Volunteering as a Social Worker in South Africa – Special Project

Social Worker helping Homeless People
Helping Homeless People

You can volunteer as a social worker in South Africa, in order to support the local staff helping homeless people to participate in everyday activities. Since homelessness can impact people from all races and ages, it is crucial helping these people for a better life. Counselling can help homeless people to better care for themselves and learn to function independently.

Volunteer to Empower Homeless People

The Social Worker provides therapeutic counselling & group sessions to empower the homeless and reunify them with their families. Other services offered include Job Readiness Programmes, Skills Programmes, employment opportunities, skills empowerment etc. The homeless adults of the shelter are all desperately in need of this kind of care, so if you’re thinking of going into this caring profession, or are already training for it, an internship at  the shelter for homeless people is perfect the ideal place for you.

While working side by side with the social workers at the centre, you’ll get hands-on, practical experience

Social Workers focus on:

  • Work daily alongside the centre’s social worker
  • Assist the clients with setting goals to reintegrate into society- Personal Development Plans.
  • Spending time with clients who are so appreciative of the effort you put in.
  • Seeing the clients develop and grow
  • Gaining hands-on, practical experience in the area of a social work.
  • Spending your spare time enjoying the attractions of Cape Town and South Africa.

Your Role supporting Social Workers at the Shelter

Shelter for Homeless PeopleThe shelter for homeless poeple in Cape Town runs a daily program Monday to Friday with the clients waking up at 6:30 am The day’s activities generally include Job Search, appointments with either the social worker or manager, general chores, groupwork, individual counselling (social worker).

The clients receive 3 meals a day. Following the guidelines of the programme mentor, volunteers will be able to assist with all aspects of the daily programme, contributing to the clients emotional, physical and mental development by helping them to take part in activities and offering them much-needed encouragement and counselling. You will also be involved in community assistance, following the guidelines of your mentor.

Helping Homeless People since 1996

Established in 1996  the shelter provides accommodation and food for adults who have lost their homes due to financial pressure, personal tragedy or drug addiction. Residents generally stay for an average of 6 months, during which time the staff at the shelter  assist them with rehabilitation by addressing substance abuse, re-uniting them with their families, helping re-instate their pension and or medical aid cover or by moving them on to more permanent accommodation.

How Social Workers support and empower homeless people at the shelter

Resident at the shelter
Resident at the shelter

The Shelter accommodates 65 residents‚ 45 men and 20 women. In winter months the shelter adds an additional ten bed spaces. The local stuff at the centre would love to add even more beds. However, they still face limitations of staff and space.

This is to help cater for an expected increase in the number of street people seeking shelter during the cold winter months Their beds are almost always full.

The Shelter does not charge people to stay‚ but asks for a monthly contribution of up to R650. Residents get three meals per day seven days a week.

Learn from an experienced Social Worker at the Centre

The Shelters Social Worker spends five days per week at the centre. She is highly experienced in the field of working with the homeless and also has years of experience working with children at a childcare centre. She acts as a mentor to Volunteer and Explore interns and will guide and assist you as you go through the programme.
Internships last a minimum of four weeks and is a maximum of twelve weeks.



Start Dates & Duration

Project duration: Min 4 weeks – Max 12 weeks

Location of project: South Peninsula, around 45 minutes from central Cape Town

Airport to fly into: Cape Town International (CPT)

Activities: Work side by side with the centres social worker, assisting with screening and personal development programmes, sit in on counselling sessions, administration.

Getting to the project: Volunteers catch a mini bus taxi between the intern house and the project. The taxis stop outside intern house and transport them straight to the local village. Short walk up the road to the centre. Cost R11 each way.
Working hours: Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 3pm

Food: Food is not included; you will need to purchase your own food (budget approximately US$50 per week)
Return transfer: This is for your own cost. However, the in-country team can assist with booking final transport. Budget on approximately R400

You need to organize: Flights, insurance, visas, return airport transfer, local transport, food



Fees – Social Worker Internship in Cape Town

  • The program fee is paid directly to the host organization.
  • All of the projects incur a registration fee of  U$ 149.00 on top of the program fee.

Prices 2019

What is included in the volunteer program fee?

  • Airport Pickup
  • Orientation
  • Accommodation for all projects
  • Meals are included in most programs (please check the description of your chosen project)
  • Support from local staff & Program supervision
  • In-country 24/7 support throughout your stay
  • In-country administration costs
  • Donation to support the local project

For you to organise: Flights, insurance, visas, return airport transfer (at the end of your trip)

The return transfer from Cape Town to the airport is not covered within your project fee but our regular transfer company will be able to assist you to organise it, the costs will be about US$35 / R350.

There are no hidden costs. Most of these projects are the most affordable to volunteer in South Africa.

Iko Poran is an NGO based in a developing country. We are dedicated to helping you help others, at the lowest possible price. We are interested in making volunteering abroad more accessible so that more people can help do really important work.

Participants in our South Africa programs normally find US$100 to be sufficient for weekly expenses in the country.

The program fee should be paid to the host country and it is due 30 days before the project start date.


Accommodation & Meals

  • Volunteer House - on the Terrace
    Volunteer House - on the Terrace

Our large volunteer house in Fish Hoek will be your happy home for this trip. It accommodates up to 20 people (our volunteers only) in dormitory-style, same sex rooms with bunk beds, a maximum of six people per room. There are three bathrooms with hot, running water, showers and regular flush loos. There’s also a lounge area, balcony, lush garden and barbeque. You’ll be only a short distance from the shops and beach. You’ll find lockers at the accommodation to lock your valuables away but please remember to bring a padlock and keys with you! You’ll need to pay R1000 deposit when you arrive which will be given back to you when you leave if everything’s still as you found it.


You’ll be self-catering while in the house. The kitchen has everything you need from cookers, loads of fridge space and microwave to toaster, kettle and kitchen utensils. You can eat at the dining room table or lounge on the balcony. There’s a barbeque outside or, as we call it in SA, a braai, which is the best way to cook on a warm evening. You can also grab
takeaways at the many spots in the town, about 10 minutes’ walk away.
Note: While in the house you will be responsible for keeping the place clean so please tidy up after yourself, especially in the kitchen. Budget around US$50 per week for groceries, as prices are similar to home.

Facilities and the area

There’s a phone at the house for incoming calls, and buy local phone cards to make outbound phone calls.
Washing can be done at the laundry down the road: simply drop off your clothes and pick them up later!
Cape Town has a temperate climate but winter is still chilly so pack warm jumpers and even some cosy socks as SA doesn’t have central heating.
Bedding is provided but bring a sleeping bag for away weekends and extra warmth.
Bring along a towel

The Neighborhood

Fish Hoek’s main street is only10 minutes’ walk away where you’ll find a supermarket, serviced laundry and internet café, as well as banks and other shopping. The beach is just a stone’s throw beyond that!
Bars, restaurants, more shopping and more beautiful beaches are only 10 minute’s drive away.
Fish Hoek is on the train line and trains are a great way to travel but they stop running at 7pm.
Taxis to Cape Town CBD cost around US$35/ R250 each way.


Requirements for the Social Worker Internship

Minimum qualifications and experience required to take part in this internship:

  • Grade 12 certificate
  • CV, including certification of any completed courses.
  • Letter of motivation
  • Please note: work experience in the field of a social worker is beneficial but not essential.
  • CRB Check




Michael Antonio Muito amor em uma única foto

The definitions of love have been updated: Michael Antônio at Doreen’s Crèche, South Africa

The sentence that I start my statement with is: “How I learned to rediscover love”. I made a promise that ...
Read More
Alessandra Bertoldi jardim infância

The most intense experience I’ve ever lived: Alessandra in South Africa

It was the most intense experience I ever had in my life. As much as the photos and videos portray ...
Read More
Jonas works with the children in South Africa at a daycare

Jonas from Brazil works with the children at the daycare in South Africa

Jonas Feltrin, from Brazil, works with the children in South Africa at a day care. He is having a blast ...
Read More
Melissa had a wonderful volunteer exerience in Cape Town South Africa

Melissa’s Volunteer Experience in Cape Town

Melissa Parisotto Ciconi traveled from Brazil to South Africa and brought this wonderful video about her volunteer experience in Cape ...
Read More
Mayara Pedra Pinheiro Brazil Kindergarten South Africa

Mayara from Brazil, sharing her love in a kindergarten in South Africa

Mayara Pedra Pinheiro, from Brazil, shares her love in a kindergarten in South Africa as a parenting teacher in Cape ...
Read More
Michel playing Samba in South Africa

Playing Samba Rhythms and Teaching Children in South Africa

Michel from Brazil has been playing samba rhythms while teaching the children at Doreen's Creche in Cape Town. The daycare's ...
Read More


More Volunteer Opportunities in South Africa

Find out more about volunteer projects in South Africa here.

If you love doing social work, you might have a look to the childcare program at Doreen’s Creche, also on Cape Town’s Southern Peninsula.

Moreover, you can volunteer on occupational therapy with disabled children, also in Cape Town.

At the beautiful beaches of Muizenberg, you can also learn and teach surfing.