Volunteer at a Daycare in Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Port Elizabeth, South Africa Construction & Community Development



Children deserve to hope for a brighter future and the fittingly named Ithemba Special Daycare Centre provides just that, both in name and opportunity. Ithemba, a Zulu word that means hope, allows South African people, regardless of disability or circumstance to believe that better must come. Many children in townships across Port Elizabeth lack basic education or have physical and mental challenges to overcome daily. To make matters more difficult, a lot of parents don’t have the economic means to get care for their children. In 1988, this daycare centre was started after consulting parents of children with mental disabilities, providing an outlet where these children could receive consistent education and healthcare. This centre initially operated from any empty hospital ward, now had three classrooms, an office, a therapy room, kitchen and a wonderful staff providing daily support and guidance. If you care about mental health, have experience working with people who have disabilities and are a proactive person, this is ideal for you. Working with this non-profit organization will sharpen skills while also helping you to understand the difficulties South Africans face in taking care of children with serious ailments. You will be crucial in helping to identify mental health needs while encouraging families affected by the physical and psychological effects of dealing with disability. You will help Ithemba raise awareness on these issues and help many affected children gain confidence and knowledge to become active members of society. They should be able to work and achieve greatness, just like you!


Your presence at Ithemba will help ease burdens for countless children who may feel helpless or restricted due to their respective disabilities. Your generosity in helping children will be very welcomed, as will any donation to help Ithemba grow its outreach such kitchen supplies, tools, toothpaste, and toothbrushes, among other things. Any bit of fundraising assistance would be sincerely appreciated. Keeping children active despite their limitations stimulates their minds and boosts physical strength to get through each day better than the previous one. Your encouragement brings out their courage, so be fearless and give hope to one and all!

Field conditions

Your work days are each Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. local time, while on Fridays, you work from 8 a.m. to midday. Schedules could be altered depending on weather, especially during summertime. Each workday includes prayers; exercise, lessons, and breakfast for the children in the mornings, while lunch, teeth brushing, and story time each take place during afternoons. Many tasks will be expected of you during your minimum eight-week stay during this volunteer mission. You will offer therapy to the children, including physiotherapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy. Children will also receive lessons, which will be translated for those who don’t speak or understand English too well. You will also assist in arranging outings for the children, teach them basic Mathematics, how to plant and provide them with self-help skills such as toilet training, washing, and dressing. There are also coloring, painting, board games, card games, and sports. Plus, you will teach children domestic skills, such as cleaning, sweeping, wiping and washing.

Arrival and orientation

You will be picked up once you have arrived at the Port Elizabeth International Airport and will be given an introduction to your accommodations, shown around and meet staff as well as volunteers that day. On Tuesday, once you’ve been made aware of what is expected, you will start volunteering. Should you arrive on the weekend, alternative arrangements will be made to take you by taxi or Uber to any accommodations of your choice before being picked up Monday morning.

Your stay


  • HousingVolunteer house

  • Provided mealsBreakfast, dinner

Accommodation description

Your accommodations are based in Humewood, a popular beachfront area in Port Elizabeth. It is just five minutes away from the beach, surrounded by beautiful greenery and scenery, and close to shops, beachfront cafes, restaurants, and other hot spots. Sounds like a perfect getaway in an African paradise, doesn’t it? The volunteer house is large and comfortable, so you won’t have to worry about fighting for space. It is fully furnished, with nine bedrooms offering a myriad of sleeping options, and six bathrooms. Also included are two kitchens, two washing machines, a dining room, TV lounge and a garden with a swimming pool where you can unwind after a busy day. You can also access free Wi-Fi with your laptop, phone or tablet. Though you will have to share your room with fellow volunteers, some of whom, work with Door of Hope, Missionvale Care Centre and Izizwe Township Projects; you won’t feel crowded. There are several dormitory-style rooms, which include four beds each. Plus, male and female volunteers will have separate rooms and bathrooms. Smaller rooms are also available where two volunteers at a time can share. There are volunteers from all over the world staying at this accommodations, so make some new friends while sharing your room and maybe learn a thing or two. There is also a full-time cleaning lady who will keep the volunteer house spotless and make sure your needs are met. Bedding is provided in each room, but you will have to bring your own towels. As for food, you and your stomach will be well taken care of. A full-time cook will be there, ensuring you get top-notch South African cuisine while teaching you how to make your own food, whether local meals or your own treat. You will receive three meals a day, with breakfast consisting of toast, fruit, yogurt, cereal or eggs, while for lunch, you can have sandwiches with cheese, marmalade or cold meat. There are also alternative meals available such as stew, curry, soup, pasta and other options, while free tea, coffee, and cordial juices are available at your leisure. To encourage proactivity and to give your cook a hand, you will be encouraged to help her chop vegetables, clean dishes and warm up food. On weekends, you’ll be able to warm up your own food or cook your own meal.


Volunteers will be staying in a volunteer house.


from $291 USDper week

from $291 USDper week


What’s included

  • Transportation to and from project site

  • Housing

  • Transportation to and from project site

  • Housing

What’s not included

Start dates

Volunteer work starts on Mondays, and the project will be closed for about 3 weeks over Christmas and New Year's.

Established in 2005, Khaya Volunteer Projects offers unique and affordable volunteer and gap year projects in South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Zanzibar. Khaya projects run the gamut of volunteer interests with project areas including Children; Communities; Sports Development; Healthcare; Wildlife and Conservation; and Education projects. A common thread running through all Khaya projects is a commitment to ethical volunteering. They work to ensure that your volunteering efforts and your financial contributions are used in the best way possible. In alignment with that goal, Khaya, with its base and several offices in Africa, can and does assist its local partners and projects in Southern and Eastern Africa with keeping the focus on responsible and ethical volunteering.

Their mission is simple but resonant:

“...we provide volunteering opportunities for international travellers that are both unique and as affordable as possible with high standards of service and facilities. Needless to say, we also prioritise our selected volunteer projects’ needs in ways that benefit both project and you, the volunteer.”

Honest pricing, crystal clear information, timely communication, and great service are all hallmarks of how they run a successful organization. True to the meaning of “Khaya” in several African languages, Khaya Volunteers makes sure its volunteers feel secure, well informed, and that they belong to the project to which they commit. Khaya believes that if you join on of their volunteering projects, you’ll have an African experience you’ll never forget.

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