Volunteer Testimonials   |  Baphumelele Project Photos

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:

CNN Hero - Mama Rosie and her work at Baphumelele Children's Home

Alfre Woodard introduces Mama Rosie at the All-Star Tribute in New York

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.You will also need to produce a Police Clearance certificate as you will be working children.

Arrival AirportCape Town (CPT)
Arrival DayFriday recommended - you can arrive earlier or over the weekend
Join Project OnMonday
DurationYou can volunteer at Baphumelele Children's Home for 4 weeks or more
Volunteering HoursVariable hours from Monday to Friday each week
Main ActivitiesAssist with child care, developmental play, preparing food, cleaning/sorting, feeding, homework and coming up with fun activities
Fly Home OnFriday or later
Minimum AgeYou must be aged 18 years or older when you arrive
AvailabilityAvailable dates for each duration are shown on the top-right of this page with the option to select from several currencies.
Pre-arrival SupportOur experienced team is on hand to ensure you are fully prepared for your trip to South Africa
Airport WelcomeOne of our team will be at the airport to welcome you and escort you to Ashanti Lodge
AccommodationOn 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
TransportAll transfers are provided between Ashanti Lodge and Baphumelele Children's Home
OrientationOn your first day with Baphumelele Children's Home you will have a full orientation
BadgeWe will provide you with a personalised Via Volunteers name badge to wear while you are at Baphumelele Children's Home
Wi-FiFree Wi-Fi at Ashanti Lodge and at Baphumelele
In-country SupportOur 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 AirportWe will pick you up from Baphumelele in plenty of time to your check-in for your flight
CertificateOn completion of your placement we will send you a special thank you certificate to accompany your CV or resume.
VisasCitizens 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
FlightsPlease refer to our FAQ section for recommendations about keeping your flight costs to a minimum

Volunteer Testimonials   |  Baphumelele Project Photos

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:

  • Assisting with and coming up with fun educational activities and games
  • Assisting children with homework
  • Helping the staff in the kitchen with preparing food, serving and feeding the young ones
  • Developmental play with the babies and toddlers
  • Assisting at the Educare Centre
  • Cleaning and sorting
  • Assisting the nurse in Clemens House with children in respite care
  • Helping to calm the children before bed time with an activity or story.

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.

Volunteer Testimonials   |  Baphumelele Project Photos

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:

  • Dormitory accommodation with all bedding and linen provided.
  • Free Wi-Fi from anywhere on the premises
  • A fully equipped shared kitchen with fridge/freezers for storing your groceries
  • All bedding including linen, duvet and pillows (linen is changed every four days)
  • Laundry service – R70 per 0-5kg load including powder, wash, dry & fold. Drop it off at reception and it will be ready for you about 12 hours later
  • Lots of showers and toilets
  • A lovely pool area with sun beds and a BBQ
  • A restaurant bar with a pool table, and a balcony overlooking the pool with impressive views of Table Mountain.
  • A personal safe for every volunteer and coded access to your room
  • Lockable under bed storage for your suitcase/clothing (bring your own padlock for this)
  • CCTV Security, controlled access and a night guard
  • A night manager
  • The lodge is cleaned daily and rooms are also serviced daily.

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:

  • Two shared bedrooms with 2 beds in one and four beds in the other
  • A bathroom with a toilet, basin and shower
  • A small kitchen area with an oven, microwave, fridge freezer, kettle, toaster and a selection of pots, pans, crockery, cutlery and utensils.
  • You are expected to keep your living space tidy, dishes washed etc. A cleaner comes in every Monday morning to mop floors, dust etc.

Volunteer Testimonials   |  Baphumelele Project Photos

Your arrival airport is Cape Town (CPT)

  • We have arrival dates for this project on most Fridays throughout the year.
  • You can also arrive earlier or over the weekend if you prefer. We can easily add extra nights to your stay, before and/or after your placement.
  • You can book your arrival flight to land at Cape Town International Airport at any time of day.
  • One of our team will be at the airport to give you a warm welcome. We will also escort you to Ashanti Lodge and help you get settled in.
  • You will have the rest of the weekend to explore Cape Town before joining Baphumelele on Monday.

Durations & Pricing

Change your currency
4 weeks - £ 850
5 weeks - £ 1050
6 weeks - £ 1250
7 weeks - £ 1450
8 weeks - £ 1650
9 weeks - £ 1850
10 weeks - £ 2050
11 weeks - £ 2250
12 weeks - £ 2450
You do not pay anything when you book. We will provide you with a detailed itinerary and quote for you to check. When you are happy with the details, you will be able to confirm your placement with a deposit of £30.

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