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 throughout the city 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 orphanage for children who are in desperate need of educational enhancement. This volunteer program involves providing a safe, fun and creative environment for these children, giving them the opportunity to develop to their full potential.
Volunteers be involved in planning and implementing a program which uses, educational games, song and dance, arts and crafts, gross and fine motor co-ordination and story telling 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 program will ensure that these wonderful 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
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.
Monday through Friday you will travel by minibus from your accommodations to the townships to work with the children. In a typical day, you will work from 9am to 4pm, with an hour break for lunch. On return to your accommodation you are expected to spend the time planning and preparing for the next day’s lessons.
Careful training is provided upon arrival and includes teacher training, lesson planning, a local language lesson and class management tips. Throughout your stay, GVI staff will provide ongoing support in order to help you make your volunteer contribution as effective as possible.
Accommodation is in houses/apartments with shared rooms and bathrooms with hot running water and electricity.
You are free on weekends to explore the local area or to choose among several side trips such as: a safari day tour or a Cape Town cultural weekend.
In order to attend formal school in South Africa, students must meet certain academic standards. You will help the children we work with to reach these standards, as well as raising their English language skills to a level that will provide many more future opportunities.
Your teaching sessions will aim to develop the children’s fine and gross motor skills as well as their English language ability. You will help organize and run a variety of activities, including outdoor sports, exercises and games, arts and crafts, storytelling, music and drama and assistance with homework.
Basic resources, art supplies, games and other materials will be provided. If you would like to get involved in helping children with special needs, you may have the opportunity to learn the required skills you need to play with and assist these special children.
How this project makes a difference:
GVI have partnered up with orphanages and nurseries in townships across Cape Town to implement and deliver educational programs to underprivileged young children. Prior to our involvement these children had no access to education. GVI has 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.
Working in South Africa was truly the best couple of weeks of my life. I experience an entirely new culture and way of life in my short time there, and fell in love with it. The most...
Working in South Africa was truly the best couple of weeks of my life. I experience an entirely new culture and way of life in my short time there, and fell in love with it. The most rewarding experience of all was teaching my own class in the orphanage, and seeing the progress that they made in my short time there. Though it was a daunting task to take on at first as I had no experience working with children, I grew to love it in a very short space of time. I really enjoyed planning their lessons, thinking up creative and fun activities we could do together and even how I could try to prevent them from eating the arts and crafts supplies (one way was to do finger painting with chocolate custard). One child in particular, Thimla really improved in both her English skills and her confidence, and it was truly inspiring to think that I had helped in this process. I found it very difficult to say goodbye to my class at the end of my time there, but knew they would be in good hands with future volunteers and the wonderful carers they had. I would highly recommend this program to any volunteer who wishes to help out, and yet gain so much in return.
I completely, 100%, entirely fell head over heels in love with South Africa and the beautiful children of Ikhayalethemba Village. I enjoyed every single moment of the four weeks I spent on this...
I completely, 100%, entirely fell head over heels in love with South Africa and the beautiful children of Ikhayalethemba Village. I enjoyed every single moment of the four weeks I spent on this project: the sound of ‘TEACHER TEACHER!!’ each morning as bundles of little children lunged themselves around my legs and dived into my arms, singing (badly!!) to the special needs children who truly stole a bit more of my heart every single day and the incredible knowing that I was a part of the huge difference made to the most endearing and grateful people I have ever met. Each day at the orphanage opened me up to an entire new world and taught me so many lessons about myself. Those children are all so special and I feel so lucky to have been a part of their huge family.
The experience was more than I ever could have imagined it to be, honestly the best decision I have ever made. I come away from it with some of the most amazing new friends, a heart full of memories and stories to tell, the passion and ambition to always do what I love in life and the motivation to continue to make a difference. I know that I left a big part of myself in South Africa; it was completely perfect. Yet, whatever happens in my life, I will always remember the children, the country and the people and know that there is forever something to smile about..
My volunteer experience with GVI in South Africa was wonderful. South Africa is the most beautiful place I have ever been to and I was shocked by how nice the accommodations were. I...
My volunteer experience with GVI in South Africa was wonderful. South Africa is the most beautiful place I have ever been to and I was shocked by how nice the accommodations were. I really enjoyed that fact that GVI set up weekend excursions so that the volunteers could really see South Africa and learn about its rich culture and history. Standing on top of Table Mountain was truly one of the most breath taking experiences of my life!
As exciting as exploring Cape Town was, the best part of my trip was getting to spend time with the children at both the school and the orphanage. They were wonderful, smart, funny, playful and really excited to learn. They made me laugh and also taught me about resilience. Seeing the bright spirits of children who by most people’s standards don’t have much made me realize that I often take what I have for granted. I can’t wait to go back!
It was Tuesday morning when myself and the other volunteers at the nceduluntu nursery in Nomzamo township had our first day. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we had no idea that the...
It was Tuesday morning when myself and the other volunteers at the nceduluntu nursery in Nomzamo township had our first day. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we had no idea that the loudest sound we could hear throughout that street was the cheerful chanting of "TEACHER TEACHER TEACHER!!" coming from a large number of Xhosa children between the ages of 2 - 5.
From a great start it could only get better:
These children were so enthused by us and enjoyed coming to nursery. They were full of charisma and very cheeky - one of the boys I taught managed to say "alright mate?" in a Liverpool accent!
It was startling to notice how independent some of these kids were. At 4 years old some of them were walking home all on their own - sometimes looking after a younger sibling.
Two weeks later I was in the local orphanage. The children here were equally cheeky and loved playing hide and seek.
Before I left for South Africa my parents had warned/ nagged me about the dangers of arriving in an unfamiliar country with a company that I had only know via a Google search and some of the issues I ought to be aware of. GVI gave us a full briefing on safety, conduct and expectations whilst on the project and provided us with plenty of fun and everlasting memories.
I thoroughly recommend this experience and am very jealous of anyone going soon!
I have just got home from 4 amazing weeks in South Africa where I was doing the Volunteer in an Orphanage in Cape Town, South Africa programme, based in Fish Hoek. It was the most incredible...
I have just got home from 4 amazing weeks in South Africa where I was doing the Volunteer in an Orphanage in Cape Town, South Africa programme, based in Fish Hoek. It was the most incredible experience I have ever had and if I could fly back I would do so in a heartbeat. I was allocated to the ‘Rainbow Centre’, which is an Edu-care centre run by a member of the community who has given up her time and home in order to provide a safe environment to care for and educate a large number of children in the Township. The time spent at Rainbow would include the very important and sometimes challenging task of feeding the babies and toddlers at breakfast and lunch, as well as planning and delivering lessons for the older kids based on topics chosen by Cornelia, singing, dancing and playing with the children. I also spent the afternoons at a Safe House, assisting 4 girls with their homework, as well as baking, playing games and generally having an amazing time with them! The ‘house mother’, Rachel, was the most amazing, incredible, loving and most selfless person I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, and I know that through her upbringing, and the help of GVI and volunteers like myself, those girls will grow up to be extremely clever, talented and lovely young women. GVI has opened my eyes to a whole new world and I feel honoured to have been a part of the GVI experience. I will definitely be returning in the future.
I was lucky enough to have been born in a country of bounty. Everything I desire is at my fingertips, available whenever I want it. I well understand that I am one of the...
I was lucky enough to have been born in a country of bounty. Everything I desire is at my fingertips, available whenever I want it. I well understand that I am one of the fortunate ones and that I needed to find a way to give back. And so, I began to look around for an opportunity to say thank you for all the blessings I have. The GVI South Africa Orphanage appealed to me immediately. My two weeks at Ikhaylethemba Village was an experience I will never forget. I thought I was going to be teaching English, but I learned much more than I taught. Yofesa taught me that everyone needs someone who has his back. Masithembe taught me that silliness is an important part of life. Aseza showed me that hunger is a failure we all share. Nombulelo confirmed that a child’s smile is sometimes all we need to get through the day. These children have become a part of me and I hope they will never forget the English words to “Who Let the Dogs Out”. Education is the most incredible opportunity we can give these kids. Volunteer experiences are an incredible opportunity we can give ourselves. We all win!
This project was truly life changing. I read a ton of testimonies before departing for this program, and thought they were nice but they do not have a lot of meaning to you if you are still rather...
This project was truly life changing. I read a ton of testimonies before departing for this program, and thought they were nice but they do not have a lot of meaning to you if you are still rather skeptical about the program. As I was just typing, I went to write "as soon as I arrived in South Africa I felt at home," but then I realized I read the exact same thing before leaving. But, it really is true. The program is well organized and meaningful. I never even left the country before this August, but I know I had been waiting for the perfect opportunity, and this was. When I first learned we would be at the orphanage I was a bit nervous. I had experience working with children, but I didn't think it was enough to take to Africa with me. However, once I met the children it was impossible to feel anything but love for them. There was also no need to be nervous, they were so eager and happy to play and learn. The spirit of those children, as well as the people within the community, will stay with me forever. Aside from the amazing time I had at the orphanage on weekdays, the weekends were just as amazing. From cultural tours to wine tasting to safaris, you really cram as much experience as possible into 2 weeks. Overall, this trip was far above my expectations. I will forever remember the experiences I had and the amazing people I met.
There is so much I could say that I don’t know where to start. I gained knowledge, confidence, experience, and friends. There was much and more I didn’t know about South Africa before...
There is so much I could say that I don’t know where to start. I gained knowledge, confidence, experience, and friends. There was much and more I didn’t know about South Africa before arriving on its soil. While in South Africa I travelled to Cape Town and went on two township tours through GVI. I left South Africa with a deep appreciation of its culture, people, and land. I was weary to travel on my own to a country in which I didn’t know anybody. After getting myself through various airports, layovers, and checkpoints I have a confidence in travelling abroad that I did not have prior to my trip. Along with that confidence I gained experience. Every experience brought with it knowledge and confidence, every day at the orphanage, every tour, even every trip to the local store. I wasn’t making those trips alone though. It is impossible to stay with GVI two weeks and not come away with friends to share lesson ideas with, the costs of a cab, and memories that will never grow old.
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 learned something new every day. In fact, I think I’ve learned more than the children! This is surely an experience I will never forget.
My most positive experiences were: meeting so many like-minded volunteers from all over the world; working with the children and seeing how happy and well-adjusted they were. The safari was great - it was nice to have a relaxing trip there after a long week of work! I enjoyed being able to experience South Africa in a less "touristy" way. It was interesting to meet locals, as it gives a better perspective about South Africa. I also loved seeing how our contributions really affect the children - seeing them learn and remember words and songs.
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)
- 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