Where will I be located?

Volunteer placements are near the town of Empangeni, KwaZulu Natal. The surrounding areas are Richards Bay (20km), Mtunzini (30km) Eshowe (100km), Durban (200km), Hluhluwe ( home of Hluhluwe – Umfolozi Game Reserve – 150km), Greater St Lucia Wetland Park Natural Heritage Site(200km), Sodwana (rated as one of the top 7 diving destinations in the world – 200km).

How do I get from the airport to the property?

Volunteers simply need to make sure that their travel arrangements ensure that their final destination is Richards Bay airport or King Shaka in Durban. We will meet you at the airport and bring you to your first night’s accommodation. Once you have completed your time with us, we will arrange transport back to the airport, but any further transfers will need to be covered by you.

Are there more expenses once I arrive?

You will be provided with accommodation at the volunteer house. You will need to budget for your own food, which is approximately about $50 US/week, depending on how much you eat. You will need to have additional money for bottled water if you prefer (although our water is fine). Extra food for days off, and any personal shopping you may do. Also any travel expenses and excursions will need to be covered by the volunteers.

Can I operate my own phone in South Africa?

Yes, your phone should work in South Africa, provided you purchase a South African SIM card when you arrive. The simplest method is to purchase a SIM card and then go pay-as-you go. Check with your service provider to see if your phone will work in South Africa.

Are we able to do any sight seeing and travel?

Yes. Volunteers are able to arrange their own sight seeing during their time off on weekends. Our local staff can give you suggestions for places to visit, or you can create your own agenda.

Can I get my medication in South Africa?

The recommended course of action would be to bring all the medicines you need on a regular basis with you. However, a similar medication may be available under a different name in South Africa, which you can discover after consulting a local doctor. If you have a chronic condition, you should plan ahead and either bring a large amount of medication or consult your doctor about drugs that can be supplemented.

Can I seek to get my trip sponsored?

Yes, of course you can. We recommend that you tell as many people as possible about your plans to volunteer. This is important because it raises awareness, gathers interest, and gets those around you excited about what you are going to be involved in. It may also lead to financial support.

Can you give me some idea of what things cost in South Africa?

Here are some estimates on what things cost in South African Rands. If you need to know how much this translates to your currency, there are many sites online that easily calculate currency exchanges.
  • R450.00 per night at a guesthouse at a relatively economy establishment
  • R50.00 (burger and chips at a take-away)
  • R10 (a coke or other soft drink)
  • R25.00 (sandwich at a take-away)
  • R40.00 (cinema)
  • R50.00 (salad in a restaurant)

Do I need experience or qualifications?

We do not make this as a pre-requisite for volunteering. We will appreciate any previous experience and skills that you offer, and we will attempt to train you in areas where you are unfamiliar. The most important qualification is a willing, servant minded attitude and the ability to serve where needed.

Do I need to bring converters or adaptors for my personal electronic devices?

Yes. However, there are two things to consider 1. The shape of the plug 2. The electrical specs of the device you want to power.
  • The shape of the plug: Most plug adaptor kits do NOT include the adaptor for SA, however if you can purchase a European 2-prong adaptor, you can easily purchase an additional adaptor in Empangeni that converts the plug from the European to the large 3-prong plug that South Africa uses.
The electrical specs of the device you want to power: The electricity standard in North America is 110 volts and 60 Hertz. In South Africa it is 220 volts and 50 Hertz. You cannot plug a device rated for 110 volts/60 Hertz into an outlet in South Africa without doing damage to the device. However, most chargers for portable devices like iPods, digital cameras, camcorders, razors, etc. will work with both standards. You can check the charger for the device and it will say something like 110-220V 50/60 Hz. All such devices will work with the electricity available both in Canada and South Africa (SA). If you want to take a device that accepts only 110 Volts and 60 Hertz, then you need a transformer and they can be big and heavy and, therefore, are not recommended. Items like hair dryers and curling irons are best borrowed or purchased in country.

Do I need to speak English to become a volunteer?

Yes, you need to speak English. This is especially important when it comes to issues of safety and instructions. However, English does not need to be your first language.

Do I need travel insurance?

You are required to purchase a comprehensive travel and medical insurance policy to volunteer with iKhaya LikaBaba. Search around for the best coverage and rates possible and make sure to mention that you will be doing volunteer work. Most travel agents will offer you insurance options when you purchase your flight.

Do you provide training?

Yes. During the first weeks of volunteering, you will receive training on child management, rules and procedures, and various responsibilities you will have while volunteering.

How safe is South Africa?

South Africa has a high crime rate, however, if you follow the same rules that you would in any large city around the world, the chance of something happening to you is very small. For example: don’t walk alone at night, don’t go into areas that are known to have a lot of problems with crime, be aware of your surroundings, etc. If you are careful and sensible, the chance of something happening is very small and there is no reason to be scared. Listen to the advice given to you during your orientation at iKhaya LikaBaba.

If I can’t volunteer abroad, can I help iKhaya LikaBaba from home?

Yes, you certainly can! We are a small charity and can always use help. Please contact us. Send us your CV and let us know why you want to help us. We will then contact you to determine how you can help us. Marketing support, graphic design, event planning, research, and logistical support are some of the main areas that are useful to us and able to be done remotely.

What are housing arrangements like for international volunteers?

There is one volunteer house located on the same property as the orphanage. There are three bedrooms able to host two individuals each.

What age do I have to be to volunteer?

International Volunteers need to be at least 18 years old or older. All that is required is a reasonable level of health and fitness.

What clothing and other personal supplies do I need to bring?

Volunteers are encouraged to bring comfortable clothes that are able to withstand getting dirty. Remember, for very young children, the greatest fun is making a mess! If you will be involved in manual labor, bring clothes for gardening, painting, or other chores that often destroy clothing. If you will be in Empangeni from October to March, bring clothes for a hot climate. If you will be in Empangeni from April to September, bring clothes for a chilly climate. Finally, remember to dress modestly as volunteers represent iKhaya LikaBaba while they are here.

What happens if I start volunteering and want to leave?

You’re under no obligation to stay as a volunteer when you’re unhappy. To see if your issues can be addressed, talk to us first. If we are unable to resolve your difficulties, please give an appropriate amount of notice of your departure so that plans can be made.

What kind of hours will I be expected to work?

There are no set hours for volunteers. A schedule is set up for each volunteer that best meets the needs of the home and the needs of the individual volunteering.

What immunizations/vaccines will I need?

  • DTP (Diptheria, tetanus and polio): Essential
Hepatitis A and B: Recommended

  • Rabies: Not Required
iKhaya LikaBaba is not within a malaria area. However, if you are planning to travel to the northeast area of the country, you should consult a professional for the best and latest advice concerning anti-malarial medication. Malaria is endemic in the lowveld area of Mpumalanga and Limpopo, and on the Maputaland coast of KwaZulu-Natal. Kruger National Park, a very popular destination, is within a malaria area as well. We strongly urge you to visit your general physician to discuss the areas you want to visit and a gain a comprehensive list of recommended vaccines. If you intend traveling beyond South Africa, you must consult additional, reliable sources. Here is a map that shows areas of malaria in South Africa: http://www.malaria.org.za/Malaria_Risk/Risk_Maps/risk_maps.htm

What kind of support will I receive while I am in South Africa?

The iKhaya coordinator will be your main point of support. She will give you your orientation when you arrive, will answer your questions and offer guidance. The coordinator will also check with you throughout the program to ensure your needs are taken care of. You are strongly encouraged to become actively involved in Solid Ground Church where you will find a strong support base.

Can I bring anything with me to donate to iKhaya?

Please contact the Co-ordinator for details on this.

Will I be able to stay in touch with my family/friends back home while I am in South Africa?

Yes and we encourage you to share your experiences with them as much as possible! You would need to purchase your own internet dongle and sim card. We also have a landline at iKhaya, so it’s not too expensive for family and friends to call you or for you to purchase a long distance calling card so you can call them. It is also useful to buy a SIM Card while in South Africa. They are inexpensive and this way you can send text messages to your friends back home. If you bring your own laptop, you will also have an opportunity to Skype as well.

Will I get good medical care in South Africa?

Yes. The quality of medical care in South Africa is very good. Once you arrive we will assist in referring you to the best hospital or clinic in the area.

Will I have access to a car or public transport

No. iKhaya Likababa has two cars which are used to fetch the children from school or to pick up donations. It can be used to buy your own groceries if it’s en route. Otherwise it may not be used for personal errands.