills sharing, volunteers will help young people into employment or future study, lifting the community and country out of poverty and towards a brighter future. Volunteer tasks may include: conducting job skills training, capacity building activities, correct interview conduct and basic computer skills. You will also be working through discussion topics such as “should I use a condom?” or “what is HIV?” and enabling honest and open discussion, using their own knowledge, with the help of facilitators. Afternoon programs will vary daily. Some afternoons will consist of sports, arts and crafts with residential children (aged 5 -14), and other afternoons will involve craft activities at local NGO’s.

Volunteers are expected to work between 8am and 5pm daily, and while the work is not physically strenuous, a moderate level of fitness is required for working with children. Volunteers will enjoy free time on the weekends during their stay. Cape Town is full of exciting activities including shark cage diving with great white sharks, sky diving, hiking up Table Mountain, Robben Island, history museums, wine tasting, game viewing, shopping, local restaurants and night life.

Adventure Tour:
On the Adventure Tour, you will explore the natural and cultural wonders in South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique. ISV’s tour is like no other, and includes a host of activities that will leave you breathless. Swim with whale sharks and manta rays in the warm waters of Mozambique before exploring its culturally rich capital, Maputo. Experience the thrill of horseback riding or mountain biking through game reserves as you observe wild animals right next to you. Visit an elephant and monkey sanctuary and feel the rhythm of Africa with native drumming and dance lessons.

There is also an additional excursion available to extend your adventure to Botswana and Zambia.


About our organization:

International Student Volunteers is committed to impacting our world by providing life-changing volunteer experiences abroad. ISV has been operating student programs since 1983, but has focused on Volunteer and Adventure Travel since 2002. Since then, more than 20,000 participants have contributed to ISV’s global volunteer efforts, making a significant impact across six continents. ISV programs offer unparalleled opportunities to get involved in the front lines of sustainable community development and conservation initiatives internationally, in addition to exploration, adventure and cultural exchange, while traveling through one or more countries. This program is open to everyone, not just students. We are not a sending agent –we run our own programs with our own trained staff to ensure you have the most amazing experience possible. ISV sets the industry standards for best practices, safety, opportunities to learn, and of course fun!

International Student Volunteers, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation in the U.S. organized under the Non-Profit Public Benefit Corporation Law for charitable and educational purposes.

  • Program ID: # 1713
  • duration:
    2 Weeks to 1 Month
  • location:
    Cape Town
    South Africa
    33° 55' 1.7508" S, 18° 30' 57.8988" E
  • Fitness level:
    Light Impact
  • Closest Airport:
  • Costs From:
    $1500 to $3000
    Over $3000
  • Program Type:
    Community Development Projects
    Women's & Youth Programs
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