About Us


About the Founder: Carla FerreiraCarla Ferreira

A born and bred South African, Carla is passionate about tourism, travel, and sharing her love for her country.

After studying tourism and spending a year travelling America, she returned to South Africa in 2004 to open Saltycrax – the first ever backpackers in the Table View area of Cape Town. This proved such a success that a sister tour agency, Saltycrax Adventures, was soon created, offering unique adventure packages around the country.

In 2006, Carla founded the South African Volunteer Experiences (SAVE), a registered non-profit organisation that assists and uplifts local Cape Town communities by providing preschool, after-school, and sports programmes. Today, SAVE volunteering has expanded to supporting wildlife and conservation programs around South Africa as well as humanitarian programs in Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi.

Carla chaired Backpacking South Africa for 5 years and played an active role in the transition from Backpacking South Africa (BSA) to the now South Africa Youth Travel Confederation (SAYTC). She has also served on the boards of the South Africa Tourism Services Association, International Police Association, South African Police sports club, and TLC, a large non-profit organisation. She is currently serving on the Executive board of the World Youth Student & Education Travel Confederation (WYSTC).

Anyone who meets Carla will agree that her strong spirit and wholehearted love of life always leaves an impression.


Vision Statement

To provide local communities with education, youth development, sports development and skills that will enable them to help themselves rise above the vicious circle of poverty. To bridge the gap between rich and poor by providing local NGO’s with the tools, information and knowledge needed to provide a better level of education to their beneficiaries. To bring new skills to an industry that otherwise would not have access with the assistance of volunteers. To provide conscientious and responsible conservation with the assistance of volunteers.

International and local volunteers provide a vital role in our projects, without them we cannot exist. SAVE is a non-profit organization; the only funding that we receive for the projects comes from the volunteers or sponsors. All funding received is used on day to day programs for material, meals etc. The project also benefits largely from the physical help that the volunteers give, without the volunteers helping in the classrooms, painting buildings or helping in the after care, we would not be able to run these projects.

Corporate Responsibility:


SAVE Foundation is committed to providing responsible and sustainable volunteering opportunities. We believe that responsible volunteer practices are paramount to any high quality international volunteer organization. SAVE differs from other non-profit organizations because of the way that we work to create self-sufficient and thriving communities. Each project goes through a rigorous assessment-in conjunction with local authorities on the matter-to identify the needs of the particular community and/or school and how SAVE can best assist them to achieve their goals. SAVE aims to do more than provide Band-Aid solutions to larger issues, but instead works alongside locals to assist with development that will continue to positively impact the community throughout generations.

SAVE Foundation provides responsible volunteering opportunities by ensuring that:
• Volunteers do not replace paid employment opportunities for local people
• Volunteers work alongside local staff to assist them with day-to-day operation and the implementation of improvements
• The goal of each project is to create a self-sufficient and locally run program
o Eg. We assist schools achieve a high level of education and operation to obtain official school registration.
o Once a program/school is successfully up and running, we identify a new program in need of our assistance, and leave the local staff to run the operation on their own
• Volunteers receive training upon their arrival to provide the best assistance possible within their specific placement
• SAVE regularly collects feedback from volunteers and local project staff
• SAVE evaluates programs on an ongoing basis
o Assess both needs for improvement/assistance and areas of growth
• SAVE does not use “stereotypical” aid images in our marketing campaigns to garner attitudes of pity or victimization amongst the individuals that we work with
o The images and film that SAVE disseminates simply depicts the activities and projects in which volunteers participate
• We encourage the dissemination of resources and education, rather than simply donating funds and goods
o Our aim is to contribute to the self-sufficiency of struggling communities by teaching valuable skills and educating the citizens to empower themselves
o We do not promote the idea that these individuals are simply beneficiaries of charity

Furthermore, SAVE takes a developmental approach to poverty reduction by working with communities in need at all stages of life, from education and care in preschools to empowerment through business and skills development for adults. We believe that it is not enough to simply work with a single sector of the community; it must be a holistic approach that will promote a change in the cycle of poverty.


SAVE Foundation is committed to providing ethical volunteering opportunities with African wildlife. Our wildlife projects focus on conservation and rehabilitation of endangered, injured, and abandoned animals. SAVE also strives to educate volunteers about the various species that we support. All interactions with the animals are in a safe and respectful manner with constant supervision from a professional.

SAVE provides responsible volunteering opportunities with wildlife by ensuring that:
• We do not treat animals as a tourist attraction; no animals are trained to perform in front of an audience
• We only support breeding at projects that are specifically designed for re-population purposes of endangered species
• The animals at our projects receive professional and attentive veterinary and handling care
• SAVE aims to release all animals back into the wild that are capable of doing so
• The projects act as a safe haven for orphaned, injured, and traumatized animals
• Each enclosure provides adequate space for the animals to roam freely
• Volunteers work closely with researchers and project staff to enhance their knowledge about the wildlife
• We provide a Pre-Vet project that is geared towards individuals with an interest in the professional fields of veterinary science, animal welfare, and animal management; thus, contributing to the future of animal conservation and protection through the addition of further professionals



Was selected as the beneficiary organisation for the 2016 Virgin Kitesurfing Armada South Africa

Finalist in 2014/2015 LEAD SA Awards

2014 & 2015 Runner-up at the WYSE Awards in the Extraordinary Experience category

Grown from a single community based project to an international award winning organisation

Started several vegetable gardens

Started a computer literacy program; taught computer skills to over 1200 children at an underprivileged school

Taught over 300 children how to swim and over 80 children how to surf

8 children from our surf program obtained top 3 positions in local and provincial trials. One was selected as the focus of an international award-winning documentary

Started the Skate Club Project; an incentive and skill-building initiative under our umbrella of Sport and Youth Development

Provided entrepreneurial and skills development training for adults.

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