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Volunteer with Children in Africa: Childcare, Healthcare, Teaching & More

Nick Callos
By Nick Callos
Writer
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Being from a vast, varied, and majestic continent, the children of Africa live in a diverse range of places, from cosmopolitan cities to small villages. As economies in the region continue to push ahead and create better standards of living for the people, it’s up to tomorrow’s leaders to secure a prosperous, peaceful future.

As the saying goes, children are our future. They’re the future doctors, engineers, teachers, artists, scientists, and lawyers that will make this world a better place.

So, nurturing and education of the youth should be a primary goal. Because the children of Africa deserve an equal opportunity to realize their dreams and impact the world.

When you volunteer abroad with children in Africa, you can make contributions that benefit the lives of children and empower them to do great things. Read on to learn about what you can do and where you can go.

How You Can Volunteer With Children In Africa

Most volunteer programs with children in Africa tackle key issues, such as poverty, malnutrition, discrimination, and inadequate access to healthcare and education. For too many children, these barriers are simply too big to overcome—and they never get the chance to shine.

Listed below are the types of volunteer abroad programs you’ll find:

Childcare

Help expand access to early childhood education and improve its quality. Care for infants and toddlers in need.

Example program: African Impact has a well-regarded early childhood development program in Cape Town, South Africa.

Education

Help disadvantaged schools improve outcomes for students. Teach English, math, and other subjects, teach classes for special needs students, and more

Example program: A Broader View offers the chance to volunteer at a youth vocational training school in Rwanda.

Girls Empowerment

Work to give young girls and women fair opportunities in education and work. Promote literacy, host vocational skills workshops, and teach English and other subjects.

Example program: Global Vision International (GVI) runs a terrific girls empowerment initiative in Zambia.

Community Development

Assist with projects designed to boost the quality of life for communities, especially for their youth. What you do can vary from building schools to planting food.

Example program: Global Leadership Adventures gives you the tools to build healthy villages in Ghana.

Support for At-Risk Children

Provide care and education to children who’ve been abandoned or lost their parents to diseases. Attend to children living with families that deal with extreme poverty.

Example program: Love Volunteers has an excellent social welfare program for marginalized children and their families in Cape Town, South Africa.

Sports Coaching

Instill teamwork among children and improve their communication and leadership skills through sports. Encourage them to live active, healthy lifestyles, and give them the chance to make lasting friendships.

Example program: International Volunteer HQ has a program where you can coach surfing, skating, and swimming in Cape Town, South Africa.

Healthcare

Provide basic healthcare services to impoverished children. Raise awareness of how to prevent communicable diseases, such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Make sure children get the nutrition they need each day.

Example program: Cross-Cultural Solutions has a promising child health initiative in rural Ghana.

Now that you know what you can do, look at the destinations and programs offered by the most reputable volunteer abroad organizations.

Featured Organizations And Programs

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

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International Volunteer HQ began in 2007 and now offers affordable, high-quality volunteer abroad programs across more than 40 countries. To date, IVHQ has sent nearly 100,000 volunteers overseas. Featured in publications like National Geographic and The New York Times, you truly can’t go wrong choosing IVHQ.

International Volunteer HQ has lots of volunteer programs with children in Africa, including childcare and English teaching opportunities in GhanaMoroccoSouth Africa, and Tanzania(check those programs out if the destinations interest you!).

Other popular IVHQ programs for volunteering with children in Africa include:

Childcare Volunteering in Nairobi, Kenya

Price: from $270 for one week

Provide much-needed assistance at under-resourced childcare centers. Children range between 1 and 16 years old. Your duties will include teaching basic English and Math, hosting activities, helping with farm work, caring for babies and toddlers, and doing daily chores (cooking, cleaning, etc). You’ll see your impact right away as you give the children valuable social, emotional, and educational support.

During free time, explore happening Nairobi and the surrounding nature, like Nairobi National Park. Interested? Sign up here!

Childcare Volunteering near Kampala, Uganda

Price: from $270 for one week

Head to Mutongo, just southeast of Kampala, and work at a childcare center that serves poor families. Many of the children there have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS, so your help goes a long way in making sure they have proper support and guidance. In addition to day-to-day tasks, you’ll play games, read stories, do arts and crafts, sing and dance, and more with the children. You can impact their lives in positive ways and have a blast while doing it.

When you’re not volunteering, see the sites around Kampala, Uganda’s capital, and see Lake Victoria. Does this sound awesome? Register here!

Kindergarten Project in Livingstone, Zambia

Price: from $270 for one week

Too many children in Livingstone suffer from inadequate education, poor access to healthcare, and insufficient food. Help fill those gaps by serving at a local kindergarten. Teach English and math, help with homework, prepare meals, and host games and activities. By being a motivator and mentor, you’ll help the children develop the confidence necessary to succeed in school and beyond.

After school, visit places like the Livingstone Museum and nearby Victoria Falls. So, are you ready to inspire children in Zambia? Get all the details here!

Plan My Gap Year

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An award-winning volunteer abroad organization, Plan My Gap Year places more than 4,000 volunteers in programs each year. Established in 2011, PMGY is known for their meaningful, responsible, and sustainable projects, as well as their affordable volunteer fees. Founded by volunteers for volunteers, PMGY is a great organization if you want to volunteer with children in Africa.

For instance, Plan My Gap Year has a childcare volunteer abroad program in Cape Town, South Africa; give young children from low-income communities the early education they need and deserve to create a strong foundation. PMGY also has a terrific childcare program in Rabat, Morocco; make a vital contribution to children’s lives as you give essential support to disadvantaged families.

Read about more two more PMGY programs below:

Disabled Children Volunteer Program in Kumasi, Ghana

Price: from $624 for two weeks

Of the approximately 100,000 Ghanaian children living with a disability, more than 16,000 are out of school. Sadly, they’ve been marginalized or, even worse, forgotten or shunned. PMGY’s program aims to turn the tides by having volunteers work with mentally and physically disabled children. As a special needs volunteer in Ghana, you’ll do everything from speech therapy and physical therapy to run life skills classes. This is a program that can bring you incredible reward and excitement.

When you’re not volunteering, dive into Kumasi, a city known as the center of Ashanti culture. Ready to volunteer for disabled children in Ghana? Register on PMGY’s site!

Love Volunteers

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Established in 2009, Love Volunteers has become known for their affordable fees and commitment to making sure each initiative creates sustainable change. All programs have been fully audited to ensure they’re safe, impactful, and responsible. If you’re looking to volunteer with children in Africa, Love Volunteers is definitely a top choice.

With Love Volunteers, there are a variety of ways you can use your skills to help children in Africa. For instance, you could volunteer for childcare and development in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, and give at-risk and impoverished children a safe place to learn and grow.

Other excellent projects include:

Medical Internship in Bamenda, Cameroon

Price: from $370 for two weeks

Work as a medical volunteer in a disadvantaged neighborhood of Bamenda, an energetic city in northwestern Cameroon. Make certain children and adults have access to quality medical care and raise awareness about health issues in the community. By helping boost the health and hygiene of the youth, you’ll give the children a better foundation for the future.

Note: This program is open to anyone over 18, and is most suitable for pre-med students, medical school students, and those with experience working in healthcare. Want to learn more? Visit Love Volunteers’ site!

Education Support in Rwamagana, Rwanda

Price: from $379 for two weeks

Teach and interact with marginalized children in Rwamagana, providing English lessons, homework help, cultural exchange, and more. Many of the children you’ll be working with are from families affected by the genocide. As a volunteer, your assistance alleviates overburdened staff and makes up for a lack of resources at the school. This is a project where you’ll see your impact immediately.

Ready to help the children of Rwamagana? Apply to this program here and be en route to Rwanda in no time!

HIV/AIDS Support near Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Price: from $599 for two weeks

Educate and support children living with or affected by HIV/AIDS near Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Your role will be to raise awareness about the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, as well as how they can live with the disease. Many of these children and teenagers face unimaginable challenges in their daily life, and your help can go a long way in giving them the confidence and knowledge to live healthier, happier lives.

What’s convenient about this program is that you’re right next to Victoria Falls, which is one of the most spectacular scenes on the planet. Sound like the program for you? Register today!

Agape Volunteers

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A UK-registered charity, Agape Volunteers focuses specifically on humanitarian work in Africa. Founded in 2009, Agape Volunteers is well-regarded by volunteers for their commitment to positive change in the communities they serve, overall affordability, and various volunteer perks, such as free travel insurance (this isn’t commonly offered with other volunteer organizations).

For volunteer abroad programs with children in Africa, Agape Volunteers has several programs that should catch your eye. For example, you could join the sports coaching program in Kenya and help the youth develop their talents, make friends, and stay physically active.

Here are some other programs through Agape Volunteers:

Music Teaching in Accra, Ghana

Price: from £510 for one week (or USD equivalent)

Travel to Accra, where you’ll work alongside local professional musicians and give free music lessons to underprivileged children and teenagers. Empower them to unleash their creative potential and develop a skill that can open up future opportunities. Note that you must have a good working knowledge of at least one instrument to join.

With Agape Volunteers, you can easily combine your volunteering experience with a tour of Accra (a marvelous city), trek through Kakum Rainforest, and other amazing excursions. Ready to jam? Apply here now!

Volunteer Teaching in Arusha, Tanzania

Price: from £695 for one week (or USD equivalent)

Teach math, science, English, sports, and more to students at an underfunded and understaffed school in Arusha. Bring enthusiasm and energy to the classroom, and don’t hesitate to pitch your own ideas. The goal is to help the kids get moving in the right direction and inspire them to set big goals for the future. You can be a part of that.

This project is a ton of fun. And during off-hours, the charming city of Arusha, which is a gateway to safari destinations, awaits. Ready to go to Tanzania? Sign up on Agape’s site!

Projects Abroad

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Projects Abroad began in 1992 and now is one of the largest volunteer abroad organizations in the world. In their first 25 years, they sent more than 100,000 people on projects throughout the world. Projects Abroad receives high praise for their top-notch support, variety of good programs, and commitment to doing good. No wonder publications like CNBC and USA Today have featured Projects Abroad.

If you want to volunteer abroad with children in Africa, Projects Abroad features many options. You could support early childhood development in a village in Madagascar (this trip is amazing!). Or, you could teach English at a school in Tanzania.

Check out some other quality programs below:

Volunteer Teaching in Nanyuki, Kenya

Price: from $2,565 for two weeks (prices lower a good deal per week the longer you stay)

Help disadvantaged students in Kenya improve their English and gain practical experience in the classroom. By enabling them to learn a useful language skill, they can better position themselves for success later in life. In addition to teaching English, you can also host sports and art activities to engage with the students.

Based in Nanyuki, a town about three hours from Nairobi, you’ll be surrounded by the beautiful African savanna. Ready for a volunteer trip to Kenya? Sign up on Projects Abroad’s site!

Volunteering with Children in Saint-Louis, Senegal

Price: from $2,020 for one week (prices lower a good deal per week the longer you stay)

Serve at a center for talibé children (street children) in Saint-Louis. Your role as a volunteer will be to provide much-needed early education for the kids. This includes teaching French or English and organizing educational activities, like bingo and arts and crafts. You’ll also assist the staff with basic healthcare and hygiene services, as well as general maintenance duties.

When you’re not helping talibé children, explore Saint-Louis, a city with beautiful ocean scenery and colonial architecture. A truly immersive program, you’ll stay with a local host family while volunteering. Interested to learn more? See all the details here!

GoEco

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A highly respected organization, GoEco won GoAbroad’s award for Top Volunteer Abroad Organization in 2015. Their motivation to enact real change and cost-effective fees for volunteers are part of what makes them so popular. Featuring more than 150 volunteer abroad initiatives, GoEco has all the choices you need when it comes to volunteering with children in Africa.

Travel to Moshi, Tanzania, and volunteer in community development initiatives with children (Mount Kilimanjaro will be nearby!). Or, coach sports and raise awareness of HIV/AIDS prevention in Livingstone, Zambia.

Other excellent programs through GoEco include:

Children’s Hospital Play Therapy in Cape Town, South Africa

Price: from $1,890 for four weeks

Do you believe that laughter is sometimes the best medicine? Then this is the children’s volunteer abroad program for you. The children’s hospital specializes in treating patients under 12 years of age who suffer from chronic illnesses and severe diseases. As a volunteer, you’ll engage in play with the children, keeping their spirits up during hospitalization. Paint, sing songs, and more. You’ll play a key in the children’s healing process as a friend and mentor. And you’ll have a blast!

When you’re not volunteering at the hospital, explore Cape Town, a world-class city. Does this program sound amazing? Start your application on GoEco’s site!

Teaching and Sports Facilitation in Mangochi District, Malawi

Price: from $1,500 for four weeks

Make the trek to the southern end of Lake Malawi, where you’ll work in a rural, underfunded school. Teach and implement extracurricular activities, like drama, arts and crafts, and wildlife class. Coach sports such as netball and football and simply have fun with the children. By giving students the individual attention they need, you can better their lives and motivate them to aspire for a better tomorrow.

When you’re not at the school, the beauty of Lake Malawi awaits. Does volunteering in Malawi sound right? Then register here!

Naturally Africa Volunteers

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Naturally Africa Volunteers focuses on making sustainable contributions to communities across Africa through childcare, education, and healthcare projects. Naturally Africa Volunteers aim to give volunteers the experience of a lifetime while empowering them to do good in the local community.

Naturally Africa Volunteers has exciting volunteer abroad programs with children across Africa, from community outreach efforts in Kenya to pre-school teaching in South Africa. Read through some other programs below:

Street Kids Sports Project in Mwanza, Tanzania

Price: from $1,622 for four weeks

Get children involved in productive team activities that benefit them socially and physically. As a volunteer at the street children center in Mwanza, you’ll coach football and other sports, as well as provide care and basic education for the boys and girls. Make unforgettable memories as you give the children a safe place where they can play, learn, and grow—away from the dangers of the street like drugs, alcohol, and crime.

The city of Mwanza rests on the shores of Lake Victoria, which means epic fun is at your fingertips during free time. Want to learn more? See all the details on Naturally Africa Volunteers’ site!

Medical Volunteer Project in the Zambezi Region of Namibia

Price: from $870 for two weeks

Care for and support disabled and vulnerable children in the Caprivi Strip (now known as the Zambezi Region). Many children in the region have been left without parents due to HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and other diseases. So, local centers that provide healthcare, childcare, and education are vital. As a medical volunteer, you’ll ease the workload of doctors and nurses and ensure kids’ medical and educational needs are taken care of. Your assistance will help reduce malnutrition and tackle diseases and illnesses that cause too much damage, such as malaria, measles, and mental illness.

When you’re not doing medical volunteer work, tour the Zambezi Region, an area known for its large rivers and incredible wildlife. Ready for a volunteer adventure to Namibia? Start your trip here!

Frontier

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With more than 103,000 successful placements in their first three decades, Frontier is a leader in volunteering. They have more than 400 projects throughout the world, including many great programs aimed at helping children in Africa. No matter your interests, you can find a suitable volunteer abroad program in Africa through Frontier.

What’s nice is that Frontier has programs in destinations that many other volunteer abroad organizations don’t. For example, you can teach and help with community development projects in Ethiopiavolunteer at a nursery school in Gambia, or coach sports in Eswatini(formerly Swaziland).

Check out some of Frontier’s other wonderful programs below:

Teaching English in Dakar, Senegal

Price: from $1,045 for two weeks

Make your way to Dakar, where you can help a community that lacks necessary educational resources. As a teacher and mentor, you’ll help children and teenagers improve their English skills and set them up for greater economic success in the future. Depending on your skills, you can also teach other subjects, including IT, science, and math.

During free time, make the most of your time in Dakar, a city known for its melting pot of cultures and vibrant entertainment scene. Excited about the potential of going to Senegal? Sign up here!

Village Project in Mozambique

Price: from $1,745 for four weeks

The effects of a tumultuous past are still felt in Mozambique, as poverty remains a problem. This makes it difficult for children to stay in school and makes them more susceptible to HIV/AIDS. As a volunteer, you’ll reside in a local village and assist with community development. Your role will mainly be as an educator (teaching English, math, sports, etc). By empowering the kids with knowledge, they’ll have better tools to overcome obstacles and build a better path for themselves. You’ll also assist with farming and gardening, health outreach campaigns, a women’s literacy initiative, and other efforts to develop a more prosperous, peaceful, and fair community.

And you’ll live in rustic accommodation that overlooks the Indian Ocean. How sweet is that? Learn more here!

Ready To Empower The Children Of Africa?

No matter where you go and what you choose to do, you can have a powerfully positive impact when you volunteer with children in Africa. And you can have the volunteer abroad trip of a lifetime.

Don’t be afraid to go somewhere unique and do something challenging. It will enable you to grow personally and give you the opportunity to help children in ways you never imagined.

For more help with choosing the right program in Africa and lowering your travel expenses, check out these resources below:

How to Volunteer Abroad Ethically

Volunteer Abroad in Africa

Volunteer Abroad Scholarships and Grants