Social Work and Youth Development in Cape Town

The City of Cape Town faces an over-burdened social welfare system. Families are often unable to meet the basic needs of their children, leaving them vulnerable to neglect and abuse. Intervention is often required for these vulnerable children. Demanding caseloads challenge the ability of social workers to fulfill the best interest of the multitude of at-risk children in the area. Relief, in the form of emergency foster homes for those children gives a first line of support and stability.

Through working with an emergency foster care home, you will gain a challenging yet unique insight into the functions and trials of a social welfare system. Operating alongside resident social workers, you will meet with doctors, care workers and potentially family members, as you work towards finding the best possible solutions for each child.

This internship gives you a rare opportunity to practice hands-on work in the field, which will be beneficial and rewarding to those interested in healthcare, civil society, global health, social work and integration with community and youth.


  • Develop an in-depth understanding of social challenges associated with high levels of poverty, and the legacy of apartheid
  • Gain valuable skills through working alongside social and healthcare professionals
  • Learn to collect, record and present pertinent materials on children’s development and social situations in order to inform the decision-making process
  • Broaden your perspectives by being professionally and socially immersed in an intercultural environment

Quick Facts

  • Location Cape Town, South Africa
  • Learning Takeaway Gain contextual understanding of the social care system in South Africa
  • Learning Experience Work alongside a South African social worker, making valuable contributions in the realm of social work and the lives of local youth
  • 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

Your Internship assignments can be adjusted to cater to your skills and professional development goals, insofar as they align with the needs of the community and social workers.

With the guidance and support of a professional team, you will be able to make valuable contributions in the realm of social work and the lives of local youth. An academic leader will give you the freedom to consult and discuss your work in context as you experience it, which may comprise highly confident and sensitive information. A personal development coach will provide you with the tools and structure to gain the most from your service and achieve your internship goals.

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

The welfare and development of children under the Social Welfare Services’ jurisdiction is central to this internship. You will contribute to their development and improved care by assisting social workers with collecting and assessing data and arriving at informed and appropriate action plans in each instance. Meeting weekly with social workers and healthcare professionals to discuss challenges and assess the implementation of action plans will facilitate the process.

Your support will assist overextended social workers to achieve their aims, thereby allowing them to assist a greater number of children, either by reuniting them with family, or improving their situation by placing them into foster care.

  • You may choose to undertake this internship for a minimum period of four weeks, and a maximum of three months. We recommend discussing your internship goals with our academic advisors beforehand in order to assess a practical timeframe.

    Please bear in mind that the first week of your internship will be dedicated to your orientation and induction.

    Included in your itinerary will be regular hours in the field, as well as agreed feedback and reflection times with your Internship support team. You will be expected to follow the daily schedule and be fully involved.

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 da