Hop out of the grind and into a life-changing work placement in the fascinating city of Cape Town to educate eager children in local townships.
Your internship will start with a 12-week volunteer program where you will familiarize yourself with the educational programs available to the deprived township schools, day care centers and orphanages and receive hands-on experience in teamwork and leadership.
Once you have completed this phase you will be placed in a 12-week work position allowing you to further develop your skills and take on a leadership role in the educational programs (including childcare, sports and crafts) for the young children. Your work placement will be either with our team, to help run and manage our education projects, or you will have the opportunity to work with one of our partner community development organizations. Either way you will be working alongside a professional team, learning from them all along the way.
After a successful internship, qualifying candidates may be given the opportunity to work for GVI or selected partner organizations in South Africa, or in other countries around the world where GVI operate.
You will 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.
GVI is real volunteering
Our projects are constantly evolving according to the needs on the ground at any given time. All the information displayed here will give you an overall feel for the project, but you should be prepared for any changes in the field when you travel. An evolving project means that we can constantly meet the needs and requirements of our partners, who dictate the work that we do. The way it should be.
You will begin the program with an orientation where you will gain insight into South African customs and cultures, what life is like inside a township as well as common Xhosa lingo! You will of course be provided with training on how to build effective curriculum, lesson planning and student-management.
Your work-week while on the 12 week training phase will run from Monday-Friday in the townships, with days running from 8:30am-4:00pm. In addition to this you will most likely spend an hour or two each day prepping lessons for the next day, or working on your studies for the internship requirements.
After successfully completing your 12 weeks of training you will start the work placement. Typically the placements are educational-based project initiatives either with GVI or one of our local project partners.Over the 12 week placement you will develop further skills in teaching, health & safety and project logistics, leadership, and support the day-to-day running of GVI’s or our local partners' community development programs.
The provided accommodation is in houses and apartments with shared rooms and bathrooms, hot running water and electricity. You will have weekends to explore Cape Town and any local sites you may wish to see.
This program is part of a connection of schools, orphanages and day-care centers where GVI run educational programs within the local Cape Town townships.
Activities you will be involved in with the kids could include: outdoor exercises and games; arts and crafts; music and drama activities; storytelling; assistance with homework; working with special needs children; health workshops; numeracy and literacy; and, sports.
Please do remember that it will not be possible for you to choose the exact location of your placement. GVI appreciates your flexibility and open-mindedness which will enable us to place you where the need is greatest, and/or wherever your skills, interests and experiences will be best used.
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 program providing individual coaching sessions to those children that have difficulties reading and writing.
I don’t think words can express how much I have gotten out of this experience. I knew volunteering would be a gratifying experience and I would learn a lot about myself, but the internship pushed me to learn more about me than I thought I would.
I have grown so much from this in these 9 months. I have found out who I am, what I want, and I’ve come a long way, mentally and emotionally, since I’ve arrived here. This is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.
I interned in Gordon’s Bay, South Africa, on the Community Development Project and it was the most eye-opening, intense and amazing time of my life! It may sound an exaggeration…but believe me, it’s not! The people you meet, the children you teach, the places you visit, the friendships you build…everything together makes this experience truly inspiring. This is why I want to become a GVI Ambassador…because it feels great talking and spreading the word about such a reliable organisation and, above all, the great experience I had!!
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. Below is some 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.
Visit a private game reserve which hosts the big five (rhino, leopard, lion, elephant and buffalo) and 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.
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.
Build Your Program
- Pre-departure support and discounted services
- 24-hour emergency phone
- Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
- Arrival orientation
- Long term experienced staff
- Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
- All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
- Welcome meeting
- Location orientation
- All necessary project training by experienced staff
- All necessary project equipment and materials
- 24-hour in-country support
- Airport transfers (before 10pm on scheduled days only)
- Training materials and project equipment
- Teamwork and leadership experience
- Comprehensive training necessary for project work and work placement
- Daily transport to and from project sites
What's Not Included
- Medical and travel insurance
- Visa costs
- Personal kit
- Additional drinks and gratuities
- Extra local excursions
- International and domestic airport taxes