Where do we work?: South Africa

Population: 51,605,347

Area: 1,219,090 sq. km.

Median Age: 24.7

Literacy: 86.4 %

Languages: IsiZulu, IsiXhosa, Afrikaans, Sepedi, English, Setswana, Sesotho, Xitsonga, IsiNdebele, Tshivenda, siSwati

Since the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa has achieved remarkable political and social transformation, and is one of the few African countries to have peaceful and non-violent political transition in recent times. South Africa has a strong human rights-based constitution and development mandate which explicitly takes into account the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

South Africa has the greatest incidence of HIV/AIDS globally with almost 6 million people living the disease, and life expectancy in the country has dropped to 52.8 years. The prevalence rates of HIV for females aged 15-24 and males aged 15-49 have increased since the mid-90s and unfortunately this trend is likely to continue.

Whilst universal primary education is effectively a reality, the education sector is still suffering from inadequate quality and functionality. Problems stem from teacher absenteeism, irregular attendance, hunger, learner pregnancy and school-related violence and sexual harassment. In rural areas, education also often competes with the demands of subsistence agriculture, meaning school is interrupted during harvests.


Current Volunteers   Recent Volunteers
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Below are some profiles of volunteers currently working in South Africa.

Carmel Lawry

Carmel Lawry, a nurse from Melbourne, will volunteer for one year with Holy Family Care Centre in Ofcolaco, South Africa.

Four Months In

October 24, 2016

by Clare Lourey, volunteer in Ofcolaco, South Africa- My name is Clare (or Khensani as the local staff and children now call me), Iā€™m a primary school teacher from Sydney, Australia. Through Palms I am volunteering at Holy Family Care Centre, South Africa for twelve months. Iā€™m currently four months into my placement and I […]

Clare Lourey in South Africa

March 14, 2016

Holy Family Care Centre, Ofcolaco, South Africa Holy Family Care CentreĀ (HFCC) is situated at the foot of the Drakensberg Mountains in Ofcolaco, Limpopo Province, South Africa. TheĀ beautiful surroundings belie the traumatic history of the region, which has been devastated by civil unrest, chronic poverty and mostly diseases like HIV and AIDS. Holy Family Care Centre […]

Farewell from Africa

January 19, 2015

Now about to completeĀ her placement, our prolific Palms Poster Louisa Cataldo gives her final installment, reflecting on her life at Holy Family Care Centre, Ofcolaco South Africa- Dear Friends This is the fourth time I have tried to begin this final letter. Where do I begin? How about Christmas? It was beautiful, we celebrated Midnight […]

Hello from Africa No.8

November 18, 2014

It can be an uncomfortable chore for the Palms staff to request stories from our Volunteers in the Field for the Palms Post. This is never the case with volunteer Louisa Cataldo, who has provided a constant stream of stories from her placement. Here is her latest Update (No. 8!) from Holy Family Care Centre, […]

Louisa’s Update No. 7

October 14, 2014

Louisa Cataldo provides another update from the teaching side of Holy Family Care Centre, South Africa: Life as a volunteer is filled with rewards and equally with some disappointments. And while one certainly does not go looking for the rewards, it is always such a pleasure when they come unexpectedly. And so it happened that […]

Back to reality… Children’s health in South Africa

Volunteer Carmel Lawry recently returned to her placement in Holy Family Care Centre, South Africa, after a brief “break” of study, work and exams in Australia to enhance her health qualifications. She provides another update of life for the community -and the young- of Ofcolaco: I have been back in Ofcolaco for 2 weeks and […]

Rebuilding families and hopes in Ofcolaco, South Africa

August 4, 2014

Holy Family Centre in Ofcolaco, Limpopo Privince, South Africa is hosting two Palms Volunteers -Carmel Lawry, an experienced health care professional from Melbourne, and Louisa Cataldo, a passionate Ā teacher and musician from Sydney. Working on different ‘front lines’ both women are helping to rebuild life and hope in a region devastated by poverty, abuse, civil […]

Meet our 10 newest volunteers

November 29, 2013

We have another wonderful group of volunteers, ready to depart for Timor-Leste, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea and South Africa.

Below are some of the volunteer positions Palms Australia is seeking to fill in . To find out more about any position or about other opportunities, please enquire about volunteering with Palms Australia.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. - Marianne Williamson