Volunteering. The act of giving back to those less fortunate than you is one of the most satisfying activities one can do. Being a good Samaritan is free as well! Volunteering is a popular holiday and weekend occupation of Capetonians and visitors alike. There is an organization and activity to suit any volunteer’s interests.
If you are interested in marine life, the Two Ocean’s Aquarium, by the V&A Waterfront, takes volunteer applications all year round, provided you are at least 18 years of age. As marine life requires a certain skill set and knowledge base, an educational training course is required to be completed by all volunteers at a cost of R100 per person. The training received is invaluable and provides a great skill set to put on your CV, making it worth the price.
African Sunrise, run by Carina Roper, runs a very special volunteer South Africa program that assists with placing people in the best projects suited to their studies or aptitudes.
For all the animal lovers, The Emma Animal Rescue Society (TEARS) and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) are great organizations to reach out to cats and dogs in need. TEARS is based in Sunnydale, while the SPCA is based in Grassy Park. These two non-profit organizations are known across Cape Town for the fantastic work they do with sick and abandoned animals. If you volunteer with them, you know you’re going to brighten a furry heart.
Caring for animals is not for everyone. There are plenty of great ways to better fellow people’s lives. Companies like African Sunrise provide the opportunity to volunteer in South Africa with outreach to the poorer, more dilapidated areas of the Mother City. If you are from out of Cape Town, African Sunrise have a great track record of working with foreign volunteers, helping them adapt and navigate the city as well as provide ample volunteering opportunities. Volunteering is encouraged all year round but it if you are able to, it is better to volunteer in Cape Town’s winter months. In summer Cape Town is filled with volunteering tourists escaping their country’s winter but in winter, when the disadvantaged are cold and hungry, volunteer numbers are low. If you are interested in social work programs, visit African Sunrise’s website.
The youth are the future leaders of a nation. Nurturing them and easing their struggles is essential in helping South Africa prosper. If you are good with children, there are many places in South Africa for you to ply your skills. Youth volunteering is broken down into 3 categories. First we have youth development programs, a sub-category of social work programs, which seeks to teach children valuable life skills and improve their general living conditions. Secondly we have educational programs, where volunteers are required to tutor children and help them through their school work. Lastly we have youth sports development which seeks to bring children together through team sports and keep children off of the streets. Whatever your aptitude, there is some way you can help the youth of Cape Town and brighten the future of our country.
If you love mother nature and don’t mind rolling up your sleeves for some hard manual labour, there are great environmental volunteer programs. Activities include planting trees, tackling alien vegetation, hiking trail conservation, beach clean ups and advocating for alternative energy sources among others. Cape Town is a green city and requires a lot of maintenance to stay as such, volunteers are required throughout the year to keep the city as beautiful as it is.
Making the world a better place starts with you and your actions. It takes nothing but a little bit of your time to give back to this beautiful city, Cape Town. With activities running whole year round and with such variety, there’s no excuse not to pay it forward.