Professional Human Rights Volunteering Opportunities in South Africa
- Placement location: Cape Town
- Requirements: Degree in Law
- Accommodation: Host family
- Length of placement: From 2 weeks
- Start Dates: Flexible
South Africa has an infamous history of discrimination and segregation. With the end of Apartheid in 1994, South Africa began to establish democracy and an impressive Bill of Rights. However, many South Africans still live in poverty and suffer from human rights abuses.
The Projects Abroad Human Rights Office (PAHRO) in South Africa provides pro bono legal services and advice to marginalised members of the local community in Cape Town through legal clinics. The office also recognises the need for rehabilitative justice and empowerment programmes and offers life orientation skills workshops to young offenders, at risk youth, as well as to women who have been victims of domestic violence and are living at recognised shelters.
The collective mission of the Projects Abroad Human Rights Office is to promote respect for human rights and human dignity by providing good quality, independent legal advice to the poor and vulnerable and also to participate in social justice initiatives.
Here you will find answers to the following questions:
How can volunteer lawyers help in South Africa?
As a PRO volunteer lawyer you can use your knowledge and training to help local staff. You may work on tasks such as:
- Mediating client disputes in matters such as family law and other civil matters.
- Drafting a range of legal documents relative to family, criminal, refugee, property, labour and general matters.
- Preparing and attending the magistrate's court for criminal proceedings with the Legal Services Coordinator.
- Managing a high case portfolio, while still working under the supervision of PAHRO staff.
- Providing pro bono advice at our legal clinics in the townships.
- Raise awareness through creating and facilitating workshops at juvenile detention facilities and women's shelters.
As a PRO volunteer you will work alongside other volunteers, including qualified lawyers and law students, as well as volunteers without legal qualifications but who are gaining exposure to the field. Work at the office is distributed based on experience. You will work eight hours per day, Monday to Friday.
This project runs all year round, except for a brief period over Christmas. No matter how long you decide to stay, we will help you get the most out the project.
What will I gain from this project?
This voluntary work abroad will help you gain experience of providing a legal service in the developing world. You will be able to share ideas with experienced South African lawyers and learn from them. You will also be able to make a difference and contribute to the development of South African human rights.
You will spend time in local communities, learning about a new culture and way of life. Staff and clients will want to hear about your life back home and your family and friends. This 'cultural exchange' helps our volunteers gain a new perspective on life and the challenges experienced by communities in the developing world.
What will Projects Abroad provide?
We have over 20 years' experience of running volunteer projects. We provide you with the following support to make sure your time in South Africa is successful and enjoyable:
- Safe accommodation with a South African family close to your project.
- Friendly and dedicated local staff available to help 24 hours a day.
- A member of staff to meet you at the airport when you arrive.
- Medical and travel insurance.
What skills or qualifications do I need?
If you have completed at least a bachelors or postgraduate law degree then you are perfectly suited for this project.
If you are interested in this project but don't have the relevant experience, then please read about our regular Law & Human Rights project in South Africa.