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Door of Hope Orphanage blank

Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Quick Info

The late, great Nelson Mandela said it best: “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” The Door of Hope Orphanage is a safe haven for 32 children where volunteers can assist in numerous ways! 

Minimum Duration 6 weeks
Cost From 200 Euro per week
Minimum age 16 years
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Door of Hope was established by Mama Gladys, a person of amazing selflessness and a huge heart. She saw a need, had to do something about it, and started taking children in from the streets some 20 years ago. Orphaned or abandoned children would find their way to Mama Gladys who would take them in and care for them as her own. Currently there are 32 children from ages 1-20 years living with her in the orphanage where they are one big family. 

Volunteers can contribute to lightening the burden of looking after so many children, and offer them individual attention - a rarity in such a big family! As well as the younger children, you will be bonding with teenagers and chat about those growing-up things teenagers want to discuss.

Volunteer working hours will be flexible, as the older children have school until 2pm. You will help around the house with cleaning and chores, and you will also prepare afternoon activities for when the children come home. Most volunteers work from 11AM to 4pm to have maximum contact with the children.

Volunteers can be involved in the following activities

Individual attention: It may be something lots of us take for granted, but individual focus on and attention to these children, living as they do in such a large family, means the world to them. The simplest things like teaching them the English alphabet, counting, names of colours and playing games with them will be rewarding tasks for both volunteer and child.

Homework: Volunteers will help the older school-going kids with their homework in the afternoons. You can help them with assignments and converse with them in English so that they can practice. Whether you consider your ‘strong point’ to be maths, English, biology or any other subject; your knowledge must be shared! These kids are thirsting for input.

Organising: Volunteers will be expected to organise fun activities that will both entertain the kids and improve their social skills. Be creative and come prepared!

Household chores: Even though Mama Gladys has several staff members helping her cook and clean, your help will still be invaluable. You can also get involved in general office administration (organising the children’s files etc.) and numerous other tasks. You will thus gain an insider’s view of the current situation at Door of Hope, and be able to use it to formulate goals for their future.

Special attention: Some children need special attention because they are behind with their educational development. Volunteers can help by teaching them reading and writing skills, to maximise their future opportunities.

See what other volunteers say about this project

Go here and here to have a look at visitors´ reviews of volunteering at Door of Hope.


Volunteer House

You will stay in our comfortable volunteer house which is within walking distance from the beautiful beach and many other facilities - take some surfing lessons or simply relax on the beach after your day at work! The house is fully furnished, has shared bedrooms and bathrooms (so you might share your room), a large swimming pool, 2 lounges and our volunteer dog Google. There is free WIFI so bring your laptop or tablet. The house offers enough space to find a quiet spot to read or to hang out with the other volunteers and interns that stay there. For those preferring to have a private room, these can be arranged, but there will be extra costs involved - chat with us if you want to know more.


All your meals are included (we shop and you cook together with other volunteers). We offer a self-service breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and cooked dinners in the evenings. We gladly cater for vegetarians. Only your personal snacks, beverages and other luxuries will be for your own account.


Transport is provided by our drivers who will take you to and from the project on a daily basis.

Fun stuff!

Our on-site volunteer coordinators will be there to assist with anything project-related, but we also provide a variety of fun social activities. Sandboarding down the giant dunes, having close encounters with peaceful pachyderms at Addo Elephant Park, hiking in the lush coastal countryside around Port Elizabeth…and much more. Extra costs for activities may apply. There will be something exciting on the program every weekend, so feel free to join in if you like! We are very open to suggestions - give us your ideas.


6 weeks € 1,385.00 $1,475.00 £1,215.00
Extra Weeks € 200.00 $215.00 £175.00

If you would like to stay for longer than 12 weeks, costs change drastically so contact us for more info.

Included in your volunteering fee

  • Information and assistance before departure
  • Pick up on arrival and drop off at the end of your stay
  • A welcome pack with an information guide, free SIM card and maps
  • All meals
  • Accommodation in our beachfront volunteer house
  • Daily transport to and from the projects
  • City Tour and Introduction Programme
  • Direct donation to the project
  • On site volunteer coordinators
  • Some social activities

Excluded from your volunteering fee

  • Items such as personal toiletries, snacks, cold drinks and alcohol.
  • Costs for weekend trips
  • Flight tickets
  • Insurance

Starting dates

You will start your volunteer work on a Monday. We will pick you up on the Monday morning from the airport. You can arrive earlier if you want, but your program will start on Monday. After an initial introduction to get to grips with your surroundings, and a City Tour, you will start your volunteering on the Tuesday.

Participation is per full week only and the project will be closed for about three weeks over Christmas and the New Year period.