If you want to affect change and do some genuine good, get involved as a volunteer in the holidays. You’ve got so much to gain from it. Check out some of South Africa’s volunteering opportunities.
So you’re finally on holiday. First day in, you jump onto the couch and watch a few episodes of Big Bang Theory. As the monstrous mass sucks you in, you realise that you have just determined your destiny for the next few months – being a couch potato.
Cringe. But do not fret. I’d love to help save you from couch-vegetation. There are plenty more fulfilling activities for your holidays – like choosing to volunteer in the holidays/ exciting volunteering opportunities.
If you want to be productive and contribute to society then look no further. The holidays are the perfect opportunity to get involved in some volunteer projects.
Whether you’re passionate about children, the environment or animals, volunteer projects in South Africa are vast and you’re bound to find something you can thrive in. Finding and getting involved in the project of your choice, however, can become a little tedious.
If you are enrolled in a SA university and want to see which volunteering projects you can do through the institution, check out the following article.
There are hundreds of volunteering opportunities in South Africa – but here’s my personal recommendation and some guidance on which projects to look into and how you can start volunteering.
Volunteering opportunities: Children
Golang educational outreach – Randburg, Johannesburg
This outreach program, established in 2002, focuses on guiding underprivileged children to reach their full potential and optimal success in their educational pathways. The program which is based in the Emthonjeni Community Centre in Honeydew serves disadvantaged people in the Zandspruit area
The outreach program Golang, prioritizes the youth and believes in the importance of immersion in a child’s life. This supportive relationship begins from childhood straight up till adulthood and aims to nurture wholesome adults. The program caters for various ages through three different programs:
- The Pre-school project
- The Kids Club (aftercare centre)
- The High-School programme.
Golang educational outreach also runs a sponsoring programme which supports children financially, through school fees, clothing as well as breakfast.
This outreach program is perfect for varsity students or high school students as it is an opportunity for them to interact with and inspire children who are also trying to make it successfully through the same journey that they have or are in the process of school.
High-School program: Please contact Margaret le Roux at 082 907 7935 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Nhlanhla Mbuyisa 084 895 2447.
Pre-School project: Please contact Margaret le Roux at 082 907 7935 or email@example.com or Simphiwe Khumalo on 072 980 1876.
Kids Club (Aftercare centre): Please contact Margaret le Roux at 082 907 7935 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit their website here.
General email: email@example.com
The Durban Child and Youth Care Centre – Glenwood, Durban
The Durban Child and Youth Centre cares for children from various areas around KwaZulu-Natal. This Non-Profit Organisation aims to support and provide refuge for orphans and children whose families are unable to care for them sufficiently. The centre’s goal is to create a safe and effective environment for youth to grow and develop in.
The centre runs various programs:
- The Siyakhula Treatment Centre (a 12 week programme for youth battling with substance abuse)
- The Amaqhawe Care Centre (a centre which treats children with chronic illnesses mainly caused by HIV)
- The Isibindi Umbumbulu and Ndwedwe Community Outreach which focuses on assisting with developmental child care services to child headed homes.
This program will not only allow students to give back but also appreciate their circumstance as well as sympathise with these children and hopefully serve as good role models.
If you are interested in volunteering, you will need to get yourself checked against the Child Protection Register and the Sexual Offenders Register as per the Children’s Act.
How to get the clearances
The most practical way to get your clearance is to get your Police Clearance. this clearance checks you against all registers, including the Child Protection and Sexual Offenders Registers. This can be done at your nearest Police Station at a fee. Contact your local police station for more information.
Once you are cleared you can then contact Thina on her Email firstname.lastname@example.org. She will then send you the volunteer form and set up an interview.
Visit their website or call them on: +27 31 201 1301
Community service for students go here.
Students who wish to get involved in community service for school should email email@example.com for updates on various projects to get involved in.
Metro Kids – Pinelands, Cape Town
This organization aims to create a better future for the disadvantaged youth deprived from guidance and proper care. Metro Kids volunteers work in communities where gangs, drugs, poverty and violence are prominent. Volunteers aim to steer these girls and boys into a more positive direction, allowing them to flourish into strong, goal-directed and positive beings.
Sidewalk , one of the organizations sub-programs, is an initiative which takes place each week for an hour and a half, is filled with positivity, energy and educational life lessons. The initiative is aimed at children aged 4-12 as well as teenagers from the community who want to pay it forward and serve in the community they live in. Volunteers can assist with children or help prepare for the events.
Metro Kids also conducts home visits where they visit children and families who they have previously interacted with. This shows how important one-on-one relationships are to this organization.
As part of Metro Kids’s initiative to create a better future for you, they also run a leadership camp for teenagers where they can interact with other teens as well as be exposed to other leaders.
Having the youth become involved with a project like this will allow for children to relate better to volunteers as they are of similar ages. They’ll also be more open to advice offered by people their own age group.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or telephone the Metro Kids office Tel +27 (0)21 531 2653
Visit their website.
General email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tears Animal shelter – Sunnydale, Cape Town
This organization provides safety and shelter to abandoned, injured dogs and cats found or brought to them. Once these animals are safe, the focus is to rehabilitate them psychologically and veterinary. Services such as basic veterinary care and sterilization of dogs and cats are provided.
Tears Animal Shelter also strives to educate communities and create a relationship with community members regarding these animals.
Working with animals can truly soften anyone’s heart and this program can serve as therapeutic or healing for both the animals and the students involved.
To get involved as a Kennel Volunteer, please contact 021 785 4482 or email them on email@example.com.
Visit their website for more information.
Age requirement: 18 years old and older. Training required and provided.
Enviro Solutions – Johannesburg – CBD
This organization aims to create awareness regarding environmental issues. Their 3 main focuses are to create food production that is in harmony with the earth. Use alternative sources of energy from natural resources such as the sun and wind to manage waste in a more productive, alternative way.
Their Permaculture Ethics include:
- Care of the Earth
- Care for the People
- Sharing of surplus (Alternate waste management)
Our future leaders are amongst our youth. As a young person, getting involved in a project such as this will educate you and make you aware of environmental issues that matter. It will also equip you with the skills you need to make a difference in your community.
This organization invites everyone to join in serving the Earth and her people.
Contact Mikal Lambert: firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on +27 (0)84-961-9985
Visit their website for more information.
Dolphin Studies – Plettenberg Bay
This Centre aims to promote research of marine animals such as dolphins, as well as promoting the conservation of these animals.
Conserving our marine animals with a young, fresh approach to this type of work could assist in creating innovative, new ways to preserving our marine life.
Get involved with volunteering opportunities
Email email@example.com or call +27 (0)44 533 6185
For more information visit their website.
Getting involved in a volunteering project, in most cases, is a lot easier than you think. All it takes is deciding on what you’re passionate about and then going for it. If none of the above projects match your passion, you can always browse comprehensive databases that list further organizations. Now pick a cause, and make a change!
Other volunteering opportunities
It’s wonderful to get involved and stay involved in a cause that you are passionate about. Why not switch it up every now and then and share the love. Check out these sites for some more volunteering options.
Helping others doesn’t necessarily mean donating money or giving material things. Yes these things are needed but often donating your time, kindness and compassion can do so much more. As young people it’s our job to take charge and make positive changes in our society, even if we start small. Kindness goes a long way, and to implement it in your daily life, all you need to do is offer a helping hand.