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Children's Hospital

This is a voluntary support group to South Africa’s largest children’s hospital. It seeks to provide assistance and care for the patients and their families. The project is committed to helping make the hospital experience less traumatic for the young patients that are treated there.

Children's Hospital
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Overview:

Location Cape Town, South Africa
Duration From 2 weeks
Dates All year round from 6th January to 20th December
Requirements
  • You must have an upper-intermediate level of English
  • Special skills: You should have sensitivity and empathy towards the children
Minimum Age: 18
Your impact
Documents required Enrolment form, curriculum vitae, letter of motivation, passport copy, proof of medical insurance, police clearance certificate
Day of arrival Thursday
Day of departure Saturday

Highlights

  • The difference you will make in these kid's lives and daily recovery will be thanked in so much love, hugs and smiles.
  • Through playing with and reading to the young patients, you comfort them and make them forget about their reality, even for just a moment. For them, your friendship and company is worth more than anything.
  • Volunteering changes lives - for both you and the children.
  • You will become a kid’s hero. Their faces will light up when they see you, their little hands ready to take yours and go play.
  • Experience amazing tours and adventures in and around Cape Town.
  • Get personal support from the volunteer coordinator.
  • Make new friends from all over the world.

 

Project Information

This hospital is the only dedicated specialist pediatric hospital serving the children of Southern Africa. The hospital is a national asset and handles the worst cases of disease and chronic illness in children under 12 years of age.

Focus areas include renal and liver transplants, specialized burn care, neurosurgery, cancer treatment, intensive care, HIV/Aids research, TB, re-hydration and co-ordination, and management in the care of chronic disorders.

The Friends of the Hospital Association is a non-profit organisation based at the Children’s Hospital. They’ve been in existence since 1978, operating as The Family Resource Centre. Their purpose is to accelerate and maintain the recovery of patients attending the Children’s Hospital by providing resources, education and support to patients, caregivers and immediate families. As FRIENDS, they believe that physical and emotional healing work simultaneously.

Throughout our lives we all need friends – and even more so when one of our children is sick and in hospital. This project is committed to helping make the hospital experience less traumatic for patients and their families by providing emotional support as well as practical assistance.

This association depends solely on the support of the community. With your help they are able to provide a more comfortable stay for the children and their families at the hospital – because happiness is going home!

Your Role

Monday – Friday, from 09:00 – 13:00 and 14:00 – 16:00.

You take turns visiting the wards and clinics. You may choose to be in the ‘healthier’ wards if you are not strong enough to handle the really sick areas. You visit the hospital wards, all dressed up in a fun apron and with brightly colored toy trolleys filled with fun goodies, giving love and comfort to sick children who are often scared and missing their families.

You interact with patients through appropriate play, reading, and other interactive activities.

You will be expected to help wherever necessary, including doing administration tasks, helping in the storeroom and assisting the Friends’ Fundraising Shop. 

It is important to note that this description serves as an example only. The daily tasks and challenges depend on the volunteer and the work that needs to be done. The final job description can therefore vary substantially from the above.

Accommodation

You will live at the Volunteer House. It is a private house in an upmarket residential area and consists of rooms with 2 single beds and 2 bunk beds. There are 4 bathrooms to share, a communal kitchen, a dining room, a lounge with TV and DVD and a beautiful garden with a swimming pool. A commercial laundry service is close by. Bedding is provided. Towels are not provided. In addition to the self-catering option, you can order homemade lunch and/or dinner which are delivered on a daily basis.

Videos

Testimonials

Ana from Brazil

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"It was one of the best experiences of my life. It's not just go and play with the kids, it's live with them for a month and feel their pain together. We are very lucky because we have perfect lives so we can help those who don't have that. Thank you so much for this opportunity. It helped me to become a better person, be more patient and see life in a different way. I'm absolutely different after my experience. I hope my kids liked my work and miss me like I will miss them. And for the new volunteers, enjoy it to the maximum!"

Sabrina from Brazil

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"For me, working at Children's Hospital was an incredible experience. I will remember for the rest of my life what I have learnt here. I'll be back to contribute even more to this amazing project. Thank you GHV for giving me this opportunity. I'll keep it in my heart forever."

Camilla from Brazil

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"This experience at the Children's Hospital was very enriching for me, because as a medical student, I could understand even more about how important the emotions of a patient is to their recovery. I also learnt the great need for health professionals to be imaginative and creative to help them during their recovery. I believe that volunteering is a wonderful experience for anyone, regardless of what area you work in. You will learn so much from volunteering. I have also been able to improve my English and know the lovely places that Cape Town offers." 

Isadora from Brazil

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"When I arrived in Cape Town, I didn't think the project would be so rewarding and so important to the children. Over the course of the day I discovered that going to the project made the children happy and made me happy too. The project is difficult because we end up loving the children and every time you leave them, we suffer. But despite this, the love we receive is worth the challenges we had to face. I think all people should do at least one volunteer program in their life to learn to love and to be more generous and humane with others."

Barbara from Brazil

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"Every human being has an impact on others, when I first got here I thought I could give some love to the ones who need it. But then I realised it was me who received the most love from them. It was a great experience and I really want to do this again."

Alexandre from Brazil

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"I would describe this project as a rescue of my sensitivity. A chance to really feel that a simple gesture of affection and attention is very important to a child, even in the moment of weakness and of a disease. I have learnt that even a short time each day, I can dedicate myself to another and it will always be important to him/her that I am dedicating myself at that time. I would certainly recommend this programme to anyone interested in volunteering. Because it makes anyone a more sensitive person and does reflect on the power of transformation in society."

Hannah from Germany

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"Being part of the volunteers-team in the Children's Hospital was one of the best experiences I've had! It is amazing playing with the kids and seeing them laugh again. I always spent my whole day on doing puzzles, reading books, drawing, singing or just cuddling the babies. During my 4 weeks at the hospital I met so many wonderful people there, fellow volunteers, nurses, doctors, patients and mothers of the patients. Now, back home, I already miss the kids and the amazing time I had there."

Julia from Brazil

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"I had an amazing experience at the Children's Hospital, I learned a lot with the children and after spending all this time with them I learned that we really need to think about the bigger picture instead of focusing on the little problems in life. This experience made me feel that we have everything to be thankful for and that we should be grateful for all that we have and stop complaining about what we don't have. I really recommend this experience to everyone!"

Evelyn from Brazil

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"It was an amazing experience for my own person, play with children isn't just play. I could participate in their lives and I think that I made a difference. I really loved it."

Juan from Colombia

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"I worked for 3 weeks at the Children's Hospital. I was an amazing experience, the children that I met changed my life when they smile at you and have fun with you. That is what I am most grateful for. That is what a person can gain as a volunteer. Cape Town is an amazing city, you can do all types of things. It was a wonderful experience."