An OHS Volunteer Program is an experiential service-learning and leadership program designed to promote empowerment through education and positive social uplift.  The programs offer an unparalleled opportunity for personal and collective growth for students, professionals, and other dedicated individuals.

In 2015 Programs will be held in Cape Town, South Africa with the following distribution:


University Students

EDUCATE 4-week program


Regardless of length and location of the program, as an OHS volunteer you will:

  • Integrate yourself into and work closely with local communities
  • Gain a multi-disciplinary understanding of the local environment and culture
  • Work closely with members of the community to create positive social uplift
  • Work with a small, dynamic team of international university and graduate students
  • Develop yourself intellectually through leadership, service, and dialogue
  • Apply the knowledge and skills learned while abroad in your home community upon return


Frequently Asked Questions

The Experience

Will I be trained before the start of my program?

Our volunteer training is done differently each year—you can expect to undergo some training before your program start date. The first few days of your program will be when you receive the majority of your training.

Can you inform me more about how your organization and programs are different from other agents or platforms that place volunteers into the programs by charging a fee?

One Heart Source does rely partially on volunteer fees to run our programs, but we also rely on private donations and other fundraising activities.

Our programs are designed and led entirely by One Heart Source personnel. Full-time, in-country program leaders run the volunteer orientation and facilitate cultural awareness and understanding by leading relevant group discussions and by connecting volunteers to community members, cultural sites, and museums throughout the duration of your stay. The program leaders have a minimum of three years experience working with One Heart Source. By working directly with local schools and communities we are able to dictate the quality and sustainability of volunteer projects in ways that placement agencies may not be able to. 

What is the level of leadership and involvement of OHS volunteers in the program, and how can I contribute to the design and implementation of the program?

Our volunteers hail from all academic and social backgrounds, which, we believe, adds to the evolution and development of our programs and our organization. Throughout all OHS programs we strongly encourage volunteers to take initiative and develop ideas and projects that utilize their individual strengths and skills to benefit the communities we work with. One example of volunteer initiative from this past summer is a volunteer who wanted to share her passion for meditation and yoga with the students we were teaching. With our support, she set up and ran a popular evening wellness club, where she taught about physical and mental well-being and led students in yoga and meditation. In order to make the club sustainable, she invited local community members and teachers to participate and learn the concepts and practice together, which has allowed the club to continue even after she returned home.

Where do OHS volunteers come from?

Our volunteers come from all over the world! In 2013, our volunteer family was made up of individuals from 41 Universities, representing 9 countries worldwide.

What learning theory and approach does your program adopt to nurture the volunteers?

The learning theory that we incorporate into our programs is based on alternative team teaching methods, creativity, and high-quality mentorship. As a volunteer you will have a chance to bring your unique style and influence in order to most effectively reach the students you are working with.  You might teach in groups of two or three, allowing yourself and fellow mentors to present information to students in a variety of creative ways, or you might teach 1-3 students at a time, focusing on the students’ most urgent academic needs.

As educators, we believe in keeping students engaged and allowing discussion to flow, showing students that learning can be a fun, interactive experience. There will always be support available from our staff in order to provide feedback, assistance, and counseling when dealing with the challenges of teaching.

Will there be time for personal travel during the programs?

Yes! Both Cape Town and Zanzibar are beautiful cities with rich history and culture. You will be able to spend time exploring the city and local community during weekends. If you are interested in more extensive travel, we ask that you schedule time before or after your program start and ends dates to do so.

What are the safety concerns and/or procedures in Cape Town? Zanzibar?

Safety is our number one priority. All volunteer experiences are planned and executed with your safety as our first concern. During program hours, Volunteers are always under supervision of OHS Program Management. In all locations, a vehicle is available 24/7 in case of emergency. Volunteer living accommodations are secure.

Though many countries in Africa are portrayed as violent and unstable, we are confident that you will find both locations to be warm and welcoming. However, as is the case in any foreign country or city, travel within each location does pose risks and requires safe, smart travel techniques. Upon arrival, you will be educated on and familiarized with your immediate location to ensure a comfortable stay.  OHS Management is available 24/7 should there be any concerns.

OHS Volunteers & the Application Process

I noticed there are many application deadlines—when should I apply?

You can apply at any time, for any program, before any of the application deadlines. We encourage you to apply as early as possible, as spaces do fill up fast.

Do you have to be a student to qualify for the programs?

We do not require that you be currently enrolled as a student in order to qualify for an OHS program. 

What prior experience, if any, is required to volunteer?

No prior experience is necessary! We welcome applicants from all backgrounds with various levels and types of previous experience. We believe that this adds to the diversity and collaborative nature of our programs and organization.

Fundraising & Program Fees

Does OHS offer any financial aid or sponsorships?

As a non-profit, NGO, One Heart Source does not currently offer any financial aid or sponsorships. We do, however, strongly encourage fundraising your program fee through the help of friends, family, and various fundraising campaigns.

Are donations tax-deductible for non-U.S. residents?

OHS is a registered non-profit in the U.S.; therefore, donations are tax-deductible if and only if the donor currently pays taxes in the U.S.

What is the source of funding for One Heart Source?

Your volunteer program fees, private donations, and various fundraising campaigns are the main source of funding for OHS.


Does OHS book flights for volunteers?

Because our volunteers come from all over the world, OHS does not book flights for our volunteers. We do, however, encourage volunteers to travel together when possible.

As a volunteer, will I travel alone or with a group of volunteers?

Once our volunteer positions are filled, contact information is exchanged with fellow members so that you can book flights together if you would like. We encourage traveling together when possible!

During the program, transportation is provided by OHS, and volunteers travel together.

Will I be picked up upon arrival?

Yes! OHS staff will pick up all volunteers, regardless of the airline or time of arrival.

When am I expected to arrive in country?

We ask that you arrive at least one day before your program start date and depart at least one day after your program end date. Therefore, if your program starts on May 25th, we ask that you arrive in country no later than May 24th. Participating for the full length of the program is mandatory. If you are concerned about time conflicts, please contact an OHS staff member.


Are volunteer positions paid?

All volunteer positions are unpaid.

Am I responsible for finding my own accommodations?

You are not responsible for finding your own accommodations. OHS will arrange all accommodations for the duration of your program.

Can I go on multiple or consecutive programs?

Sure! You can apply to as many programs as you would like. You are also able to volunteer in multiple locations. You will be responsible for paying the program fee for each program; however, a 10% discount will be applied to the cost of the second program.

Can I receive academic credit or volunteer hours for my program?

Absolutely. Many volunteers have received academic credit or certified volunteer hours for participating in a program. We suggest that you contact your school advisor or Department Head to inquire about any opportunities that may be available for you to receive academic credit.

Is it possible for OHS Staff to write a letter of recommendation, if necessary?

Yes! If you need, our staff is happy to write a letter of recommendation for you after your time spent with us.


Learn about our Cape Town programs

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