Volunteer Healthcare Project in South Africa

Help run primary healthcare educational workshops in Cape Town’s townships

Program Information

Discover the beautiful city of Cape Town when you volunteer in sunny South Africa alongside an international team running educational workshops on general health and hygiene practices for child-carers, teachers, children and their parents. Visit the local beaches, winelands and mountains in your spare time for the ultimate Cape Town experience

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals


Live and work with the GVI team in the beautiful city of Cape Town and experience the wonderful culture and people of South Africa.

GVI runs educational workshops on general health and good hygiene practices. Workshops are delivered to children at local crèches and primary schools to get the children to develop healthy habits. Topics include water, sanitation, hygiene, healthy lifestyles and gender-specific elements. These are created for children between 3 to 15 years old and you will be directly involved in setting up and implementing workshops to create a fun and interactive environment, appropriate for the specific age group. Previous workshops have included, stories, role-plays, making and singing songs, arts and craft, discussions and quizzes to make sure that the children stay engaged. At times, volunteers will be asked to design and deliver workshops for an adult audience such as child-carers, teachers, parents and other project partners in the community to make sure that healthy practices continue beyond the school ground.

You will be directly involved in setting up and implementing these workshops to create a fun and interactive, informal environment.

This project will ensure that these communities will be better prepared to care for and protect their young children from general illness and will offer advice on how to live in a healthy environment.

Volunteer and live in an attractive coastal village close to Cape Town and Stellenbosch, with direct exposure to local culture and communities. Optional side trips are available to Robben Island, Table Mountain, Cape Point, Cape Town wildlife safari and wine tasting in Stellenbosch, to name but a few! Any side trips you wish to take can be arranged on arrival in Cape Town. For those travelling onwards there is easy access to the Garden Route and cheap domestic flights to Kruger National park from Cape Town.


I joined GVI to gain insight into the real world applicability of my studies in global health and social medicine. The biggest injustice I saw at the Masiphumelele Educare was that these individuals would not have otherwise had the opportunity to learn about their health. In Xhosa "Masiphumelele" means "we will succeed." I have no doubt in my mind that the people I had the pleasure of meeting will succeed, lead healthier lives and go on to make the difference which is at the core of GVI's mission.
- Emily Hogan (USA)

Program Details

Program Type: Volunteering
Location: Africa - South Africa - Cape Town

GVI Live

20 Sep “You're never too old,...

“You're never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” - Dr Seuss Learn a little about the [...]

16 Sep Always an great experience...

Always an great experience to be in the presence of such amazing animals https://t.co/gbK0mjm5Td

Posts from the Field

21 Sep Four Reasons to visit [...]

South Africa is the ultimate gap year destination, there are so many beautiful places to see but there are also many opportunities [...]

GVI Blog

10 Mar 10 Reasons Why Cape Town [...]

Let’s be honest, most of us have a bucket list with endless things we’d like to do, places we’d like to visit, or people [...]

Project Life

Monday to Friday

During training you will learn about the different customs and cultures in South Africa, general life inside a township as well as some common local language sayings. You will also be given training on how to work with individual children and how to best cater for their needs and monitor their progress.
You will spend the week days in the townships working with the local communities and later in the day you will return to your shared accommodation and prepare for the next days.

Field Conditions

Accommodation is in houses/apartments with shared rooms and bathrooms, with access to hot running water and electricity.

Free Time

Weekends have been left free for your own leisure so that you will have time to explore the spectacular sites and scenery in and around Cape Town.

Project Details

Workshops will include a combination of lectures, stories, interactive games, activities, drama and role plays. Some of the topics you would cover will include:

- Water and sanitation
- General hygiene practise
- Healthy food and its importance
- The importance of exercise and some examples
- Common illnesses and their symptoms
- Basic first aid
- Gender-specific hygiene

The workshops aim to inform local children about basic healthcare and also to educate parents and child-minders on how to adequately care for their infants and children - including how to identify common childhood diseases as well as symptoms which require immediate medical attention.

You will be asked to design workshops based on these themes by drawing on GVI’s collected material whilst you have the option to undertake independent research to improve and redesign the workshops and make sure that it is culturally appropriate. Each workshop address one or two topics depending on the audience and should be delivered in a fun, interactive environment to ensure that the message is clear and the children continue to enjoy learning. The workshops will be delivered to children in local crèches, pre-schools and primary school or to local care-takers, teachers, parents or community partners to ensure a holistic approach. Due to the change of audience, the content and delivery method should be amended to maximise the learning opportunity for the group whilst being culturally sensitive. At times, GVI arranges first aid training for teachers, parents, and partners in the community and you may be asked to assist our trained staff during these sessions.

How this project makes a difference:

In South Africa, approximately 75,000 children die before the age of 5 due, in part, to a lack of education in general healthcare practises. This project aims to increase knowledge and awareness about healthy eating and general hygiene in township communities.

Cape Town's short, mid, and long-term objectives

All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualize their contribution to the UN SDGs.

Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Learn about the long-term objectives you will be contributing to in Cape Town:

  1. Improve the quality of education in Nomzamo and Zola.

  2. Promote gender equality in the local community

  3. Increase the health and wellbeing of less privileged people in the community

  4. Increase in-country capacity by providing training to less advantaged people in South Africa

What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Transport to and from the project
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Police or background check (where necessary)
  • Visa costs


Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate on programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. Below is some information on trips and travel options in South Africa.


Optional Side Trips

Cape Town Cultural and Activity Weekend

This trip includes 2 nights in Cape Town near Long Street so that you can sample the lively weekend city life. On Friday afternoon you will travel through to Cape Town after finishing your volunteer work.. The Saturday is a free day and you may wish to take the opportunity to visit some of the following iconic Cape Town attractions: Robben Island, Table Mountain, District 6 Museum, Castle of Good Hope or the Green Market Square craft markets. Sunday includes a full day in Cape Point and a visit to an African Penguin colony. You will have the opportunity to explore the Cape Point nature reserve on mountain bike where you may see antelope, zebra, ostrich, seals and possibly even whales. During the day you will enjoy a picnic lunch on one of the reserves beautiful beaches.

Wildlife Safari

Visit a private game reserve which is located one and a half hours from Cape Town. Here you will enjoy lunch and an afternoon safari before returning home. Transfers to and from the project accommodation are included. There are many other fantastic trips in the area around Cape Town that can easily be arranged once in-country such as shark cage diving, skydiving, wine tasting tours, Hermanus day trips for whale watching (seasonal) or a typical township experience.


Please note that anyone booking on this project for the two week option will need to extend their stay if they want to take part in  more side trips.


Further Travelling Opportunities

South Africa has such a wealth of fantastic opportunities for further travel. In Cape Town, you have easy access to the famous Garden Route, chances to explore the Cederberg Mountain range or take more time to enjoy the vibrancy of Cape Town. Other possibilities include the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains, the beauty of the Kalahari Desert, historic Zululand, the fantastic Southern Coast, the world-renowned National Parks of Kruger and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, and many more amazing options in this stunning country.

The Team

Shayle Havemann

Director of Programs
Meet Shayle, our innovative and driven director for all our projects around the world. She has two honours degrees, one in Industrial and Organisational Psycology, and another in Developmental and Education Psycology. Shayle also has over 10 years experience in setting up, managing and evaluating environmental and community programs across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

She is well-practiced in facilitating meaningful and effective intercultural engagement and this makes her the perfect person for overseeing our operations in the multicultural country of South Africa.

When not attending meetings or planning her next endeavour, Shayle can be found spending time with her family or taking part in some or other exciting outdoors activity!

Katelin Ryan

Service Learning Manager Cape Town

A sustainable development extraordinaire with a great commitment to create sustainable solutions for local communities. Katie has worked in South Africa for many years before her role with GVI and after completing her Master's degree in International Education she joined our team of professionals.

Her credentials include over eight years of volunteering, teaching, managing, and leading international education programs around the world. This includes working in zero-waste policy communities in New Zealand, and in an orphan bear refugee center in Croatia.

As our Service Learning Manager she is excited to use her experience designing experiential education programmes and managing community programmes.

Select a Start Date

  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020

Select a Duration

Select a start date first.

Select Add-Ons

+ $29
+ $390