Occupational Healthcare and Therapy in Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is a multi-faceted and cosmopolitan city, but there are major poverty and health issues within the large surrounding townships. This can further compound the challenges affecting those with disabilities, excluding them from social and economic opportunities. An estimated 5% – 10% of South Africa’s population suffer from a disability and need long term support

Emphasis is given to the prevention of disease, promoting health and wellbeing and, importantly, recognising the real need for rehabilitation and working with occupational therapists to improve overall quality of life.

On this internship, you will get to work alongside professionals in the healthcare industry and be part of practical solution to the hugely varied issues being dealt with daily.


  • Develop valuable understanding of health issues in South Africa
  • Gain valuable professional skills in meeting patients’ physical, mental and emotional needs
  • Be exposed to real grassroots level problems and debates
  • Work on a program that is constantly developing and open to ideas
  • Bring change and see real results

Quick Facts

  • Location Cape Town, South Africa
  • Learning Takeaway Gain contextual understanding of the healthcare and social system in South Africa
  • Learning Opportunities Work alongside qualified occupational therapists, facilitating daily activities to help promote physical and psychological wellbeing in adults and children
  • Free Time Sightseeing, beaches, adventure activities and so much more

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Destination Description

Cape Town is arguably one the most stunning cities in the world. Framed between oceans and mountains, it’s surrounded by incredible natural beauty, with Table Mountain, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, an absolute highlight. Cape Town is also a place of huge diversity, lively cultures, and a vibrant nightlife. Living here is dynamic and interesting, and weekends will give you a huge variety of exciting activities. You can, for instance, venture to the top of Table Mountain, visit the historic Robben Island, drive to the iconic Cape Point, or hang out on some of the many beaches. If you’re into food and design, you can also choose to visit some of the trendy markets for some culinary treats and locally designed goods. Moreover, once you venture outside of Cape Town, you’ll find gorgeous winelands and stunning National Parks that are well worth a good road trip.


Learning Outcomes

Working alongside qualified occupational therapists, your goal is the facilitation of daily activities to help promote physical and psychological wellbeing and to help support self-care; all against the backdrop of often severe poverty and lack of resources.

You will need to consider how physical, social, political and emotional barriers impact on individuals’ abilities and how to address these needs with limited access to community based services.

You will be based at our Cape Town house and work alongside our teams within the various communities; helping within structured support groups and home-based visits.

Included in this internship is support by a personal development coach and monitoring and evaluation intern specialist. Your placement will involve a comprehensive induction and workshops on expectations and goal setting

If you intend to use any data collected or analyzed during your internship, arrangements must be made prior to your placement and may require additional documentation from a relevant credit-bearing institution for consideration by our board.

Service Impact

Health Education – Each week, with the support of the occupational therapist, you will work to research and help present effective healthcare workshops to a group of grandparents effected by HIV. Dependant on the itinerary, this can range classes on illness to healthy living practice suggestions.

Health clinics – Assist in local clinics and outreach programs to help with vital check-ups. Get exposure to other health professionals working on the front line.

Occupational Therapy – Get the chance to shadow a professional and be allowed into one-on-one consultations and assessments. You will provide an extra set of eyes to ensure the delivery of good practice in a terribly underfunded and overburdened system.

  • Your first week will be dedicated to your orientation and induction where you will gain an in-depth understanding of the structure of your internship. Following this you will be out in the field or meeting your personal development coach and project manager.

This internship runs from January through to early December

Interns live in a shared intern and volunteer house in Muizenberg, just 3 minutes away from one of the most popular beaches in Cape Town’s South Peninsula. Aside from being one of the best surfing beaches around, it’s an area filled with vibey bars, cafes, and amazing restaurants. During your free time, take advantage of living close to some of Cape Town’s major attractions; Boulder’s Beach, Cape Point National Park, Table Mountain and more.

Logistics included and provided by African Impact are:

  • Participants will be collected from the airport upon arrival and transferred to the house
  • Accommodation is based in a private area of the African Impact run backpackers, with simple, but comfortable shared rooms with communal ablutions
  • All meals for the duration of the project, with the exception of free days will be provided
  • Any transport required for program activities will be provided
  • Participants will be transferred back to the airport for their departure
  • You will have access to African Impact’s 24-hour support team. Living and working with them every day.