For over a decade, Bobbi Bear has been working with international volunteers from around the world who have invested in their important work.

International volunteers form an essential part of the team and the work they are able to do in the communities they serve helping vulnerable children.

Bobbi Bear work exclusively with Vocational Impact, who help them manage, process and recruit international volunteers and university students.

Vocational Impact have been invaluable to the Bobbi Bear programmes and have been crucial to the continued work and development of Bobbi Bear, donating a % towards the running costs and our operational costs.

For more information read the Frequently Asked Questions below and get in touch with our partner volunteer organisation, Vocational Impact.



“This is an incredible project to volunteer with. Those who practice or are studying social work, counselling, psychology, child development, youth work or social work, I believe can gain a lot from this experience. Working within a different cultural framework, understanding the challenges of that environment and learning how NGOs work to overcome them can deepen your understanding of psychology and enable you to broaden your approach to it.”

eilidh, Volunteer Bobbi Bear, Vocational Impact


“My psychology work-experience with Bobbi Bear in South Africa gave me the practical experience I needed to apply for degree related jobs. Being able to show I had put my degree into a real-life environment, helped me stand out from the crowd and ultimately land my first graduate job.”

Psychology Student Volunteer, Bobbi Bear Vocational Impact


“We gained valuable employability skills that helped us land our first graduate jobs. We were able to identify our work experience in South Africa as the primary reason for getting our first job after uni”

volunteering with abused children

Frequently Asked Questions

Where Does My Volunteer Fee Go?

We have established the Bobbi Bear volunteer abroad programme to raise important funds and offer life-changing work experience to volunteers hoping to gain valuable hands-on experience.

Because of this, the fee has been set to offer a regular and sustainable income to Operation Bobbi Bear, and a high % of the fee you will pay will be sent directly to Bobbi Bear.

Bobbi Bear then use this money to pay for hosting the volunteers, providing the accommodation for your stay, and their running costs.

If I Have Any Further Questions, Who Should I Ask?

Vocational Impact is there to take the administration away from the busy staff at Bobbi Bear.

There is a great FAQs page on their website, a host of interviews on the Vocational Impact YouTube Channel and of course all the normal social media channels.

You can also send Vocational Impact a message here

How Does Vocational Impact Support Volunteers Onsite?

There is in-country support and 24/7 support from our UK office. Safeguarding volunteer students is our main focus and we value the support we offer as an industry high. We conduct very thorough pre-departure checks including interviews and placement checks, and require daily check-ins throughout the placement from every volunteer student both on Whatsapp and through a digital daily diary. We also communicate with our in-country supervisor on a daily basis.

What Will I Be Doing While I’m Volunteering With Bobbi Bear?

Watch these past volunteers talk about ‘what they got up to day-to-day’

Kayleigh & Lola, University of West England, Psychology/Criminology and Child Development ‘What did a typical day look like at Bobbi Bear’ 

Lucy & Emily, Leeds University, Psychology ‘What does a typical day look like at Bobbi Bear’

  • Go to emergency call-outs and support the Operation Bobbi Bear Child Safety Officers (CSOs) throughout the abuse cases that come in during your programme.
  • Visit local police stations, hospitals and the High Court to assist with trauma recovery and support victims throughout the process.
  • Be closely involved with the rescued children when they come to the rescue centre, and/or support on site where the case is attended to on location, this will include comforting them, counselling them and loving them, using your experience and knowable working in this field.
  • During your stay you will shadow the Bobbi Bear staff and support where needed. You will give guidance, listen and learn about the different cultures and policies within them.
  • You will gain insight and experience the social welfare system of South Africa
  • You will participate in lectures at rural schools to raise awareness about sensitive issues such as HIV/AIDS, sexual abuse and sex education through the use of the ‘Edu-Toy’
  • Attend ‘The Tree’ clinic and help develop outreach programmes that bring rural communities together to share stores and empower women and children.
  • You will learn about the ‘Bobbi Bear bear’ a toy used to support the case building from first contact to prosecution.
How Much Spending Money Should I Budget For?

This is dependent on what you would like to do around your volunteering.

There are options to go on a Durban night tour, Tala the local game reserve (safari), and local tourist attractions. Or you can go to Cape Town or Sky Dive.

There are also options to go to a local Zulu church, street market, township. These will all be relatively cheap.

Food is not included in your fee, there is a supermarket next to Bobbi Bear HQ, so base this on your current daily food budget.

We would say budget around £200 – £400 extra per month for food and excursions.


Useful Background Research On South Africa’s Laws And Policies Regarding Child Sexual Abuse
How Are Volunteers Trained/Prepared/Supported?

Before you Depart

You will go through an application process, and be interviewed. Vocational Impact will collect important travel documents from you including, insurance, CRB, flights, placement focus etc

On Placement

You will be given orienteering and training with the staff on the ground when you arrive.

The introduction training will cover the history of South Africa, HIV/AID and Operation Bobbi Bear’s story. You will be shadowing Child Safety Officers and will learn through observing and participating in call-outs and the day-to-day activities.

You will be required to complete a daily diary each day you are on placement. We are in 24/7 contact with volunteers and the in-country lead.

Post Placement 

We will conduct a post-placement interview and go through your daily diary.

What Is The Application and Acceptance Process?

We assess each application separately, looking at their reasons and motivations.

We are approaching students because of the nature of the South Africa project with Bobbi Bear. Experience with children or working in the social sector is considered a benefit.

Once you have read all the information and want to proceed and confirm your place you need to complete the application form.

Vocational Impact will then assess and check your preferred start dates and take a £265 deposit to hold your place.

You will then receive regular updates and need to send paperwork for compliance and safeguarding.

The final fee is due 60 days before departure.

How Do I Pay For My Volunteer Placement?

Many of our volunteers fundraise for their fees, access university grants or find sponsorship from employees.

Imagine you are going on holiday and have to pay for accommodation, food, transport and airport travel. This is all included in your volunteer fee. We also include the donation for Bobbi Bear.

Our fees are set so Bobbi Bear don’t lose money hosting volunteers, rather gain valuable experience, support and investment to their work.

You can set up an online fundraising page and encourage your network of friends and family to support your ambitions to volunteer with Bobbi Bear.

Many volunteers do fun activities to raise money and awareness. Vocational Impact can help you with ideas. We believe that fundraising is a really important skill to learn and your investment into the work of Bobbi Bear really is life-changing for them and the whole experience will be life changing for you.

Ambassador Scheme

Many of the volunteers have such a life changing experience that they want to help share their stories, which we put on our blog, and send out to our networks via email.

We believe the experience will be so powerful that word of mouth will enhance the volunteer numbers.

We also have a university ambassador scheme, to help build awareness of Bobbi Bear, and securing future volunteers.

What Are The Programme Outcomes For The Volunteer And Partner Organisation?

Watch Jackie Branfield, Founder of Bobbi Bear talk about the impact international volunteers have had on the work of Bobbi Bear

The volunteers will gain valuable hands-on, real-life experience working with vulnerable children in a challenging environment. They will experience the inside workings of a busy charity on the ground, saving lives of children. They will gain valuable perspective on different cultures and customs.

Many volunteers gain practical experience relating to their chosen university studies or career focus, which enable them to provide evidence in job applications.

For the organisation, they gain a stable income to support their work, mission, operations and running costs.

Bobbi Bear gains a huge amount from international volunteers sharing their eduction, skills and ideas.

Do I Require A Visa To Travel To South Africa?

Every situation is different and visa requirements are dependent on the country you are travelling to and your nationality.

You can contact a member of the Vocational Impact team to provide guidance on where to find the information you require or contact your nearest embassy for the country you are travelling to.

You can read about visa requirements here 

In general, UK residents and nationals can travel without a visa for up to 3 months. Europeans up to 3 months.


Which Vaccinations/Injections Do I Need?

The vaccinations you will need depends on which vaccinations you have had previously.

We advise all of our volunteers to talk to their GP/Doctor ahead of their trip.