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Volunteers and local kids playing tug of war Volunteers and local kids playing tug of war

Teaching & Youth Development, Cape Town South Africa

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

African Impact + YiPSA, perfect partnership!

Working for YiPSA, but living with and being part of the African Impact family has been the perfect interning experience. I have enjoyed every second and even though at times it was hard work, it was all so worth it. 3 months have flown by and I only wish I could stay for longer.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A life changing six weeks!

It is difficult to sum up my time with African Impact. I could use every superlative possible and it probably wouldn't come close to explaining how being part of this organisation, even for a short time makes you feel. It is accurate to say that you instantly feel part of a family and that even includes the staff. They manage to combine being professional with making you feel safe, supported and even loved. They exude constant positivity and have an enthusiasm about the work which is catching. I can't sing their praises enough and can honestly say that they really do add a huge amount to the whole experience. As for the volunteering itself, (whilst tougher than I naively anticipated) it is the most rewarding, amazing experience. I split my time between two different preschools and an after school club. All three were filled with inspiring people and I genuinely felt like the work we were doing was adding value to both the teachers and children. I chose African Impact because they stressed that they were a charity based on the foundation of sustainable volunteering and this is something I was very concerned about when choosing which organisation to volunteer with. After being here and seeing how they operate, I now know that this is not an idle promise. Everything we do is based on being sustainable, from the inflow and outflow of volunteers, to the resources we use and the activities we do. This means that the children and organisations we work with are not impacted by the amount of time we volunteer. Six weeks felt like the perfect amount of time for me (although I could definitely be here longer). It allowed me to see the genuine impact of the work I was doing and create true bonds with everyone I worked with. The only negative (or maybe positive) of the whole experience is that I am now reassessing my whole life back home!! True happiness is not having money, it is feeling fulfilled at a deeper level and this experience can offer you that and more.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

My great volunteer adventure in Cape Town with the best organisation, African Impact

Someday you will get to the point where you want to do something else other than a beach holiday. Well, I came to this point and decided to do volunteer work. My father was born in Africa, Pretoria and he lived for 15 years in Cape Town. So South Africa has always been special to me. When I arrived in Cape Town, tired of my flight and Vicki gave me a big huge I already loved it here. To come in a house with 30 other volunteers and sharing all the same mindset gives you immediately a feeling of welcome. My first project afternoon at GAPA was awesome! The kids were so open, gave me hugs and make you feel very welcome. After my first week, I felt more comfortable in leading activities. Especially after the first planning afternoon. You'll get involved in the planning and there is enough freedom for your own ideas. When one of your activities turned out well at the project and you see the kids enjoying is when you become most confident. Knowing that you give these children a good time and also be able to teach them things is all I wanted to achieve when I signed up for volunteering. Beside the different communities with lovely people, Cape Town will give you more. For example hiking Table Mountain, having dinner at Camps bay, shopping at Waterfront or tasting the best wines. African Impact gave me the opportunity to see both sides of Cape Town and I feel lucky for this. Sharing my love for children with other volunteers in this beautiful city, turned out to be the best thing I have ever done. I've had the time of my life!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

The Happy Africa internship

Rather than going straight to college, I decided to take a year to pursue interests that I wasn't able to explore in high school. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect of my three months in South Africa. Yet, reflecting back on it now as my stay in the Lion House comes to an end, this experience has exceeded my expectations in every way possible. As an intern with the Happy Africa Foundation, I got the incredible opportunity to work both in the office and on the projects. Through this, I gained in depth perspective as to how an organization like this operates and a heightened appreciation for those who make it happen.

Perhaps the most unique aspect of the internship was that it was tailored to encompass the personal goals that I wished to achieve while I was here. We crafted a plan early on that would allow me to both showcase my strengths and develop my weaknesses. Through mentorship and guidance, I met every goal that I had hoped to achieve. I can say that I am leaving much more confident— not only in my professional skills, but also on a personal level. If you are considering this internship, know that you have my soundest and strongest recommendation. Between the incredible people you live with, the colorful city of Cape Town, and the endless support of the staff, it is an experience that will stick with you for the rest of your life.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    8

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

3 months of volunteering

I have enjoyed my stay in Cape Town very much. Volunteering has also been great, but room for improvement. There need to be better preparation for the volunteers to the projects before going. There need to be better communication with the local staff - the partners. And i feel like it would help the organisation and the experience of volunteering if the AI staff would be more honest about the conditions and the issues. When you are here for 3 months you find out that the AI staff isn't necessarily better informed than you are. So sometimes it is very unclear what is expected of you on project and what your actual job is. It is a shame, for a lot of it can be done simply by preparing the volunteers better before going and during their stay. Making sure there is a proper introduction to the local staff on the projects. To me the key of a successful experience is the communication and partnership with the local staff. A lot of the experience is up to you and your engagement, which I think is fine. But for the same reason i think that the organisation should have a minimum stay of 4 or at least 3 weeks. Make it clear to the ones who are looking for an organisation, that it is hard work to be a volunteer and it requires all of you energy. Many of the volunteers i have seen come and go during my time, clearly thought of it as an vacation, which it is not. It is a full time job, and should be considered as one. This should be made more clear to the ones looking for organisations to volunteer with.
Other than that i have had an amazing experience. It is indeed very intense and you don't really process all the impressions, before the trip is over. I do think that the projects are very meaningful and makes and actual difference. The only thing that needs is general structure and a more straight forward communication with our partners. I have heard of and experienced several projects where local staff hasn't showed up on a given day. I think the policy of AI should be - If you are not on project, then we will go home. This is necessary if you want a sustainable partnership and development of the projects.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Experience of a lifetime

To find the correct and most suited words to truly explain my experience is extremely difficult. It has been the most life-changing experience. Meeting the most amazing people, seeing the most beautiful places and of course last but not least, the children. As a student studying teaching in Australia I was eager to get stuck into my teaching project and disperse my knowledge and help where I could. I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams how incredible this project was. Meeting the students, planning lessons, coordinating with the school teachers and of course delivering the lessons. From the minute I arrived at the Lion House, I knew that I was going to have an incredible time. The house was buzzing, full of energy and enthusiasm from the staff and other volunteers. I was welcomed instantly and after one day I felt like part of the team. The staff are incredible role models and were the greatest support during my entire experience. Not only were they supportive on project but every part of my time, including weekend activity planning. I have learned more in the past three weeks than I have in three years back home. This was honestly the most incredible experience. Living with 20 other people sounded pretty scary at first but the Lion House accommodates us all and we became a family so quickly. I can guarantee that I will be returning to this amazing project, this incredible place and the most inspiring children.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A once in a life time experience with African Impact!

My volunteer experience with the African Impact organisation was like nothing I could of imagined, it was amazing. During my time in South Africa all the staff made me feel very welcomed and comfortable. I volunteered on the Teaching project in Cape Tow, during this program I worked with some amazing people in the community of Khayelitsha. The GAPA project that works with the grandmothers to provide a safe after school care environment for the children was such an inspiring program to be apart of and the knowledge and bond you grow with the grandmothers and the children were incredible. Teaching in 2 different schools in Khayelitsha was an incredible experience to gain and the children were amazing and I learnt many life changing skills that will be great in my future endeavors as I am at university studying Education. After spending 3 weeks on the programs I have learnt so much knowledge about the culture and the background information about the townships in Cape Town. The programs were all full of fun, singing, dancing and teaching which made everyday memorable and fun. I would advise anyone to take the opportunity to volunteer with African Impact as it is a life changing experience and you learn a lot about a different culture but also learn so much about yourself. I loved every moment of this experience and cant wait to come back.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Young In Prison internship with African impact

My time with Young In Prison and African Impact has been an amazing experience. I have different things to say about both organisations so I will begin talking about Young In Prison. The work and mission that Young In Prison stand for is incredible, I have worked every day with boys between the ages of 10-25 who have been in conflict with the law, and are either in prison, a correctional school or in the Young In Prison 'Post release' programme (for boys who have been released from prison). During my time here I have worked to teach life skills to the boys, for example communication and empathy skills. As well as teaching these skills I have also implemented practical lessons, for example setting up email addresses, arranging work experience and teaching interview skills. I have taken it for granted in life how well equipped I have been in these areas of life. To watch young people grow and learn everyday is the most rewarding thing that you could do, it makes it more special that these young men are from a very difficult life circumstance. To see someone who has had it so tough, work so hard to better their life and change themselves is inspiring and I couldn't recommend it enough. The only trouble I had was with the organisation of Young In Prison, at the start of my internship it was very disorganized however this matter has now been fixed and I have faith that there would be no problems in a future internship here. My advice would be to find out exactly what responsibilities you will be taking before you get here, and also ask about the cultural differences in the workplace i.e. male dominance (I didn't know these things so some male staff members have found it difficult to understand the way I work).
In regards to African Impact, the organisation really is amazing. The staff members are friendly and welcoming, I have felt very well informed throughout my whole trip. Dan especially has gone the extra mile to help me, the organisation of my internship was rocky at the start (Fault of Young In Prisons, not African Impact) and he made me feel calm and helped me every day, whatever I needed. The staff do everything they can to keep you safe, from giving good advice to being on call if you are in an emergency at the weekend. The volunteer house is amazing, we have wonderful housekeepers who keep our house lovely, they cook for us and they're the kindest people I've ever known. I could not recommend African Impact or working for an organisation like Young In Prison enough.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

4 amazing weeks

I spent 1 month volunteering in a teaching project and had an absolutely amazing time. Meeting new people, work with lovely persons/children, having fun are just a few of things you will experience. And I also learned a lot about myself. I'm so glad I came to South Africa and volunteer here, I recommend it to everyone!! So if you have the opportunity come and enjoy an amazing time and experience a lot of different things.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Sarah's Cape Town review

I absolutely loved my experience in Cape Town. It is an incredible mix between a beautiful city as well as millions of people who truly need volunteers help. Two weeks is definitely not long enough, and I wish I was staying at least a month. I met amazing people from all over the world. Teaching the preschools was my favorite part of volunteering. I felt genuinely needed and appreciated every day. Planning each lesson was also a highlight, because you see how much your ideas impact these children's education. The weekends are amazing! My only complaint was the fact that there was extremely minimal free time, so in two weekends I had a very hard time cramming in all the activities in only 4 days.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

My personal experience

Overall, a fantastic experience. Having come to the continent in search of direct exposure to South Africa as an emerging market as well as, its poverty and hardship. Considering that in the latter part of my working life I would like to work in development, I feel that African Impact has given me a huge platform of education to learn from with regards to exposure to the culture, community and history.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Family volunteer vacation

From start to finish, the folks at African Impact were super supportive made us feel welcome. They were accommodating to our needs. My only regret is that we only had four days in Cape Town. It was a tremendous experience and added another dimension to our holiday.My Children will not soon forget their experience and the wonderful people they worked with. My 10 year old son loved his time with the students and is looking forward to coming back in high school. Thanks to the African Impact for an amazing experience.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    10

My favorite place to volunteer

I volunteered with African Impact in Cape Town, South Africa for 5 weeks and I have genuinely loved every minute of it. One of the most amazing things about my experience is the sense of family I felt with African Impact and the other volunteers. Some friendships of course are stronger than others but I can honestly say I have made a few lifetime friends and I hold that very close to my heart. The young children I worked with teaching also touched my heart in a way I wasn't expecting. The amount of pure joy and happiness they come to school with everyday is truly breathtaking and makes you re-evaluate your priorities and appreciate the simple things in life. They amazed me with the compassion they would show one another if a child got injured; it was impossible to not smile when I would see one kid walk over and wipe the tears from another kid and give him/her a hug to make them feel better. Everything about this experience has surpassed any and all expectations I had coming into this program and if you're on the border about doing a trip like this-- stop thinking and JUST DO IT! I PROMISE you, you will be the happiest person if you do. I wish I didn't have to go back to work and could stay longer, it's been amazing.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Wouldn't change a thing...

I would recommend South Africa, African Impact and teaching to anyone, any day. I've had the most amazing experience on and off project and it's been everything I hoped my first trip would be and more.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

More than a volunteer experience

I came to Cape Town with the idea of helping the children here, but after a week I realized it was much more than that. The experiences and memories I have from day to day with the kids are wonderful and I will remember forever. We taught them things in school, but they taught us to see the world differently.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

My 6 weeks as a teaching volunteer

Living in a family-like environment and working together in the communities is a very rewarding experience. Being involved in many areas makes this volunteering experience absolutely memorable and it makes me want to come back.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

African Impact is an amazing experience that I will treasure forever

First off, I would like to thank African Impact for making me feel so comfortable and welcome. It really is like having a family away from home. The teaching project offers an amazing opportunity to work as a team with other lovely volunteers and achieve a vast amount of goals. I highly recommend this experience!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Amazing

This trip was one of the best things I have decided to do EVER!!!!! I witnessed and learnt so much and i am so thankful because it gave me a whole new look on life. The staff and the volunteers were so welcoming from the beginning and it was just like a huge family!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    9

My review!!

My tip to Africa was life changing and I am more than satisfied with my stay at the Lion House. From the day I arrived to the day I left I felt like this is exactly where I belonged thanks to the amazing staff, projects and other volunteers. If you are looking for a volunteer experience that will provide you with all your expectations and more, African Impact is where you belong!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

Excellent Experience

All staff were so welcoming, friendly and thorough when explaining the project i was going to be working on. The insight I had when volunteering was an incredible experience I would highly recommend..

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Cape Town!!

A month is not long enough. Watching these children grow in there school readiness skills. Seeing all of there different personality's shine threw. They show you so much love. At the end of your stay you will be crying saying goodbye. I wouldn't change this experience for anything, you grow as a person and take home so many memories. Also friend''s that last a life time!!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The Best Decision I Have Ever Made

In 2015, I was finishing off high school and prepared to go to University. I had already accepted a school's offer, and had even payed a down-payment fee for residence. However, I had also decided that before I went to University, I wanted to volunteer abroad.

I cannot tell you how many hours I spent researching the most reliable company with the program I was interested in and great reviews. I had been in contact with multiple organizations to ask about safety, costs, living situations, food, inoculations, flights and every other question that popped into my head. And then, I stumbled upon African Impact. I think, originally, it was the name that got me. "African Impact"? Well that's exactly what I wanted to do, wasn't it? I wanted to make an impact - no matter how small - on Africa and the people who live there. So I spoke with their coordinator and did all of the same research I had with the other companies. I even went on skype with their Destination Specialist in Cape Town, so that I could make sure all of my questions were answered and I felt completely sure and safe about going there. In the end, there was no company that seemed as welcoming as African Impact, as well as no company that generally seemed to be the right fit quite like they did.

One of the Volunteer Coordinators picked me up from the airport, and as soon as we got back to the volunteer house, I was given a tour before diving right in. The house was very nice and always kept clean by Jane and Shecky, who did all of the cooking and cleaning for everyone. There were lots of other volunteers when I was there, and both the other volunteers as well as the staff were some of the kindest, funniest, entertaining and compassionate people I have ever met. Everyone you meet volunteering has such a good heart and is so driven to do good, that it makes for an incredible experience. They also plan loads of games and activity nights, so that we are always making the most of our time (although there is ALWAYS something to do)!

In terms of the projects that I worked on, I did the teaching project, as well as the orphan and vulnerable care project. The foster care home that we worked in was amazing, as we spent our time with children who were 0-3, structuring activities around the development of their fine motor skills, gross motor skills, speech, recognition of colours, letters, numbers, etc. The goal for these developments was to get these kids to a place that, by the time they reached preschool age, they would be accepted into a preschool right away, as their advancement was normal or even above average. I can honestly say that there is nothing as rewarding as seeing a baby take her first steps, hearing a two and a half year old girl repeat all of the letters in the alphabet after you say them, seeing a little boy kick, bounce and catch different sized balls, watching a three-year-old protect his younger sister and ensure that she is playing too, having a little girl pretend that she is the mama and you are her baby, watching all of the kids brush their teeth and wash their hands as it becomes a habit. These are the skills that you watch the children develop throughout your time there, and there is nothing else like it, as well as no feeling other than pride and joy that you can have as they achieve the goals you've strived for.

I also worked in a preschool while I was in Cape Town, and just like the foster care home, it was an amazing experience. We prepared the children for primary school, focusing on helping them achieve the skills required to make it in to a school. We worked with them on writing, their knowledge of the alphabet, colours, shapes and animals, their physical development, music and rhythm, as well as every other important skill they needed to learn. Watching a child's mind just click as they finally understood what you were trying to teach them, or could write their name with all of the letters facing the right way, or they knew their numbers up to 10 or the first 10 letters in the alphabet, was incredible. Teaching is hard work - kids are rambunctious and don't always enjoy listening -, but for all of your hard work put into teaching, you are given so much more, as you are able to watch everything you've done and taught take root in a child's mind and see their development and growth, which is in part, thanks to you.

I was only supposed to stay in Cape Town for two weeks. In less than one, I had already made the decision to extend my trip. I stayed for four weeks total, and midway through the fourth week, I decided to extend again. My time in South Africa ended up being eight weeks, and since I started in July, I also missed the beginning of the school year. I actually didn't go to University at all this year. Volunteering in Cape Town led me to the decision to take a year off from school, and reapply next year for a different program. In September of 2016, I will be attending University for International Development, so that I can do more of what I loved so much while volunteering. This entire journey changed my life - both my path and who I am as a person, and I cannot be more thankful. In the years to come, I think I will definitely be involved with African Impact again.

Don't hesitate to volunteer, it will be the most amazing experience in your life. Don't hesitate to volunteer with African Impact, they will do everything humanly possible to make it that much better.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

The Best Decision of My Life

I graduated college in the U.S. and was planning on starting work right after. But, I decided to pursue a dream of volunteering abroad. IT WAS THE BEST DECISION I EVER MADE... I chose African Impact because of their great reviews. But the reviews don't do it justice. From the moment I walked into the house, I felt like I was at home. The staff and other volunteers were extraordinarily welcoming. The best parts were obviously the projects. The kids are incredible and melted my heart everyday. When I tell people about my experience, I get a shiver down my body just thinking about how amazing the kids are. In addition, the program is really well run and you feel like you're making a true impact (it's not about just handing them toys and taking lots of pictures). The adults really appreciate our help and know that it is making an impact to improve their society.

Not only is volunteering incredible, but living in a house with all the volunteers is always a blast. From Monday Night Trivia to Events Night Thursdays to a random Movie Night with ice cream to crazy weekend adventures like shark cage diving, paragliding, a wine tour, countless hikes, and much more, there is always something to do in the house. The people here are incredible and you will without a doubt make more memories than you can imagine.

If you are even considering volunteering with African Impact, DO IT! And stay for as long as possible... I stayed for 10 weeks and wasn't ready to leave. Countless people during my stay extended there stay once they were there because they didn't want to leave. It may be scary to take the leap of faith and go to Africa. But, I promise you won't regret it!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    9

Time of my life

Best experience in my life so far! Had great people around me and an harmonic atmosphere in the house. I've enjoyed every day of my stay, especially the projects with the loveliest kids in the world.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Making an Impact!

My dream came true and i can now leave knowing i made an impact on the children's lives and the local community. I learnt so much about their culture and gained in-valuable knowledge that can not be bought . This programme was so rewarding and i would recommend the trip to those who have endless amounts of love and time for children, but who also love's to teach, have lots of fun and is ready to just get stuck in! Note: This is a full on Teaching Course and doesn't involve working with the local community on building projects or working with animals!

Institution Affiliates:

World Youth Student & Educational Travel Confederation