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Emmanuel Community Care South Africa (CW)

Location: South Africa
Project type: community support
Price from: £1,313 - details below

Volunteer with a community organisation in Port Elizabeth providing health care, nutrition and education to HIV sufferers and vulnerable children through self help groups, advice centres, community and pre-school care.

Skills required

We work closely with the local people who manage this project, and they have identified their primary volunteer needs as follow:

  • organisational and administrative skills
  • fundraising, marketing and business skills
  • nurses, health visitors and counsellors
  • nutritionists
  • early childhood development practitioners and pre-school teachers
  • life skills education and development
  • the programme would also welcome pro-active people to help the staff with feeding, caring for and playing constructively with the young children, mainly under 6 years old

The Emmanuel Advice and Care Centre (EACC) needs volunteers with appropriate skills and experience to help the staff with:

  • building the administrative capacity of the organisation
  • capacity building for community carers who support HIV sufferers
  • providing child care for orphans and vulnerable children
  • the feeding programme

This project offers a responsible alternative to the volunteer who would like to work in childcare but is rightly concerned about the ethics of  short term volunteer work abroad in an orphanage.

Main project details

Emmanuel Advice and Care Centre is a non-profit organisation, based in the KwaNoxolo district of Port Elizabeth.  It was founded in 2003 as a means of addressing the high incidence of HIV and AIDS, and works towards a vision of an AIDs-free community.

In their work to support adults and children with or affected by HIV and AIDs in their community, the Emmanuel team currently has a team of four care-givers, plus a manager and administrator, who carry out home visits to around 300 clients in the KwaNoxolo district, providing practical support and counselling to families in need, as well as running regular support groups on issues relating to health and social care. The team also includes two childcare workers who run a community crèche and pre-school for around 60 children, and as often as possible a feeding programme provides a meal for these children plus up to 100 additional vulnerable children from the community; this food is provided by local food banks and supplemented with vegetables grown in the garden at Emmanuel; some regular donors also sponsor the feeding programme.
All the care givers and crèche workers are drawn from the local community and so have a deep understanding of the issues affecting the area.  Many referrals come from people in the community who approach them with concerns about a neighbour; the team at Emmanuel are always there to provide a listening ear to those who regularly drop in with concerns.  This has enabled Emmanuel to build a caring organisation which is effective and committed to supporting and empowering adults and children within their community.
Their stated objectives are to:
  • provide support and advice to individuals and families infected and affected by HIV/AIDs
  • educate the community about issues such as methods of prevention, good nutrition and the importance of compliance with medication
  • ensure the safety and development of orphans and vulnerable children
  • provide nutritional meals to orphans and child-headed families
Although Emmanuel received funding from the Department of Social Development for the first 10 years of its existence - which enabled them to employ paid staff and work with more clients across a wider area - that funding has now ceased and Emmanuel depends totally on donations and self-funded initiatives for its survival. The entire team now works on a voluntary basis and is a genuine, caring grass-roots organisation, determined to continue to provide love and support for their community in very practical, needs-driven ways.

To learn more about how the volunteer programme works with this project read more here.


The communities served by the EACC are home for over 150,000 people. Like most townships in South Africa, they are characterized by a history of poverty, underdevelopment and segregation. Today they comprise `coloured' and African (Xhosa) families, living in shacks, older apartheid 'matchbox' houses and newly developed housing. 

What is uniform, as well as the physical structure is poverty, unemployment, social problems such as alcohol- and drug-abuse, and HIV/AIDS and TB. Many households are headed by single mothers, grandmothers, and a few child headed households.

"Emmanuel is not a perfectly run organisation - they have limited resources, work in horrible conditions at times, and are under-skilled for what they really want to achieve.  They are under-paid & under funded In the kitchen and the crèche they are busy and can make nothing go a long way. It's difficult  sometimes not to get frustrated sometimes- but you need to always try to remember, hard as it might be, the conditions that these people live in, the fact that they do this for next to no money, the fact that this organisation has been here, doing this, a long time  and that it was started by people in this community, for people in this community, because they could see the way that HIV & Aids was destroying that community.  I deeply hope that they  find a way to continue to grow and contribute because the value of what they do and what they want to do cannot be measured!." v
olunteer Emma

Volunteer opportunities in this community welfare and support programme can involve skills and experience in child care, health care, teaching - and other experience will also be put to good use. Take a look at the list of needs, as identified by the project, near the top of this page. Work with local people to play your part in responsible volunteer projects abroad.

Minimum duration

4 weeks minimum
placements of longer duration are also welcomed - please ask

Living Conditions

Homestay is available near the project, with a host family in a safe township community environment, with your own room.

Breakfasts & evening meals with your hosts are included, as well as packed lunches and daily transport on work days.

Other accommodation, such as locally owned  guesthouses, is available - please ask us for information.

Project costs

from £1,313 for 4 weeks based on full board home stay guideline sterling costs based on 18.00SAR to the GB£
Read about our costs and pricing policy here 

Watch an explanatory interview with programme director Sallie Grayson
Returning volunteers will receive a 25% reduction in project management and matching fees 
Additional weeks are costed at a sliding reducing rate. Please ask for details 
Please note these costs are correct to the best of our knowledge but can only be confirmed at time of booking due to changes in transport and taxes outside our control.
full board home stay, airport transfers, full local orientation, city tour, social event, local SIM card, project & placement liaison, daily transportation to the project. (Various other accommodation options, such as full time or weekend guesthouse stays or self catering accommodation can be arranged).
Previous donations have funded the OVC feeding programme, bought essential equipment for the creche and the carers, purchased computer and cooking equipment and funded carer stipends
How your money is spent based on 4 weeks
11700 SAR (650 GBP) - direct costs in South Africa (transfers, accommodation, orientation, information packs etc)
4500 SAR (250 GBP) - project management, liaison & supervision in South Africa
2750 SAR (153 GBP) - project donation in South Africa
£260  - recruitment, matching & project development in UK
Not included: flights, insurance, visa costs, personal expenses such as phone calls, medical expenses, etc.
If you or your friends and family wish to make further donations to this project CLICK HERE

Recommended reading

'No Time Like the Present' - Nadine Gordimer
Here are some useful websites for general information about HIV / AIDS and Children in South Africa:
'Long Walk to Freedom' - Nelson Mandela - a must read for all  to learn about the Xhosa click!
2011 UN report - Youth in Africa
An interview with volunteer Nita -
App for translating all 11 South African languages - Downloads on all android apple smartphones
Check out slideshare | youtube | our blog | facebook for volunteer interviews & project news

An excellent guide to volunteering with children from Better Care Network

Project gallery

Registered volunteers can learn about the local team for this project - LOG ON to learn more about this project and the local team we work with. Not registered yet? It's easy and free HERE!

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