This project has been specially designed for those looking to volunteer, but are aged between 15 and 17 years old. Throughout this project, our younger volunteers will have greater supervision, training, and world-class leaders in the field who have been chosen for their mix of relevant experience and ability to mentor and inspire young people.
Cape Town is one of the continent's top tourist destinations, and with sights like the iconic Table Mountain, the rugged cliffs of the Cape of Good Hope, the history of Robben Island and its most famous inmate, the list is endless without even leaving the peninsula. All this can be experienced and more in South Africa as you volunteer on community construction and renovation projects.
You will assist in various construction and renovation projects designed to provide a more comfortable and suitable environment in which disadvantaged children of the township communities can learn and develop.
The communities that you will volunteer in are home to a large number of basic schools and care centers that have little support and where conditions are not ideal for enhancing the children’s educational and personal development.
Project work will be active and physical but is not without its just rewards. Aside from seeing your contributions benefit the local community firsthand, you will enjoy a number of exciting cultural and adventure side trips to help you make the most of your time in South Africa.
Please note that this program offers durations of 2 to 3 weeks. Please speak to your Country Expert for further information.
Take on your project and see it from start to finish; make a difference even over the short term; true community interaction and immersions; chance upon whales without even getting on a boat (seasonal); take in the best of the famous Garden Route on a 4-day tour; overall, enjoy some of South Africa's highlights, but make a genuine difference at the same time.
"This program has been amazing. I could not have asked for a better experience, from the kids at the school to the other volunteers and GVI staff, this experience is something I will never forget. I have made lasting friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with the kids at school. It is one thing to give the kids hope, but it is another to give them a future, and that is what GVI is giving them."
These updates cover all programs in this location
South Africa Video
Your African adventure starts from the moment you are picked up from Cape Town International Airport as we travel to your new home for the next few weeks. Situated in the idyllic coastal town of Gordon’s Bay, volunteers will be able to experience an authentic South African lifestyle first-hand.
Upon arrival, there will be a welcome presentation and introductions, the history and background of the projects and a health and safety debriefing. After lunch, you will be given a guided tour and orientation around the community and learn more about the local culture.
The Work Begins…
The next day will begin with the volunteers being organised into task groups and setting their goals for the next one or two weeks. After a quick lunch, work on the assigned construction/renovation project will begin! The exact work will depend on the needs of our partners at the time, but volunteers can typically expect to be involved in some basic maintenance, building and renovation work or painting and brightening up the classrooms with murals or other artwork.
Over the next couple of days, volunteers will be hard at work on their projects, keeping to tight deadlines. At the end of one or two weeks, your final day of volunteer work will consist of putting the finishing touches to your work and presenting your lasting contribution to our partners and children.
Adventure Side Trip and Cultural Weekend
With the weekend looming prepare yourself for the ultimate cultural experience! Starting off at Boulders Beach, come and meet the African Penguin, found nowhere else in the world except off the coast of Southern Africa. Afterwards, we will explore the historic naval town of Simon’s Town, before heading around the coast to the Silvermine Nature Reserve for a short trek through the beautiful wilderness. Experience an authentic South African braai (BBQ) for lunch and round off the day by travelling through the Fish Hoek wetlands and languishing the afternoon away on Main Road in Kalk Bay, an area known for its quirky, artsy vibe, filled with bohemian shops, cafes and art galleries.
On Sunday, we continue our exploration of Fish Hoek, venturing forth into the ancient heritage area of Peers Cave where 2,000 year old Paleolithic skeletons were discovered in 1927. In the afternoon, we will return to the beach to relaxing and watch the sun set over the beautiful Fish Hoek Bay.
The King of the Jungle awaits!
As your last week in Cape Town begins, prepare yourself for beauty, adventure and history as we continue our travels through the famous and scenic Garden Route. On our way to Knysa, we will stop at Hermanus, South Africa’s best place to see whales without even getting on a boat! In the afternoon, there will be the opportunity to witness the famous Big 5 when we go a game drive and wind down in hot springs under the stars. The next day, we will get up close and personal with the endangered cheetah, a favorite experience among many of our past volunteers.
Upon arrival in Knysa, expect an action packed next couple of days! Starting off with a drive through the Tsitskamma National Park, a hike towards the famous Storms River mouth, and rounding off your final day with some underground exploration at the Cango Caves National Monument.
Returning to Gordon’s Bay, you will prepare to say your final goodbyes, but not before meeting some of the other GVI volunteers, reviewing your experience and reflecting upon the impact of your trip. This will also present a chance for you to learn about the projects others have been working upon as well as how your work has contributed to the overall mission and objectives of GVI in Cape Town. After some last minute shopping and a goodbye dinner, your group will depart to the airport, heading home with a wealth of new experiences, friends and memories.
What's Not Included
In many schools, nurseries and daycare centers in these township communities around Cape Town, they often do not have the resources available to provide sufficient materials or teachers, let alone for them to worry about the condition of their building.
Therefore, this construction project aims to create more positive and suitable learning environments for the children. Your typical project work could include basic infrastructure repairs, painting educational and useful murals or general maintenance tasks.
How this project makes a difference
We aim to work directly with community leaders to identify and assist as many schools and daycare centers as possible in order to create healthier learning environments.
Many township educational facilities are in a poor condition with children having to endure unsafe or unhygienic surroundings, so your presence as a volunteer is greatly needed.
What's Not Included
Although this trip follows a structured itinerary, don’t think you won’t be seeing and doing some amazing things! You’ll embark on both a cultural weekend and a four day adventure side trip of awesomeness to discover all the amazing sights the region has to offer!
Meet Andy, our brilliant community officer in Cape Town, South Africa. In the States he was involved with Habitat for Humanity and volunteering at the local soup kitchen, but coming to South Africa with GVI was his first time volunteering abroad.
He first heard about GVI through a friend who had nothing but good things to say about it. So he looked into it a bit more and saw how much of the focus is on sustainability which he really appreciated and so shortly after signed up to come out as a volunteer. Since then he has joined the Cape Town team as a valuable and energetic member.
His favourite part of the whole experience of GVI has been working with all the kids and our project partners at the sanctuary where the Cape Town team operates.
"Seeing them grow and progress and being able to contribute to it has been beyond rewarding."
Transport and Logistics Manager
Introducing the amazing Moses, our transport and logistics manager in Cape Town, South Africa. What he loves most about working at GVI is seeing the hard work volunteers do in the township as well as creating a positive environment for the little ones.
Moses is an invaluable member of the Cape Town team, ensuring all the projects run smoothly.
He was recently married (2015) where he travelled for the first time in his life to the UK. He enjoyed the vast differences between the ways the British celebrate Christmas to how it is celebrated in South Africa.
Meet Alex, our awesome education officer in Cape Town, South Africa. She got the travel bug from a very young age but only travelled solo from the beginning of 2014. She circumnavigated the globe, starting in South Africa volunteering with another organisation teaching in KwaZulu-Natal and continued to Indonesia, Australia and across the USA before finding her way back to Cape Town and GVI. As soon as she left South Africa, she knew she wanted to come back and GVI stood out as the organisation she wanted to work for.
She has a degree in philosophy and psychology and believes an open mind is a must-have for any traveller.
"If you try to over plan or over-prepare, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Just go with whatever happens. The best travelling experiences I’ve had are when everything has gone wrong."
Meet Karissa, our vibrant country expert for our Cape Town and Thailand, Phang Nga, hubs. She loves travelling and has had her fair share of travelling too. Her first solo travel was to New Zealand to work as an Au Pair, followed by Fiji for over a year. She then travelled to Thailand, where she met her South African partner and worked as an English Teacher at a public High School.
Karissa is TEFL qualified and has first-hand experience of working abroad. What first attracted her to join GVI? “The amazing volunteer projects and stunning locations across the world.”
She moved to Cape Town in November 2015 from her home country, the USA, and is loving every minute of being able to call South Africa her new home!
South African Country Director
Meet Shayle, our innovative and driven country director for all our projects in South Africa. She has two honours degrees, one in Industrial and Organisational Psycology, and another in Developmental and Education Psycology. Shayle also has over 10 years experience in setting up, managing and evaluating environmental and community programs across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.
She is well-practiced in facilitating meaningful and effective intercultural engagement and this makes her the perfect person for overseeing our operations in the multicultural country of South Africa.
When not attending meetings or planning her next endeavour, Shayle can be found spending time with her family or taking part in some or other exciting outdoors activity!
Service Learning Manager Cape Town
A sustainable development extraordinaire with a great commitment to create sustainable solutions for local communities. Katie has worked in South Africa for many years before her role with GVI and after completing her Master's degree in International Education she joined our team of professionals.
Her credentials include over eight years of volunteering, teaching, managing, and leading international education programs around the world. This includes working in zero-waste policy communities in New Zealand, and in an orphan bear refugee center in Croatia.
As our Service Learning Manager she is excited to use her experience designing experiential education programmes and managing community programmes.
Director of Programs
Meet Danny, our Director of Programs. Although he’s based in Playa del Carmen, Danny oversees the development and running of all of our field operations. He started out with GVI as our Country Director in Mexico and quickly became an invaluable part of the team.
Although being Director of Programs is a pretty demanding job, Danny manages to find time to do the other things he loves in-between. He’s an avid photographer and is always training for a triathlon or ironman.
What’s Danny’s favourite aspect of his job? “Starting new projects – we get lots of request for assistance and it’s difficult to decide when funds are limited. The evaluation process and those initial talks with local partners are very interesting. Seeing projects grow from an idea to full programs is very exciting. I also love the relationships you create with local organisations, they become friends and we jointly work to achieve the project aims.”