In 1989, Mama Rosie, a trained primary school teacher, moved from the Eastern Cape to Khayelitsha near Cape Town. She was disturbed to see young children going through the rubbish dump in search of food while their parents were away during the day, either at work or in search of work.
She responded by taking children into her home, and together with a group of women from the community, began looking after these unsupervised children. After the first week, 36 children had joined their charge. Baphumelele now has up to 100 children in their care.
The name given to this project was Baphumelele (pronounced: ba-poo-meh-leh-leh), a Xhosa word meaning “you have progressed”. From these humble beginnings Baphumelele Educare Centre was founded, which today is an established community crèche and Grade R (preschool) caring for roughly 230 children aged three months to six years.
While the Educare Centre had developed a reputation for looking after children, Rosie also felt a calling to reach out to orphaned children in the community. To that end, Baphumelele Children’s Home was created as a place of safety for abandoned, abused, neglected or orphaned children from 0 to 18 years of age.
Through the hard work, determination and help of the community and overseas friends, Baphumelele has developed into a thriving community project over the years. In addition to the Children’s Home and Educare Centre & Grade R, today Baphumelele encompasses other community outreach initiatives such as the Respite Care Centre; Clemens Cares for Kids; Hospice in the Home, Child Headed Homes, Fountain of Hope, and Rosie’s Kitchen & Bakery.
Baphumelele has welcomed many well-known visitors over the years including Nelson Mandela, Sir Elton John, Beyoncé, Bono, the Manchester United football team and many more. The home also featured in a BBC documentary just before the FIFA World Cup in 2010 with a number of English footballer’s wives learning what it was like to be a volunteer here.
Mama Rosie & Baphumelele have won more than seventeen local and international awards for their work so far. In November 2017, Mama Rosie was recognised as a CNN Hero at a prestigious award ceremony in New York. You can view the CNN videos about Mama Rosie and her award below:
As a volunteer at Baphumelele Children's Home you will be assisting care workers, teachers and a qualified nurse with a wide range of tasks including developmental play, assisting in the Educare Centre, fun educational activities, homework help for the older children, respite care for the younger children, food preparation, feeding, cleaning/sorting and much more.
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 is an important asset for volunteers at Baphumelele, 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 recommended - you can arrive earlier or over the weekend|
|Join Project On||Monday|
|Duration||You can volunteer at Baphumelele Children's Home for 4 weeks or more|
|Volunteering Hours||Variable hours from Monday to Friday each week|
|Main Activities||Assist with child care, developmental play, preparing food, cleaning/sorting, feeding, homework and coming up with fun activities|
|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 team is on hand to ensure you are fully prepared for your trip to South Africa|
|Airport Welcome||One of our team will be at the airport to welcome you and escort you to Ashanti Lodge|
|Accommodation||On Friday, Saturday and Sunday night you will stay at Ashanti Lodge in central Cape Town with a pool, restaurant, bar and wonderful views of Table Mountain. During the week you will stay in the Via Volunteers flat at Baphumelele Children's Home|
|Transport||All transfers are provided between Ashanti Lodge and Baphumelele Children's Home|
|Orientation||On your first day with Baphumelele Children's Home you will have a full orientation|
|Badge||We will provide you with a personalised Via Volunteers name badge to wear while you are at Baphumelele Children's Home|
|Vodacom Sim Card||A free, pre-registered Sim card for your phone|
|Wi-Fi||Free Wi-Fi at Ashanti Lodge. There is no Wi-Fi at Baphumelele|
|In-country Support||Our volunteer coordinators are available 24/7 for emergencies, and are on hand to help you make the most of your stay|
|Transfer back to Cape Town Airport||We will pick you up from Baphumelele in plenty of time to your check-in for your flight|
|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.|
Your first visit to Baphumelele Children's Home will be on the first Monday after you arrive in Cape Town.
One of our volunteer coordinators will collect you from Ashanti Lodge every Monday morning and take you to a local mall where you will have about an hour to do your grocery shopping. From there we will take you to Baphumelele. We will introduce you to the team on your first afternoon and help you settle into the Via Volunteers flat.
On Mondays you will help from about 2pm through to 7pm. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday you will be helping from 9am through to 7pm with about a 2-hour lunch break. On Friday you will be helping from 9am through to about 12 noon or 5pm. Volunteering hours are variable, so please be prepared to be flexible to the needs of the children and the home. Some days will see you starting earlier than 9am, and other days will see you finishing later than 7pm.
Please remember that times and duties can vary at short notice as no day is the same at Baphumelele. You will need to be prepared to use your initiative if you find yourself at a loose end with no planned activities or duties. During your stay you can expect to be helping out with the following activities:
If you would like some inspiration of what to do with the children, we have prepared lots of boards for you on our Pinterest page with plenty of ideas for fun educational activities for children.
Every Friday, one of our volunteer coordinators will collect you from Baphumelele and take you back to Ashanti Lodge for your weekend off.
If you would like to book any activities or tours for your weekends off, please let our volunteer coordinators know and they will be happy to arrange these for you.
Weekend accommodation (every Friday, Saturday & Sunday night):
Voted in 2019 as Cape Town’s best backpacker accommodation, Ashanti Lodge has excellent facilities and is perfectly positioned in central Cape Town as an ideal base for volunteers. This will be your home every weekend and is a great place to relax when you aren’t out exploring everything Cape Town has to offer.
Uber works very well in Cape Town, and 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 or watching Table Mountain while you have breakfast, you will find that Ashanti have thought of everything:
On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday night:
You will stay in our dedicated volunteer flat at Baphumelele Children's Home. This basic but comfortable accommodation has the following facilities:
Your arrival airport is Cape Town (CPT)