Baphumelele Children’s Home is situated in Khayelitsha not far from Cape Town.

In 1989, Rosalia Mashale, 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 85 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.

As a volunteer at Baphumelele Children's Home you will be supervised by the head Social Worker and be involved in 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.

View Photos of Baphumelele Children's Home

Main activitiesAssist with child care, developmental play, preparing food, cleaning/sorting, feeding, life skills, homework and coming up with fun activities.
LocationKhayelitsha near Cape Town in South Africa.
Arrival DayYou can arrive in Cape Town on any Friday throughout the year, subject to availability. Your first day at Baphumelele will be on the Monday, so you will have the weekend to settle in and make yourself at home.
Meeting pointOne of our team will be there to welcome you when you land at Cape Town Airport.
DurationYou can volunteer at Baphumelele Children's Home for 4 weeks or more.
Working hoursVariable hours from Monday to Friday each week.
Age limitYou must be aged 18 years or older when you arrive.
Volunteer FeeVolunteer fees for each duration are shown on the top-right of this page with the option to select from several currencies.
Pre-arrival SupportOur 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 TransfersWe provide escorted transfers between Cape Town Airport and your accommodation.
Welcome briefYou will receive a comprehensive welcome brief shortly after you arrive.
OrientationOn your first day with Baphumelele Children's Home you will receive a full orientation.
AccommodationOn Friday, Saturday and Sunday night you will stay at Ashanti Lodge in 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 project related transfers are provided between Ashanti Lodge and Baphumelele Children's Home.
BadgeWe will provide you with a personalised Via Volunteers badge to wear while you are at Baphumelele Children's Home. This will be yours to keep and take home.
T-ShirtAn attractive Navy Blue Via Volunteers T-Shirt
In-country supportBeing based in South Africa means that we can give you real support during your stay.
CertificateOn completion of your placement we will send you a special thank you 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. Refer to our FAQ section for more details if you are unsure.
FlightsPlease ask us if you need any recommendations for keeping your flight costs to a minimum, or consult our FAQ section.
InsuranceWe have partnered with World Nomads Insurance to give you access to great value insurance for volunteers. Check out our Insurance page under the FAQ tab for more details.
FoodSelf catering

Your first visit to Baphumelele Children's Home will be on the first Monday after you arrive in Cape Town.

One of the Via Volunteers team will collect you from Ashanti Lodge every Monday at 10:00 and take you to the the V&A Waterfront 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 there and help you settle into the Via Volunteers flat.

On Mondays you will help out from 2pm through to 7pm. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday you will be helping out from 9am through to 7pm with about a 2 hour lunch break. On Friday you will be helping out from 9am through to about 12 noon or 6pm. 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 exactly 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
  • Life skills sessions with the older children
  • 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 the Via Volunteers team will collect you from Baphumelele at either about 12 noon or 6:15pm 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 Ed or Heather know and they will be happy to arrange these for you.

Weekend accommodation (every Friday, Saturday & Sunday night):

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 from home’ over the weekends 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:

  • 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 0-5 kg 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. An all you can eat breakfast buffet is available for only R70, with great value meals available through to 10pm
  • 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, bath, basin and shower fixture
  • Mattress covers, pillows and blankets are are provided, but you will need your own pillow cases and sleeping bag
  • A small kitchen area with an oven, microwave, fridge freezer, kettle, toaster and a selection of pots, pans, crockery, cutlery and utensils.

Baphumelele Children's Home is located in Khayelitsha about a 20 minute drive from the centre of Cape Town.

We have arrival dates for this project every Friday throughout the year.

  • You should aim to arrive in Cape Town on or before your chosen Friday arrival date
  • You can arrive at any time of day and one of our team will be there to welcome you with a big ‘Via Volunteers’ sign when you land at Cape Town International Airport
  • We will then escort you to your accommodation at Ashanti Lodge in Cape Town
  • You will have the rest of the weekend to begin exploring everything Cape Town has to offer
  • On Monday morning we will take you to Baphumelele for your first week with the children.

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.

Durations & Pricing

Change your currency
4 weeks - £ 666 (10% discount)
6 weeks - £ 1040
8 weeks - £ 1340
10 weeks - £ 1640
12 weeks - £ 1940
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 £90.

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