Psychology - South Africa

The Psychology Volunteer Abroad Programme is for current and alumni psychology students who want to live in a different social and cultural context in the heart of local communities in South Africa. This volunteer programme is designed to give essential practical work experience to apply to degree related travel and career progression, while giving back to communities affected by HIV/AIDS.

We have two Psychology Volunteer Programmes. They both offer something different and we work exclusively with both organisations. Please be aware, that places are limited, and in the summer months, fill up fast as this is a very popular volunteer programme.

Operation Bobbi Bear is a community-based response human rights organisation based in Durban, South Africa. Bobbi Bear support children’s right and children who have been victims of sexual abuse. Victims of sexual abuse are thrown into a criminal justice system that is ill equipped to enable them to communicate about their ordeal in a way that safeguards their well-being. The added trauma of children struggling to communicate with police officers who are not trained in working sensitively with abused children means that justice is often not done for the child.

Nkosi’s Haven is an NGO in Johannesburg, and offers residential, holistic care and support for mothers and their children whose lives have been impacted by HIV/AIDS. Nkosi’s Haven also provides support for orphans, HIV/AIDS affected or not. It aims to improve the productivity of their residents through providing access to medical care, therapy, education and skill building workshops. The goal is to empower residents while providing a safe, dignified home in hopes that all mothers and children are able to become responsible and contributing members of society.

During your stay you’ll be able to apply your research methodologies, gather insights and understand how people’s way of life has developed in South Africa. In addition, you will deal with everyday cases that come in, as well as follow up with closed cases and community outreach programmes. where you’ll be involved as a supporting member of the team.

This is a great volunteer abroad programme to acquire research for a third year dissertation or to simply apply your degree education in communities in need. You can research while volunteering based on your academic interests and dissertation topic. Please ask us about your ideas.

Psychology topics to consider;

● Development from infancy
● Psychology, Crime and the Criminal Justice System
● Society, Politics and Prejudice
● Society and Communication
● Child development Psychology
● Social Research Methods
● Social Psychology
● Clinical Psychology and Mental Health


“This is an incredible project to volunteer with. Those who practice or are studying social work, counselling, psychology, child development, youth work or anthropology, I believe can gain a lot from this experience. Working within a different cultural framework, understanding the challenges of that environment and learning how NGOs work to overcome them can deepen your understanding of a subject and enable you to broaden your approach to it.” 


For more testimonials from students and volunteers, visit our blog or contact us to discuss your research and volunteer plans. 

Nkosi’s Haven Overview

Nkosi’s Haven offers residential, holistic care and support for mothers and their children whose lives have been impacted by HIV/AIDS. Nkosi’s Haven also provides support for orphans, HIV/AIDS affected or not. It aims to improve the productivity of their residents through providing access to medical care, therapy, education and skill building workshops. The goal is to empower residents while providing a safe, dignified home in hopes that all mothers and children are able to become responsible and contributing members of society.

Nkosi’s Haven love international volunteers who take the initiative and implement activities and projects related to their passions. The ideas need to be presented to management and then adjustments and suggestions will be made based on age, culture and differences.

If a specific volunteer is studying towards for e.g. Social Work that volunteer is more than welcome to put programmes together for the mums, teens etc (will be supervised by our social worker) and implement them.
Volunteers will be briefed on what they can and what they cannot do with the children.

Bobbi Bear Overview

Go to emergency call-outs and support the Operation Bobbi Bear Child Safety Officers (CSOs) throughout the abuse cases that come in during your programme.

Visit local police stations, hospitals and the High Court to assist with trauma recovery and support victims throughout the process.

Be closely involved with the rescued children when they come to the rescue centre, and/or support on site where the case is attended too on location, this will include comforting them, counselling them and loving them, using your experience and knowable working in this field.

During your stay you will shadow the Bobbi Bear staff and support where needed. You will give guidance, listen and learn about the different cultures and policies within them.

You will gain insight and experience the social welfare system of South Africa

You will participate in lectures at rural schools to raise awareness about sensitive issues such as HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse and sex education through the use of the ‘Edu-Toy’

Attend ‘The Tree’ clinic and help develop outreach programmes that bring rural communities together to share stores and empower women and children.

You will learn about the ‘Bobbi Bear bear’ a toy used to support the case building from first contact to prosecution.
Bobbi Bear Example Volunteer Schedule

4 week placement
First Day: On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with. You will be taken to your accommodation and given a meal.
Training: 2 Days
The training will begin the day after you arrive. This consists of 2 days with a Child Safety Officer, the founder of Bobbi Bear, important history, Bobbi Bear operations and current cases.
Friday: Mum’s and babies at the Illovo Tree
7.00am – 2pm
Saturday: Children’s Day at the Illove Tree
7.00am – 2pm
Sunday: (This could be rotated if Sunday is a required working day)
Free time

Weekdays: Volunteers work for approximately 3 to 5 hours per day. A typical schedule is as follows:
7.00 AM – Breakfast at the volunteer house. Debrief of current cases. Allocation of buddy/mentor for week 1 (2 weeks of shadowing if 4 week placement)
7.30 AM – Volunteers travel with their buddy for the day. Start time and daily workload depends on the project that the individual volunteer is participating on.
1.00 PM – Volunteers break for lunch. Volunteers either travel back to the volunteer house or eat a packed lunch at their placement. After lunch, volunteers continue with their volunteer work (where applicable).
3.00 PM – 4.00 PM – Work with the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to return to the volunteer house, plan for the following day’s activities or use their free time as they wish.
7.00 PM – Dinner at the volunteer house.

Nkosi’s Haven
6-7:30am – Breakfast with the residence
9am – Support onsite Psychologist
12:30 – Lunch
1:30am – Support onsite Psychologist
5pm – Finish and support dinner and bed-time routine
Bobbi Bear is around 40 minutes drive from the Durban airport. A member of the Bobbi Bear staff will meet you off your flight and take you back to the airport.
Nkosi’s Haven is around 30 minutes from Johannesburg international airport. A member of staff will collect you and drop you off.
Bobbi Bear
A long serving member of the Bobbi Bear family will guide you through everything you need to know about working with Bobbi Bear during your stay. You will learn about the history of HIV/AIDS in South Africa, how they use ‘the bear’ and what procedures you will need to go through when a case comes into Bobbi Bear HQ.
Nkosi’s Haven
When you arrive, you will be shown around the village, and you will be assigned a ‘buddy’ who will be your guide and help you settle in.
Bobbi Bear has a beautiful and very secure volunteer house with garden and all amenities. You will have your own bed, hot shower, wifi, fridge/freezer in room, air con, kitchen and tea/coffee. You will stay with other volunteers. A great way to bond and make friends. Food is not included, there is a foodhall/foodmarket next to the volunteer house where you can purchase all necessary food.
Nkosi’s Haven’s international volunteers are housed together in one cottage at the Nkosi’s Haven Village location. The cottage is equipped with:
television & DVD player
microwave & toaster
2 bathrooms: 1 shower, 1 bath tub
shared living room
There are 2 rooms with cupboards for clothing, personal belongings etc. Valuables may be kept in a safe in the office depending on size. Most house hold items such as cleaning materials, toiletries and the like are provided by Nkosi’s Haven. Any further supplies may be purchased at your own discretion at a nearby shopping centre. Laundry services are provided once a week for volunteers
You will be guided through every step of your volunteer programme. You will be assigned a member of staff to answer any pre-trip questions. You will also have a member of staff at the project to help with anything whilst you are in South Africa.
You will have some time off to explore South Africa. Please look at the Optional Extras for additional trips and adventures.
FOOD (Nkosi’s Haven)
You will be provided with 3x meals a day. This will be basic, local food, anything imported will be at additional costs. There is also a shop near by that you can top-up any food requirements during your stay.
We want you to have the experience of a lifetime. You are a VIP after all.

Although this is not a holiday but an opportunity to invest into an amazing charity working with some of South Africa’s most vulnerable children, we want you to have the full South Africa experience. That is why we can arrange extra trips for you during your stay at Bobbi Bear. These can be arranged once in S.A. with the team at Bobbi Bear, or before through your support officer.

Cooking an authentic African meal
Zulu home visit
Church visit
Fishing trip
Beach trip
Farm visit
Sky diving
The Volunteer Programme starts from ****€450 per week****

This fee is set to cover your general living costs (Accommodation, WIFI, cleaning, kitchen use, aircon rooms, travel to and from the airport, pre-trip support, on the ground support and aftercare) We have built in a direct donation for the organisation you will volunteer. There is more info in the 'Included' tab.

We encourage you to fundraise for your volunteer fee and can advise you on methods, grants and bursaries available. Please get in touch with us for more advice.

South Africa does not require visas for UK passport holders. If you are from outside of the EU please let us know and we will find out details for you.


Flights from the UK range from £400-£600 depending on your time of travel. SkyScanner and Kayak are great ways to search for the lowest fares.


You will need to check with you doctor to find out what injections you require. Everyone is different, so please check. Although this is a safe area of South Africa, some injections may be required before you travel.

Optional extras

These can be arranged at an addition cost. These are not expensive costs and will undoubtedly be less that a tour operator.

UK travel to and from the airport

We can help you plan your journey, but we cannot pay for it. Just ask.
There booking conditions form an important part of the contract for your volunteer abroad programme so please read them carefully before confirming that you agree to them. All programmes advertised on our website are provided by Volunteer Invest or as agents for receiving partner, and are sold subject to the following conditions
Booking & Fees
Programme Fees
The deposit and total fee for the Volunteer Investment Programme (referred to as ‘VOLUNTEER INVEST ’) shall be as published on the Volunteer Invest website – www.volunteerinvest.or
All prices are accurate at the date published, but we VOLUNTEER INVEST reserve the right to change any of those prices. Prices on our website are updated regularly. Before you make a booking VOLUNTEER INVEST will give you the up-to-date price of your chosen programme including the cost of any peak-season supplements, upgrades or additional facilities that you have requested
Your fees will be payable by way of a deposit and programme fee as follows:
Volunteer Investment Programme
A deposit is due upon acceptance of your application and upon receiving your 1st invoice, by VOLUNTEER INVEST, onto your selected programme.
A first payment for the deposit of €300 is required to confirm your place on the volunteer programme
The final instalment of the programme fee balance is due:
60 days prior to your date of departure.
You must be 18 years old or over and possess the legal capacity and authority to make the booking and accept these booking conditions. If you are currently under 18 years old you will be required to have a parent/guardian sign a copy of this agreement.
If VOLUNTEER INVEST as the agent for our receiving partner accepts your booking we will confirm and then a contract will exist with us as agent for a disclosed principal.
It is imperative that you advise us at the time of booking of any condition, medical or otherwise, that might affect your or other people’s enjoyment of the trip.
You must be completely honest with VOLUNTEER INVEST throughout the application process and all information contained on any form completed must be accurate. Any false, deceptive or withheld information on your application or documentation, or any behaviour deemed by VOLUNTEER INVEST as inappropriate or prejudicial, during, or after, your acceptance to a VOLUNTEER INVEST programme may be grounds for immediate cancellation from the programme with, or without, refund of fees, all at the absolute discretion of VOLUNTEER INVEST .
Unless otherwise specified on the advertised Programmes do NOT include any air travel. It is your responsibility to purchase your own flights.
A booking is accepted on the strict understanding that;
You undertake to comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange, drug and all other regulations of any
You comply with your chosen programme’s rules and behaviour guidelines, which are intended to ensure your safety and enjoyment of the programme. You will be advised of any specific programme rules either in your pre-departure information, or during your orientation. If you commit any illegal act when on the programme or if in the reasonable opinion of the leader your behaviour is disruptive, threatening or abusive or is causing or likely to cause danger, distress or annoyance to others we may terminate your participation on the programme without any liability on our part.

Application & Documents
For your application to be complete you must complete and submit the online application form and the necessary documents, within the required timeframes, as outlined below.
Documents Required:
You are required to fully complete the VOLUNTEER INVEST online application form and upload a photograph of yourself.
You are required to submit to VOLUNTEER INVEST a copy of the picture page of your current, valid passport. It is your responsibility to check the passport requirements for the country to which you are travelling to ensure your passport is valid.
You are required to return and sign the relevant documentation included in your Welcome Pack.
Medical History:
Please disclose any medial conditions that may affect your participation in the programme.
Travel Insurance:
You must have valid travel insurance before travel and provide VOLUNTEER INVEST with a copy no later than 30 days prior to your departure date
Flight Itinerary:
You must provide VOLUNTEER INVEST with a copy of your confirmed flight itinerary no later than 10 days prior to your departure date and you agree to advise us of any changes that may be made to your arrival details at the earliest possible opportunity.
Programme Specific Documents:
You may have to submit additional documentation such as, visa documentation, certifications or qualifications, CV/resume and references. You will be given specific timeframes for submission of each.
VOLUNTEER INVEST reserve the right to postpone or withdraw your application if you have not completed and/or submitted all the necessary documents within the required time frames.
Health & Travel Insurance
It is your responsibility to ensure, at least one months prior to travel, that you obtain proper and detailed medical advice for the latest health requirements, recommendations for your destination and any costs. Where you do not do so and either are not allowed to enter any country, or suffer personal injury or death as a result, we have no liability to you for any cost, loss, or damage which you suffer, nor will we refund you the cost of any unused portion of your travel arrangements or VOLUNTEER INVEST programme fees.
You are required to make VOLUNTEER INVEST aware of any pre-existing medical conditions and you may be required to submit an additional letter from your doctor.
It is your responsibility to advise VOLUNTEER INVEST of any special dietary requirements.
If you are a pregnant woman, or have recently visited other countries you should check requirements with your general practitioner.
You must insure yourself against any possible risk that may occur and in particular to ensure that you have sufficient insurance in respect of expenses, injury, illness, death, repatriation, cancellation and curtailment and dependent relatives. You are required to carry proof of insurance with you and produce it if reasonably requested by our employees or suppliers. You should ensure that there are no exclusion clauses that limit cover for the type of activities included in your programme.
Visas, Passport & Travel
Whilst VOLUNTEER INVEST are able to provide basic advice to you regarding passports, visa or travel requirements, you should check with the appropriate Embassy, Consulate, British Foreign Office and/or airline for the exact requirements for your chosen programme and date of travel
It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct passport and visas to gain access to any country/region included in your travel arrangements. If you are travelling overland to certain destinations you may need to also pass through controls of other countries en-route so this should be allowed for with any passport/visa applications. If you fail to do so, VOLUNTEER INVEST have no liability to you for any cost, fines, loss or damage that you suffer, nor will we refund you the cost of any unused portion of your travel arrangements.
Should your chosen programme require a visa, VOLUNTEER INVEST is not in control of the processing time or success of your visa application. If your visa is delayed, thus affecting your ability to travel or meet your programme requirements, or if your visa application is denied/rejected, your application will be cancelled and the charges contained within the “Booking Amendments, Cancellations and Refunds” section will apply.
In some cases, countries will refuse entry to clients who have criminal records. Should you be concerned about this, please check with the embassy or consulate of the countries to which you are travelling.
When assessing whether tours or expeditions will operate we use information from our receiving partner in conjunction with advice from the British Foreign Office and other relevant government bodies. It is your responsibility to acquaint yourself with the travel advice provided by these government bodies.
Should you arrive outside the agreed start date/time for your programme, or do not advise of your correct arrival details, you may have to cover any additional costs.
Your Programme
Please be aware that any accommodation, food and facilities that you will be provided with will be of a local standard and these may differ to the standard you are accustomed to. You may be required to share a bathroom and/or bedroom.
You are expected to satisfy yourself prior to booking that you are fit and able to complete the itinerary of your chosen programme as described. If you suffer from mobility impairment, illness or disability or undergoing treatment for any physical or medical condition you must declare the true nature of such condition at the time of booking and make arrangements for the provision of any medication or other treatment which may be required during the programme.
We are agent for receiving partners in each of the destinations that we offer programmes. They are responsible for offering you in-country support while you are on your programme. Full contact details of the receiving partner will be given to you prior to departure. In country partners are responsible for your orientation and they are there for any emergency support and emergency issues and to resolve any such issues you may have regarding your programme. If you have any problems or complaints during your programme you must inform our receiving partners and the relevant supplier of the service immediately.
Booking Amendments, Cancellations and Refunds
If you change your booking more than 4 weeks prior to departure:
VOLUNTEER INVEST will charge £150 to facilitate the change if a change can be made.
A further deposit may be payable as well as additional programme costs if your new amended itinerary is more expensive than the one you originally booked.
If you cancel your booking after payment of the deposit has been made (changes to your booking within 4 weeks of departure will be treated as a cancellation of the original booking) OR VOLUNTEER INVEST withdraws your application due to non-compliance with any of the terms and conditions contained in this agreement, then charges and conditions are as follows:
Volunteer Investment Programme
More than 60 days before departure: deposit is non-refundable
Within 30 days of departure: total programme fee is non-refundable
Any refund issued, regardless of the circumstances under which is it being issued, will incur a 5% transaction fee
If your booking is changed or cancelled
In the event that our local operator chooses to do so, VOLUNTEER INVEST reserve the right to cancel your booking or change any of the facilities, services or prices described in our brochures or website. VOLUNTEER INVEST will endeavour to advise you of any changes known at the time of booking. VOLUNTEER INVEST also reserves the right to switch receiving partner.
Our receiving partner and VOLUNTEER INVEST as agents for the receiving partners plan the arrangements for your programme many months in advance and may occasionally have to make changes, most of which are minor.
If a major change becomes necessary, VOLUNTEER INVEST will advise you of the change as soon as possible. Whether a change is ‘major’ depends on the nature of the trip and may include a change in the type of programme or the country of destination for reasons beyond our control.
Compensation will not be payable if VOLUNTEER INVEST are forced to cancel, or in any way change your trip for reasons of consolidation due to minimum numbers not being attained or force majeure. Operation of all trips may be dependent on a minimum number of persons booking the trip. If that number is not achieved, VOLUNTEER INVEST reserves the right to cancel the trip. Circumstances amounting to “force majeure” include any event which VOLUNTEER INVEST or the supplier of the service(s) in question could not foresee or forestall such as (by way of example and not by way of limitation) war, threat of war, riot, civil strife, industrial dispute, terrorist activity, natural or nuclear disaster, fire, acts of God, adverse weather conditions, and all similar events.
When a major change occurs prior to departure, you will have the choice of either accepting the change, or accepting a replacement trip from us of equivalent or closely similar standard and price, or cancelling your programme, in which case VOLUNTEER INVEST shall refund you in full less an administration charge of £50 per person on the booking.
VOLUNTEER INVEST strongly recommend that you make no travel arrangements to your point of departure, arrange any connecting travel that is non-refundable or non-changeable or incurs penalties or incur any costs in respect of visas or vaccinations until such time as your travel itinerary has been confirmed.
VOLUNTEER INVEST strongly recommends that you take out insurance that includes cover against irrecoverable cancellation costs.
If your programme fees include insurance, you will remain responsible for the full amount of your insurance premium and this will not be refunded in the event of your cancellation. You may however be able to transfer this cover to another programme
VOLUNTEER INVEST reserves the right to withdraw your application, without refund, if unable to make contact with you at the contact details provided; if you are late with any paperwork or payments; or in any other circumstances where VOLUNTEER INVEST is unable to obtain required information from you.
Our Liability, Conditions of Carriage and Limitations
Our obligations, and those of our receiving partners providing any service or facility included in your programme, are to take reasonable skill and care to arrange for the provision of such services and facilities. You must show that reasonable skill and care has not been used if you wish to make any claim. Standards of, for example, safety, hygiene and quality vary throughout the transport and destinations that your programme may involve. Sometimes these standards will be lower than those that would be expected in the UK. The services and facilities included in your programme will be deemed to be provided with reasonable skill and care if they comply with any local regulations that apply.
Our liability, except in cases involving death, shall be limited to at most the cost of your travel arrangements. In any event if less than this our liability in all cases will be limited in accordance with and/or in an identical manner to the contractual terms of the companies that provide the transportation and/or programmes for your travel arrangements. These terms are incorporated into this contract; and any relevant international convention. VOLUNTEER INVEST are to be regarded as having all benefit of any limitation of compensation contained in these or any conventions.
VOLUNTEER INVEST shall have no liability where the cause of the failure to provide, or failure in, your programme or any death or personal injury you may suffer is not due to any fault on our part or that of our agents or suppliers or receiving partner, because it is either attributable to you, or attributable to someone unconnected with your programme and is unforeseeable or unavoidable, or is due to unusual or unforeseeable circumstances beyond our control, the consequences of which could not have been avoided even if all due care had been exercised, or an event which neither VOLUNTEER INVEST , nor our agents or suppliers could have foreseen or forestalled.
If you purchase any optional activities that are not part of your pre-booked itinerary, the contract for the provision of that activity will be between you and the activity provider. The decision to partake in any such activity is entirely at your own discretion and risk. If you do have any complaint about, or problem with, any optional activity purchased in resort your claim should be directed to the activity provider and not to us. In the event of there being a successful claim for costs against a third party or a suitable insurance policy or policies being in force, VOLUNTEER INVEST are entitled to recoup from you the costs actually incurred by us in giving any assistance.
VOLUNTEER INVEST may operate programmes in regions where standards of accommodation, transport, safety, hygiene, medical facilities and other infrastructure may, at times, be lower than those you normally expect. Your booking is accepted on the understanding that you realise the hazards involved in this kind of programme, including injury, disease, loss or damage to property, inconvenience and discomfort. The whole philosophy of this type of travel is one that allows alternatives and a substantial degree of on-trip flexibility. Changes in itinerary may be caused by events such as (by way of example and not by way of limitation) local political conditions, flight cancellations, mechanical breakdown, weather, border restrictions, sickness, or other unforeseeable circumstances.
You consent to your image and any comments, photos and videos uploaded to our website being used for marketing purposes.
We will have the right to terminate this agreement in the event that you breach any of your obligations and termination will result in the loss by you of all monies paid and also render you liable for potential damages arising from that breach.
We shall be entitled to assign the benefit or part of this Agreement to any third party, but shall remain primarily liable for the obligations hereunder.
Nothing in this Agreement shall constitute you as our agent.
Nothing in this Agreement shall be deemed to constitute a partnership or joint venture between us.
You agree and accept that we are not providing you with any service that could be construed us as an employment agency or running an employment business. You agree that all payments to us are as agent and all fees we earn are paid by our receiving partner.
The parties believe that VAT is not chargeable on any monies changing hands hereunder. In the event that for whatever reason this is not the case then you agree to pay VAT on all sums previously paid and authorise us to debit your credit card with this amount.
This Agreement together with all documents referred to herein constitute the entire understanding between the parties with respect to the subject matter hereof and supersedes all prior or contemporaneous agreements in regard thereto.
This Agreement cannot be amended, superseded, cancelled or any of its terms and conditions waived except by an agreement in writing signed by authorised representatives of both parties or in the case of a waiver signed by an authorised representative of the party waiving compliance and specifically referring to this Agreement.
If any of the provisions of this Agreement are or become to any extent or in any circumstances invalid or are ruled illegal or deemed unenforceable for any reason under the current applicable law from time to time, then to the extent or in those circumstances it is the intention of the parties that this shall not affect the validity or enforceability of this Agreement or of any of the provisions of this Agreement and if such provision would be valid if some part of the provision were deleted or modified, the provision in question shall apply with such deletion or modification as may be necessary to make it valid provided that the operation of this clause would not negate any commercial intent and the purpose of the parties under this Agreement.
This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English law and you submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts in relation to all disputes relating to the Agreement. We submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts in relation to all disputes relating to this Agreement and shall be entitled to commence proceedings against you in such other jurisdictions as are appropriate.
Any notice to be given under this Agreement shall be in writing and shall be deemed duly given if signed by or on behalf of a duly authorised officer of the party giving the notice and if sent by first class post or delivered by hand or sent by facsimile transmission to the address of the recipient as may be notified from time to time. Any such notice or other communication shall be deemed to be given:
by post on the day (not being a Sunday or public holiday) falling 48 hours after the date of posting;
if served by hand at the time the same was handed to or left at the address of the party to be served; and
in the case of a facsimile transmission at the time of transmission, and in providing service of the same it will be sufficient to prove in the case of a letter that such letter was properly stamped, franked, addressed and placed in the post and in the case of a by-hand delivery that such letter was delivered to the proper address and in the case of a facsimile transmission that such facsimile was duly transmitted to a facsimile number notified to the other party for this purpose.
You agree to abide by all lawful rules and regulations of our local operator and the location you visit and to fully indemnify and hold us completely harmless from and against any liability, obligation, loss and expenses including court costs and legal fees incurred by us or a third party resulting from any injury, loss, property damage or expenses that you directly or indirectly cause or to which you contribute.
How much money do you think I will need to bring? How much do you think food, travel etc. cost?

This is dependent on what you would like to do around your volunteer programme. There are options to go on a Durban night tour, Tala the local game reserve (safari). There are also options to go to a local Zulu church, street market, township. These will all be relatively cheap. I would say £200 extra per month. Regarding food, there is a supermarket next to Bobbi Bear HQ, so base this on your current daily food budget.

Is it still possible for me to visit friends/adventure away from Bobbi Bear during my programme?

Yes. Operation Bobbi Bear can offer advice on day trips and how to visit places you may wish to go. We will help you plan your itinerary. We would like to highlight that as a volunteer, your time is very precious to the Bobbi Bear team. If you want to travel further afield/throughout South Africa, this may best be done, before your programme/after.

Should I organise anything else to do with my time or will I be occupied most of the time?

You will be busy, but the nature of the charity means that sometimes you will have free time to yourself. Operation Bobbi Bear is an emergency rescue centre, so it can be hard to predict when you will be very busy, and when you will have some down time. Our advice is to expect the unexpected and be flexible.

The average week is usually busy in the mornings, and then more quiet in the afternoons/evenings. There may be children living at the house with you, and there will be morning and night requirements. Helping them up, have breakfast and general playing. Then Friday and Saturday will be ‘The Tree’ and the community projects. Therefore we ask if you do want to arrange trips, in the week is a better time.

Do we know yet what I’ll be doing while I’m at Bobbi Bear? Is there a set plan or is it more of a day-by-day schedule?

We can give a rough plan but there may be changes. You will go with staff on cases to support victims at the police station and hospitals. You will visit townships and victims for post- trauma counselling. There will be an element of routine, but there will also be times where everyone has to jump in the cars and attend emergency situations. There may or may not be children staying at the house, so this will depend on the time you are there.


Go to emergency call-outs and support the Operation Bobbi Bear Child Safety Officers (CSOs) throughout the abuse cases that come in during your programme.

Visit local police stations, hospitals and the High Court to assist with trauma recovery and support victims throughout the process.

Be closely involved with the rescued children when they come to the rescue centre, and/or support on site where the case is attended too on location, this will include comforting them, counselling them and loving them, using your experience and knowable working in this field.

During your stay you will shadow the Bobbi Bear staff and support where needed. You will give guidance, listen and learn about the different cultures and policies within them.

You will gain insight and experience the social welfare system of South Africa

You will participate in lectures at rural schools to raise awareness about sensitive issues such as HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse and sex education through the use of the ‘Edu-Toy’

Attend ‘The Tree’ clinic and help develop outreach programmes that bring rural communities together to share stores and empower women and children.

You will learn about the ‘Bobbi Bear bear’ a toy used to support the case building from first contact to prosecution.

Are there any projects that you would specifically like me to raise awareness of in the follow up to my trip?

One of the most useful things you can do is document your experience. How you are feeling before and during your programme, what you are hoping to gain, what were your biggest challenges, what gaps for improvement are you able to see?

A Bobbi Bear diary is a great way to remember your programme too.

Your experience and story will become key in future volunteers supporting the work of Bobbi Bear. Volunteer Invest can provide guidelines for this, week by week to help you record your time with Bobbi Bear. Another very useful thing to do is tell your network and community about your experience through social media. Don’t forget to use our #volunteerinvest so we can share.

Is there anything specific you think I need to bring other than basic necessities? Eg does Bobbi Bear have any particular clothing policy? Is there anything I shouldn’t bring for security reasons or is the house fairly secure?

The house is very secure. We advise volunteers to take some long skirts, for example, the Zulu church requires long skirts to be worn by the women. It can be hot in the summer, so dress for this. There is aircon, so do take cardigans. Also, July is their winter, so trousers, shoes and jumpers. You will also be provided a Volunteer Invest T-shirt.

How are volunteers trained? What is the process?

We assess each application separately, looking at their reasons and motivations. We are approaching phycology students and therapy courses because of the nature of the South Africa project at Bobbi Bear. We don’t want to decide for people, only giving them the core information and allowing them to decide if it’s right for them. We aren’t a big company we are a small charity looking to build a sustainable model in the charity sector and offer reliable income for the Arms Around the Child projects on the ground in India, Ghana and South Africa. We will keep our size small to stay personable at all times. We want to build a community of like- minded people, who want to gain and give in different ways.

During your stay, you will be given orienteering and training with the staff on the ground. These are people who have been dedicated and working with the projects for a considerable time.

How do you maintain a relationship with the organisation after your volunteer programme is complete?

Many of the volunteers have such a life changing experience that they want to help share their stories, which we put on our blog, and send out to out networks via email. We believe the experience will be so powerful that word of mouth will enhance the volunteer numbers. An organic growth process is our aim.

Do returned volunteers recruit new volunteers?

This isn’t intentional, but it happens. We don’t force anything onto our volunteers. If they want to tell their story, and share then of course we will support this. But it’s not an aim, more of a coincidence. The nature of the programme means that we do have repeat volunteers and referrals. We love expanding the community of like-minded people.

What are the programme outcomes for the volunteer and partner organisations?

The volunteers will gain valuable experience working with vulnerable children and communities. They will experience the inside workings of a busy charity on the ground saving and supporting children affected by austerity. They will gain valuable perspective on different cultures and customs.

For the organisation, they gain a stable income to support their work, doing what they do, and not have to worry about how to turn on the lights or feed themselves. They also gain physical support and they learn a great amount from international volunteers. You can see interviews with all the project founders on our YouTube channel, talking about the impact to their organisations from receiving international volunteers.

How are you supporting volunteers whilst on site?

We have volunteer coordinators at all sites and we are in constant communication with them while they are there. We know the teams on the ground very well and they too give us daily updates. We do everything we can to help them have an amazing time, knowing they are supported. But we are also aware that we don’t want everything to be too processed. We are here to help guide the whole process, from early engagement, during, and after.
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