Africa and the Middle East Featured Program: South Africa
Situated on the southern tip of Africa, between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the beautiful country of South Africa is hailed as “the miracle nation” for its successful transition from an oppressive apartheid system to a democratic government in 1994.
English, Zulu, Xhosa, Setswana, Sesotho, Afrikaans and other local dialects.
Boasting abundant natural resources and excellent infrastructure, South Africa bears all the hallmarks of a highly developed country. Considerable economic and social problems remain, however, from the apartheid era, and unemployment figures are high.
Extreme poverty in rural areas drives people to the cities in search of employment. Fifty-seven percent of the population now lives in overcrowded urban areas and one-third live on less than US$2 a day.
Despite proactive government policies, almost 10 million South Africans live in poverty housing in vast informal settlements known as townships. Occupants of townships often live without adequate services in overcrowded shacks pieced together with cardboard, corrugated iron and scrap wood.
Twenty percent of South Africa’s population is infected with HIV. Many of the homes Habitat for Humanity South Africa builds shelter AIDS orphans and vulnerable children. Without additional support, many orphans and vulnerable children in South Africa live in appalling conditions. Some are taken in by elderly grandparents barely able to care for themselves or by other family members already living in overcrowded housing. Others live alone in shacks that are falling down, with walls open to freezing winter winds and rain. The children typically sleep on the floor, with very little bedding. Habitat South Africa has initiated orphans and vulnerable children projects in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
Since 1996, Habitat South Africa has built more than 2,200 houses in 17 communities across the country—in the Western Cape, Kwazulu-Natal, Gauteng and North West province—providing shelter for 11,000 people and bringing volunteers together across racial, economic, cultural and social divides.
Types of construction for volunteers
Habitat South Africa houses are made from cement blocks. Volunteers may be involved in the following tasks: digging trenches, mixing concrete, painting walls, clearing sites or adding the finishing touches to an existing house. The nature of the work can be quite varied and involve a number of houses during the five days.
Hosting structure services
Read more about Habitat South Africa’s Global Village program. Habitat South Africa outsources the travel logistics to an independent ground handler. The package plans include meals, lodging and transport.
Teams typically stay in two- or three-star hotels or retreat centers with double-occupancy rooms and private baths.
Three meals per day and bottled water are included in the plans.
Transport is typically a private minibus with a hired driver. The transport cost includes the airport pick-up and drop-off and daily transport to and from build site.
Day 1, typically Friday: Depart for South Africa.
Day 2, Saturday: Arrive in Cape Town, Durban or Johannesburg (depending on the project location); dinner and overnight in hotel.
Day 3, Sunday: Breakfast at hotel; Welcome and introductions upon arrival; free time; dinner; time for team activities.
Day 4–8, Monday–Friday (work days): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8:00a.m.–4:30p.m.; free time after work to clean up; dinner; time for team activities.
Day 9, Saturday: Free time for cultural activities (vary based on host project location).
Day 10, Sunday: Depart for home.
Starting at US$2,100
Varies depending on time of year and location. View the standard budget.