The Missionvale Care Centre focuses on people in need in Missionvale township, and offers a variety of services such as education, healthcare and more.
About the Program
The Missionvale Care Centre operates in the extremely poor shack township of Missionvale in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The centre was founded by kindhearted Sister Ethel, an expatriate Irish nun, who started offering help to this needy community under a tree between the shacks. Today, it is a centre that provides care, love and material support to the poor, with particular emphasis on and attention to those living with HIV/AIDS.
Missionvale Care Centre is a non-profit organisation committed to providing quality care and support to improve the lives of the residents through love, participation and self-development.
The help of all types of volunteers is desperately needed, but nursing and medical volunteers and anyone who doesn’t mind hard work, while coming face to face with extreme poverty, are especially welcome.
Participating in this project is both challenging and diverse. You will get acquainted with circumstances in which 70% of South Africans live today. By volunteering here, you get to experience their lifestyle and Xhosa culture. We need volunteers who are independent and mature as they will be facing misery and poverty every day.
Please keep the following in mind:
Primary school: About 140 kids attend school here and need assistance with reading, writing, social skills and sports – as well as individual personal attention. Volunteers will also make sandwiches for the kids’ lunch, and their play time needs to be supervised.
Nutrition unit: Volunteers provide the people of Missionvale each day with half a loaf of bread and a scoop of nutritious soup powder; making it possible for them to go home and cook a meal for their families. This unit also distributes food parcels weekly to the families who are on the care centre’s adopted list.
Medical support and clinic: An optometrist visits the centre once a week and provides free eye tests and glasses where necessary. The centre is always looking for old glasses that can be recycled to use here because giving a person the ability to see again is an amazing gift.
The clinic acts as a one-stop facility where people can go for a check-up and other additional care – and it’s mainly aimed at people with tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. There are qualified nurses working at Missionvale, but not enough can be done and we call out to anybody with a medical or nursing background to volunteer here and make a difference so more patients can be helped.
Crafter unit: The women working here work very hard on various projects such as curtains, placemats, handbags, aprons, pillows and more. These items go on sale at Missionvale Care Centre as well as at weekly fairs. These women are taught the basics of sewing and gain experience, which increases their chances of being employed by businesses in the area. Volunteers can assist and give creative input.
Child support and development: An afternoon program is available to make sure the children stay off the streets and are able to play safely. They get a meal, computer lessons, listen to stories, learn how to play the drums and take part in cultural dances and play sports outside. Volunteers must be energetic and patient!
Clothing warehouse: Clothing donations are cleaned and sorted so that anyone in need of clothing can be assigned a parcel with clothes that fit and are clean. Give us a hand!
Community gardens: The residents can plant and grow their own fruit and vegetables and donate some of their harvest to the soup kitchen. Volunteers with a green thumb can apply it here!
Guidance and Supervision
Coordinators of the different units will guide and supervise you throughout your stay.
The Eastern Cape and the surroundings of Port Elizabeth show a large variety of natural beauty and make PE a great central place to visit the variety of South Africa. To the East you will find the Wild coast (former Transkei and Ciskei) which is mostly rural and undeveloped, but closer you will find Addo Elephant Park and great coastal villages such as Port Alfred. To the North you will find the great Karoo; a semi desert area with wide open spaces, large nature areas and long open roads with historical places such as Graaff Reinet, the Baviaanskloof Wilderness and much more. To the East towards Cape Town, you will be amazed by the Tsitsikamma National Park, holiday villages such as Plettenberg Bay, Knysna and natures Valley or the surf mecca of Jeffrey’s Bay. This gives you plenty to see and visit while you are here.
During the weekends or after work there are a few beautiful places in Port Elizabeth as well that you can visit. Such as SAMREC, where you have the biggest penguin colony in the world, Sardinia bay, or catch a boat and go sandboarding on the Sunday river.
We have a pick up service from the airport in Port Elizabeth. Just send us your arrival time and one of our coordinators will be there to bring you to your accomodation!
The volunteer house lies in the popular beach front area of Humewood, and is only a 5 minute walk away from the beach. Shops, beachfront cafés, restaurants and access to other facilities are all within easy reach.
The volunteer house offers spacious living conditions and is shared with other volunteers.It is fully furnished and has all the facilities needed and more, we have shared bedrooms and bathrooms (so you might share your room), a large swimming pool and 2 lounges.
Three meals per day are included and we work on a set menu per week. Volunteers do the cooking while we provide the groceries and together we set a menu per week. There is free coffee, tea and cordial juice available at any time.
For breakfast you will have toast, fruit, yoghurt, cereal and/or eggs. For lunch you can have sandwiches with cheese, marmalade, cold meats or other spreads. Please tell our coordinators about any wishes, vegetarian wishes and allergies concerning food.