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Work In an HIV/AIDs Project in South Africa
Project Summary
Project At A Glance
Cape Town
Start point:
Cape Town
End Point:
Cape Town
1-12 weeks
30-40 hours per week
3 local food daily
Host family or hostel
Mondays of each month
IFRE's HIV/AIDS project facilitates educational outreach and supports terminally ill patients (adults and children) with at-home care and offers counseling and emotional support to affected family members. Children often suffer the most. Often they have no one to talk to, and in some situations children suffer because there is no one to communicate on their behalf. They do not always understand why they have lost their parent(s).

Local HIV/AIDS projects are fully supported by schools, churches, local clinics, Social Services and the district office of Social Development, as well as UNICEF. Volunteers will assist caretakers and work with HIV/AIDS support groups. Each support group is supervised by a group facilitator. Support groups run their own awareness programs. They present motivational talks at the prisons, juvenile centers, churches and any awareness events. Volunteers also help promote workshops addressing how to live with a positive HIV/AIDS diagnosis and the legalities and human rights concerns surrounding HIV/AIDS patients.

Skills/Qualifications Needed
No specific qualifications are required of volunteers wishing to participate in the HIV/AIDS volunteer project in South Africa. However, applicants should have a focused interest and passion for public community outreach and other healthcare-related activities. Volunteers are expected to be flexible as public outreach rarely adheres to consistent daily schedules.

Volunteer Responsibilities
Volunteers will provide care to HIV/AIDS infected patients and engage the community in educational and training activities created to increase awareness and halt the spread of HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Volunteers may utilize therapeutic story-telling to develop coping skills in survivors and families, dependent on circumstances. Volunteers also help children with their schoolwork and participate in family conferences. Other volunteer duties include:
  • Counseling and education in hospitals and communities.
  • Work to increase the personal risk perception among men and women by encouraging active participation in HIV/AIDS preventive education in the community.
  • Assist community HIV/AIDS organizations with outreach programs such as hospice care, recreational and educational programs, voluntary HIV counseling and testing, and educational seminars and conferences about the virus.

Note: In South Africa, many of our volunteer projects are based in rural communities, sometime located a great distance from the city limits of Cape Town. In each local community, we support multiple projects such as orphanages, schools, HIV/AIDS project, hospital etc. Volunteers will help or participate in more than one project during their experience. This multi-tasking presents a more varied volunteering experience and the extra help is greatly appreciated by the community.

IFRE arranges accommodations and food (3 local meals/day) for the duration of your volunteer project. During orientation and training program, volunteers stay in our hostel in Cape Town. Our hostel is located in the heart of the city giving volunteers easy access to all parts of the city. Volunteers stay with a host family (aka "homestay") during the volunteer program. Our host families are socially respected and are well versed in the art of hosting international volunteers. Host families offer a safe home, private rooms (occasionally rooms will be shared with other same-gender volunteers) and shared bathroom facilities with running water.

Volunteers will receive three meals of South African cuisine each day. Breakfast normally consists of cereal and toast; lunch is packed to take to your project and dinner is a nutritious home cooked local meal (meat & vegetables, rice or potatoes & salad). Host families provide typical meals that are traditional to South Africa.. Throughout the volunteer project, our local staff stays in contact with volunteers with either face-to-face visits or via email/telephone. IFRE's main office is in Cape Town and our in-country coordinator serves as a point of contact for local volunteers. If project placement is very far from our main office, then our local staff members maintain communication by email and/or phone and the local project director will serve as a volunteer's contact. Upon program placement, personal placement documents provide specific details of accommodations and project.