Volunteers are placed in a school or educare centre in a disadvantaged communities. No experience is necessary and volunteers can have the joy of watching a child learn and helping them through the process. You will be assigned to a class and will help the teacher in their daily tasks, be it teaching, marking and sports training. After school hours, volunteers will be involved in aftercare or afterschool programs in the settlements.
Schools have 30 to 50 children per class and educare centres have between 5 and 50 children. Resources are stretched and teachers cannot provide attention to every student. Volunteers provide much needed classroom assistance. Volunteers assist in daily running of classes and give one-on-one attention to children in need. Volunteers are supervised by a teacher or coordinator, but will also have the opportunity to give lessons.
We currently support or run the following schools and educare centers:
Wings of Hope: Colourful shipping containers surround an outdoor play area that makes for a safe environment for children. The classrooms divide the children by age, and each day they are guaranteed a hot meal, lessons with the volunteers, and playtime.
Zusakhe: We started working with this educare early in 2016. The school is run by a lovely lady named Patricia who is also the chairperson for several educare centres in Dunoon. The school has 5 separate classrooms, each teaching a different age group ranging from 2 year old to Grade R (6 year old). Each classroom has one main teacher and an assistant. The school is situated next to an outdoor sports area where the children can run around and play. The volunteers going to this school are mainly there to assist the teachers that already work at the school.
Honeybee: Honeybee Educare was created by Jerome & Charon, who are so dedicated to the importance of early education that they actually run the center out of their own home. The volunteers work closely with the dedicated teachers here to care for and educate the large number of students in English.
Vissershok Primary School: An Afrikaans farm school where children from the local settlement get taught grades 1-7. The children are from ages 6-15. Classes are between 40-60 children. Volunteers assist with teaching computers and supporting individual children. The computer and technical skills that they learn allow them to have a greater chance of success in today’s technological world.
Elundini: Elundini Educare Centre provides all-day care for children with disabilities ranging from those with mild physical and mental disorders to children who are severely incapacitated. In addition to caring for the disabled children, Elundini also provides pre-school education for children without disabilities. The children at Elundini range between the ages of 18 months to 18 years old.
Flexibility to run your own programs and lessons
Using your initiative to create activities
Helping children develop life and educational skills
Experience working with children and groups within an organisation
Facilitating new experiences for children
Learning about South African culture and way of life
Making new friends for life
About Your Location
The Western Cape, where the program is based, is a very culturally diverse area of South Africa. There is a large integration of the poor with the wealthy. The children in this program range from 0 to 14 years old and live in the townships in Cape Town such as Dunoon or Site 5. Most of them can speak English, yet their mother tongue may be Afrikaans or Xhosa. The homes they live in are often built from scrap metal and second-hand wood and usually do not have running water. Forty percent of the families in these areas lack a male head of household and the children often have no one to monitor their educational progress or after-school activities. Furthermore, alcohol and drug abuse is common in the townships where they live and especially at this age they are susceptible to recruitment by local gangs.
Day 1: Welcome to South Africa
You are collected from the airport and taken to your volunteer accommodation. You will be shown around and given a map of the area. Depending on your arrival time, you will meet your volunteer leader and learn more about your project, if you arrive late you will be given a time to meet your leader. You have the day at your own leisure so you can explore the beach, shops, bars and restaurants. In the evening we have a traditional South African BBQ, called a braai, at the hostel.
Day 2: Orientation Tour of Cape Town
Start the day with breakfast and head to SaltyCrax backpackers. A SaltyCrax staff member will teach you about the bus system before you head out to Cape Town city centre. You have two options to choose from:
1) Walking Tour
Do a walking tour visiting historical sites like the Castle of Good Hope and the Grand Parade. Learn about life under apartheid in South Africa at the Parliament buildings and the District Six Museum. Shop for African arts and crafts in Greenmarket Square and St George’s Mall.
2) Hop-on Hop-off Bus Pass
Board this open rooftop bus that takes you to all the sites you need to see such as Camps Bay, the V&A Waterfront and Table Mountain... all from the comfort of your seat!
After one of the above activities you can take a bus or walk to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Sit back and sip a cocktail, enjoy some fresh fish and watch the ships in the busy working harbour or walk around taking in the shops, markets and musicians on the sidewalks. Alternatively, you can take the cable car up Table Mountain and enjoy breathtaking views of the city, or visit the famous Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held in prison during the apartheid era (own expense).
In the evening head back on the local bus to Table View where you can start planning your next day. We will help you book and arrange all that you need. Later, you can join the staff, guests and the locals at one of the restaurants or bars along the beach front in Table View - all within rolling distance from the hostel where you will be staying the night.
Day 3: Sunday
You will have at your own leisure to relax and get ready before your project starts.
Weekly Schedule & Activities
Volunteers work 5 days a week from Monday to Friday. Working hours at the school or educare center are between 08:00 and 14:00 or 09:00 and 12:00. Some days volunteers will work a full 8 hours and other days 4 to 5 hours depending on the needs of the project.
Volunteers will help in the daily running of the projects including:
- Teaching lessons to children in the older groups (colours, letters, shapes, art etc.) as well as teaching English through play and vocabulary stimulation
- Stimulating smaller children in the younger groups with developmental toys, touch and by speaking English to them. We believe that speaking English to the children will assist them as they get older as English is compulsory later in their education. The earlier they learn, the more they will benefit.
- Educating children in life lessons such as HIV, drugs etc.
- Supervising children at all times
- Helping with events and fundraising
- Administration, lesson planning, developmental activities, research etc. This is mostly done after project hours in preparation for upcoming days. You may be required to do some of these tasks in your free time.
- Helping with the baby room (changing diapers, feeding babies, assisting with naptime)
- Assisting in the vegetable garden where we grow fresh produce for their meals
- Helping with washing up after meals, cleaning classrooms, washing bedding and toys
- Maintaining a safe and hygienic environment for the children at all times
- Many of the children do not pay school fees so the school's funds are stretched and any assistance is welcomed.
School & Public Holidays
This project runs all year round, however, during school holidays we run the project according to our holiday program which mainly takes place in the settlements/townships where they live. The program includes sports days, game days, outings to the beach or pools etc. During the holidays it's a time for the kids to have fun so the programs are less structured and may change depending on the number of children that arrive on the day. Working hours are generally from 08:00 to 14:00. Depending on the funds available you could also be involved in a construction or renovations program (building work, vegetable gardens, painting etc.).
School Holidays 2017:
31 Mar - 18 Apr
30 Jun - 24 Jul
29 Sep - 09 Oct
9 Dec - 11 Jan 2018
School Holidays 2018:
29 Mar - 09 Apr
23 Jun - 16 Jul
29 Sep - 08 Oct
3 Dec - 08 Jan 2019
In addition there are a lot of public holidays spread throughout the year. Please note that during the holidays, it's a time for the kids to have fun, so the programs are less structured and may change depending on the number of children that arrive on the day.
Due to Christmas and New Year’s celebrations between December 25th - Jan 2nd, all projects in Cape Town are closed, however, volunteers may still use the accommodation and food and join us for Christmas lunch on the 25th.
Volunteers will stay in one of our volunteer houses with bedrooms sleeping 2-6 people. All houses are facilitated with electricity, hot water, a kitchen, one or two toilets, a bathroom with a shower, beds with linen (no towels). Male and female volunteers will share rooms unless otherwise requested. Upgrades to private single or double rooms are available at extra cost.
Volunteers are responsible for keeping their own room and volunteer house tidy. Two to three times a week a cleaning lady will be there to clean the house and change linen. The volunteer houses are at walking distance from shops, restaurants, entertainment, bus stops and the beach. The volunteer accommodation has a pool. Accommodation can be upgraded to private rooms for an additional cost.
Participants are expected to keep their rooms and personal belongings tidy at all times and participate in any chores as required for the cleanliness and operation of the shared facilities.
Volunteers will be met at Cape Town International airport. On project days the volunteers will be transported by private car or mini bus. The vehicles are roadworthy and have all relevant licenses and liability insurance.
Volunteers will receive 3 meals a day which include:
Breakfast: self-catering breakfast of cereals, fruit, yogurt, toast & spreads
Lunch: self-catering lunch of breads, fruit, cold meats, cheese, salad & spreads
Dinner: consists of a hot meal such as a traditional South African BBQ (braai) and stews (potjies).
Tea and coffee will be available all day.
All dinners will include meat, starch and vegetables.
A generous amount of food will always be given so no one will go hungry.
All other drinks will be at own expense.
A refrigerator is available for volunteer’s personal food.
PLEASE NOTE: Participants must advise us on their dietary needs when filling out the application form.
Visas & Insurances:
Visas and insurances are the responsibility of the volunteer.
Winter in South Africa:
Please note that May through to September are our winter months and it can get quite chilly with an average temperature ranging from 5 degrees Celsius at night to 15 degrees Celsius during the day. So please make sure to pack enough warm clothes if you plan your trip in that period.