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Volunteer with Children in South Africa

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


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.

United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals

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 provide children in these areas with educational opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to them.

Our project works with a number of educare centres within townships in Cape Town that provide early years education to local children. 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. As part of the curriculum, volunteers help to teach the children the importance of a healthy lifestyle and teach topics such as hygiene, exercise and healthy diet.



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 own side trips on arrival in Cape Town either with other volunteers or with local tour operators. 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.

Program Details

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.

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.

How this project makes a difference:

GVI have partnered with various educare centres in townships across Cape Town to implement and deliver educational programs to underprivileged young children.

Prior to our involvement, these children had a minor, to no exposure to English in the school environment. Being a multicultural country like South Africa, skills and understanding of other languages can be the key reason for success. GVI work with nursery aged children that have not yet been place at a local primary school. With our support the children receive the bridging education and developmental stimulation that they need to enable them to continue their mainstream government education. We have seen a remarkable improvement in the children, but there is still a 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. Our child protection policy is 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 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 Holiday Library program, which focuses on providing educational and interactive activities for students in the townships around Gordon’s bay. Depending on the needs of the community, you will assist with educational, sports and health related workshops aimed at improving or maintaining high educational standards. 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

Your Impact

All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or UN SDGs. 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 visualise 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.


What's It like?

If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.

We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.

Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.

Our Ethics

Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.


Our 10 Ethical Commitments

 

Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects

We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.


 

Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.


 

Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.


 

Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.


 

Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.


 

Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that ever participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.


 

Respect for all

In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.


 

Local Ownership

We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conduct, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.


 

Transitioning from the Orphanage Model

We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.


 

Child and Vulnerable adult policies

We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.


Continual Development

As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.


However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.


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 items and toiletries
  • Police or background check
  • Visa costs (where necessary)

Support & Safety

We won’t sugarcoat it — Traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.


Support

Once a participant books, they will be assigned a personal support coordinator who will oversee their pre-departure journey. The support coordinator helps to bridge the gap between program enrolment and arrival at one of our field bases. Your personal support coordinator will ensure that you are provided with all the necessary information required to apply for visas, background checks, and any other documentation.


Safety

Upon arrival at the airport participants will be greeted by a GVI staff member. All GVI staff are our own and all our programs around the world are run by our staff. All GVI field staff are background checked, Emergency First Response and safety trained. Our minimum staff to participant ratio is one to six, although on several bases we have a ratio of one to three. When finishing the experience, participants will provide feedback on all aspects of their program.


Health & Safety Case Studies

19 Nov

HOW GVI UPHOLDS HEALTH AND SAFETY

It takes courage to book a GVI program, get on a flight, and head off to somewhere new. Volunteering offers a level of cultural immersion that typical backpacking or holidays just can’t achieve. This is why thousands of people around the world participate in paid GVI programs.


1 Nov

GVI’S COMMITMENT TO SAFETY AND SECURITY

As the saying goes: ‘Expect the best, plan for the worst’. Cliched or not, we take it to heart. This tenet is at the core of how GVI operates when it comes to promoting the health and safety of our participants, staff, and local community members at all of our 20+ bases around the world.


6 Nov

HOW GVI REMAINS PREPARED FOR NATURAL DISASTERS

The weather isn’t just a topic for polite small-talk here at GVI. We have emergency action plans in place for all scenarios. So when the weather, or other natural forces, takes a nasty turn, we are prepared to respond to stormy situations.


5 Nov

HOW GVI MANAGES PARTICIPANTS EXPECTATIONS

Once GVI has matched a participant to a program that suits their passions and goals, our team aims to set the right expectations for them. In the event that false expectations around a program are created, the GVI team takes immediate action to ensure that the situation rectified.


Country Exploration

Joining a GVI program not only allows participants to collaborate with communities or work toward preserving unique ecosystems but it also offers plenty of opportunity to explore the surrounding area or travel further to see what other parts of the region have to offer. Many decide to travel before or after their GVI experience, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program.


Our own long term field staff are a great source of advice, and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. Please note that the below suggestions are not included in the program fee, and are for the individual to organise at their own expense.


Weekend Trips

Long Street

One of Cape Town’s popular hotspots to experience local nightlife and cuisine, a weekend visit to long street is one to add to the planner ahead of visiting the program.


Cape Point Penguin Visit

If you’re planning a nice day trip for a Saturday, you should consider a trip to Cape Point and a visit to an African Penguin colony shortly after.


Cape Point Nature Reserve

Participants are able to see various antelope, zebra, ostrich, seals and possibly even whales! Plan a picnic lunch on one of the reserves beautiful beaches too while you’re at it.


Bungee Jumping and Ziplining:

Awe-inspiring canyons dot the Drakensberg range, and many use the opportunity to experience the exhilarating thrill of bungee jumping for the first time. If you aren’t ready to dive headfirst into the canyons you can glide overhead, using the many zipline tours available in the area. This is an excellent way to see the spectacular landscape from a bird’s eye perspective.


Further Travels

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.


Garden Route

In Cape Town, participants have easy access to the famous Garden Route and most participants come back raving after a weekend trip on the open road in the beautiful region.


Cederberg

The Cederberg Mountain Range is an exquisite sight to see for the adventure enthusiasts. Walk or hike your way through an experience that quite frankly, is only done justice in person, and not on photographs.


Drakensberg Mountains

The Drakensberg mountain is a spectacular hotspot in the country and a must-see tourist destination while you are in South Africa.


Kalahari Desert and Historical Zululand

The culture richness and diverse beauty of the Kalahari Desert and historic Zululand is often quite hard to put into words, but is an activity to be planned as part of greater cultural immersion and in an effort to expand your horizons, to solidify your global citizen status.


Kruger National Park

Where roughly 2 million hectares of unrivaled diversity of life forms fuses with historical and archaeological sights – this is real Africa.


The Team

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.

Select a Start Date

  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020

Select a Duration

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Select Add-Ons

+ $29
 
+ $390
 

Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Herritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.

We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.

Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’

Parent Info Pack

Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:

Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.

live base updates

Follow GVI Cape-Town's Facebook page for live updates straight from the field. Get an idea of the types of projects you might be involved in, meet our staff and participants, experience life on this GVI base, hear about free time activities, and learn about the local culture and environment.
 
GVISouthAfricaCapeTown

Arrivals

When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.


As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile. This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.