Criminology Volunteer Work Experience in South Africa

  • Criminology student shares her volunteer abroad work experience in Africa.
  • Criminology graduate used the volunteer experience to move into business management and international law
  • It was good to see the staff in action in court, psychological therapy sessions and working directly with the police
  • We went on safari in our spare time. A beautiful way to spend down time and see the beautiful country of South Africa

So you’re thinking about volunteering in South Africa, but you still have a few questions…………

You may be wondering what your work with Vocational Impact will be like, how safe South Africa is, or if you will have time to explore outside of volunteering.

While Vocational Impact are happy to answer these questions or any others you may have, it’s sometimes best to hear from someone who’s been there themselves.

This volunteer is a recent Criminology graduate who is now furthering her education, studying business management and international law.

She spent six weeks at Bobbi Bear during her summer after graduating and wanted to share her own experience with potential volunteers.

“Bobbi Bear was a great experience for me and getting to practice what I’m studying, so going to court was great for me. Doing the therapy sessions, even when we went with Meredith to just watch her give the therapy sessions was a big thing for me.

“When we arrived from the airport, there was immediately a child abuse case where we had to take a child into the house with us from the first night on.”

Criminology Volunteer First Days in South Africa

Criminology Volunteer Placement Internship

“I felt really safe in South Africa because Vocational Impact prepared us before we departed and we had training when we arrived.”

The child stayed with us for four weeks, and then we gave her back to her parents because they managed to get a home and take care of themselves.

Just that moment really stood out to me because of the appreciation from the parents and the little girl.

She wasn’t that easy to handle but then she really appreciated us for taking care of her.

I was volunteering with 3 other volunteers, and we went to the tree, a community outreach initiative that the centre run every weekend. That was a great experience because we got to see the direct reactions of the children you’re helping.

You see that they’re happy you’re playing with them. That you’re making time to be with them, and that’s just from you being there.

Volunteer Free Time, Safari's in South Africa

There was the opportunity to take time off while we were there.

All the volunteers went on a safari trip. We also visited the homes of the staff, they really wanted us to do that and they’re really open to it. We got to see how they really lived. Jackie’s husband even guided us on our safari trip.”

 The second day we were there, we took a tour of Durban with a police officer and he told us the safe neighbourhoods and the less safe neighbourhoods. We then knew when we went by ourselves a week later, we knew where we could and could not go.  They really took care of us, and that’s why I really felt safe.

Volunteer Highlights and Advice

I made good friends on the trip. We meet two or three times a year and stay at one of our houses for a weekend or something, I live in Belgium and they’re in Holland. It was six really intense weeks, so we really bonded and became friends.

My advice would be to go with an open mind. I went with a really open mind which I think is really important, because there was one other girl who was there with me who had frustrations over not having something to do some days. But I was more open minded and that helped me be more open to doing smaller things. I think it’s difficult to say to new people to be open minded, but for me it really helped.


  • Every day varies, you can spend the whole day at the Bobbi Bear centre or you could spend the day waiting at the hospital with a new child abuse case
  • Bobbi Bear is very fast paced when new child abuse cases come in
  • Volunteers spend a lot of time doing school talks, watching counselling sessions, visiting other charities and looking after the rescued children on-sight
  • One of the volunteers had an eye opening view of a really bad traumatic case involving a sibling group of children
  • Emergency response and hospital visits.


Would you like to Volunteer with Vocational Impact or know more?

You can read more about our volunteering programmes in South Africa here. Furthermore, you can find out more about Vocational Impact here.

Questions? Would you like to participate? That’s great – feel free to email us or call/whatsapp us on: +44 (0) 7704 129 816

Alternatively, complete an application to begin the process of volunteering, and we’ll be in touch with more details!

Start Your Volunteer Journey