South Africa – Children’s Hospital Play Therapy

Please Note: This program is temporarily unavailable. Check out our alternative programs available in Africa or schedule a one-on-one call with one of our expert volunteer advisors.


Volunteer in Cape Town at a renowned children’s hospital to help young patients and their families keep their spirits up!

Program Highlights:

  • Brighten the days of children with chronic diseases
  • Bring good energy and joy to the children’s hospital
  • Gain experience working with children and working in a medical setting
  • Develop a global understanding of community service
  • Experience the beauty of Cape Town and its surrounds


Your Schedule at a Glance (Minimum two-week commitment):

Arrival Day, Saturday: Arrive at Cape Town International Airport (CPT). You will be picked up by the local team and taken to your accommodation in Observatory. After everyone has arrived, there will be a welcome barbecue dinner for all the volunteers (a South African Braai), and free time for sightseeing.

Day 1, Sunday: Continuation of your orientation, which includes tours of the major sights around Cape Town.

Day 2, Monday: Training for new volunteers, administrative tasks, preparation for the program for the rest of the week.

Days 3-5, Tuesday-Friday: Rewarding volunteer work at the children’s hospital. Engaging in play is a key part in this success by keeping these children’s spirits up during their hospitalization. Some of your tasks may include playing with patients using games and appropriate toys, collecting, knitting, painting and donating toys, playing dress-up and more.

Days 7-8, Saturday-Sunday: Weekends are free for volunteers to rest or explore Cape Town and its surrounds.

Remaining Weeks: The remaining weeks will follow the schedule of volunteering Monday-Friday, and having weekends free. Departures are on a Saturday.


Location icon Location of the Project: Observatory, Cape Town, South Africa

Project length Project length: Min 2 weeks-Max 6 months

Arrival Airport Arrival Airport: Cape Town International Airport (CPT)

Volunteer Work Volunteer Work:  Interaction and engagement with patients through play

Age Age:  Minimum age of 18

Number of Volunteers Number of Volunteers: Up to 20 international volunteers

Important Note Important Note: The water is safe to drink but is scarce in many areas. Be responsible with water consumption by taking short showers and drinking bottled water.


What’s Included

Accommodations Accommodations: Shared rooms in an volunteer hostel

Food Food: Breakfast is included during the three days of orientation

Airport Transfers Airport Transfers:  Airport pickup is provided upon arrival

Orientation Orientation: Upon arrival volunteers receive a two-day orientation in Cape Town including a walking tour of the area, an African barbecue and free time for sightseeing and relaxation before the program starts.

Support Support: Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.


What’s not Included

Flights, visas (if required), travel health insurance, most meals, personal expenses.

Voted as one of the world’s top tourist destinations, South Africa‘s Cape Town boasts an incredibly wide range of attractions. The area hosts several unique cultural and heritage sites, such as Robben Island, Table Mountain and the V&A Waterfront. Interns on this specific program will be living in Observatory, which is a suburb of Cape Town. This suburb is often called “Obz” by Cape Town locals and is a neighborhood with a large population of college and university students. There is a varied selection of bars and restaurants as well as a shopping center.


This renowned children’s hospital in Cape Town is currently the only pediatric hospital specializing in the treatment of the children of Southern Africa. The existence of this hospital is deeply important to the community, as the institution provides treatment to children under 12 years of age who suffer from severe diseases and chronic illnesses. The hospital provides much needed medical aid including renal and liver transplants, specialized burn care, neurosurgery, cancer treatment, intensive care, HIV/AIDS research, treatment for tuberculosis, re-hydration and maintenance of chronic disorders. Everyone deserves high quality, professional medical care, and it is the mission of this hospital to provide assistance regardless of parental income, race, gender, religion or place of residence.

The most important priority is the health of the children, and providing their families with the foundation to be successful and to properly care for their children, post-treatment will promote a more complete healing of the children, both emotionally and physically. Engaging in play is a key part in in this success by keeping these children’s spirits up during their hospitalization.


Arrival and Orientation in Cape Town (Included):
Prior to your volunteering, you will participate in an orientation in Cape Town. Orientation is on Saturday and Sunday and includes a traditional South African barbecue dinner, called a Braai and a guided tour of the area. Note: The orientation is required and is not a part of the two weeks designated for volunteer work. Therefore, the minimum stay is 17 days for the 2-week option, 24 days for 3-week option , and so on. All prices include orientation.

The overall health of the children is very important, and our volunteers can assist in the mental and emotional rehabilitation of the children while they are receiving treatment at this hospital. The demand for volunteer support is high, and exposing these children to different cultures, skills, knowledge and experience may even enhance and expedite the healing process. Additional caring hands improve the healing process of the children. As a participant on this program, volunteers will need an open mind and to be attentive to family, staff and patient needs. Our volunteers will engage with patients in a fun, informal and playful way to improve the lives of these children. Play breaks the routine cycle of being hospitalized; it alleviates stress from the parents and the kids and promotes literacy and cross-cultural interest.

Some of your tasks may include:

  • Playing with patients using games and appropriate toys
  • Spending time with lonely children
  • Attending to the children’s education and healing process
  • Collecting, knitting, painting and donating toys


Typical Schedule:
Volunteers will work Monday-Friday assisting at the hospital and have weekends off for personal time.

Internet icon Internet: WiFi is available at the hostel.

Laundry icon Laundry: Laundry services are not included, but there are laundromats nearby that are available for a small fee.

Accommodations icon Accommodations: Volunteers will stay in a hostel in Observatory in Cape Town, with up to 9 other people per room and shared bathrooms. Rooms are mixed gender, but same-gender rooms may be available with advance notice.. Sheets are provided, but volunteers must bring their own towels.

Food icon Food: Breakfast is included during the three days of orientation, but volunteers will need to arrange all other meals.


Please take note of this project’s minimum requirements:

  • Police clearance
  • High level of English
  • Two professional references and one reference from an educational institute
  • Letter of motivation

Travel Extras (Not Included)
Make the most out of your time in Cape Town by signing up for any of these activities for your weekend or days off. You may sign up following registration. Please note there is an additional fee for these activities.

  • Kitesurfing, windsurfing, sandboarding and/or paragliding lessons
  • Tours of Cape Point, Cape Town, Robben Island, and/or the Townships
  • Wine Route Tour
  • Kloofing (cliff jumping), skydiving, and/or quad biking outings
  • Walking tour of an ostrich ranch
  • Abseil Table Mountain
  • Shark cage diving
  • Game drive through a Big 5 safari


Add on our eight-day Garden Route Road Trip to enhance your South Africa experience!


Volunteer Experiences

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