Join our internship program in Cape Town

Human Rights Internships in Cape Town

Participate in the South African human rights movement.

Some of the most prestigious human rights internships in South Africa are offered through our program. Since the end of Apartheid in 1994, the world has praised South Africa for its peaceful transition to democracy. South Africa has one of the most liberal constitutions in the world, one that enshrines a respect for human rights. Yet protecting these human rights cannot be left to individuals or the government alone; there must be independent institutions to ensure that human rights are protected in a country that, prior to 1994, was governed by one of the most repressive regimes of the 20th century. As a VACorps intern, you will gain direct access to this nation’s progressive human rights culture through your daily internship work.


We offer the following human rights internships in South Africa:

  • Human rights law
  • Refugee rights
  • Human rights NGOs
  • Environmental rights
  • HIV/AIDS advocacy
  • Housing rights
  • Gender advocacy
  • Human rights policy
  • Education rights

Why should you consider a human rights internship in Cape Town?

Take an active role in the process— investigate and deal with complaints of human rights violations from people living in Cape Town.

Learn more about South Africa’s progressive approach towards human rights issues— Many respected legal scholars cite the South African Constitution as one of the most progressive democratic constitutions in the world. This document is revered by citizens and politicians alike and guides the democratic policies of post-Apartheid South Africa.

Contribute to the advancement of human rights causes— Research bills for Parliament, which is located in Cape Town, and possibly assist with the writing of policy papers and submissions. Participate in community-based activism. Lobby the government through the use of local media outlets.

Work with human rights leaders in civil society— You will come away with a working knowledge of South Africa’s parliamentary system and current legislative debates. If you are interested in human rights legislation or seeking real-world experience in politics, you simply cannot pass up one of our many excellent internship opportunities.

From our VACorps Alumni profile with Josh Dilk (’09), a must-read for any serious human rights internship candidate:  “My human rights internship in Cape Town was a wonderful education in ground-level human rights work. I inspected a mental health facility, gathered information at a refugee center in De Doorns, and was able to draft reports that were sent to the South African Parliament.”

Related testimonials

To say that my time in Cape Town forever changed my life is an understatement. In all honesty, I was afraid once I landed. I never even been on a plane before, and here I was taking a 22-hour flight to this foreign location. I really didn’t know what to expect! However, I have always […]

I cannot believe that my 2 months in Cape Town are up, I have definitely been in denial that I am ever leaving this wonderful city… I am incredibly grateful to VAC for giving me this invaluable opportunity to spend time in Cape Town and intern at the human rights organisation PASSOP. My experience definitely […]

I never realised just how homesick I could be for a city that I did not grow up in, where my family doesn’t live, and that is a gruelling 40+ hour journey away from my actual home city in Australia. Yet here I am, sitting at my desk back in Brisbane, trying to summarise the […]

I knew that Cape Town would be good for me. Invaluable human rights experience? Check. Hiking? Check. Surfing? Check. Wine tasting? CHECK. I could go on. But what I didn’t know was how much. That I would cling to my bedroom door as I left, wailing that I loved it too much to let go, […]

“I don’t think that I’ve ever quite experienced a month and a half fly by as quickly as the time that I spent with VAC this year. Welcomed immediately by my housemates and other neighboring interns and students, I felt like a local straight away, feeling at home in both my house in Milton Road […]

“I arrived in Cape Town just as winter was coming to an end. In the first few nights, as I lay shivering in my bed wishing I had brought a blanket, I wondered whether I had made a terrible mistake and should have just gone to the Bahamas for a couple of months. “Now, at […]

“On my first day in the Mother City, I asked someone why so many people come to Cape Town but never leave? “’..Because Cape Town will steal your soul and then when it gives it back? You won’t want it.’” “I remember laughing. “Well.. “Cape Town 1 – Sam 0 “As I sit on the […]

“Cape Town has given me the most trans-formative experience of my young life. I have but one complaint about my time here, and that is my departure. This incredible city presented every sort of opportunity. It truly is the city of contrast. During my stay, I was able to split my time between incredible terrain […]

“As I sit down to fully reflect upon my experience here in Cape Town, I can truly say that these past three months have been the most spectacular time of my life. Each and every day brought new opportunities that were filled with new friends and incredible activities. This city is so diverse and offers […]

“My stay in Cape Town has been an incredible adventure and one which I could not have coordinated without the help of VAC. I am so grateful for the excursions, the friendships, and especially the internship at the WHEAT Trust that VAC facilitated for me.  My time here has been all-around exceptional–exciting, reflective, and intellectually […]

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