Children love to play! It is the key to development in many areas and helps them to understand the world around them. It promotes learning, growth and development, relaxation, fun and socialisation. Play also allows the child to deal with the stresses and strains of life which they might be finding overwhelming.
The Friends Of the Children’s Hospital Association is based at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. As a volunteer you will interact with patients on the wards through play activities. Occasionally you might be asked to assist ward staff, help with administrative tasks as well as help out with reception duties.
To join this project you will need to be in good physical condition and aged 18 years or older by the time you arrive in Cape Town. Emotional maturity and discretion are important assets for volunteers at the hospital, and you must also have personal characteristics like commitment, flexibility, patience and the ability to use your initiative if you find yourself at a loose end. To ensure effective communication between all team members, a good understanding of the English language is also required.
|Arrival Airport||Cape Town (CPT)|
|Arrival Day||Friday or earlier|
|Join Project On||Monday|
|Duration||You can volunteer at the Children's Hospital for 1 week or more|
|Volunteering Hours||Approximately 8:30am - 12:30pm, from Monday to Friday each week|
|Main Activities||Assisting with the play programme on various children's wards|
|Fly Home On||Friday or later|
|Minimum Age||You must be aged 18 years or older when you arrive|
|Availability||Available dates for each duration are shown on the top-right of this page with the option to select from several currencies.|
|Pre-arrival Support||Our experienced Cape Town team is on hand with expert advice and assistance to ensure you are fully prepared for your trip to South Africa|
|Airport Transfers||One of our team will be at the airport to welcome you when you land. We will also get you back to the airport in time for your flight home|
|Welcome Brief||You will receive a comprehensive welcome brief shortly after you arrive|
|Accommodation||You will stay at Ashanti Lodge in central Cape Town with a pool, restaurant, bar and wonderful views of Table Mountain|
|Food||Basic breakfasts are included at Ashanti Lodge. All other meals are self-catering|
|Orientation||On your first morning with the Children's Hospital you will have a full orientation|
|T-Shirt||An attractive Via Volunteers T-Shirt|
|In-country Support||Our Cape Town based volunteer coordinators are available 24/7 for emergencies, and are on hand to help you make the most of your stay|
|Certificate||On completion of your placement we will send you a special thank you certificate to accompany your CV or resume.|
|Visas||Citizens from most countries can arrive in South Africa and stay for up to 90 days without a Visa. Please refer to our FAQ section for more details if you are unsure|
|Flights||Please refer to our FAQ section for recommendations about keeping your flight costs to a minimum|
|Insurance||We have partnered with World Nomads Insurance to give you access to great value insurance for volunteers. Please check out our Insurance page under the FAQ tab for more details|
|Transport||We will take you to the Children's Hospital on your first morning. Thereafter, you will need to book and pay for your remaining transfers using the Uber App on your phone.|
Your first visit to the hospital will be on the first Monday after you arrive in Cape Town.
On your first day, one of the Via Volunteer's team will collect you from Ashanti Lodge @ 08:30 and take you to the hospital. Thereafter, you will need to book your remaining transfers between Ashanti Lodge and the hospital using the Uber app on your phone.
We will introduce you to the Friends of the Children's Hospital volunteer coordinator who will help you to settle in with a warm welcome and a tour of the wards. She will get you started soon after and provide you with a provisional schedule for the week ahead.
You will be provided with an apron and name badge to wear while you are in the hospital.
From Monday to Friday your daily routine will see you helping out from 09:00 to approximately 12:15. There is a 20 minute tea & biscuit break at about 10:30.
You will often need to be able to act on your own initiative as the volunteers need to choose how to entertain the children by checking their age, gender, level of illness etc. We suggest that you bring your computer along so that you can entertain the children with appropriate movies which you can download before you arrive. This is especially so in the burn unit as the children there find it very difficult to move around as they are in lots of pain.
If you would like to book any activities or tours for your free time, please let Ed or Heather know and they will be happy to arrange these for you.
As one of Cape Town’s best backpackers, Ashanti Lodge has excellent facilities and is perfectly positioned in central Cape Town as an ideal base for volunteers. This will be your home while your're here and is a great place to relax when you aren’t out exploring everything Cape Town has to offer.
Ashanti is just a couple of minutes away from the excellent MyCiti bus route which provides cheap, safe and reliable transport to Table Mountain, the V&A Waterfront, Camps Bay, Hout Bay and much more. Close by you will also find an incredible variety of restaurants and bars, plenty of great hangouts in Long Street, a well-equipped shopping mall, supermarkets, health shops, cafes…the list goes on.
While you’re at Ashanti you can enjoy all of the facilities below. Whether you’re having a dip in the pool, watching Table Mountain while you have breakfast, or booking an adventurous activity at the Travel Desk, you will find that Ashanti have thought of everything:
The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital is located in Cape Town about a 10 minute drive from Ashanti Lodge.
We have arrival dates for this project every Friday throughout the year.
It’s easy to add extra nights to your stay, so if you find a cheaper flight that arrives earlier than your chosen Friday arrival date just let us know. You can also add extra nights after your placement for the same reason.
If you want to add another project, a Scuba Diving Course, a Surfing Week, or even a longer tour, we can help you with that too. Please ask one of our friendly team at any time before you arrive in Cape Town.
How hospital stays affect children at different ages:
A hospital stay will affect different children in different ways, depending on their age, the reason for their hospitalization and their personality type.
Birth to 12 months (1 year old)
12 months to 24 months (1 year to 2 years old)
2 years to 5 years
5 years to 12 years