SOUTH AFRICA: Care for Children in the Red Cross Childlren's Hospital in Cape Town

Company : Travellers Worldwide
Location : Cape Town
Duration: 2 weeks to 3 months
Approx Costs: 1000 to 3000+ £ Pound (UK)

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.

Even something as simple as entertaining the children with stories lifts their morale and helps the healing process. As the staff at the hospital have mentioned many times, having the volunteers give the children some extra love and care is wonderful … and the extra hands are very welcome as well.

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.

Volunteer with children who have hearing difficulties. You'll work with children from 3 to 13 years old, right from when they're first introduced to sign language. The classes are very small to ensure that children receive individual attention. The very little ones are introduced to sign language and do what all pre-school children do – learn by playing.

You could teach normal lessons, such as English, Maths and other subjects, or you could teach sign language to the beginners. The school is very poor with just a few classrooms, library and a hall, so every bit of involvement makes an incredible difference.

The school has about 80 pupils. The age range of the children is from about 3 to 13 years of age. There are about 12 teachers and teaching assistants. The classes are very small to ensure that children receive individual attention.

The very little ones are introduced to sign language and do what all pre-school children do – learn by playing. They have stories read or signed, they paint, they do puzzles, play simple games - and they have outdoor ‘play-learning’. If you choose to work in the Pre-Primary section, you would help with all of this.

This is a very interesting section as the children are learning communication skills perhaps for the first time.

The pupils aged 6 – 13 are taught the normal Grade1 to Grade 7 school curriculum in two different sections. One section (Grades 1 – 7) consists of children who have hearing aids or implants, which enable them to have partial to good hearing. They have normal lessons. The other section (also Grade 1 – 7) caters for children who are completely deaf – and they are taught their lessons in sign language.

The hearing children will continue their education at other special needs schools or at mainstream schools.


You may assist with any section, and any age group, fulfilling class assistant duties such as helping children with maths, reading and other school subjects.

If you know sign language, you could work with the totally deaf children - or you could actually teach sign language to those learning how to sign! You may, at first, spend a bit of time in each class, and then decide where you would like to go on a regular basis. The children follow the normal Grade 1 - 7 lessons and if you would like to teach any specific lessons, the school would be happy to arrange this. Once settled in with the classes you'd like to be involved with, you'll be given a timetable to follow for the duration of your placement.

School starts at 8am and finishes at 2.15pm. There are breaks at 10.30 and 12.50. Lessons are 30 minutes long and all teaching is done in English.

Sports: Some time during the school day is spent outside, playing games, but they have no formal sports. The kids love playing football or netball, but unfortunately the school doesn't have a formal sports timetable. If you'd like to coach children in any sport, it would be very welcome and the children would be encouraged to participate. If you do choose to do this, you can arrange to coach groups of children during their “Life Orientation“ lessons.

During the summer, the children go to the local Observatory public swimming pool right next to the school – it's an outdoor pool and a very popular “sports” outing, which the children love!

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, the Lodge we use 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).

Wi-Fi / Internet: There is FREE, UNLIMITED Wi-Fi / Internet in the accommodation.

FOOD: You'll be given a food budget which will cover your basic essentials. All the lodge houses have fully equipped self catering kitchens, with all the necessities to cook a good meal.

If you’d like more information about this or any of our projects, please email or call us! If you’d like to apply for this project, please go to our website and complete the application form. As soon as we receive it, we’ll liaise with you and then start making your travel adventure happen.

Start Dates

All year round – you choose your start and finish dates.

Costs / Benefits

From £1145 for 2 weeks, then £200 for each additional week. Price includes:

►Arranging your Programme,
►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.

Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas, Return transfer to airport.


Minimum age 17. You don't need any qualifications or experience to do this project, just a big heart and lots of enthusiasm.

Booking / Enquiry

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