ELI offers tailored internships and volunteer programs in and around beautiful Cape Town, South Africa. Work in townships, wildlife parks, or do professional internships: engineering, business, marketing, fashion, tourism, wineries and more! These programs are available year-round:
Township Orphanages: ELI works with orphanages located in the townships on the outskirts of Cape Town. Many of the children are abandoned or have been removed from their families for safety reasons, and many are HIV+. Volunteers coordinate group activities, assist students with homework, mentor and provide some much needed emotional support. These are great programs for upbeat, motivated volunteers who want to make a difference in the lives of little ones! Minimum time requirement is 2 months.
There is always a shortage of teachers. Volunteers are desperately needed to help poorer schools meet the needs of the students. Volunteers usually start by shadowing as a teacher aide, but after a couple weeks take over their own classroom. All educational backgrounds are welcome! Most volunteers teach English, math, social studies, music and art. Minimum time requirement is 2 months.
The organizations we have partnered with specifically support abandoned, abused, terminally ill, and refugee children from Rwanda, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The minimum time requirement is 2 months, and these projects are primarily located in townships on the edge of the city so participants must be prepared to commute.
Women's Programs: Participants who wish to work specifically with marginalized women do so in a number of ways: Capacity building, small business development/micro-finance, soup kitchen assistance, and health related programs. Most women's organizations offer assistance in more than one of these fields, so participants in the this field often assist in different projects during their stay. Minimum time requirement is 2 months.
"I just wanted to once again thank you for sourcing two amazing students for us! Both Amy and Michaela have been incredible! They are both so willing and capable and just make things work. It has been awesome having them with us. Amy has even gotten her whole household involved in sleepovers for the kids and they are all pitching in to take a group of kids on an outing - so great! We are so incredibly blessed by the people you provide for us, without them we truly would not be able to do what we do. THANK YOU!" -Alison, NGO Director
Animal programs are some of the most popular ELI projects in Cape Town. These placements are a great fit for dedicated conservation, pre-veterinary or veterinary students who would like to simultaneously learn from professionals and contribute their skills. Specific placements are available working with monkeys, ostriches, penguins, birds, cheetahs, reptiles, horses, or the aquarium. For advanced students and professionals who wish to focus on veterinary care, placements are available with an organization that cares for neglected animals, vets, and with a zoo. All animal placements require a minimum two month commitment.
Here one of our previous volunteers describes her experience:
"As much as the 3 months was difficult being away from friends and family and living with various personalities and ages and also working really hard and often beyond open hours of the facility, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat! It was a dream come true for me and I’ll have the memories forever. I will definitely return to the cheetah center and SA as soon as I can, if only to visit!" -Tara
South Africa is suffering from one of the worst TB/HIV/AIDS epidemics in the world. In 2006 the South African Department of Health estimated that 29.1% of pregnant women were living with HIV. ELI is currently filling positions in education, research and treatment. In an effort to prevent the spread of HIV (especially in young female populations) and to counter misinformation and discrimination, HIV outreach volunteers work in teams with professionals who conduct health education campaigns at local schools, focusing on lower economic areas of Cape Town. Volunteers work in teams to create and present material, answer students' questions, spend time with the children, research, and assist with administrative aspects of the campaign. Volunteers with a background in public health research can assist at the university, where numerous studies are underway to better understand the correlation between TB and HIV/AIDS and treatment options. South African hospitals and clinics are struggling to keep up with the needs of HIV/AIDS patients, and consequently many of those seeking medical attention are unable to receive care. Volunteers assist with children’s programs at the hospitals and at orphanages for HIV+ children by leading activities, mentoring and ensuring that the children are taking their medications on time. For medical professionals, volunteer positions are available in a state funded training and counseling center. Volunteers assist in training social workers and nurses to specifically work with HIV/AIDS patients long after the medical volunteers have returned home. These programs require a minimum two month time commitment.
Positions are available for professionally skilled and experienced interns to assist with adults and children. These placements are supervised by a professional and typically require a minimum three month commitment. Interns in this program need to be professional, open-minded, and culturally sensitive.
Students and professionals in this field are in great demand. This is an opportunity to work with local professionals in the field and make a difference in the lives of children. After receiving care at the children's hospital, many children are not well enough to return home. If that is the case, they are routed to one of the many children's homes that are just outside the city center. During their recovery, many of the children spend much of their time in cribs. Further, some of the diseases cause their muscles to atrophy. Regular therapy can alleviate the pain associated with inactivity and help shorten their recovery time. Participants in this program learn how to implement programs for specific conditions and lead small groups in activities to keep these kids active and smiling. These internships require a minimum two month commitment.
Media, Marketing & Graphic Design
Positions with some of the top advertising firms in Cape Town are open to serious, upper-level students and recent graduates. Interns assist with print, radio, commercials, marketing research, product promotion, product launches and special events. There are also marketing and logistics positions available with NGOs, and promotional positions with sports related companies. Interns should have some relevant education and/or experience in advertising, marketing, or graphic design. These internships require a minimum two month commitment.
"As my time in South Africa comes to an end, I would like to thank you for your generous help and support throughout my stay here. I definitely had the most amazing time here in Cape Town and the people I encountered were so interesting and welcoming. It was wonderful to stay in this beautiful country during my summer holiday (even though it's winter here!) and to experience the World Cup madness was absolutely surreal. I really hope that one day I will come back to South Africa and see more of the country. My internship has been rewarding and I am very grateful that you placed me there, where I was able to learn from the wonderful ladies and to gain some insight into how the company works." -Guanyuan
The fashion industry has exploded in Cape Town. The new burgeoning middle class has created a completely new market for local clothing designers and manufacturers. Rare opportunities are available with successful local clothing designers assisting with the design, manufacture, and retail approach to their lines. Other placements include African craft organizations, large-scale manufacturers, and a national knitwear manufacturer. If you'd like your program to coincide with Cape Town Fashion Week, that event usually occurs mid-August.
These positions require a minimum two month commitment.
An internship with an adventure tour company, sports and cultural events organization, hotel or safari company is a great way to gain real world experience and meet visitors from all over the world. Interns assist with safaris, tours, logistics, customer relations, administrative duties, event planning, public relations, and integrated marketing. Knowledge of European languages (German, Italian, French, or Spanish) can be useful but is not required.
These internships require a minimum two month commitment.
South African wine is famous throughout the world, especially their Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Pinot Noir. At wineries in Stellenbosch, ELI participants are trained to help with everything from cultivating, preparation, tastings, to marketing and export. Harvesting happens in February.
These positions require a minimum two month commitment.
For interns or people who want the experience of working in a foreign country, the chance to work with an engineering firm in Cape Town can be invaluable! Highly qualified participants can intern in the fields of solar energy, civil construction engineering, yacht building, mechanical engineering, water and wastewater engineering, Administration, HR, Software Development/IT, or finance/cost accounting in an Engineering firm.
These internships require a minimum two month commitment. Most companies, however, prefer interns to stay at least three months to fully integrate into the organization.