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The Promise House would love to have you!

Your trip is 100% tax deductible and payable through our 501C3 non-profit organization.

We welcome volunteers at any time.  You are responsible for your own travel / lodging and expenses as well as a $100 per week volunteer lodging fee given to our orphanage directly.  Please contact Calvin Grabau as he is an expert in travel and arrangements for your volunteer mission!

The Promise House Masiphane Havens

Johannesburg, South Africa

1 month International Volunteer Info Sheet

(Please note: This information is for those of you interested in volunteering your time at The Promise House, Johannesburg, South Africa.  For volunteers, a one month stay or more is requested.  If you plan on just visiting our homes, other arrangements can be made.  For those of you wishing to volunteer, this is general information - an application will be provided)

We are so thankful that the Lord may be leading you to come and serve the children of South Africa with us!  Here is a list of information that will help as you plan your trip and budget for your time with us in Johannesburg.


$ 100 per week ($400 per month) Housing

$ 225   Food  (estimate)

$ 150   Miscellaneous (entertainment, local outings, toiletries, gifts, etc.)

$ 775   TOTAL per month

Housing:  You will stay on the property of The Promise House.  We have rooms available with cooking facilities available to you.

Food:  During your stay with us, we ask that you purchase and prepare your own breakfast and lunch meals.  Dinner is one of the most important times of the day with our children, so the evening meal is a family affair and will be provided by the ministry.

Miscellaneous:  It’s always good to expect the unexpected!  Whether you’re asked to join a group that’s going to a movie on your day off, need to buy shampoo, or just feel led to bless a stranger on the street, it’s always good to make room in your budget for surprises.

Other extra's available:

Car:  The ministry does have a car that volunteers may use occasionally.  Usage for ministry purposes is covered by the ministry, but we ask that you help pay for gasoline when the ministry vehicle is borrowed for personal use. (Terms and conditions will be explained once you arrive. Please note "car policies" below for important information)

        Cell phone:  Keeping in touch with the other volunteers and people you meet while in South Africa is part of the whole experience!  Using a local prepaid service, staying in touch with the leaders and with new friends will be easy.  It is advised to purchase a cheap cell phone at the airport or local store.  They are readily available and do not require contracts.  Also, all incoming phone calls are free so your family from the USA can call you direct.

●●    Please be aware we cannot be responsible for stolen items.  Theft is a constant issue in Johannesburg whether at church or ministry or in public.  We do not recommend that you bring expensive jewelry.

One-time Expenses

Airfare (you fly to and from Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo airport)  We will arrange to pick you up at the airport.  Airfare from the USA can range from $1,200 - $2,500 round trip from Jacksonville or other cities.

        Health insurance (This is a necessity!  You must purchase an international health insurance plan as South Africa does not accept USA medical insurance.  These plans can be reasonably purchased through companies such as Travelex)

        Miscellaneous expenses (such as your visa application fee, cost of vaccinations, passport renewal, etc.) (Vaccinations are general such as tetanus, flu, etc., no special vaccinations are needed)


The children who live at The Promise House Baby and Child Havens are usually up by 6 am and asleep by 7:30 pm.  You will have breaks during the day but essentially we are “on duty” whenever the kids are awake.  That means that even though there may not be a specific task to do, we are mommies and daddies; the children are our constant concern.  You will have 1 to 2 days off every week (averaging 1 and ½ days off per week).  Besides childcare, being on duty may mean light cleaning up, light meal preparation, or changing light bulbs.  Come ready to serve!

We ask that you use your laptop after the children are in bed to avoid being distracted from serving them.

Miscellaneous Information

Communications:  If you have a laptop please feel free to bring it (with the warning above that we cannot be responsible for theft…).  The ministry provides internet usage for its volunteers so that they can email, blog, Facebook, and Skype their loved ones.   HOWEVER, BANDWIDTH IS PAID FOR BY THE MB SO WE CANNOT ALLOW DOWNLOADING OF I-TUNES, WATCHING YOU TUBE, WATCHING VIDEOS IONLINE OR EXTENSIVE DOWNLOADING OF ANY SORT

        If phoning from a landline is your preferred method of communication, we can also show you where international phone cards can be purchased.  Some cell phone carriers in the States also work for texting and international calls from here (though this can be quite expensive). 

        Currency:  Most of our volunteers bring a limited amount of cash into the country to convert to Rand.  The most common way to pay for goods on this side is to use an ATM card to withdraw cash.  Some volunteers also use credit cards in larger, more reputable shops for more expensive purchases.  With most banks, fees are applied to these international transactions.

        Transportation: Here in South Africa, most of our cars are manual (stick-shift).  If you’re here for an extended period of time, it would be a good idea to learn to drive one!  Also, please get an international driving permit from your local AAA office (the cost is $15 and they’re good for one year) or from  WE NOW REQUIRE US CITIZENS TO HAVE THIS INTERNATIONAL PERMIT.

        Weather:  Most people tend to think that because South Africa is on the African continent, it’s always hot here.  Please note: winters in Joburg (JUNE-AUGUST) can be quite cold!  Make sure to check into the weather before you arrive and pack accordingly.  There is no central heating and rooms are chilly.

        Travel:  In addition to the basic expenses, the volunteers who are here long-term recommend that you bring money to explore a bit of South Africa before making the long journey back overseas.  Trips to popular spots like Cape Town or Kruger National Park can be planned for between $700 and $1000.


    • BRING A LAPTOP - You'll find that almost all laptops (on the little transformer box attached to the cord) say 120 to 220 V.  That means you can use it in the U.S. (110V) or here (220V).  This is called dual voltage.   You need an ADAPTOR (to change the plug end to fit South African outlets) and NOT a TRANSFORMER or CONVERTER (which transforms or converts the South African 220 power to 110).  You can buy the adapter easily here for $7.

    • BRING SMALLER APPLIANCES WITH SMALL CONVERTERS. Smaller appliances like walkmans are usually NOT dual Voltage (110 to 220) and NEED a small plug-in converter or transformer from Circuit City to convert 110V to 220V.

    • DON’T EVEN THINK OF BRINGING A HAIR DRYER.  In general don't bring any American (110 V) appliance that requires more than 200 WATTS.  Even then, you'll need to buy a transformer to plug it in and unless it's small enough to take the cheap Circuit City Transformers, it can be very expensive to buy that transformer.  Do not bring a U.S. (110V) hair dryer unless it has a setting to change it to 220V (The Transformer big enough to convert hair driers would be several hundred dollars).  Plan to buy a cheap hair dryer here ($30).  Curling Irons are also iffy unless you can find one under 200Watts (I don't even know if that's possible as I don't use a curling iron:) )


You may have the resources to bless people and your heart to serve the children may well extend to a desire to bless the paid staff at the projects.

In your giving, a tendency to favoritism may seem unavoidable.  And yet there is little that will cause more strife in a project than one staff getting a blessing when others do not.  A gift made to one staff member has frequently resulted in weeks of chaos as others battle anger, bitterness and a belief that they were treated unfairly.

It does no good to hold the attitude that they should be more mature; no doubt they should.  And yet it is a common cultural belief that we all do the same work and must go home with the same reward.  I know; it is not a biblically valid attitude.  And yet the permanent staff is left to pick up the pieces when shorter term volunteers leave unequal gifts to staff members.

Because of this we ask:

a.  Gifts must be the same or very similar for all staff members.

b.  Gifts of cash should never exceed R200 ($25) unless you have discussed your gift in advance with the Project Director or the Masiphane Directors.

Your Need for Emotional Support

It is normal and natural to have issues to work out when you are thrown into a new work, a new culture and a new set of relationships all at once.  You will feel stressed and some of your stress will relate to the people you work with and/or the project you are serving.  It is good to identify a counselor early on, and you may not feel able to share your thoughts with the staff you work with or even the Directors.

We urge you to take advantage of the many pastors on staff at the church.  There are numerous pastors available and you will meet them at Sunday service and at Tuesday morning Chapel service.  Please approach one and they would be happy to meet with you.  May we recommend that you consider approaching the Pearces or Shippeys or Gossmans or Lerefolos or Margie Robinson or the Malabas.

We caution you to choose a counselor, share your feelings completely and pray through any advice you receive.  Please do not begin counseling with more than one pastor.   This is a poor use of pastors’ time and a potential frustration to pastors who are working hard to help you sort through issues only to find they are repeating the efforts of others.

In all cases, avoid a critical attitude.  You are representing a ministry that many have sacrificed to raise-up.  To respect their efforts and the church that sponsors these homes, be a supporter in public and share your concerns and disappointments in private.

As a Volunteer you represent not only the organization or individuals who sent you, but you represent Masiphane Projects and its team.  We ask you to understand that your behavior, your words and your actions reflect on us all.   In very rare situations the Trustees have directed that a volunteer’s term of service be ended.  This may be in response to significant  lifestyle choices inconsistent with Christian ministry or for serious negligence or inappropriate speech or actions within your work.  In all cases, our hope is that love and patience will guide these situations and will bring resolution before a parting is needed.  We ask you to understand that your service, as that of all the staff, are under the direction of the Masiphane Projects Board of Trustees.


Volunteer staff who are serving more than 18 months are understood to need 6 weeks of leave per year for the purpose of support raising.  We ask that such leave be requested 90 days in advance.

Volunteer staff  are expected to take no more than 1.5 days leave for every month they serve, in addition to their 1 to 2 days off per week.  We ask that such leave be requested 30 days in advance.


The priority use for the The Promise House Havens vehicles is:

1.   Transporting babies and children as needed

2.   Havens’ needs (shopping, transport of staff, etc.)

3.   Personal use by Havens’ full-time, live-in staff during their off hours

Although the ministry’s need for the vehicle is somewhat predictable, occasions may arise when a staff member who planned to use a vehicle for personal use will find the vehicle is unexpectedly needed for a ministry need.  While this would be an unusual occurrence, we must all understand that the vehicle is first for the ministry’s needs and must all be willing to adjust plans and accept those needs as priority.


  • All staff will log their mileage and reason for their trip in the book in the vehicle at the beginning and end of their trip.

  • Transportation for personal use must be paid for per kilometer. 

  • Staff members using the vehicle for personal use when damage to the vehicle occurs agree to pay the R 3000 deductible (“excess”).  It is understood that this deductible is irrespective of who was at fault.

  • Personal use is only within 15 kilometers of Baby Haven (includes Westgate, Rosebank, University of Johannesburg, Wits, Melville) or Child Haven (includes Clearwater Mall).

  • Permission of Managers is required to drive more than 15 kilometers away from Baby Haven/Child Haven.

  • A special request to the Managers is required for nighttime use after 9 PM.

  • The car may not be driven to informal settlements or high risk areas except by special request to the Managers.

  • Staff will pay Managers for personal use within 7 days of a new month for prior month.

  • To avoid misunderstandings, please let the Managers know when you will regularly ask use of the vehicle for personal use and as far in advance as possible for one-time needs.

  • If the car breaks down, call Auto & General (phone number in the glove box and on the windscreen) as our policy includes free towing.  Have the vehicle towed to the nearest garage but if there is a choice (there may not be if the car is far from the Havens homes), have them tow it to “THE WORKSHOP” next to the BP on 14th Street, Fairlands, next to the BP garage (011-476-6199).

  • Staff must provide a valid driver's license photocopy to the Managers and sign this document before using a vehicle for the first time. A valid license is either a South African drivers license or an “International Drivers Permit” that can be had from the USA-based    This is different from the “International Drivers License” that is sold by many private companies and has no legal standing.  Volunteers from other countries should enquire at the South African Embassy or consulate in your country for valid int’l options to your local drivers license.

  • You are responsible for any traffic fines you incur while operating Haven vehicle.

*         *”Staff” includes volunteers and paid staff

This has been a general look at what is policy for volunteering at

The Promise House

For those of you wishing to take the next step and continue forward

with volunteering, a volunteer application will be provided.

For more information, call Calvin at 904.641.9626

or email: