Join our team in the beautiful city of Cape Town and volunteer at an oversubscribed and under-resourced school in a friendly and welcoming township just outside of the city.
This volunteer project involves teaching primary school children using dedicated one-on-one sessions to help bring them up to required standards. The aim is to give certain students extra attention as they have fallen behind the rest of their peers. Some of the children struggle to understand their teachers because their home language is not English.
After working with each child, not only may you see a measurable improvement in their abilities, the children should also be more confident and comfortable once they return to their classrooms.
Volunteer and live in an attractive coastal village close to Cape Town and Stellenbosch, with direct exposure to local culture and communities. Optional side trips are available to Robben Island, Table Mountain, Cape Point, Cape Town wildlife safari and wine tasting in Stellenbosch, to name but a few! Any side trips you wish to take can be arranged on arrival in Cape Town. For those travelling onwards there is easy access to the Garden Route and cheap domestic flights to Kruger National park from Cape Town.
"Volunteering and living in South Africa far exceeded any of my expectations. I fell in love with the school, the people, and the country so quickly. It has been an experience that compares to nothing I could have ever gotten in a westernized country. I saw and experienced a simplistic way of life that has affected me and helped me grow as a person. The experience of being with the children has been unforgettable. This project left me with so many little moments and memories that I’ll forever hold dear in my heart."
What's Not Included
GVI will provide training to all volunteers covering classroom management, lesson planning, curriculum, a local language lesson, township life and other useful information.
Monday to Friday
From Monday to Friday you will travel by minibus to the township school where you will work from 9am-4pm, with an hour’s break for lunch. Usually in the morning you will teach individual students and in the afternoon you will conduct small homework and reading workshops. You may also play sports, run art projects and assist with basic childcare for younger children. After school you may spend time preparing your lessons for the next day.
Accommodation is in a house or apartment with shared rooms and bathrooms, with electricity and running hot water.
Weekends are free for you to explore the local area and there are many different side trips and activities available such as a safari day trip or a Cape Town cultural weekend.
What's Not Included
The children assigned to the program have been selected by their teachers as they require extra tuition. The sessions aim to improve literacy, numeracy, English language skills and confidence levels.
The students enjoy reading stories and playing educational games during their sessions. They will also have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have and get some individual attention which they are not getting in their classroom.
You should typically work with the same small group of students in your one-on-ones each day for 30 minute sessions, then several more in the reading focus and afternoon workshop sessions. Resources, art materials, games and the curriculum will be provided to help you prepare your lessons.
How this project makes a difference:
Many of the primary schools in townships are severely overcrowded with over 50 students per class meaning that teachers are unable to give each child individual attention to help them develop and grow. GVI has designed a project providing individual coaching sessions to those children that have difficulties reading and writing.
What's Not Included
Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate on programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. Many decide to travel after volunteering, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program.
Our long term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with GVI. Our Cape Town field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in South Africa!
Optional Side Trips
Cape Town Cultural and Activity Weekend - This trip includes 2 nights in Cape Town near Long Street so that you can sample the lively weekend city life. On Friday afternoon you will travel through to Cape Town after finishing your volunteer work.. The Saturday is a free day and you may wish to take the opportunity to visit some of the following iconic Cape Town attractions: Robben Island, Table Mountain, District 6 Museum, Castle of Good Hope or the Green Market Square craft markets. Sunday includes a full day in Cape Point and a visit to an African Penguin colony. You will have the opportunity to explore the Cape Point nature reserve on mountain bike where you may see antelope, zebra, ostrich, seals and possibly even whales. During the day you will enjoy a picnic lunch on one of the reserves beautiful beaches.
Wildlife Safari - Visit a private game reserve which is located one and a half hours from Cape Town. Here you will enjoy lunch and an afternoon safari before returning home. Transfers to and from the project accommodation are included. There are many other fantastic trips in the area around Cape Town that can easily be arranged once in-country such as shark cage diving, skydiving, wine tasting tours, Hermanus day trips for whale watching (seasonal) or a typical township experience.
Please note that anyone booking on this project for the two week option will need to extend their stay if they want to take part in more side trips.
Further Travelling Opportunities
South Africa has such a wealth of fantastic opportunities for further travel. In Cape Town, you have easy access to the famous Garden Route, chances to explore the Cederberg Mountain range or take more time to enjoy the vibrancy of Cape Town. Other possibilities include the spectacular Drakensberg Mountains, the beauty of the Kalahari Desert, historic Zululand, the fantastic Southern Coast, the world-renowned National Parks of Kruger and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, and many more amazing option in this stunning country.
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!
Assistant Director of Programs
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.”