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Protecting Children

Caring and loving volunteers help the staff at this unique organisation empower vulnerable children. The focus is to provide quality education and developmental programmes so that children reach their full potential and grow to become leaders in their communities.

Protecting Children
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Location Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
Duration From 2 weeks
Dates All year round from mid-January to mid-December
  • You must have an upper intermediate level of English
  • Special skills: You need a love for children and you should display sensitivity and empathy
Minimum Age: 21
Your impact
Documents required Enrolment form, curriculum vitae, letter of motivation, passport copy, proof of medical insurance, police clearance certificate
Day of arrival Sunday
Day of departure Sunday


  • Bring joy and make a difference in the lives of the children. 
  • Work with inspirational people from the community.
  • Experience the Garden Route’s natural beauty.
  • Get to know the Xhosa culture.
  • Take part in amazing activities outside the project.
  • Make new friends from all over the world.

Project Information

The project has been active for over 15 years and is home to children who are there for various reasons, ranging from having no home of their own, having parents who cannot afford to look after them, or having been abused. These children were potential, or actual, street children but, with a lot of love and care, the project has managed to get them all to go to school on a daily basis. These are children who really did not want to be on the streets but had no other option.

The children receive clothing, three meals a day, homework supervision, counselling, camps, art lessons, sports activities and outings. Those children who do have a family to go back to are helped by social workers who work on rehabilitating the children and then re-uniting them with their respective extended families. Once a child has left the shelter, the staff continuously visit the family and school to make sure all is well and provide any assistance if needed. The shelter's open-door policy allows children who are not coping or who are experiencing further difficulties to return and live at the shelter.

The project has developed services in two areas:

  • A child and youth care centre (CYCC), which provides full-time residential statutory care. This centre has capacity for 30 children who are referred to the project via the children’s court, having been deemed in need of care and protection. Once placed at the project, the children begin a stabilisation programme and are under the constant supervision of the child & youth care workers who, in turn, are supervised by a senior social worker.
  • A drop-in centre (DIC) that provides day care services and life skills development programmes to children who are at risk of a life on the streets.

Your Role

You volunteer from 08:00 – 14:00/15:00. It may happen that you will be asked to stay until 16:30. Times depend on the needs of the centre and what activities are planned for the children in the afternoons.

Daily tasks at the CYCC could include:

  • Reading and tutoring sessions
  • Creating murals
  • General sports activities and coaching
  • Gardening projects
  • Maintenance projects, such as creating obstacle courses and jungle gym facilities
  • Arts and crafts projects
  • Fitness training with the youth

Daily tasks at the DIC could include:

  • Tutoring
  • Daily sports and cultural activities
  • Gardening
  • Woodwork (there is a fully established and running woodwork program where the children are taught how to build flower/garden boxes, benches, chess boards etc. The only limit is their imagination.)
  • Community upliftment projects
  • General maintenance projects
  • Awareness campaigns run throughout the year as well as school holiday programs. (These include fun outings, activities and guest speakers.)

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

This project can be emotionally draining. It is important that you are aware of this before applying for this project. We will assist you during your stay to make sure that you are coping with the experience, but you need to be mentally prepared to be open to the challenge.


You will live in a backpackers based in The Crags, a rural suburb of greater Plettenberg Bay.
The backpackers is set in a 5 hectare small-holding amidst indigenous forest and open grazing pastures. You are accommodated in shared dorm rooms and/or in under-cover luxury Safari bow-tents that come fully equipped with carpets, beds, linen, electric blankets, lights etc.
You will, where required, be sharing with one or up to three other volunteers. There are numerous bathrooms for communal access and use. The main homestead is equipped with an office, TV lounge, two kitchens plus a large verandah, with a residents’ bar, and two fire-hearths for those chilly nights. It is here that guests and hosts gather for social interaction and where evening meals are served for all to enjoy. Immediately adjacent is an outdoor braai (BBQ) area, while close by, is a combination plunge pool/hot-tub (the latter fired up for Fridays) plus a golf practice putting green and a proper boule/petanque track where guests soon get to know their co-guests.
Bedding and towels are provided and your laundry will be regularly done on a wash and fold basis by the housekeeper. Free WiFi is available at the main homestead area only.


Tairis from Brazil


"I was looking for a meaningful trip while in Brazil and as a pre-school teacher, I wanted to do something related to kids. As soon as I read about the 'protecting the children" project in South Africa, I knew this project was the one for me! I had an amazing experience with the kids. They received me very well and were full of love to give. I thought I would be the teacher for them, but they were the ones who taught me a lot. The place where I stayed (Rocky Road) was also amazing. I've met people from all over the world and was able to listen their stories. It has helped me open up my mind to traveling more and to follow my dreams. I believe everybody should have such an amazing experience like this in life. Being away from home made me realize how big the world is and how much we should help each other, if possible. I am sure I have a second family in South Africa and I will keep the special moments I have in my heart forever!"

Amanda from Brazil


"I discovered how important attention is to children, it makes all difference to them. When you give it, they return to you the most simple things in the world, and there is nothing that can pay or buy it,  (I like to call love) like a big smile, hugs, joke, affection...they make all difference  in my small world... for free , and I hope I could give some moments of happiness to them."

Isabela from Brazil


"About my experience as a was incredible. To look the sincere smile, to receive the best hug and to feel the amazing energy from the children was one of the best experience of my life. After all, I'm sure I received much more than I gave. Thank you so much for give me that opportunity!"

Jessica from Brazil


"Africa was such an awesome experience for me. Thanks for all the support. All days I remember the children and I really miss to spend my time with them, to wake up and know that I gonna see them and receive their love and attention. This experience was really grateful to me. I want to donate my time and myself to people more and more now. I also gonna get in at a project here in Brazil with a NGO that takes care of children too. So this experience also gave me the necessity to continue helping people. And I hope that I never stop."

Paulo from Brazil


"I loved the experience so much. I really felt a part of something good. I learnt a lot with those kids and I'm sure we become very special to them. These children also helped to show me what the important things in life are! It was an amazing experience."


"I was a volunteer at this project for only ten days. However, you get attached to these children. Most of them have a hard background, but the joy which lights up their faces will shower you with smiles and happiness. I'm studying education and teaching ability in Switzerland. It was interesting for me to see what was different and similar between such different places! This experience was rich and I learned a lot! This gave me more of an understanding about essential real life lessons. Thank you!"


"For me, a 63 year old man, even in a short period of time (only two weeks), it was a great experience to participate in this project. Te be welcomed by all, but especially by children from 2-7 years old, it was wonderful as well. I could also help with some activities and suggestions for improvement."