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.
|Location||Cape Town, South Africa|
|Duration||From 2 weeks|
|Dates||All year round from 10th January to 13th December|
|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|
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!
Monday – Friday, from 09:00 – 12:30 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. By 15:30 you leave the wards in order to have enough time to clean the toys, unpack the toy trolleys and sign the register.
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.
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.
Pedro from Brazil ()
"This project was one of the most beautiful and important things I've ever done! I think that staying with the kids every day, playing with them, helps them a lot with their treatment, but also they help and change us so much even when we don't understand each other, because of the different languages. Though they are passing through a really rough time, love supports everything."
Mirella from Brazil ()
"For me, working at the hospital was very good. I felt fulfilled every time I could make a child smile. I don't know how to speak English very well but I managed to talk and interact with every single smile I received. I understood the meaning of living and I learned things I never imagined learning about. I'm really grateful. Thank you for the experience."
Chloe from France ()
"Working at the Children’s Hospital was a great experience. You really feel like you’re making the kids happy; when you get a smile or a hug from them. You feel so proud! It’s really rewarding. Sometimes you see the kids for a several days, you get really attached and it makes memories. It’s really a great experience to also grow as a person and meet new people from so many countries."
Rebecca from Switzerland ()
"My experience in the Children’s Hospital was so amazing! I’ll never forget the time there. I couldn’t as for a better organization like Good Hope Volunteers, the staff is so kind and helpful."
Eduardo from Brazil ()
"My wife and I had great moments playing with the kids in the Children’s Hospital. Every day we felt that we could make a difference keeping the kids occupied with games and providing their parents with a little break for their own needs. It was a wonderful experience!"
Morgana from Brazil ()
"The volunteering experience was even better than I could ever imagine. Seeing that the smallest things can make such a big difference and make the day better for the child and yourself. Cape Town is amazingly beautiful! I made friends that I will have for life and the children at the hospital have changed my life for the better. I will never forget these memories, thank you Good Hope!"
Marco from Brazil ()
"Good Hope Volunteers is an amazing program and a really rewarding experience. The people are always helpful and they make you feel at home. I spent a lot of time with the children at the Children’s Hospital, it was incredible. When you make them smile you can see the difference you are making in their lives."
Gabriela from Brazil ()
"My experience volunteering in the children's hospital was amazing! I’ve learnt a lot from these kids and their parents. We played lots of games like puzzles, cards and even bowling. It was very rewarding to stay close to these children and to put a smile on their faces. A life changing experience!"
Victoria from Brazil ()
"When I look back at my experience in South Africa I can just find words to thank everyone involved! This was for sure the greatest experience of my life! I came home with every single smile of the children I got to play. Working in the hospital for 3 weeks made me learn a lot about emphathy and how to react to lifes problems. Now I know how important small things can be, like painting some paper or giving attention to a child, can be. And how easy that is to do. I'm sure I have become a better person. Besides the volunteering, I have made a lot of friends the I will remember forever. Thank you so much Good Hope Volunteers for giving me this amazing opportunity. From Brazil with love, Victoria."
Ragdhda from Saudi Arabia ()
"My experience was great! The city is beautiful and I met a lot of nice people. The hospital is awesone and I really enjoyed playing with the kids. It was a great experience and I would like to come back."
Ines from Spain ()
"I am so sad to be back in Spain. It has been an amazing experience. I've been in many other volunteering projects abroad but I can say that this has been the best. The student house, the rest of volunteers, the amazing city that Cape town is, and of course the children at the hospital have turned this trip unforgettable. I couldn't stop crying when saying goodbye to the kids from the hospital, they are so special. Really, I've found everything very well organised and, for sure, it has met the expectations for me and, probably, for all the rest of volunteers from Good Hope. Thank you so much for bringing me the opportunity and for all the help that you are giving to all that people in need. Lots of hugs from here to everyone, I hope to see you again!"
Ana from Brazil ()
"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 ()
"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 ()
"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 ()
"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 ()
"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 ()
"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 ()
"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 ()
"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 ()
"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 ()
"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."