Law & Human Rights Volunteer Programme in South Africa
Are you looking for a Law placement that focuses on Human Rights in South Africa? Volunteering on this programme will give you the opportunity to receive case-based legal training in Human Rights Law. All while making a significant impact working on social justice projects and legal support for vulnerable and marginalised groups. Thinking about a Law & Human Rights adventure in South Africa? Our volunteer programme might be just what you’re after. You’ll dig deep into Human Rights Law, be part of meaningful advocacy, and connect with communities through outreach with a placement at a leading NGO human rights organisation.

Experience the South African justice system hands-on, pitch in on social justice projects, and support those who need advocacy the most.

At Vocational Impact we’re about more that just adventure, it’s about learning, growing, and making a real difference.

Get in touch to find out more.

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Legal placement with independent, non-profit, NGO human rights organisation
Strategic litigation, advocacy, law reform and human rights education
Holistic approach to social justice and human rights enforcement
Community outreach and mobilisation work
Gain practical experience and boost your CV
Tailor-made programmes based on your specialisation and interest


Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Price: From £400
Dates: 1st week of every month (flexible start dates offered)
Duration: 8 weeks +
Age: 18+
Accommodation, meals, airport pickup/dropoff, in-country transport, professional programme development, 24/7 support


This programme is ideal for…

This is a unique work-experience opportunity for current university students, graduates and masters students studying Law or Human Rights related subjects. Volunteers should have a basic knowledge of legal theory and a strong passion for social justice, refugee and migrant rights, legal reform and using the law as a positive instrument for change.

Programme Overview

Legal Training in Human Rights Law

On the Law and Human Rights programme, your daily placement will be based at our partner NGO foundation which is dedicated to helping vulnerable, marginalised, and indigent people and communities. The organisation employs a holistic approach to social justice and human rights enforcement that includes strategic impact litigation, legal advice and representation, advocacy and law reform. You will be trained by and work with specialist legal practitioners and activists to help provide casework and legal services through law clinics and advice offices. You will also contribute to other key areas of work:

  • Refugee and Migrant Rights Programme/Statelessness: Walk-in law clinics provide legal advice and representation, to ensure due process for asylum seekers and refugees.
  • Strategic Litigation Programme: Litigates strategic and public interest cases that have the potential to improve the law and make a difference in people’s lives
  • Work on research and advocacy programmes focusing on penal reform, land, housing, environment and gender equality.
Community Outreach Placement With Human Rights Organisation

Community-based outreach, advocacy, and rights education are a core component of the programme and the legal interventions, in order to amplify the impact of critical legal outcomes. The organisation acts and responds to the changing social justice issues of the day. You will be a part of community outreach projects and initiatives including:

  • Coalition-building. Building partnerships with other civil society actors, but also with communities you will support with legal representation and advice. 
  • Identify trends and strategic issues arising across the country and across vulnerable groups that may benefit from litigation.
Flexible Volunteer Programmes Based on Your Law Specialisation

Our longstanding charity partnerships with organisations and institutions throughout South Africa give you a chance to create the best law and human rights volunteer programme for your skills, interests and goals. Your volunteer opportunities could include working with law professionals fighting for criminal justice reform or human rights organisations looking for practical solutions to HIV/AIDs care.

  • Work with legal and human rights at all stages of their organisations.
  • Follow your research goals to tailor your experience to a personal area of study.
  • Make a positive and measurable impact on the projects you work on.

Start your adventure

Easliy apply with no commitment by filling out our application for to see availability and eligibility.
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About the Programme

The Law and Human Rights volunteer placement is designed to give practical on-the-ground work experience. Volunteers will work with a leading human rights charity whilst learning from legal professionals operating in different fields of human rights law. As well as skills-based learning, volunteers will give back to the community by helping with casework to support asylum seekers and refugees without access to representation and impacted by state violence. You will also work on important research projects supporting reform in key areas of housing, the criminal justice system, the environment and gender-based violence. Volunteers will also join community outreach projects to strengthen community partnerships and raise awareness about human rights, social justice and accessing legal aid. 

Daily Schedule: You will be volunteering from Monday to Friday and will report to the head office each morning. Although times and duties may vary from day to day, you should expect to be at your placement between 8 am and 4 pm. In the evenings you will have the option to join in with the child development programme and community activities at the village you will be staying in. Below is an example itinerary for your placement in South Africa – please note this is just a guide.

Monday: Weekly Briefing/ Casework/ Administration
Tuesday: Casework/ Legal Training
Wednesday: Community Outreach
Thursday: Casework/ Legal Training
Friday: Research / Reform Projects

Weekends and free time: The weekends are free time off from volunteering. This is a great opportunity to explore South Africa and plan weekend trips and activities. You can read our Volunteer Travel Guide to South Africa for great tips on places to visit and things to do. If you just want to relax, enjoy the nearby landmarks and explore Johannesburg you are welcome to stay at the volunteer accommodation over the weekend, but most volunteers will plan to go on trips together on the weekends. Our local team can help you organise weekend activities. 

The daily placement is based at the head offices in Johannesburg. You will work under the supervision of the programme coordinator and will receive training in casework, litigation, human rights, refugee and migrant rights, and research/ reform projects. There are 2 departments that you will work within the organisation, depending on how long you join the programme you will get an opportunity to work with and learn from each department.  

The primary department you will work with is the walk-in law clinic. The clinic provides legal advice and representation to ensure due process for asylum seekers and refugees. The programme also builds networks and is part of the social justice movement to combat xenophobia through engagement and education at a community level. Here you will receive training in casework support and litigation, and you will learn about issues like statelessness, detention and deportation. 

The strategic litigation department looks at public interest litigation, policy advocacy, law reform, community support and education. There are a number of programme areas that focus on promoting and protecting the rights of the marginalised in post-apartheid South Africa. These include refugee & migrant rights, penal reform, land & housing, environmental rights and gender equality. You will have the opportunity to focus on one of these areas and join the team to engage and learn about the challenges, research areas and policy reforms they are working on.

South Africa faces many challenges in particular state violence, gender-based violence, human rights abuses, poverty and crime prevention. Law and Human rights volunteers can make an impact by supporting the largest legal service provider to refugees and asylum seekers in South Africa, learning from legal professionals and supporting their daily work to provide legal advice and representation. Volunteers will learn about casework and methods of litigation as well as the wider challenges and the need for reform of the criminal justice system, gender equality and environmental rights. You will also contribute to vital education and awareness projects in the community. By developing an understanding of some of the social, economic, political and legal challenges for human rights today in South Africa, volunteers can make a meaningful difference. 

You should expect to be learning and working with local professionals to impact change but should remain aware that there are cultural differences in the way things are approached. Volunteer duties will vary during your time on the programme depending on the daily needs of the organisation, your levels of experience, the department you are working in and how long your programme is. Initially, your tasks will be observational and administrative. The longer you are on the programme and begin to understand the workload, duties and routine the more hands-on and practical your role will be.

At Vocational Impact, we are a charity organization committed to making a direct impact with your support. As a not-for-profit, we invest the donations from your fees back into the projects that our volunteers participate in through our partnership with Arms Around the Child. By joining our programs, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Gain practical clinical experience in your field
  • Work alongside mental health and legal professionals, including psychologists, lawyers, and counsellors
  • Collaborate with multiple organizational and institutional partners
  • Engage in community development projects that make a difference
  • Develop your professional and career skills
  • Contribute to cross-cultural exchange, sharing ideas and practices
  • Immerse yourself in the local culture and way of life
  • Explore the magnificent history, landmarks, nature, and cities of South Africa
  • Experience personal growth through travel, work, and friendships
  • Connect with other volunteers and meet new people
  • Benefit from tailored programs designed to meet your specific needs and interests.
  • By participating in our programs, you not only contribute to meaningful initiatives but also embark on a transformative journey of personal and professional development.

To join the Law & Human Rights volunteer placement in South Africa, volunteers should be studying either one or both of these subjects or studying similar related fields (Criminology, Sociology etc.). Graduates or professional lawyers with field experience are also eligible to take part. 

Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate in this placement. Ideally, volunteers will have a foundational knowledge of law theory and an understanding of human rights issues, as well as a passion for working in these fields and supporting marginalised communities. Importantly, all applicants should show a strong commitment to learning, a desire to develop and grow, the ability to work in a team and have a positive approach to helping people.  

Volunteers from all over the world are welcome to join this programme.

All our projects are founded, managed and developed by locals. We provide essential funding to support community programs, development projects, running costs, local salaries and sustainability. We work with partner organisations that are specialists in the areas they operate. Our partner organisations are selected because of the important work they are doing and they are run by impressive humanitarians and professionals in their fields. 

On the Law and Human Rights programme, your daily placement will be based at our partner NGO foundation which is dedicated to helping vulnerable, marginalised, and indigent people and communities. The foundation is staffed by specialist legal practitioners and activists and they use the law as a positive instrument for change for their clients, and in the public interest. The organisation employs a holistic approach to social justice and human rights enforcement that includes strategic work in six areas of human rights law: strategic litigation, advocacy, law reform, human rights education, and community mobilisation and support.

The team is committed to a cultural exchange of ideas and approaches, sharing professional insight and experience with volunteers, training you in litigation and casework, engaging volunteers in policy change research and working on community outreach projects together.

In the evenings volunteers can also help at the community village where you will be staying. Our foundation in South Africa provides holistic care for mothers and children suffering from HIV/AIDS. The foundation’s goal is to give these mothers and children the best opportunities for the future by providing an integrated programme of housing, education, healthcare, nutrition, sports and arts, as well as a focus on counselling, mentoring and well-being.

Vocational Impact operates under UK registered charity, Arms Around the Child. Our core mission is to offer ethical volunteer abroad programmes that provide international skills exchange, career development, work experience, and practical support to international NGOs, and to donate directly towards projects that volunteers work with.

Once home to Nelson Mandela, surrounded by the rich culture and world-famous safari parks, Johannesburg is South Africa’s largest city. For a first-time journey to South Africa, Johannesburg offers visitors a great insight into the country’s complex history, cultural landscape and fast-paced modern development. Experience Johannesburg from a unique perspective with Vocational Impact. 

Joburg, the city of gold, is a vibrant urban city. The history of apartheid and uneven development means there is still extreme inequality and poverty. Major problems include poor health care, sexual abuse, gender-based violence and lack of access to services and care. 

Volunteers can really make an impact with this Urban city placement. By helping local initiatives and organizations in Johannesburg you can make a big difference reaching poorer areas of the city and more rural communities in need of support. Urban life gives you the chance to explore the sites and landmarks Johannesburg has to offer and learn about the history and diverse cultures of South Africa. 

You can experience Joburg like a local whilst having easy access to the rich experiences South Africa has to offer. Visit historic Soweto, and learn about the complex history of the country at the local museums. Take weekend and day trips to safari parks, and see the big five (lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and buffalos) for yourself. Go on a trip to Cape Town and climb Table Mountain or hang out at the beaches. Adventure awaits in this diverse, beautiful and incredible country. 


During your placement, you will stay within our project ‘village’ located just outside the city centre which is made up of 20 small cottages, where the residents and staff reside. The accommodation is of very good quality by local standards and has running water, hot showers, and electricity, but electricity can be inconsistent because of load sharing. There is a caretaker/ security guard who attends to the gate of the village, the protection of the property and the safety of the residents and volunteers. You will have staff that will cook and clean for you and laundry services are provided once a week for volunteers in the Village laundromat.

The village has a large community garden, eating hall, sports area and library. The cottage has well-sized bedrooms and living spaces, and although basic, the cottage is clean and comfortable. There are two bedrooms (which can be either mixed or single-sex) with cupboards for clothing and personal belongings. There are two bathrooms; one shower and 1 bathtub and you will have a shared living room. The cottage is equipped with a refrigerator, television & DVD player, microwave and toaster. Most household items such as cleaning materials, toiletries and the like are provided by the project. 

There is no Wi-Fi in the village, however, you can buy a local SIM card with data (your phone needs to be unlocked) to stay connected. The VI team in-country will help you purchase a local SIM Card.

You will be provided with three meals per day cooked on-site at the accommodation. This is your chance to experience local, authentic and traditional Ghanaian food. Carbs, meats and vegetables are all staple parts of the diet in Ghana. Here is an example of meals served:


You will be provided with three meals per day cooked on-site at the village. Carbs, meats and vegetables are all staple parts of the diet in South Africa. Meals can be made Vegetarian and Vegan dishes can be provided upon request. Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements.

We aim to begin programmes on the first Monday of each month. Once you register for the programme we work closely with all volunteers to map your dates together. Volunteers will need to arrive one or two days before orientation. 

After you have registered for the programme you will need to book flights to arrive at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Upon arrival in South Africa, you will be met at the airport by one of our volunteer coordinators. We will provide you with a Vocational Impact T-shirt which makes identification easy. Our team will then transport you to the village to meet the project. 

Orientation is hosted by our local team where you will receive an introduction to your programme. This will cover information about South Africa, the culture and customs, expectations, safety, staff members, organisational partners, and an overview of the placement itinerary.

Programme Fees:

1 week – £350
2 weeks – £700
3 weeks – £1000
4 weeks – £1250
5 weeks – £1500
6 weeks – £1750
8 weeks – £2000
10 weeks – £2500
12 weeks – £3000
What’s Included:

✔︎ Support in Country
✔︎ Transportation
✔︎ Accommodation
✔︎ Meals
✔︎ Weekly laundry and housekeeping
✔︎ Personal Development Training
✔︎ Professional Programme Support
✔︎ 24/7 In-country volunteer coordinator
✔︎ Registration at affiliate organizations

✔︎ 30 + hours of cross-cultural training
✔︎ 24/7 international support
✔︎ Weekends off for travel opportunities

After Care:

✔︎ Certificate of Learning (upon request)
✔︎ Employment opportunities. Join our team!
✔︎ Become a VI Ambassador
✔︎ Join the Vocational Impact alumni community
✔︎ We can provide you with Job references


Registration Fee:

In addition to the programme fee there is a £265 registration fee to secure your place on the programme. This registration fee includes:

Support Before you Travel

✔︎ Tailored placements to match your interests, career development goals or university subject
✔︎ Pre-departure support with paperwork
✔︎ Support with flights + insurance & visa advice
✔︎ Unlimited telephone and email support
✔︎ Fundraising guides
✔︎ Volunteer essential information guide
✔︎ Packing lists
✔︎ 100% financial protection + flexible booking and start dates

Where Does My Money Go:

Unlike other companies in the field, Vocational Impact is a charity organisation and operates under UK registered charity, Arms Around the Child. Your programme fees go towards providing you a safe, organised and structured volunteer placement and is reinvested directly back into our project partners in Africa and India.

We claim GiftAID on your donation fees (UK only), which means we can donate more directly towards the projects you will stay with. Vocational Impact are governed by the UK Charity Commission and we are a not-for-profit operation. We have been awarded ‘Ethical Travel Partner’ at many UK universities because of our unique model.

What’s Not Included:

✗ Flights
✗ Tourist Visa (if applicable)
✗ Travel Insurance
✗ Spending Money
✗ Vaccinations
✗ Police check/DBS


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