South Africa – Rural Healthcare and HIV/AIDS Awareness

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


Help to curb the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa by offering support to the people that are affected by it and education to those at a high risk of contracting it. Make a positive change in people’s lives by showing them that they have not been forgotten and that a better way of life is possible.

Program Highlights:

  • Assist in rural clinics and gain insight in local rural healthcare services
  • Make a difference in the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS by offering them support
  • Help to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS through participating in educational programs
  • Immerse yourself in the local Zulu culture, learning all about the traditional African customs
  • Spend your weekends going on safaris, whale watching, swimming in warm waters or simply appreciating beautiful sunsets


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

Arrival Day, Sunday: Arrive at King Shaka International Airport (DUR). You will be picked up at the airport and taken to your new home in St Lucia. Spend the rest of the day settling in and meeting other volunteers.

Day 1, Monday: Start your morning by supporting a local clinic. Sample tasks include processing patients and taking blood pressure. In the afternoon, to the physio clinic. Spend the evening enjoying the sunset and socializing with other volunteers.

Day 2, Tuesday: Return to the clinic in the morning and then participate in healthcare planning activities in the afternoon. Your evening will be spent looking for hippos in the area – good luck!

Days 3-5, Wednesday-Friday: During the rest of the week you will have the opportunity to participate in a number of programs such as home-based care for patients who are too sick to leave their houses and support groups that educate the community about positive nutrition and lifestyle habits. You will also join the family empowerment program, which aims to serve local families by helping to refurbish properties, assisting in housekeeping, education and more. In the evening you will be able to enjoy time with other volunteers as well as go on game drives.

Days 6-7, Saturday-Sunday: The weekends are free to rest or explore your new surroundings. Go on a safari trip or stay back and have a fun beach day with some snorkelling.

Remaining Weeks: The remaining weeks will follow a similar schedule of volunteering Monday-Friday and having Saturday-Sunday off. Use your weekends to see what Africa is really all about; from going on a hippo and croc tour, to swimming with the dolphins in Mozambique – the choice is yours! Departures are on a Sunday.

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Location icon Location of the Project: St. Lucia, South Africa

Project length Project length: Min 2 weeks – Max 12 weeks

Arrival Airport Arrival Airport: King Shaka International Airport (DUR)

Volunteer Work Volunteer Work:  Medical aid, HIV/AIDS awareness education, community outreach

Age Age:  18 – 80

Number of Volunteers Number of Volunteers: Up to 6 international volunteers

Important Note Important Note: Daily transfers between accommodation and project site and a donation made to the local organization are included in the placement fee.


What’s Included

Accommodations Accommodations: Comfortable lodge with rooms for 2-4 people

Food Food: Three meals a day (excluding Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch)

Airport Transfers Airport Transfers:  Included on arrival and departure days. (For odd week departures (3, 5, 7 etc), there is an extra charge for transfer to the airport on departure day.)

Orientation Orientation: Orientation, with all necessary training, provided upon arrival and includes lessons on the background of healthcare in South Africa, basic Zulu language courses and introduction to St. Lucia.

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, some weekend meals, personal expenses

St. Lucia, South Africa is a charismatic town on the northeast coast of the country featuring beautiful, rugged beaches and breathtaking landscapes. St. Lucia is located within the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, which was declared South Africa’s first Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is referred to as “Africa’s premier bush-and-beach destination.” The park encompasses nearly half a million acres, providing a stunning and ecologically diverse area where five different eco-systems coexist. From savannahs to wetlands, to swamps to beaches, St. Lucia is home to both a wealth of wildlife, as well as to the Zulu tribe with its vibrant and lively culture.


Surrounding the beautiful region of St. Lucia, there are rural villages which have very few resources for health care. The main goal of this project is to increase the support available to these communities and to make a difference in the health and the lives of these people. Through home-based care, grassroot initiatives, and clinical support, this project has given aid and assistance to those who are too sick or too poor to seek help.

The prevalence and impact of HIV in these communities reflects the importance and need for volunteers to educate and raise awareness within the rural villages. Through education and support, this project aims to alleviate the stigma that HIV/AIDS carries in these communities and improve the lives of those carrying the virus.

As a volunteer, your contribution will consist of various healthcare-related initiatives at the following projects:

  • Home-based care/nutrition: Conduct home-visits to chronically-ill or injured patients who are too sick or poor to get to a clinic to provide comfort and emotional support to patients, as well as nutritional supplements and treatment adherence advice
  • HIV/AIDS support group: Facilitate discussions around the issues surrounding the disease, such as discrimination and stigma and deliver basic health and nutrition information to a group of adults
  • Family empowerment program: Improve the quality of life in a holistic and sustainable way for families urgently in need of assistance
  • HIV education classes for adults: Promote adult educational opportunities targeting parents and grandparents to explain, educate and inform community members about HIV/AIDS
  • Gardening/building and refurbishment: Build and maintain the community vegetable garden and repair schools, day-care centers, orphanages and other run-down buildings in the community.


A typical day: Your day will begin at 7:00 am with a healthy breakfast before you head out to your morning project at 8:30 am. After lunch at 12:00 pm, it’s time to resume your afternoon tasks. Your work day will end at 4:30 pm, at which point you will return to the volunteer house for a debriefing and to discuss the schedule for the next day. Dinner is served at 6:00 pm, followed by free time to relax or explore the area.

During school holidays activities may differ from the usual schedule, but the work will be equally engaging and rewarding.

Internet icon Internet: Volunteers can use any of the internet cafes in town.

Laundry icon Laundry: A weekly laundry service is available at an additional fee.

Accommodations icon Accommodations: You will stay at a large, comfortable, fully furnished guest house with a lounge, satellite TV, barbeque area, garden, and even a swimming pool! The house is about a five minute walk to town and a 30 minute walk to the beach. The house is staffed with a cook and laundry/cleaning staff. All bedding is provided, but please bring your own beach towels. Rooms are shared with 1-5 other volunteers and the house is staffed with a cook and housekeeper.

Food icon Food: Three meals a day are provided, except Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch (for these meals, you are encouraged to try the local cafes and restaurants or buy groceries at the nearby supermarket). Breakfast consists of hot or cold cereal, toast, coffee and tea, and is available on a serve-yourself basis. Lunch and dinner are prepared by the chef at the volunteer house.


Please take note of this project’s minimum requirements:

  • Minimum age 18
  • Police clearance
  • Medical/pharmaceutical training recommended
  • An interest in medicine or public health
  • First Aid certificatation strongly encouraged
  • Prior reading and understanding of the HIV/AIDS virus
  • Necessary immunizations (please consult your local travel clinic)

During your free time, you are welcome to explore any of the various exciting outdoor activities or culturally-enriching sites St. Lucia and the surrounding area has to offer. Past volunteers have enjoyed surfing and snorkelling at Cape Vidal, going on a game drive through iSimangaliso at night, as well as weekend trips to Thanda Reserve or Mozambique.

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

Volunteer Experiences

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