SOUTH AFRICA: HIV / AIDS education & Child Care

South Africa

Adventure Overview:

  • 2 weeks
  • 3 weeks
  • 1 month

Surrounding the beautiful area of St Lucia are rural villages with many children, some of who are orphans, in need of education and care. There are some local crèches and day care centres which provide a place for children to go. Many of these places have little or no resources for play or education, even though the local carers try their best to make do with what they have.

The aim is to assist the carers and teachers by helping with basic learning, fun activities and lots of play for the children - in some places there are as many as 80 energetic children to be looked after! Volunteers play a huge part in this assistance and form special bonds with the children and teachers. Volunteers also help with other needs in the community, including HIV/AIDS awareness programs, assist with the care and improving facilities for local orphans, farming to encourage healthy living and refurbishment of important community buildings. This project, with its adorable children, the chance to give important HIV messages and see the rewards of improving community facilities is truly a life changing experience.

What is Included?

  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • 24 / 7 Support
  • Training
  • Information Pack
  • Accommodation: In this project you will share a room in a large and comfortable project house situated in the middle of St. Lucia. It is a fully furnished house with a lounge, barbeque area, garden, and a swimming pool in a very safe residential area. The volunteer house is approximately a 5 minute walk to the town and a 30 minute walk to the beautiful St Lucia beach and river estuary. A beautiful place to relax after work.
  • Food: You will be provided with three meals a day except Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch (when the cook has her days off). We invite volunteers to try the local restaurants for dinner and there is a small supermarket and cafes available for lunch. Dinner costs around GBP6-8 so is very reasonably priced. Please allow for this in your budget. Breakfast is on a help-yourself basis and usually consists of cereals, yoghurt, toast, tea and coffee. Lunch and dinner are full meals, and will be cooked for you by our cook at the volunteer house.
  • Training: During your time with Agapé Adventures, we offer a series of training events, which aim to focus and encourage you in your service. Our training brings together experienced insights & knowledge of the voluntary sector, and utilises up to date project management skills to offer a training programme that is personal, pastoral & professional. For this project you will receive pre-departure training, and a re-entry debrief on your return. You will also receive specific project based orientation: Project Orientation: Upon arrival in St. Lucia you will have a comprehensive orientation programme, which is included in your fee. This is facilitated by your project volunteer coordinator and includes: • An introduction to St. Lucia and the surrounding area • An overview of the Day Care Centre and some basic teaching skills to prepare and deliver lessons to the children • An introduction into the syllabus we use for HIV/AIDS education and an HIV/AIDS question and answer session to help with any concerns or questions you have for you own safety • An introduction and visit to the projects to see where you will be working • A basic language course - You will learn some basic words and sentences in Zulu, the local language in St. Lucia
  • Support:
    All volunteers are supported by Agapé Adventures every step of the way. You will be allocated a line manager to assist you in the day to day aspects of your adventure, there will be in-country support staff to help with anything your project can't do, and staff at Agapé's main base who will be available 24/7 for any out of hours emergencies. All staff involved in supporting you, work together to provide a coordinated and professional service throughout your adventure. Members of our staff team will also be staying on the same property, so that they are always available to assist you with any questions or issues you may have. We find that volunteers living together and working closely together with their volunteer coordinators is the surest way of ensuring their safety, and of being able to attend to their most pressing needs. For this reason, we expect all volunteers to stay only in the accommodation provided for them and do not allow volunteers to spend nights away in the town or nearby villages, unless they are away on pre-arranged sightseeing excursions.
  • Adventure Package: It would be unforgiveable to be living in such stunning scenery without exploring your surroundings! Here are some of the highlights you may be able to participate in during your spare time in the evenings at weekends. These are not included in your volunteering fee, but our coordinators are able to assist you with making the necessary arrangements (depending on demand and availability): DAY TRIPS: Zulu Cultural Night – R115 Hippo and Croc tour – R170 Isimangaliso Night game drive – R325 Surfing/snorkelling at Cape Vidal (introduction lesson) – R300 Whale watching (Seasonal: June – November) – R850 Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game drive - R750 (half day)/R825 (full day) Elephant Interaction/Ghost Mountain Hike – prices subject to number of participants (min 4 pax) WEEKEND TRIPS: Thanda Private Game Reserve – R1740 per person sharing per night (single supplements apply) + R1400 transport Mozambique dolphin swim – R3195 per person – includes visa (min 4 pax) Other weekend trip options include: Turtle tours (seasonal: November – March), Kosi Bay, Sodwana Bay, Swaziland, Battlefields, Drakensberg. Please note that prices given are a guideline only and are subject to change.
  • Airport Collection & Drop Off:  You will be collected and dropped at Durban International Airport on the start/end date. It is about a 3 hour drive from Durban to St Lucia. You can fly directly into Durban International Airport with Emirates Airways or via Johannesburg – where you can book one of the following airlines to Durban International: / One of the project staff members will meet you at the airport and transport you to the volunteer accommodation. Please do not book your fights until you have confirmed your placement with us. We will then send further details

What Isn't Included

  • Adventure Package
  • Stipend
  • Visa
  • Flights
  • Insurance

What will I do?:

Volunteers visit the day care centres every morning (Monday to Friday) and will assist in taking care of the children and teaching basic lessons to a class of under 6’s. The volunteer role is fundamental to the development of the children and in the preparation for their next step into primary school. This is a great opportunity to help many children in the community through developmental play and education, by giving them the individual attention they desperately need. There are also opportunities to help with the babies and toddlers with play, singing, help them with basic skills and have fun.  The one to one attention the children get from volunteers is so valuable as this is otherwise not available with the restricted number of carers and teachers.

As a volunteer you will be involved in the following:

  • Teaching the children basic lessons about different themes and subjects with the aid of a translator
  • Developing the children’s imagination and creative skills through crafts
  • Playing games and singing songs in both English and Zulu
  • Helping with washing hands before meals and feeding children and babies
  • Helping to refurbish the day care centre buildings to keep it a fun environment in which to learn

In the school holidays volunteers will help run a holiday club for children aged 4-12 years old. This is a great opportunity to have fun with the children as well as educating them about new and exciting things.  Examples of some activities are learning about other countries, and sports and talent competitions.


In St. Lucia’s local community, many myths about HIV/AIDS still prevail. A large percentage of local South Africans believe that the virus is a result of witchcraft, and people infected with it are often rejected from their own communities and families. As a result, many people who are infected do not admit to having the virus. Not many people know how to prevent infection, and even fewer people know how to deal with the virus once they have it.

Working together with our Volunteer Coordinator with experience in teaching this subject you will be involved in teaching adults and children about the virus. During your placement, you will visit both schools and community centres, and do the following:

Explain, through a simple method approved by the United Nations what the HIV/AIDS virus actually is, and how it affects a human body
Educate people about how the virus is transmitted, and how infection can be prevented
Explain how, after infection, life can be prolonged through medication, healthy food, and a more healthy lifestyle


Volunteers are currently assisting in serving lunch and after school playtime activity for approximately 40 orphans in Ezwenalisha community. You will be involved in playing educational games and sports with these energetic children.

Besides looking after orphaned children and raising awareness about the HIV/AIDS virus, you will be involved in the following community projects in the afternoons:


The Ten Families Project was established in May 2009 and aims to improve the quality of life in a sustainable way for 10 families urgently in need of assistance. Help is focused on nutrition and income generation where the volunteers gives a nutritional supplement to the families weekly in order to give them energy. This energy is in the long term used for gardening or eventually retailing for the supplement itself. This amazing community outreach programme is only made possible through the help of volunteers and is a unique insight into how traditional Zulu families live and a chance to bond with each family.


Community buildings in the local villages tend to be run down, particularly in the more rural and remote areas. As a volunteer, you will visit these building which may be a school, day care centre, a church, orphanage, community centre or the house of someone in need, by helping to fix roofs and windows, paint walls, and help build new rooms. You will find that the community greatly appreciate your presence and support, and your work will be highly rewarding.


To help encourage positive and healthy living, volunteers will help local people create and maintain vegetable gardens. These will supply people with much needed healthy food and encourage them to be more self sufficient for them and their family.  The farming activities may include digging, weeding, fencing, planting and watering. Watching the vegetables grow and be used by more and more people is a great way to make a difference.


Using the donated container as a library, we have introduced an Adult literacy club for members of the community to join. Once a week for a period of 10 weeks the volunteers help with the English language for adults who are eager to learn

The Local Area

The little town of St Lucia lies at the southern most entrance to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park (formerly known as the St Lucia Estuary and Wetlands Park), a World Heritage site that stretches all the way from Kozi Bay in the north, to Cape St Lucia in the south on the Elephant Coast.

Portions of this area have been a game reserve since as early as 1895, and it is no surprise to find this part of the world high on the ‘must visit’ list of any traveller worth his salt. The little town of St Lucia serves as something of a tourist hub for the park and has grown substantially from the sleepy little hollow, perched below a canopy of trees, to the feeder town that is geared for domestic eco tourism today. There are myriad accommodation options, restaurants, supermarkets and other tourist facilities within the town that make a stay here pretty effortless.

As the doorway to a world of fresh water pans, lakes, mangrove and reed swamps, marshy grasslands, coastal dunes and an abundance of wild life, the town too lies in the heart of unspoilt beauty. Life here is rather laid back and peaceful, if the monkeys and little duikers that roam the streets freely are anything to go by, and it serves as an ideal stopover before heading on towards the more remote areas of the Elephant Coast. St Lucia’s popularity with anglers is self-evident – seafood restaurants are numerous, and bait and tackle shops are anything but thin on the ground.

When one speaks of St Lucia, really one is referring to the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park, South Africa’s third largest park. On the north-eastern coast of KwaZulu Natal, this wilderness reserve covers some 280 km of coastline, stretching from Kozi Bay in the north to Cape St Lucia in the south and was the first park in South Africa to be declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999. The park includes Lake St Lucia and its estuary, a surround of wildlife reserve, a number of islands and a section of the Marine Reserve along the coast. It is home to five recognisable ecosystems and includes swamps, lake systems, coral reefs, beaches, wetlands, woodlands and coastal forests.

The Great St Lucia Wetland Park supports the country’s largest population of hippos and crocodiles. It is also home to leatherback turtles, black rhino, leopards, over 530 species of birds, including greater and lesser flamingos, and some 36 species of amphibians. The park supports more species of animal than the larger and more well-known Kruger National Park. The unique combination of subtropical coastline and African game park is what draws visitors as well as the sheer viewing pleasure - this is one of the most beautiful spots on earth.

During November sea turtles come to the beaches to lay their eggs, whales frequent the waves from June through September, making their way southwards and the park is a very popular fishing destination, providing surf fishing, kite fishing, fly fishing, spear fishing and deep sea fishing. There are also a number of hiking trails through the park, some of them a few days worth of walking.

There is no limit to activities in the area. There are hippo cruises, kayak safaris, game safaris and the beautiful beaches with their high sand dunes are perfect for walks, volley ball and sunbathing. The town of St Lucia proper is at the most southern entrance to the park, about 300 km from Durban.

Map of the Area



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