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Recovery Hospital

Expert nursing and medical care is provided in a homely and loving environment for infants and children who are recovering from acute medical conditions. They are unable to return home for medical or social reasons.

Recovery Hospital
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Location Athlone, Cape Town, South Africa
Duration From 4 weeks
Dates All year round
  • You must have an upper intermediate level of English
  • Special skills: It is an advantage to have worked with children before
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


  • Help in caring for the most vulnerable members of society.
  • Provide love and care to children who are recovering in a home-like environment.
  • Play games and have fun with kids who really need loving attention. Bring happiness and joy in the daily life of children.
  • 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

The Recovery Hospital was opened in 1964 to provide expert nursing and medical care in a homely and loving environment for infants and children who are recovering from acute medical and surgical conditions. These children are unable to return to their own homes for social or medical reasons. To ensure that the hospital is able to provide an excellent quality of care, the hospital continually aims to improve their facilities and as well as keeping up with general maintenance.

Underprivileged families living in deprived areas do not have the finances or the facilities to nurse their children after an acute illness or severe burns. This hospital is an essential link in the treatment of children, breaking the cycle of the recurrence of sometimes-fatal diseases.

Besides basic medical care, the hospital is well equipped to provide rehabilitative services such as physio and occupational therapy, nutritional rehab, psychological rehab and basic educational stimulation for children of school-going ages. The children are treated for various medical conditions arising from HIV and Aids, tuberculosis, malnutrition, etc. All of these children are cared for at this hospital.

Your Role

The children at the hospital are able to run around and play. They require attention and must be kept occupied. This type of work is different from nursing. The children confined to their beds also need the care and attention of the volunteers, who play and read with them and distract them from their illnesses. You help with feeding, making meal times more efficient. You may also help with basic administrative tasks, cleaning, escorting patients to other hospitals. You will assist the teacher to teach the 3 to 4 year olds.

Remember that you will be playing with little kids, you will get dirty, get snotty and have them cry a few times, but it is all worth the effort when you see them smiling. You are a valuable addition to the team at the hospital and your work will become an integral part of the care-giving package.

A possible work schedule could be: 

  • 08.30 Breakfast: Help with feeding the children and preparing some of them for nursery school by supervising brushing of teeth, ensuring that faces and hands are clean, etc.
  • 08:30 – 11:30 Quality time: Give love and attention to the children by playing with them using the toys provided under the supervision of a member of staff. Occupy those children confined to their beds by reading books, playing with educational toys, etc., according to their age group.
  • 11:30 Lunch: Help with feeding the children, and then supervising them with the potty, washing faces and hands and encouraging their afternoon nap.
  • 12:00 – 14:00 Sleeping time.
  • 14:00 – 15:30 Help with the afternoon snack (a cup of milk for the children or a bottle feed for the babies). Keep the children occupied, e.g. play therapy/ reading until bath time and assist where needed.
  • 15:30 Supper: Help with feeding and clearing up after the meal. 

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. 


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.





Feline from the Netherlands


"I really enjoyed my time at the Recovery Hospital. I love the kids there and I learnt a lot from them. The kids love to play, cuddle and learn from you. It was such a good experience to see how things go in an African hospital, so different to home. I learnt a lot about taking care of kids and about their illnesses and medication. Don't be afraid to ask other people about the kids illnesses. It is really interesting. I will definitely come back!"

Cecilia from Brazil


"I always had a dream to visit Africa, so I just being there made my trip worth it. But I can say that this whole experience changed my life forever. When I was with the kids at the project, I tried to give them all my love but it was them that gave me more love that filled my heart. I think I can say that now I am a grateful person to have lived this time here. I really hope to come back."

Viktoria from Brazil


"I just spent two weeks volunteering, I met wonderful kids and people there. I did however spend most of my time with one baby girl. Every time she opened a big smile or laughed it made everyone happy. I saw her learning to clap her hands, learning to make noises with her mouth, I saw her struggling to stand. When she fell she would get back up. She never gave up. And finally I saw her first step! It was the best experience I have ever lived and I wouldn't change anything! These kids gave us love, happiness and big smiles. I just want to thank everyone for this opportunity, to see these kids growing and learning. Thank you Good Hope and Recovery Hospital."

Maria from Brazil


"I loved the place, the kids, everything! It was amazing, and everyone needs to try it! Remember to be happy, friendly and open you mind. Thank you Good Hope!"

Sonia from Brazil


"Since I wished to improve my English in Cape Town I decided to work somewhere local to help needy children. It was the right decision because I love children. As a teacher, I have stayed close to them. I'm feeling absolutely grateful from the smiles I found in each child's face. Sharing joy with them through play was priceless."

Juliana from Brazil


"To be a volunteer at the Recovery Hospital is really good. The kids are so happy and just need love and someone to play with them. It is an amazing experience for your life."

Clara from Brazil


"Volunteering was the best experience of my life. To see the children smiling every day was precious. I will never forget these kids. Remember, it is good to have your favorites but play with each one of them. After this experience I don't ever want to stop volunteering! I hope I come back one day. Thank you for this opportunity!"

Andrea from Switzerland


"I really enjoyed my time volunteering at the Recovery Hospital. I made a lot of good experiences which I will never forget - especially the children at Sarah Fox. There were two departments - one for the until more or less 2 years old babies and one department for the toddlers, were I found my place. I used to play with the children, feed them and helped the nurses to change nappies. The children are very affectionate - so my favorite experience was just to see that it's possible to have a very good relationship to some of the children the longer I worked there. I wished I could have done it for a longer period of time and I would definitely chose this project again."