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Projects Abroad volunteer teacher and her students Projects Abroad volunteer teacher and her students

Care in South Africa with Projects Abroad

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Volunteering at a Special Needs Center

My name is Hannah Elliott-Higgins and I am currently a junior at the College of William and Mary studying Psychology and Art. Halfway through my sophomore year, I decided that I wanted to take a semester off to volunteer and get real world experience. I worked with a program coordinator and told her I was interested in working with children with disabilities. She immediately set me up with Projects Abroad South Africa. It was a perfect fit and I cannot speak highly enough of the program.
I was placed at the Sunrise Special Care Centre located in Heathfield, which is a suburb about 30 minutes outside of Cape Town. There I was able to do basic occupational and physical therapy with a staff who were nothing short of amazing. They were all kind, outgoing, and spoke highly of all the previous Projects Abroad volunteers that had worked there.
I stayed with a host family who lived just one street over from the Centre, which was wonderful since it allowed me to walk and not even worry about transportation. The area was safe and my host family was wonderful. They went out of their way to make sure I was comfortable and felt at home and also made sure to accommodate my dietary restrictions.
I worked Monday-Friday but on the weekends I had free time to do whatever I liked. I lived with three other girls who were Projects Abroad volunteers, so we were easily able to go exploring. The Projects Abroad staff also organized many socials so that all the volunteers could get to know each other. They also explained all the various methods of transportation so within the first two weeks of being there, I felt very comfortable traveling.
All in all, the Projects Abroad staff were incredible throughout my program as well as before and after. Months before I planned to leave, they set me up with my own information page so I would be able to keep up to date with everything that I needed to do. They checked in every step of the way and responded to all of my emails promptly. While there, the support was less obvious, but they were always available to help with anything. They checked in three separate times in the two months I was there, and each time they had me fill out a questionnaire to ensure everything was going smoothly. Finally, once I returned, they emailed me to check in and give me the opportunity to provide any feedback.
Overall, this is an amazing program and I would highly recommend to anyone who is looking to do international volunteer work.

Institution Affiliates:

The International Volunteer Programs Association