International Development Volunteer Student in South Africa

  • International Development Student Work Experience in Africa gives university students the chance to gain advanced work experience to put towards graduate job applications
  • Lessons from the heart of an international charity, gaining relevant work-experience to apply to International Development degree
  • Worked on research projects and fundraising, alongside the charity Director
  • Gained valuable insight into the internal workings, challenges and limitations with resources.

In 2018, Portsmouth University International Development student Satara spent 4 weeks at the Vocational Impact project in Johannesburg, living and working with a community that supports HIV/AIDS affected mothers and children. 

During the time at the project, Satara had a large role working and helping with the admin task in the office.

“I assisted with researching and writing letters for fundraising. I took part in the celebrations of world AIDS day. I learned from being in the heart of a working and active internationally renowned charity. I observed and learned about how tasks are completed and how often resources are split, when they are limited by funds”.

Satara had a great time working alongside Gail, the founder and director of the project. “Gail took time out of her extremely busy day to make sure I knew what I was doing and if I had any questions”. 

There were constantly little feet running in and out of the office, it was so sweet, some of them were extremely cheeky and were constantly looking for a biscuit on your desk or a sweet in your bag.


“I definitely learned to work independently and persevere.”

International Development Volunteer Abroad
International Development Volunteer Abroad

Benefits of Volunteering as an International Development Student

I was working to update the system in which they send enquiring funding letters. Their system was very out of date and needed to be made practical and modern.


For a student studying International Development such as I am, it is very important to have an idea on how an internationally known organisation such as Nkosi’s Haven struggles with funding.


“Whilst I was there, they were desperate for funders and it gave me a great insight into the process that they had to go through to achieve funds to stay afloat.”


During my volunteer programme, I was also able to build confidence when talking to all levels of people. This included internally, from the Founding Director, the on-site nurses, social workers, funders, and everyone in between. This helped my communication skills and time management experience.” 


The project provides a lot of opportunities to learn from the inside of an internationally known charity. It is full of friendships and love. The children show you the future of acceptance of HIV/AIDS, they showed me the determination despite their disease to achieve their dreams.

International Development Student Day-to-Day Volunteer Role

“I got to see the how the internal medical ward worked, sat in the office when meetings with partners and funders and even experienced events held by Nkosi’s Haven.


“To volunteer at this project is to see the future of South Africa, inclusivity and diversity. I believe everyone should participate in volunteering, especially in South Africa.”


One of the greatest aspects was, I got to watch the founder of Nkosi’s Haven present the children’s peace prize held in Cape Town. Gail’s son was the first recipient of the prize and now years on she is still pursuing his dream and pushing his message on. Showing the world that AIDS should be prevented but also accepted.

“It was great volunteer work experience and really opened my mind to the rest of the world. I can use the experience to apply practical examples when I start applying for work and grad schemes.”


Now, I am continuing my work with the project as part of my year placement at Vocational Impact back in the UK. I am helping them with their international development efforts, including assisting with crucial fundraising and engaging funders so the project can continue the amazing work they do by providing a safe haven for those affected by HIV/AIDS.

Join our next cohort of International Development students and gain advanced work experience skills

Would you like to Volunteer with us 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 a request for more info to begin the process of volunteering, and we’ll be in touch with more details!

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