Volunteering can be the job of a lifetime or it can be part of your every day life. It provides the opportunity to explore career fields that you might never have thought of and provides an opportunity to give to those in need.
Many people move into the voluntary sector when they retire. For some people it’s an opportunity to keep active both physically and mentally, while for others it presents the opportunity to ‘give something back’ to the community. Whatever your motivation, and whatever type of work you would like to do, there will be an outlet in the voluntary sector for you.
Types of Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteering doesn't have to be a full-time job. In fact, most people who volunteer do it in their spare time. That's not to say that a volunteer position can't become a full-time job. A local animal shelter recently hired an exceptional volunteer away from her day job with an insurance company as their Volunteer Coordinator. So, keep in mind that those skills you acquire as a volunteer can benefit you in many more ways than one.
- You can do sedentary work that involves sitting in front of a computer or sorting out an organisation's books or filing.
- You can meet people by working in a charity shop or in a whole range of other positions that involve engaging with the public.
- You can drive – whether it’s taking older people to the doctor or the hospital, or delivering things.
- You can do physical work such as clearing rivers and wetlands, removing alien vegetation, maintaining buildings and so on.
- There is the whole area of getting involved in your community. You can be on the committee of your local tennis club, become an assistant at the local school or a local town councillor.
Where to Find Voluntary Work
The scope is enormous but finding exactly the vacancy that suits you is not always easy: persistence and patience are sometimes required. So where can you go to get help with finding positions in the voluntary sector?
- Your local City or Town Council will have information on the voluntary sector and where assistance is needed. Here are links to those in the major Cities in South Africa: Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.
- Local municipal libraries often need volunteers.
- Look out for advertisements for volunteers in your newspaper, particularly your local newspaper.
- Charity shops are staffed largely by volunteers as well as organisations such as the SPCA, St Luke’s Hospice and Nazareth House Charity Shop.
Voluntary Work in Africa
If you are looking for a more meaningful way to spend a few months in Africa than simply travelling! Most jobs that last less than a year are going to be the ones you have to pay for & those that require commitment of more than a year will often offer a basic stipend to cover some of your costs.
If you have fallen in love with Africa and want to find a job so that you can stay longer, there are plenty of opportunities… from those in the Conservation sector to those on the Mercy Ships – there are numerous opportunities!
For more information, tips, resources and contact details, go to Voluntary Work in Africa.
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