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St Lucia Vulnerable Child and Community Support Project

St Lucia, South Africa
from £995 (2 weeks)

Ref: AV019

A life-changing experience in South Africa awaits volunteers who want to work in a vibrant Zulu community to help educate children who have been orphaned by AIDS.  This project is located in the beautiful St Lucia area where nearly 70% of the local population are believed to be infected with HIV, and many of the children have lost one or both their parents.  The help of volunteers in educating these children and raising awareness of HIV in these communities is very important.  The project gives volunteers the opportunity to engage with people - young and old - to make a positive impact whilst living by the beautiful Indian Ocean with waters full of hippos, crocs, whales and turtles and the chance to see the Big 5 during weekend excursions with fellow volunteers.

Who can join: 16 years and over
Accommodation: Dedicated volunteer house
Transfer time: approx. 2.5 hours
Pick up Point: Durban International Airport
Meals: Three meals a day - excluding Sat lunch/dinner & Sun lunch
Volunteer numbers: approx. 8

Duration & Fees

2 weeks£995
3 weeks£1,295
4 weeks£1,565
5 weeks£1,795
6 weeks£2,095
7 weeks£2,375
8 weeks£2,615

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Start Dates

2020 Start Dates:

12 Jan | 26 Jan | 9 Feb | 23 Feb | 8 Mar | 22 Mar | 5 Apr | 19 Apr | 3 May | 17 May | 31 May | 14 Jun | 28 Jun | 5 Jul | 12 Jul | 19 Jul | 26 Jul | 2 Aug | 9 Aug | 16 Aug | 23 Aug | 30 Aug | 6 Sep | 20 Sep | 4 Oct | 18 Oct | 1 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov

For volunteers who join for 3, 5 and 7 weeks a private return transfer fee of 1500 ZAR is payable for this.

This project closes for the Christmas period in early December


£180 deposit at time of booking – balance payment of project fee due 12 weeks before departure

What's Included

  • A contribution to the project itself including funding for activities with the orphans and building and farming materials, as well as operational costs such as housing, communication and project vehicles
  • Airport transfers from King Shaka International Airport on arrival and departure
  • Orientation programme
  • All daily transfers to and from your projects during your stay
  • Housekeeping services
  • Accommodation including 3 meals a day excluding weekends
  • Support from the local project staff whilst at St Lucia

What's not included

  • Travel insurance to cover your placement (to include cover for repatriation)
  • Transport to Durban International Airport by air or bus
  • Personal items eg clothing, gifts etc
  • Use of internet and telephone
  • Visas and any excursions undertaken other than in the planned programme
  • Soft drinks, wines, spirits, between meal snacks and weekend food
  • Laundry - this can be done weekly for R60

Project Highlights

  • Interact with and help disadvantaged and vulnerable children in rural African villages
  • Support families living in poverty through education, building and community support
  • Help to keep children and teenagers off the streets and support their eduction through fun reading clubs and after-school project
  • Provide orphans with much needed care and education to improve their future choices
  • Become immersed in the local Zulu culture, enjoy a Zulu language lesson and learn all about the traditional customs
  • Spend the weekends on safari and have the opportunity to spot lions, elephants, rhinos and more!!
  • The Indian Ocean is just down the road - its stunning beaches and warm waters are filled with a variety of marine life including whales and turtles
  • Take a walk down to the sunset jetty

About the Project

St Lucia os a safe seaside town - the perfect location for first time travellers and volunteers.  Wander down the main road for a qick slice of fresh fruit from the market or over to the estuary to watch a magical sunset over the St Lucia Wetland Park.  Golden sandy beaches are also just a short walk from the volunteer house.  In St Lucia volunteers experience a beautiful sall town, year-round warm weather with glimpses of wildlife such as monkey and hippos to name a few.

Three rural village communities inhabited by approximately 70,000 people show another side of life just a short drive away from the renowned tourist town of St Lucia.  The village population live in a vast range of homes, from shacks built of wood and broken concrete to larger permanent brick buildings.  Rural Zululand is a remote and beautiful area, though being one of the poorer regions in South Africa, many of the local children are in desperate need of education and care.

A large orphaned community exists in these communities, with most children having lost one or both of their parents.  Volunteers will become an integral part of supporting these communities and the children by working at a grassroots level to provide a better education and a brighter future for all.  A few minutes of one-yo-one reading time with a child does wonders for crucial literacy skills and their sense of identity and confidence.

In addition to the work with the young childen in the village, this project also gives the opportunity to get involved in some of the wider community outreach projects.  As often grandmothers are the sole carers for their grandchildren, volunters assist in a variety of ways including light building and refurbishment, help with homework and sometimes bringing joy and fun to the children through games, songs and other activities.

Volunteer Work (Monday - Friday)

Day Care Centres
Within the local villages several creches and day care centres have been established to give the local children a meal, some basic education and the care and attention they so often lack at home.  Volunteers will help the caregivers and local teachers with basic learning, fun activities and lots of educational play for the children.  Volunteers visit the day care centres every morning and will assist in taking care of a class of children aged 5 years and younger.  Their role is fundamental to the development of the children and for their preparation for their next step into primary school.

After-School Club
This fun and educational after-school club is an opportunity to provide these children with stimulatiion that might otherwise be lacking.  Volunteers will be a positive role model and will help to plan and lead fun after-school activities for children aged from 7 - 15 years.  They will be involved in providing basic education lessons, as well as playing games/sports and fun hands-on activities with these energetic children.

Reading Club
One of the most popular activities for both students and volunteer.  English is an essential skill in South Africa.  Understanding and speaking it will help children finish school and gain employment in the future.  Reading club is a wonderful opportunity to develop the children's English reading and speaking abilities in a relaxed setting.  Volunteers will help them to read books and progress their basic understanding and comprehension of literature, whilst making learning and literacy fun.  Reading and storytelling provides a supportive environment that helps promote literacy, build confidence and have fun.  Most weeks there are 50 - 6- children and teenagers attending!

Family Relief Assistance Programme
Some of the families in the communities are in urgent need of support.  As part of the team volunteers will be using their own skills and talents to help fill soe of the needs these families have and bring some much appreciated fun and joy into their homes.  The focus varies on what is required by the family involved but assistance in the past has included providing food parcels, lessons and homework help.  Volunteer teams have also taken on projects such as creating sustainable vegetable gardens, building homes, painting and providing access to water.  There is always something that the volunteers can do to make the families' lives a little easier.

Holiday Club

During school holidays when the schools are closed the children in the communities need more support than ever.  Volunteers will work as a team with the staff to offer fun, educational activities for the children during these school breaks.  With sports, games, music, life-skills, team and arts and crafts, it is a time for everyone to have fun together while building up the children's confidence and developing skills which will be a great asset to their futures.  School terms for St Lucia for 2020 are as follows:

Term 1:  15 January - 20 March 2020; Term 2: 31 March - 12 June 2020; Term 3: 7 July - 18 September 2020; Term 4: 29 September - 2 December 2020

A Week in the Life of a Volunteer

Due to the nature of the project these activities may change on a daily basis.

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
am Creche Creche Creche Creche Creche
Lunch At the volunteer house At the volunteer house At the volunteer house At the volunteer house At the volunteer hours
pm After School Club Reading Club Family Relief Assistance Zulu Language Lesson Reading Club


  Saturday Sunday
  Enjoy a full day game drive at Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve or rent a car and take a weekend trip to Mozambique (just a few hours away Take a stroll to the local beach. In the afternoon go on an iconic hippo and croc tour and watch a beatiful African Sunset.


 Optional Excursions

Below are examples of some of the incredible attractions St Lucia has to offer. These activities are not included in the project fee but are a great way to spend free time and interact with fellow volunteers.

  • Take a day trip - or even an overnight trip - and go on a safari with an experienced guide in one of the surrounding Big 5 Game Reserves
  • Have abeach day with picnic and snorkelling
  • Enjoy a fantastic cultural evening learning to dance and play drums Zulu style

Getting There

Volunteers should fly into Durban International Airport on their start date where they will be met by a member of the project staff and transferred to the volunteer accommodation.  This is about a 2.5 hour drive. Volunteers will also be returned to Durban International Airport at the end of their placement for their homeward journey.  Volunteers should arrive into Durban by 1.00 pm on their Sunday start date and will be returned to Durban airport by 10.30 am on their day or departure.

Amanzi Travel can help with flight arrangements and volunteers booking their package and flights can take advantage of the company ATOL licence which provides extra cover and peace of mind.  Please ask Amanzi Travel for details.

A perfect way to explore more of Africa

Before heading straight back home, why not take an Overland Journey through Africa to explore more of the wonderful sights and experiences that this beautiful continent has to offer.  You can take a trip that starts and finishes in the same city (eg Windhoek to Windhoek) or you can use it as an opportunity to get your from one city to another (eg Cape Town to Nairobi).

“This has got to be the best way to see Africa in a short period of time ... brilliant. The guides were fantastic, the campsites great, and the food excellent. The overland trip was excellent - really well run”
Southern Sun 21 days, Cape Town to Victoria Falls - Jennie and Stuart, Sweden, aged 32 and 34.

“I didn’t know I could become such close friends with people in just a week. The trip attracts a great group of people who are so easy to get along with. My group ranged from 20 to 70 and we all sat down with a drink, played cards together and just gathered around the campfire.  It was an experience of a lifetime and I will definitely recommend this to my friends and family”
Tanzanian Game Parks and Zanzibar, 10 Days and Masai Mara Safari, 3 Days - Sara, Canada/Malaysia, aged 20.

 From 3 days to 56 days, take a look at the exciting Overland Trips here.

Support and Orientation

Support and advice is available from Amanzi Travel office staff and project/trip leaders. Upon booking, you will receive a comprehensive pre-departure pack that provides all the details you will need to prepare for your trip.  This document includes information on accommodation, staff, visas, optional activities, packing checklist and medical advice and if you have any questions that are not answered in the pack we are always on hand to help and advise. We will do all we can to ensure that you are well prepared and looking forward to your trip. You will also receive an in country orientation on arrival.

A 24 hours a day, 7 days a week emergency contact number is provided for everyone who travels with us.

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence (9401) and is able to arrange your flights on request giving you financial protection for your flight and trip costs. We also offer advice on personal travel insurance for your trip.

St Lucia, South Africa , St Lucia Vulnerable Child and Community Support ProjectSt Lucia, South Africa , St Lucia Vulnerable Child and Community Support ProjectSt Lucia, South Africa , St Lucia Vulnerable Child and Community Support ProjectSt Lucia, South Africa , St Lucia Vulnerable Child and Community Support ProjectSt Lucia, South Africa , St Lucia Vulnerable Child and Community Support ProjectVolunteers will be accommodated at the large and comfortable project house in the centre of St Lucia in a very safe, residential area.  It is right in the town's main street and 30 minutes walk to the beautiful beach and estuary.  There is a lounge, barbecue (braai) area, tropical garden and swimming pool.

St Lucia itself is a small, malaria-free tourist town on the North East Coast of South Africa, surrounded by rural African villages.  It is the only town in the world to be surrounded by a World Heritage Site - the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.  It offers incredible opportunities to explore some of the country's most stunning landscapes. 

With Indian Ocean and Big 5 Game Reserves all around, amazing wildlife can be found everywhere.  It remains warm all year round, attracts whales along the coast from June - November and is even a prime location to go and watch turtles hatching on the beach between November and March.

Three meals a day are provided (excluding weekends)

Click here to view the full interactive mapSouth Africa - Help Local Communities Get Started

Why visit South Africa?

Every country in the world displays some diversity, but South Africa, stretching from the hippos in the Limpopo River to the penguins waddling on the Cape, takes some beating. There’s the deserted Kalahari, Namakwa’s springtime symphony of wildflowers, iconic Table Mountain and Cape Point, Africa’s biggest game reserve - Kruger National Park - boasting the most mammal species of any game reserve, and the magnificent peaks and plunging valleys of the escarpment of Drakensberg.

Cape Town is widely described as one of the world's most beautiful cities. Some of its more famous landmarks include Table Mountain, Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for decades), Cape Point, Chapman’s Peak, Kirstenbosch Gardens and the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. A combination of historical coastal charm and urbane sophistication, Cape Town has some of the finest beaches and is also the gateway to the lush Cape Winelands, famous for world-renowned wines. From here, it is an easy journey to the Whale Route, where Southern Right whales can be seen (June - November) and humpback whales, Bryde's whales, Minke whales and bottlenose dolpins can be viewed year round.

The Garden Route is renowned for its beaches, indigenous forests, nature reserves, lakes, mountain ranges, adventure opportunities and hiking trails. Plettenberg Bay is a relaxed beach paradise with spectacular walks and hikes where one can watch dolphins and whales on eco-marine cruises. With some of the world's finest beaches, the Eastern Cape's untouched and pristine coastline also has a rich social, cultural and political history. Port Elizabeth is the gateway to the Eastern Cape, and the perfect complement to the Garden Route. Cape St Francis is situated on the Indian Ocean coastline, in and around Africa's largest man made web of canals and waterways, and is renowned for its long, sandy beaches, surfing, rock fishing and tranquil lifestyle.

Kruger National Park is the flagship of South Africa's game reserves, offering an unrivalled wildlife experience over two million-hectares. Private concessions operating within and alongside Kruger National Park feature luxurious, exclusive game lodges with many exciting safari activities. Some of these lodges are unfenced, allowing for the free movement of wildlife. Madikwe Game Reserve, in the North West province, is one of South Africa's largest private Big Five game reserves and features numerous lodges and camps. The Waterberg area in the northwest is also malaria-free and is aptly named for its strong streams that flow even in dry seasons, making for excellent game viewing. Both reserves are great for those seeking an accessible malaria-free wilderness experience.

Durban is a sub-tropical city and the gateway to KwaZulu-Natal. It offers a unique mix of Zulu, Indian and colonial cultures. Visit the Anglo-Zulu battlefields, take a fascinating glimpse into Zulu culture, hike in the beautiful Drakensberg Mountains, dive the reefs, marine and coastal reserves of Maputaland, as well as experience Big Five game reserves. The Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve is renowned for saving the white rhino from the brink of extinction, and Phinda Private Game Reserve is well known for its award-winning lodges and conservation initiatives.

Johannesburg meaning "Place of Gold", is South Africa's economic powerhouse. This vibrant and cosmopolitan city is home to many attractions including the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill, and also offers shopping from world-class to atmospheric curio markets. Known as the "Jacaranda City", the state capital of Pretoria features beautiful blossoming trees, significant old buildings and fascinating museums, including the Transvaal Museum, home of Mrs Ples, the australopithecine fossil found at the Cradle of Humankind.

Highlights of South Africa

  • Breathtaking scenery, quaint coastal villages, cosmopolitan cities, wine routes and exclusive bush lodges.
  • Exciting Big Five safaris in unspoilt wilderness areas.
  • Malaria-free game viewing and sunshine all year round.
  • See Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was held in prison for 27 years.
  • Go up Table Mountain by cable car for stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and beautiful Cape Town.
  • Whale watching and great white shark cage diving.
  • Beautiful, pristine beaches perfect for swimming and sunbathing.
  • The Cradle of Humankind: Sterkfontein is one of the world's most productive and important palaeoanthropological sites.


For Johannesburg:

Seasons Max Min
Summer (September - April) 25 °C 10 °C
Winter (May - August) 19 °C 4 °C
Rainfall: October to March, with November to January heaviest

South Africa has typical seasons of weather for the southern hemisphere, with the coldest days in July-August. The Benguela Current, a cold motion that moves from the lower South Atlantic Ocean, causes moderate temperatures on the West Coast. On the central plateau, which includes Free State and Gauteng provinces, the altitude keeps the average temperatures below 30 °C.In winter, also due to altitude, temperatures drop to freezing point, and in some places, even lower. Heavy snows have fallen recently for the first time in decades in Johannesburg. During winter, it is warmest in the coastal regions, especially on the Eastern Indian Ocean coast and Garden Route, where it has year round mild weather with occasional rain. As winter is cooler and drier, it is more suitable for hiking and outdoor pursuits, and is also a good time for game viewing as vegetation is less dense and thirsty animals congregate around rivers and other permanent water sources.

In summer, South Africa experiences the hottest temperatures and this is generally when most rain falls, October – March. However, there is one exception -  the Western Cape, which is a winter-rain area that enjoys a Mediterranean climate (average 26°C).

Christmas to mid-January, and Easter are the height of the peak season for visitors.
Autumn (April/May) and Spring (mid-Sept to November) are ideal almost everywhere.

Key Facts

Population – 50 million

Capital – Pretoria (executive), Bloemfontein (judicial), Cape Town (legislative)
Currency – Rand (ZAR)

Official Language(s) – Afrikaans, English (South African English), Southern Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Southern Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu
Time difference – GMT +2 hours

Telephone – country code 27, international access code 00

St Lucia Vulnerable Child and Community Support Project

I had a really great two weeks, and met some truly inspirational people in the local community and made some great friends with the other volunteers. 

Katie, UK, aged 18 (St Lucia Vulnerable Child and Community Support Project)

St Lucia Vulnerable Child and Community Support Project

My experience in South Africa was simply amazing. I arrived with another volunteer, and after a few hours spent recovering from our flight at the house (which is much more luxurious than you'd expect!) we were thrown straight into the project; given a quick tour of Khula Village and shown each of the projects that we would be working on over the next few weeks, and the next day we started teaching the kids at the daycare - like nothing I have ever experienced before! The kids are all just excited to be learning and playing with volunteers from all over the world, and the Zulu teachers and staff at the house were all friendly and welcoming. There is nothing I can say to describe the kids that would be adequate – they’re so outgoing and just happy that you're there - within my first few minutes on my first day I had at least 4 around me wanting to be held or highfived!

An element of the project which I found I enjoyed beyond my expectations was the HIV education - we taught a small group of adults a set course about HIV, which was run every Tuesday - Friday, and then repeated with different people weekly. The way that the schedule was worked out meant that I took part on this afternoon project the majority of the time, and in this way I really got to know much more about the situation (especially in this specific part of South Africa), and felt that this project made a huge impact on the community. Me and one other volunteer also took time out of daycare in the morning to go and teach a similar syllabus to teenagers in the local primary school - set up in a similar way, but much more fun and interactive! And just the test results at the end of the courses were simple proof of the positive impact that this project has on the area.

The other afternoon projects were equally as rewarding - whether we spent our time helping to build the new daycare centre for the children (which is looking brilliant now!!), painting the mural in the village's church, farming in either the HIV Support Garden or plot or working on the lesson plans for the next week of daycare. Whilst working on these projects we were often joined by people from the village who came to help; we met some great people from the area this way! 

There was also a huge range of things to do in our freetime, which helped to contribute to an all-around African experience - whether it was just going into St Lucia for a night in a bar (which we did frequently), or in the daytime to do some haggling at the local craft market, or bigger things like all-day safaris (me and a few of the other volunteers did this as well as an overnight stay in a safari-park, which was absolutely stunning!). We also did whale-watching trips, tours of the estuary by boat in search for hippos and crocs (although a couple of the other volunteers saw hippos around the roads of St Lucia!), and even just walking around St Lucia, down to the beach and estuary, was well worth doing - we found an amazing art market, and by that I mean one man with his amazing paintings hanging on a washing line! I only went for a few weeks, but by the time I left I felt that I had found a second home in St Lucia - the place itself, and especially the people in Khula village, are just so friendly, and you get to know it all so quickly.

Jenny, UK aged 17 (St Lucia Vulnerable Child and Community Support Project)

St Lucia Vulnerable Child and Community Support Project

Amanzi Travel kept close contact with me before my departure, and answered all of my mum’s questions, as she became more nervous about my expedition.

Despite being told not to have favourites at the daycare centre, everyone does, and this really does help the child develop more. I became close to one boy who was considered a nuisance and always ran away during class, and didn’t seem to like talking to people, but by giving attention and help to him, I really felt an impact on how much he wanted to be with the group and listening in class. The afternoon projects were more obvious to see the impact, as people passed their HIV education tests, fences were built...

Thomas, UK, aged 17 (St Lucia Vulnerable Child and Community Support Project)

St Lucia Vulnerable Child and Community Support Project

At the orphanage...lived children from 10 to 14 years old who took care of themselves. They had no guardian or teacher to watch out for them. There were also younger children, from newborns to 9 year olds, that were cared for by substitute families that lived in poverty. Their homes had neither water nor electricity. They had to carry water from outside wells and water tanks every day so they could hydrate themselves, take showers, brush their teeth and clean their clothes. Most of them slept on the floor with a blanket; they ate with their hands. I was shocked because I took so many things in my life for granted and these children had literally nothing and still you could see so much happiness in their faces. They had nothing, but somehow had everything and enjoyed every minute, they saw their world with very different eyes than how we, the volunteers, saw it.

In the morning I taught at the preschool. Our afternoons were spent doing community service work. We painted school walls, we built a new school made of wood, we also planted a garden that would provide food for sick people that had HIV and were not in a condition to work or to buy food.

Once, we took boxes filled with donations to another school. They only had paper and pens. When we took out our things the teacher was so happy that tears came out of her eyes and the whole class started celebrating and couldn’t stop thanking us. We had brought books, colour markers and notebooks. I just wanted to cry, I couldn’t feel any happier for what I was doing.

How can something that is insignificant to many people, can be gold to others? This taught me the value of things. I learned that with small actions we can truly change someone’s world for the better. I also have learned that our world and our surroundings can be as beautiful and special, or as ugly as we choose to see them. It is just the colour of the glasses that we wear that will give us the colour of the world we see.

Finally, there is responsibility. Those kids taught me that being responsible is all about trust; it’s about caring so much about something you can’t leave it incomplete because you know someone is counting on you.

Adriana and Stephanie, Venezuela, aged 21 and 18 (St Lucia Vulnerable Child and Community Support Project)

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