Mandela Day 2023: Fabulous Volunteering Opportunities in Cape Town
Volunteering can bring joy and fulfilment you may not have been expecting. And Cape Town offers a vibrant tapestry of opportunities for anyone considering joining a volunteering scheme, whether as a once-off or on a regular basis.
But where to start? There are homeless shelters, kindergartens, schools, old age homes, animal shelters, eco-projects and more that could really benefit from your time and energy. Maybe the best idea is to try them all! That way you needn’t feel guilty about not committing to a regular stint – because let’s face it, that’s often what puts people off volunteering in the first place.
As an added bonus, volunteering is a fantastic way to meet people who share your values. Volunteers are – by their nature – kind and compassionate people, dedicated to making a difference. We all need friends with those qualities, don’t we? Friends who inspire us to roll up our sleeves and walk the talk of improving the world in which we live.
EMPOWER AT-RISK KIDS AND TEENS WITH CAREER OPPORTUNITIES
Working with children in kindergartens and schools allows you to help nurture young minds and inspire their growth. You may feel that your knowledge and guidance are limited, but all you need to offer is an interest in the kids’ own creativity, and you immediately become a valuable resource in fostering their potential. Through your involvement, you can ignite a spark of curiosity and a love for learning, creating a lasting impact on their lives.
Just Grace is based in Langa and runs various initiatives that work towards reduced poverty, better quality education, decent work and economic growth, and equal opportunities. Volunteers can join as tutors, mentors, social workers, computer trainers, counsellors, artists, sports coaches, admin assistants, copywriters and more.
ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES WITH FEEDING SCHEMES
Then there are feeding schemes such as Ladles of Love and FoodForwardSA which describe themselves as “about more than providing meals. It’s about dignity, respect, and creating the kind of world we all want to live in.” Ladles of Love actually started as one small soup kitchen serving soup to the homeless once a week on St. Georges Mall. Today, it serves hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children and families from depots throughout the Western Cape and Gauteng region. Who knows how your contribution could grow?
HELP WITH THE CITY’S HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS CRISIS
Habitat for Humanity International‘s Cape Town outpost works directly with families, communities and the local government to eliminate substandard housing. They help construct, renovate, restore or repair houses and look at driving affordable housing projects.
At homeless shelters such as The Haven Night Shelter, your presence and assistance can uplift spirits and provide hope to those facing challenging times. By serving meals, offering support, or simply playing card games, you can bring comfort and a sense of belonging to those in need, and walk away with a renewed appreciation for all you have.
LEND A HELPING HAND OR A LISTENING EAR
Old age homes such as NOAH offer an opportunity to brighten the lives of seniors who may feel lonely or isolated. By engaging in meaningful conversations, organising activities, or helping out with their own existing social enterprise schemes, you can bring new interest into their day. Your presence becomes a reminder that they are valued and loved, enriching their lives with warmth and connection. And think of all the stories they have to share!
The Cape Town Society for the Blind (CTSB) is a lifeline for people who are blind or visually impaired, offering programmes that help individuals with visual impairment to learn how to navigate the world around them and become self-sufficient.
GO GREEN! GO ECO.
And of course, there are eco-projects run by organisations such as Greenpop. Whether it’s advocating for social justice, environmental conservation, or sustainable practices, you can bring knowledge, passion, or simply an extra pair of hands to help step closer to a shared vision for a better world. There’s also Soil for Life, which offers a range of services to help individuals and communities start and maintain their own food gardens as well as giving training and support in sustainable living practices and nutrition.
PAMPER A POOCH OR HELP SAVE A SEABIRD
Your care can also be lavished on animals in need. By giving stray cats and dogs some love and attention at Tears or other animal shelters, you enrich their world and create opportunities for them to find forever homes filled with love.
SANCCOB‘s primary objective is to reverse the decline of seabird populations through the rescue, rehabilitation and release of ill, injured, abandoned and oiled seabirds – especially endangered species like the African penguin.
In each of these volunteer opportunities, the enrichment not only touches the lives of individuals but has been proven to massively increase your own sense of contentment. Whether it’s Mandela Day or any other day of the year, giving an hour or so of your time can make a lasting impact not just on those you are helping, but on your own mental wellbeing.