Get involved in an empowering construction and renovation program in some of Cape Town’s most impoverished townships.
Your work will be located within communities that share schools with minimal supplies, care centers and nurseries that receive little to no monetary support, making for extremely poor conditions for the young children. The work completed on this program serves as a vehicle to enable the township youth to experience a more positive and caring environment throughout their initial stages of development.
In your downtime there will be many opportunities to explore the local area – highlights include Table Mountain, Robben Island and Cape Peninsula National Park. You may even have time for a safari or a wine-tasting tour in Stellenbosch. Any side trips you wish to take can all be easily booked on arrival in Cape Town.
We are always looking for enthusiastic and dedicated people to join our team. This program offers qualifying and high-performing volunteers the chance to stay on the program for a longer duration on a GVI Scholarship free of charge and as part of the staff team in the field. If you would like to work towards a field career and make the very most of your time abroad, you might want to work towards a place on a GVI Scholarship. Successful scholars may find themselves offered full time employment with GVI, and many of our current staff have come through this route. Contact us for more information!
Please note, the awarding of scholarships is at the sole discretion of GVI and may be offered immediately after the completion of your program or at a later date.
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.
The vast majority of your time will be spent in the township schools and care centers working with the children. At times the work can necessitate specific skills and experience, though the local team will be sure to support you with all the essential training and orientation.
Although basic, the construction work you complete will significantly improve the health and safety standards and overall aesthetics of the classrooms to create a warmer and more inviting place for teachers, care-takers and children to use.
Your days will be long and at times physically demanding, but the weekends are reserved for you to enjoy the local area and relax. The provided accommodation will be in shared houses/apartments in dormitory-style rooms. Modern amenities include hot running water, flush toilets and nearby internet cafes and shops.
Resources in the township schools, nurseries and day-care centers are extremely basic at best. Most of the buildings are barely functioning with bare rubble or concrete floors, leaking roofs, crumbling walls and inadequate toilets and washing facilities.
The main aim of the program is to improve the space available, while making efficient use of it and improving the quality to establish a more positive and healthy learning environment for the children. A typical work day can include tasks such as: basic infrastructure repairs such as fixing ceilings, floors and roofs and painting colorful educational wall murals. Depending on your placement some of the sites will require general maintenance to clean up loose wiring, nails and broken glass which are hazards for the children.
How this project makes a difference:
Many township schools are in a poor condition, with children having to endure unsafe and unhygienic conditions, such as classrooms that are wet and cold in winter and excruciatingly hot in summer. GVI aims to work with the community leaders to identify and assist as many schools as possible so that we can create healthier learning environments for these children.
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 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.
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.
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)
- Transport to and from the project
What's Not Included
- Medical and travel insurance
- Visa costs
- Personal kit
- Additional drinks and gratuities
- Extra local excursions
- International and domestic airport taxes