Each summer Mercer students have the opportunity intern with a variety of non-profit organizations located in Cape Town, South Africa. Mercer's South Africa Internship Program covers a wide range of interests such as HIV/AIDS education, clinics, schools, human rights organizations, children’s rights organizations, environmental organizations and also small business support organizations.
South Africa Internship Program
The following is a list of current opportunities. Opportunities for semester internships are also available. Please note, however, that these are subject to availability and may change each year. For more information on a program or specific opportunities please contact the direct of the program Dr. Eimad Houry.
Click here to apply!
Internships with South African Organizations operating in the Cape Town area:
Black Sash is a 63 year old organization that has a long history in working toward equality, social justice and human rights in South Africa. Currently, Black Sash works towards the realization of socio-economic rights, as outlined in the SA Constitution, with emphasis on social security and social protection for the most vulnerable. The organization closely monitors the social grant system and advocates for economic rights in marginalized communities. Black Sash implements three programmes, namely:
- Rights information, education and training
- Citizen based monitoring
- Advocacy in partnership / Campaigns
Molo Songololo’s programs aim to advance the rights and protection of children. The organization provides direct support to children in need of care and protection. The organization empowers children with skills that builds their human dignity, self-esteem, social confidence, and increase their future prospects. Molo Songololo also educates and trains those who work with children and raise awareness and advocate about children in difficult circumstances.
Currently, the organization implements three programs, namely:
- Child Protection and Victim Empowerment
- Child and Youth Empowerment
- Awareness and Advocacy
This organization recruits, trains and supports literate adult volunteers from local communities to help disadvantaged primary school children who struggle to read. Help2Read works in public primary schools with learners in grades 2-4 who are struggling with literacy. They pair each learner with a trained volunteer from the community who provides twice weekly one-on-one tutoring.
As many as 4 interns can be utilized at any given time. The program runs throughout the year. A minimum of 3-month commitment is required.
Ikamva Labantu is an NGO that delivers many social support services to underdeveloped communities in Cape Town. These services include learning and development and primary healthcare programs, as well as provision of resources and hands-on support required to meet the needs of communities. Ikamva Labantu’s grassroots work focuses on the most critical issues in communities, namely the lack of quality early childhood development programmes, the growing number of orphans, abused and neglected children, and the large number of unsupported and isolated elderly who financially support their families.
The organization has space for a maximum of 2 interns in each of its programs. Interns are required to commit to a minimum of 2 months.
AlthoughYabonga is an established HIV/AIDS NGO that aims to support families affected by AIDS. The organization’s programs are focused on children, youth and adults. Yabonga runs aftercare projects, high school education support, HIV Education and Awareness Campaigns and a Nutrition Program.
There is only one internship position available at Yabonga. A minimum of 3 months commitment is preferred.
Cape Town Child Welfare
Cape Town Child Welfare is South Africa's oldest child welfare organization. They assist children to emerge from crisis situations ranging from drug & alcohol abuse, poverty, homelessness & crime, to severe neglect, physical & sexual abuse. Their overriding goal is to ensure the survival & protection of children at risk - to help them break the cycle of despair in their lives, so that, ultimately, they are free to live fruitful, productive lives as flourishing members of society.
The organization provides intensive training to volunteers, so prefers a 6-month commitment, starting in January or July.
Saartjie Bartman Centre
The Saartjie Baartman Centre is a center for women and children who are survivors of abuse. Their vision is the creation of a safe and secure society and a human rights culture where women and children are empowered to exercise their full rights. The center provides a variety of services including:
- A 24 hour emergency shelter
- Residential care
- Childcare services
- Legal and economic empowerment services
- Research in gender-based violence
- Job Skills training
There are many schools situated throughout the black and colored communities in Cape Town that are very eager to accept interns at their schools for a variety of posts. These include:
- Teacher assistants in class
- Literacy and numeracy support
- Extra-mural programming and support
- Marketing and research
- Support in the school library including reading clubs.
False Bay Ecology Park
The FBEP is a resource for the citizens of Cape Town in terms of environmental education,
recreational facility. The park is situated on the “urban edge” of part of the Cape Flats. It protects and conserves the flora and fauna in the area and has projects to promote ecological awareness. The facility also has a bird sanctuary and aims to promote ecotourism.
The organization can take a maximum of two interns at a time.
Cape Town’s largest museum company which incorporates several museums including the South African Museum, The National Arts Museum and the Slave Lodge. Iziko Museums offers a structured internship opportunity, with supervision and clear outcomes for the intern. With a variety of museums and sites, Iziko is an ideal placement to gain experience in public education, historic exhibitions, proposal writing, social history, natural history, science, visual art and research.
Iziko can host several interns, but selection is competitive.
Khayelitsha Site B Clinic
Khayelitsha Site B Clinic is a large community health facility situated in one of the poorest areas in Cape Town. It is a busy clinic and provides interns with opportunities to shadow doctors and nurses, assist in minor medical procedures and exposes them to a large variety of medical and health conditions. The clinic provides Primary Health Care Services, a Maternity Unit, an Emergency Unit, and an HIV/TB Clinic.
The clinic is a good placement for nursing, premed and global health students to gain experience and insights into community health challenges.
Cape Music Institute
The Cape Music Institute is a non-profit organisation that teaches young adults and school leavers to make a living in the music industry. It offers advanced training in specific musical instruments, as well as sound engineering and music business. The school offers an accredited music qualification and is supported by prominent musicians in the Cape Town music industry. The school provides a platform for disadvantaged young adults to access a formalized program for music education.
Tsiba is a private, non-profit business school that offers an accredited business qualification to students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The institution teaches entrepreneurship and business administration, as well as small business consulting. The school specifically targets potential students that would otherwise not have access to tertiary level education.
The opportunity to intern at Tsiba is competitive, and preference is given to Business students with competencies that will add value to Tsiba’s work
Iliso Care Society
Iliso Care Society is a community based NGO is Khayelitsha that runs various child, youth and community development projects to improve the community’s socioeconomic conditions.
This is a grassroots organization serving various needs of the surrounding community. It has a crèche for preschool children, a library, a nutrition program, a life skills program for schoolchildren, as well as an entrepreneurship project for unemployed women. Despite their small and modest structure, Iliso proves what can be achieved with limited resources but good networking and perseverance.
The organization is a suitable placement for interns wanting to work “hands-on” in the community. They can accommodate a maximum of two interns.
Ihata Womens Shelter
Ihata is shelter for abused women and children, which also runs skills development and empowerment sessions for the residents. The shelter accommodates victims of domestic violence for up to 6 months. Here they are allowed space and time to plan their lives through more structured interventions. Their services are geared toward empowerment, improved self-esteem, recovery, and re-integration into the community. The shelter also has a crèche for the residents children.
Community Development Resource Association
The CDRA is a non-governmental organization that specializes in community development projects, organizational development work, and the effective monitoring and evaluation of programs. The organization consists of a network of associates that work in the community development arena, often in partnership with the NGO sector. CDRA’s main niche is change management, monitoring and evaluation, and organizational development work.
Interns are used for research, as well as marketing and administrative needs.
Cape Community Newspapers
Cape Community Newspapers is Cape Town’s largest chain of community newspapers that are spread throughout the various suburbs and townships in Cape Town and surrounds. This is a good placement site for Journalism students who want exposure to various communities. The internship allowed the interns to be involved in the entire process from reporting to editing, layout and publication. Interns are also encouraged to source and write and investigate their own articles.
Cape Community Newspapers will only accept interns that are journalism students.
Cape Town TV
They are a small local television broadcasting station that is in operation as a nongovernmental organization. Their news, features and programs are of a particular Cape Town flavor and focus. They broadcast news, talk shows and documentaries with focusing on topical community issues.
This position is specifically for journalism or marketing students. Students that have video editing or production experience are given preference.
The Sarah Fox Children’s Convalescent Hospital
The Sarah Fox Children’s Convalescent Hospital is a 60-bed facility based in Athlone. It serves as the only convalescent hospital available to children in the Western Cape. The hospital aims to provide professional care necessary to allow full recovery once the critical stage of the illness has been treated. The main conditions treated at the hospital include burns, HIV/Aids, tuberculosis, kwashiorkor, marasmus, motor vehicle accidents, effects of malnutrition, surgery, trauma, gastro-enteritis and non-accidental illnesses. More recently, children have been referred to Sarah Fox Hospital not only for medical reasons, but simply because they have no other place to go. The number of abandoned children and children coming from socially unfit backgrounds are on the increase.
The facility is presently in the process of closing down, but will restart shortly with a new name and management. It is likely that they would still be able to offer a place for an intern.
Tshisimani Centre for Activism Education
The Tshisimani Centre provides reflective learning programs and courses for social justice activists to complement their experience, and address injustices in society. They host lectures, documentary screenings, workshops and debates on questions of politics, current affairs, history and theory that are of concern to activists.
The Centre will consider interns that have a passion for activism and research.
Click here to apply!