Volunteer Abroad Programs Since 1997

Assit children with literacy and numeracy in one-on-one sessions in a townships outside of Cape Town

Project Overview

Join our team and volunteer at an overcrowded and under-resourced school in a friendly and welcoming township just outside the beautiful city of Cape Town.

This volunteer program tasks volunteers with teaching primary school children in dedicated one-on-one sessions. Some of the children struggle to understand their teachers because their home language is not English, and as a result they fall behind their peers in their studies. The aim of our project is to give extra attention to these students and help bring them up to the required academic standards.

Through your diligent work you will see a measurable improvement in the abilities of your students, and they in turn will be more confident and comfortable when they rejoin their classrooms.

Volunteer and 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.


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.

Project Life

The rigorous training all our volunteers receive upon arrival covers classroom management, lesson and curriculum planning, basic local language lessons and the norms and cultural standards of township life.

Monday to Friday

Monday through Friday you will travel by minibus to the township school where you will work from 9am to 4pm, with a break for lunch. Most mornings you will teach individual students in tutoring session, and in the afternoon you will conduct homework and reading workshops for small groups. After school you may spend time preparing your lessons for the next day.

Field Conditions

Your accommodations are in a house or apartment with shared rooms and bathrooms which have electricity and running hot water.

Free Time

On the weekends you are free to explore the local area or to participate in optional side trips, including a safari day trip or a cultural weekend taking in the best of Cape Town.

Project Details

The local teachers assign children to our program if require extra attention. The teaching sessions in our program aim to improve literacy, numeracy and English language skills as well as the confidence levels of all the children enrolled.

Volunteers typically work with a total of 8 students over a 2 week cycle. Each student has a 25 minute session each day and over the 2 weeks will cover all the material set out in our specially designed program. Resources, materials, games and the curriculum will be provided to help you prepare your lessons.

The students enjoy reading stories and playing educational games during their sessions. They will also have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have and get the individual attention their normal teachers cannot provide and which they need to succeed.

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.


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...

Andrea Fowler, USA

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!

Every expectation has been met; I have met some lovely kids, been part of a fantastic team and made some great friends along the way. There are too many highlights to chose from but the ‘a-ha’...
Kerry Eyre, United Kingdom

Every expectation has been met; I have met some lovely kids, been part of a fantastic team and made some great friends along the way. There are too many highlights to chose from but the ‘a-ha’ moments are the best, when a student finally has a breakthrough and learns something new nothing beats it! Safari was awesome too! I would definitely recommend this project, you get to spend time working with children who truly appreciate the help, meet new friends and enjoy the awesome experiences that Cape Town has to offer.

My time on the project was wonderful! The country of South Africa is absolutely beautiful and the GVI staff was knowledgeable and supportive. I would highly recommend GVI for anyone thinking about...
Andi Tryon, USA

My time on the project was wonderful! The country of South Africa is absolutely beautiful and the GVI staff was knowledgeable and supportive. I would highly recommend GVI for anyone thinking about volunteering abroad. I have volunteered overseas twice and noticed a big difference between the first groups I went with and GVI. GVI was organized, easy to get a hold of, and truly involved in the communities they serve.

Free Time

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 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.

Latest from the Base...

The children from the orphanage enjoyed a suf lesson.
Weekend trip to Cape Town was great.

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Program Details

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Build Your Program

Program Cost

  • $1777.00


(GBP250 / USD425 / EUR300 / AUD425) (4 week minimum program duration) Add a GVI internship certification to your program and receive additional training specifically designed to develop your leadership skills and prepare you for a career in the field. Interns receive one-on-one mentoring and complete focused assessments throughout their program. Participants will receive formal recognition and a professional reference on completion of the internship.
(GBP18 / USD31 / EUR22 / AUD31) The myTsafe online document store keeps copies of your most valuable and private information safe and you can share them easily and securely with others.
(GBP15 / USD26 / EUR18 / AUD26) By making a small contribution to GVI's Charitable Trust you will support conservation projects that can offset the impact of CO2 emissions associated with your international flights.  Visit www.gvi.org for more information.

What's Included

  • 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)
  • Lunch
  • Daily transport to and from project sites

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Visa costs
  • Personal kit
  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • International and domestic airport taxes