Volunteering in South Africa
South Africa is a country of astonishing diversity.
Geographically, South Africa is bordered by the stunning coastlines of two oceans. It's a land of fertile plains, jagged mountains, and parched deserts. Culturally, the country is known as the 'Rainbow Nation' — a reference to the broad spectrum of ethnic groups and its multicultural diversity. Linguistically, South Africa recognises 11 different official languages.
Since the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa has undergone a democratic transition and become a prominent advocate of human rights on the African continent. In addition, it has grown to become Africa’s second-largest economy.
Poverty and inequality are key development challenges for South Africa. Despite rising GDP, South Africa’s income distribution pattern is amongst the most unequal in the world. Around half of South Africans live below the national poverty line of less than US$50 a month and only a small percentage of the population earn over US$50,000 a year. Poverty is primarily experienced by the country’s black population.
South Africa faces other significant development challenges, particularly in the health sector, with a low average life expectancy and one of the world’s highest rates of HIV/AIDS.
The Australian Volunteers Program is guided by the Australian Government’s Aid Investment Plan for South Africa, and volunteer assignments focus on a range of development issues, including:
- gender equality and women’s empowerment
- violence against women and girls
- education (including science)
- good governance
- working with people with disabilities
- human rights (including for LGBTQI+)
- environmental management
- strengthening institutions that promote stability, democracy and the rule of law
Geographically, there is a focus on developing new opportunities for volunteering assignments in the Gauteng, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Eastern Cape provinces.
Clinton's second volunteer experience was with the Classic Wallabies Indigenous Exchange. He worked with a local community in rural South Africa to help improve under-privileged schools.
Take a look!