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Children from a few months old to 12 years of age attend this Children's Hospital for specialised treatment.

You'll visit the children, hand out toys, play and interact with them, and give them lots of comfort and love. The Matron says, “The kids love having volunteers from overseas around because they’ll be new faces who can tell them new stories about their own country”. Even something as simple as entertaining the children with stories lifts their morale and helps the healing process.

You may also assist with general non-medical support, e.g., accompanying a patient to another department, collecting folders and fetching food, etc, or assisting the pharmacy area or clinics where patients wait for their medication. You may also assist in various out-patients departments as administrative support, or assist in the fund-raising shop.

List of ALL PROJECTS in South Africa CARE Projects in South Africa List of ALL PROJECTS in South Africa 

Start Dates All year round, you choose your start and finish dates.
Duration From 1 week to 12 weeks or longer, subject to visa requirements
Requirements No qualifications needed, just a big heart and lots of enthusiasm!
Price Full Price List
What's included Arranging your program,
Full pre-departure support and assistance,
Payment Protection insurance

Meeting you at the nearest airport
Transfer to your accommodation
Local in-country team support and backup
24-hr emergency support.
Certificate of Completion
What's not included Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas (if a visa is required), Local transport to and from your project, Return transfer to airport.
Who can do this Project? This project is open to all nationalities and all ages over 17.
Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out, grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested in gaining overseas child care experience.
Also suitable for anyone just wanting to study abroad and learn about Child Care in a Hospital setting overseas.


  • An exciting, never-to-be-forgotten adventure into Africa and the many diverse cultures in South Africa

  • The enormous satisfaction of helping children and knowing that you made a difference to them.

  • New skills, more confidence, a greater understanding of a different culture, invaluable personal and professional development.

  • An entry on your CV or résumé that will put you head and shoulders above most others in the job market.

  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!



This rewarding Care project takes place in the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital in South Africa. Children from a few months to 12 years old attend the Hospital for specialised treatment. Internationally it is regarded as the 'one-stop shop' for excellence in child health care. The Hospital is affiliated to the University of Cape Town and is a leading teaching and research institution. The first liver and heart transplants on children in South Africa were performed in this hospital, as well as other groundbreaking achievements.

The Matron and staff of the hospital are very grateful to have you there to help because, according to the Matron, “the kids love having volunteers from overseas around because they’ll be new faces who can tell them new stories about their own country”. Even something as simple as entertaining the children with stories lifts their morale and helps the healing process.

Some of the work at the hospital on this Care project can be overwhelming at times because some of the children suffer from AIDS/HIV, which is even more reason why the children need love and attention.

Your main tasks and responsibilities will be to visit the children, hand out toys, play and interact with them, and give them lots of comfort and love. You may also assist with general non-medical support, e.g., accompanying a patient to another department, collecting folders and fetching food, etc, or assisting the pharmacy area or clinics where patients wait for their medication (which can often be for long periods of time).

You may also assist in various out-patients departments as administrative support, or assist in the fund-raising shop where your duties would be to sort out and sell a range of donated goods, such as household equipment, clothing and books, that cannot be used in the wards.

Your hours may vary insofar as they will be subject to shift rotas. Therefore, you may sometimes work evenings or nights, sometimes over weekends, etc., but you'll have time off on other days instead.

A Brief Description of Typical Work Duties:
During the morning you'll generally be in the toys room to pack your toy trolley. Your supervisor at the hospital will inform you which ward you'll be in for the day. They will also inform you of any wards that are out of bounds due to infection diseases. Once you have determined which ward you're going to, you'll be able to stock your trolley with the appropriate toys.

You'll then join the ambulant patients in the play room where you'll distribute the toys. After that, you can give individualised attention to specific children. This is where volunteers are so valuable to both the Hospital and the patients - the personal care and attention. And you'll find that the children crave the attention and fun you can give them. This session will usually last for most of the morning and afterwards you'll clear up and return the toys back to appropriate place.

Sometimes the Hospital will hold concerts and events to entertain the children. Children love these performances and you will play an important role by escorting the young patients to these events.

"Just wanted to drop a quick note at the end of my placement at the Red Cross to say thank you for all the organising that you put into it. It far surpassed my expectations and I was able to gain hands on experience in all areas of the hospital. The staff were very friendly and accommodating, and I was given access to stuff I just wouldn't have managed in the UK." Andy Hamilton

This care placement is not suitable for medical undergraduates or graduates unless you are prepared to accept the limitations of the project.


Ursula & two little patients in the toy room


 Volunteers preparing toy trolleys to take to the wards

Nestled under the mountain near the city, is the trendy and arty suburb of Observatory, the student Mecca of Cape Town. We have chosen this location as an accommodation base and make use of a backpackers lodge, where you will be staying. It’s distance from the projects, safety conscious attitude and very friendly staff make this the ideal home away from home.

South African backpackers are unique and majority are run as a ‘home away from home’ in large houses, so there is always lots of space to relax and watch TV, read a book, or just sit by the pool and soak in the sun.

In Observatory, we use The Green Elephant backpackers lodge, which has been running since 1994 and is spaced across 3 beautiful houses. The main house consists of dormitory style rooms, free unlimited wireless internet, a festive bar, a braai (BBQ) area and a swimming pool. The other two houses have private rooms (single and double rooms).
The lodge is situated in the heart of Observatory and a short (5 minute) stroll away from a large supermarket, internet café, restaurants, coffee shops, pharmacy and laundromat. The lodge is also closely situated to the main road, where busses and taxis are available literally at your doorstep.

You’ll be staying in a dorm-style room in the main house, which consist of 6 beds each. The mattresses are great and all linen and towels are provided, but it’s a good idea to bring your own beach towel. There is a laundry self-service area available at the lodge for R15/load (about £1), but there are also laundromats a few minutes walk away that will wash, dry and fold for you.

The lodge has a 24-hour reception desk, and they pride themselves with long-term staff of up to 20 years. This translates into a safe environment with experienced staff, who are able to offer the best local advice to guests for trips & tours, restaurants and basically any local information on the Cape Town area.

The Green Elephant is also committed to low impact and sustainable tourism to preserve our natural beauty for future generations. They recycle everything from water (in grey water systems) to bottles, paper and plastic, which we strongly support!

You'll be given a food budget which will cover your basic essentials (but not extras like drinks, snacks and eating out).

All the lodge houses have fully equipped self catering kitchens, with all the necessities to cook a good meal. If you aren’t feeling up to cooking on any particular day, the lodge also does meals that can be paid for on the day. For example, Thursday nights are pizza nights, and they also do BBQ’s on regular occasions.

Accommodation on your voluntary project in Cape Town, South Africa

Accommodation on your voluntary project in Cape Town, South Africa

Got any questions? Please email us: info@travelersworldwide.org

Established in 1956, the Hospital has become a major center for paediatric medicine and surgery in Africa. The Red Cross treats up to 300,000 children each year, from South Africa and beyond its borders.

The Red Cross Children's Hospital is the center at which undergraduate and postgraduate medical students receive their core training in paediatric disciplines. Specialist paediatric nurses and allied paediatric health care providers, such as physiotherapists, child psychologists, speech and occupational therapists are also trained here.

The Hospital is equally active in preventative health care, and plays a critical role in educating community health workers, thereby facilitating the exportation of models of good practice to the community. Several services are provided, including education of children, parents and community health care workers in, for example, HIV, Aids, family planning and contraception, rehydration and nutrition.

The Hospital has also established and maintains three significant national information database resources:

  • The Poisons Information Service
  • The Childcare Information Center
  • The Childhood Accident Prevention Foundation of South Africa (CAPFSA)

The new medical emergency entrance was completed in June 2001. The new specialist outpatients wing was built in phases and completed in June 2001. The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital’s new specialist outpatients and medical emergency facilities is a lasting symbol of community generosity and fundraising success. The staff education building was completed in 1998 and includes the Johnson and Johnson Hall for functions and lecture rooms for the training of nursing staff.

The “Ikhaya la Rotary” (Home of Rotary) section was completed in 1998, specifically to provide accommodation for out-of-town parents whose children are being treated at the Hospital. The Ikhaya has rooms of all sizes, ranging from double rooms to rooms with 6 bunks … and all 63 beds are often in use! The rooms are comfortable in the hopes of alleviating just a little some of the stress of having a child in hospital

The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital performs many operations on children, e.g. Conjoined twin separations, liver and kidney transplants, to name a few. The theatres are busy 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.


"Last week I visited Cindy at the hospital in the ward. The wards are beautifully decorated – murals everywhere, pictures, mobiles and bright attractive curtains.  Everything possible is done to take away that sombre depressing look hospitals usually have.  There seemed to be nearly as many volunteers as nurses!  

The children in that ward were mostly small babies, and were being cuddled and comforted.  Many of the mothers were sitting with their children – but of course some have to go to work, so the volunteers take over. There had been a large number of gastro-enteritis patients recently – seems to have been a serious tummy bug in Cape Town affecting children in townships and the hospital had been caring for lots of them.  There were also lots of other little babies with various syndromes and illnesses – malnutrition, foetal alcohol syndrome and so on. 

Volunteers only get told briefly about the medical conditions of the children – their job is to hug, comfort, play and try to take their little patients’ minds off how ill they are.   Cindy was finding it very interesting to work there.

Cindy has made a number of friends at the hospital. Yesterday I took Cindy and Hannah for coffee and cake. We chatted about Cape Town, transport, languages and customs of different people.  They all seem to be finding living in Cape Town a wonderful experience."

Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on your placement and on your return home.

The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on your particular program (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.

As with all our destinations, the culture and heritage is different to what you're used to ... which, although one of the most exciting aspects of travelling, should be borne in mind.    Self-reliance and independence are highly appreciated in all our destinations and will help you to make the most of this wonderful opportunity!    

On Arrival, your Introduction to the Country: When you arrive you will be welcomed by a member of our South African staff who will take you to your accommodation and introduce you to everyone. During your first few days you'll be given an induction so that you can learn about the country and its culture, as well as other useful information, like how to use the transport system, banks, safety issues, tipping, and lots more.


You will have weekends free and this will also allow some time for travelling and sight seeing.


Feedback on Care Projects in South Africa

The Cecil John Rhodes monument

Read an excellent case study by a group that raised the funds to work with township schools in South Africa

Photo Galleries
Knysna Diary
Wildlife Rehabilitation Diary
Wildlife Expedition News!


While on your placements, you can also book some Optional Add-Ons to make the most of your Travel Experience. The most popular choices are the safari trips from Cape Town and many volunteers use these as their means of travel to arrive at their project in Knysna..

Wildlife Safaris & Adventure Tour Combos
4-Day Surf Safari and Wildlife Adventure
1-Day Adventure Activities in Cape Town
1-Week Wildlife Rehabilitation

1-Week Whales Sharks Dolphins
Cage Dive with Sharks

This project can also be combined with any of our other projects in South Africa, or you could even do a second project in a different region of the country, thus doubling your adventure and enjoyment!

Cage diving with sharks in Cape Town
Cage diving with sharks in Cape Town


The best advice you'll get from us is to try to see some of the country while you're in South Africa. It's big (huge!) and each different region is exciting and very, very beautiful. Cape Town is probably the most beautiful city in the world (I can say that, I grew up there :-)  KwaZulu-Natal comes a very close second, albeit very different. Knysna is where South Africans go on vacation, which gives you some idea of how lovely the region is.

This teaching program is located in one of the Southern Suburbs called Observatory and is conveniently positioned only a 10 minute walk from your accommodation. Cape Town has everything to offer with its stunning beaches, great surf, penguins, great nightlife and of course Table Mountain!

Adrenaline Activities -
Enjoy exciting and “real” adventures with an adrenaline twist!

  • Abseiling

  • Sandboarding

  • Deep-sea Angling

  • ‘Kloofing’ (insanely jumping off very high cliffs into pools of water!)

  • Paragliding

  • Helicopter flips

  • Bungee jumping (just up the coast)

  •  …..and a LOT, LOT more!!!!

      Township Tours - A visit to one of the many townships surrounding the city is an experience that will open your eyes to the way in which the biggest portion of Cape Town's population are living. Take a township tour of Langa, the oldest township in South Africa or Khayelitsha, the second largest township in South Africa. Township tours will usually be co-led by a resident in the area, showcase local industry and community projects and include a visit to a township bar or 'shebeen'.

       Two Oceans Aquarium - Located in the V&A Waterfront, the Two Oceans Aquarium has lots of display tanks, interactive experiences, a touch pool and the highly popular predators tank.

      Cape Winelands - Wine lover or not, a visit to the Cape Winelands is an absolute must as the region is one of breathtaking beauty and majestic mountain backdrops. Rolling vineyards and quaint Cape Dutch homesteads ... as well as some of the country's best wines.

     Relaxing drives: Drives are a very popular leisure activity in South Africa, because the roads are generally wide, in good condition, relatively empty and a pleasure to drive on. People often go for drives on a Sunday afternoon to a favourite hotel or restaurant for afternoon tea and scones, or to the top of a pass just to look at the view, or to a national park to watch the baboons - there's always a good reason to go for a drive!

Cape Town has lots of cafes and restaurants with outdoors seating areas overlooking the street or on the pavements, with colourful sun umbrellas - a perfect place to sit with the sun on your face, watching passers-by ambling along, sipping a steamy cappucino or staving off the heat with a cold drink.

Read more about Cape Town and its attractions

To read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country, please click here.

Support & Backup: To read about the excellent Support & Backup we provide before you leave and during your program, please click here.

The Hospital is for very young children who suffer from malnutrition. Work with the paediatricians, nutritionist, social worker and nurses to help combat infantile malnutrition. the hospital achieve this aim. You'll help through giving meals to the children, playing, reading, singing, and stimulating them as they recover.