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Volunteer and Intern Abroad since 1997
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Volunteer with Children in South Africa

Assist with childcare & educational activities in a township educare centre while exploring South Africa.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

  • 4
  • 10
  • 17

Our Impact


Location

Volunteer in Cape Town

GVI Community operations in South Africa are based out of Gordons Bay, a picturesque coastal village nestled at the foot of the Hottentot Hollands Mountain Range, just outside Stellenbosch and 45 minutes from Cape Town. The area is home to beautiful swimming beaches, magnificent wine farms and popular restaurants and bars. Gordons Bay is also the beginning of the scenic and well-known Garden Route, making this the perfect base to explore the best sites and activities the Cape has to offer.


Program Information

Experience South Africa's beautiful city of Cape Town when you volunteer at a township educare centre or sanctuary for disadvantaged children. Provide the children with much needed educational enhancement through educational games, arts and crafts, and help create a fun, safe and creative learning environment. Take in the sights and sounds of the magical Cape in your free time.
Overview Project Life Project Details Free Time The Team Dates & Costs

Overview

The incredible city of Cape Town is rich in history, culture and natural beauty. However, there are still many people living in poverty and GVI is working in townships to offer orphans and disadvantaged children educational opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to them.

Situated just outside Stellenbosch and 45 minutes from Cape Town is a township where there is a sanctuary for children who are in desperate need of educational enhancement. This volunteer project involves providing a safe, fun and creative environment for these children, giving them the opportunity to develop to their full potential.

You will be involved in planning and implementing a project which uses educational games, song and dance, arts and crafts, gross and fine motor co-ordination and storytelling to allow these children to have fun while learning and developing at the same time.



Living in an attractive coastal village close to Cape Town and Stellenbosch, you will experience direct exposure to local culture and communities. Optional side trips are available to the likes of Robben Island, Table Mountain, Cape Point, Cape Town wildlife safari and wine tasting in Stellenbosch, to name but a few! You will be able to book your side trips 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.

This volunteer project will ensure that these children will be able to develop to their full potential in a safe, creative and caring environment. Please note, this program offers durations up to 24 weeks. Speak to your Country Expert for more details of extending your stay in-country.

Testimonial

"Initially it was a bit intimidating and the children seemed so crazy. While the children are definitely still crazy (in a good way) each day has become easier. The children are so adorable and so much fun to play with. The days can be quite tiring but are ultimately extremely rewarding. I feel the children definitely have an advantage with their English ability when they start school. I’ve learnt something new every day. In fact, I think I’ve learnt more than the children! This is surely an experience I will never forget."
- Christopher Chung (USA)

Program Details

Program Type Volunteering
Program Code ZACT0224P
Program Focus  Volunteer with Children  Teaching

What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Airport transfers (before 10pm on scheduled days only)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Daily transport to and from project sites
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Police or background check (where necessary)
  • Visa costs

GVI Live

“It can’t be done in 30 days!” you cry out in despair. “Oh yes, it can’t, but 30 days is all it takes to make a start,” we respond, holding out this handy link to your 30 day action plan: http://bit.ly/2pNSXOE

1 day ago

We’ve gotten out into the wilds of India to help conserve the habitats of tigers and other wildlife with our new partner, Forsyth Lodge Satpura. The tiger population is on the rise, but they are still one of the most endangered animal species in the world. Over the past 20 years, large areas of land have been added to the protected area of a park in Central India in the province of Madya Pradesh, where our new India base is established. In order to ensure wide support for conservation and to mitigate conflict between humans and wildlife such as tigers, it is crucial to closely monitor wildlife populations. Rewilding efforts made to restore the land to its former glory of prime animal habitat have been very successful. Former village sites are now grasslands supporting high densities of deer and antelope, which ensures sufficient prey for larger cats such as the leopard and tiger. Recently, a tigress was found raising her cubs in the forests only a few years after the establishment of the reserve. Sloth bear, locally called bhālu, also hugely enjoy feasting on the mangoes and guavas growing on the trees surrounding relocated village sites. The porous park boundaries, however, allow wildlife to roam outside the park. Groups of deer or wild boar can destroy a complete harvest in one night and some families fear that tigers might prey on their family cow. The indigenous people are also found of using the Mahua tree, which is considered holy by many tribal communities, for many purposes. Fruit and seeds are used for skin care, soap, vegetable butter, fuel oil and fertilizer, while and the flowers are used to produce an alcoholic drink. Sloth bear are also equally fond of the Mahua fruits, which is cause of serious human animal conflict throughout the area. By conducting field surveys and collecting data using observations and camera-traps you can help map movement patterns and keep track of population densities. Your data on water-bird breeding along the banks of the reserve’s rivers might allow authorities to negotiate appropriate fishing locations and times with traditional fishermen. Your camera-trap data might confirm the presence of the smallest cat in the world, the rusty spotted cat, or the jungle cat, pangolin, or honey badger, and other wildlife in unexplored areas, which could warrant further action as well as attract further beneficial international attention for the area. Your work restoring the local habitat will also help in making the environment more conducive to the animals living in the park. As you live and work among the families you can use the time you are not looking for wildlife to increase support for wildlife protection initiatives through formal and informal environmental education and livelihood programmes.

2 days ago

Project Life

Monday to Friday

From Monday to Friday you will travel by minibus from your accommodation to the townships to work with the children. The typical day will run from around 9am to 4pm with an hour break for lunch. After returning to your accommodation you may then spend time planning and preparing resources for the next day’s lessons.

Training is provided on arrival and includes teacher training, lesson planning, a local language lesson and class management. Ongoing daily support is provided by GVI staff at the project sites.

Field Conditions

Accommodation is in houses/apartments with shared rooms and bathrooms, with access to hot running water and electricity.

Free Time

Weekends are free for you to explore the local area with many different side trips and activities available such as a safari day trip and Cape Town cultural weekend.

What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Airport transfers (before 10pm on scheduled days only)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Daily transport to and from project sites
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Police or background check (where necessary)
  • Visa costs

Project Details

In order to attend formal school in South Africa students must be at a certain academic level and you will be helping the children we work with to reach this standard. For the children, a good understanding of English opens up many more opportunities in the future.

Sessions are intended to help the children develop their fine and gross motor skills as well as their English language ability.  You will help organize and run outdoor exercises and games, arts and crafts, storytelling, music and drama lessons and assistance with homework.

Basic resources, art materials and games will be provided. If you would like to get involved in helping some of the children with special needs, you may have the opportunity to learn the required skills needed to play with and assist these children.

How this project makes a difference:

GVI have partnered with a well-known sanctuary and various educare centres in townships across Cape Town to implement and deliver educational programs to underprivileged young children. We have been working with our current partners in the Nomzamo township for over six years and see the relationship as a long term commitment and one with underlying sustainable principles.

Prior to our involvement, these children received the safety and security that the sanctuary provides, food and clothing, but little to no access to educationGVI work with nursery age children and primary school age children that have not yet been placed at a local school, children with special needs and others with a variety of behavioural and learning difficulties. In all cases, without GVI’s involvement, they would not be receiving the bridging educational and developmental stimulation that they need to enable them to rejoin mainstream government education. We have seen a remarkable improvement in the children, but there is still a desperate need for extra hands and skills to help deliver and run these educational activities.

We have a strong read-to-children program which is an important part of child development, in particular language. Part of our work at the sanctuary is assisting the children with special needs. Our program provides stimulation and physical therapy for these children, including a sensory room that was developed using funds from the GVI Charitable Trust.

We have a very strong child protection policy, implemented across our sites. Staff who take photos are required to ensure they are up to a standard approved by a social worker. We do not use faces or children’s names on social media or in any public domain. We have strict expectations of volunteers as far as how they interact with the children. We also give no information to the volunteers about the children’s backgrounds.

In addition to the childcare and education work, our work at the sanctuary at times includes construction, Health Care and Arts and Child Care, so our support of our partners is many-faceted and does not purely focus on volunteer enjoyment of time with the children.

*During the holiday time all participants will join Cape Town’s construction project and work on projects involved in the maintenance and beautification of Educational Institutions and Community Organisations in the Townships outside of Gordon’s Bay. Depending on the needs of the community, you will assist with basic construction aimed at improving or maintaining educational facilities and resources in line with SDG 4 – Quality Education.

Cape Town's short, mid, and long-term objectives

All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualize their contribution to the UN SDGs.

Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Learn about the long-term objectives you will be contributing to in Cape Town:


  1. Improve the quality of education in Nomzamo and Zola.

  2. Promote gender equality in the local community

  3. Increase the health and wellbeing of less privileged people in the community

  4. Increase in-country capacity by providing training to less advantaged people in South Africa

What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Airport transfers (before 10pm on scheduled days only)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Daily transport to and from project sites
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Police or background check (where necessary)
  • Visa costs

Free Time

Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate on programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangeredecosystems 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 options in this stunning country.

The Team

Karissa Holland

Country Expert
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!

Shayle Havemann

Director of Programs
Meet Shayle, our innovative and driven director for all our projects around the world. 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!

Katelin Ryan

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.

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What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • Airport transfers (before 10pm on scheduled days only)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Daily transport to and from project sites
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting
  • What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal kit
  • Police or background check (where necessary)
  • Visa costs