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 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 sanctuary for children who are in desperate need of educational enhancement. This volunteer project involves providing a safe, fun and creative environment for these children, giving them the opportunity to develop to their full potential.
You will be involved in planning and implementing a project which uses educational games, song and dance, arts and crafts, gross and fine motor co-ordination and storytelling 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 project will ensure that these 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.
"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 learnt something new every day. In fact, I think I’ve learnt more than the children! This is surely an experience I will never forget."
What's Not Included
Monday to Friday
From Monday to Friday you will travel by minibus from your accommodation to the townships to work with the children. The typical day will run from around 9am to 4pm with an hour break for lunch. After returning to your accommodation you may then spend time planning and preparing resources for the next day’s lessons.
Training is provided on arrival and includes teacher training, lesson planning, a local language lesson and class management. Ongoing daily support is provided by GVI staff at the project sites.
Accommodation is in houses/apartments with shared rooms and bathrooms, with access to hot running water and electricity.
Weekends are free for you to explore the local area with many different side trips and activities available such as a safari day trip and Cape Town cultural weekend.
What's Not Included
In order to attend formal school in South Africa students must be at a certain academic level and you will be helping the children we work with to reach this standard. For the children, a good understanding of English opens up many more opportunities in the future.
Sessions are intended to help the children develop their fine and gross motor skills as well as their English language ability. You will help organize and run outdoor exercises and games, arts and crafts, storytelling, music and drama lessons and assistance with homework.
Basic resources, art materials and games will be provided. If you would like to get involved in helping some of the children with special needs, you may have the opportunity to learn the required skills needed to play with and assist these children.
How this project makes a difference:
GVI have partnered with a well-known sanctuary and various educare centres in townships across Cape Town to implement and deliver educational programs to underprivileged young children. We have been working with our current partners in the Nomzamo township for over six years and see the relationship as a long term commitment and one with underlying sustainable principles.
Prior to our involvement, these children received the safety and security that the sanctuary provides, food and clothing, but little to no access to education. GVI work with nursery age children and primary school age children that have not yet been placed at a local school, children with special needs and others with a variety of behavioural and learning difficulties. In all cases, without GVI’s involvement, they would not be receiving the bridging educational and developmental stimulation that they need to enable them to rejoin mainstream government education. We have 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.
We have a strong read-to-children program which is an important part of child development, in particular language. Part of our work at the sanctuary is assisting the children with special needs. Our program provides stimulation and physical therapy for these children, including a sensory room that was developed using funds from the GVI Charitable Trust.
We have a very strong child protection policy, implemented across our sites. Staff who take photos are required to ensure they are up to a standard approved by a social worker. We do not use faces or children’s names on social media or in any public domain. We have strict expectations of volunteers as far as how they interact with the children. We also give no information to the volunteers about the children’s backgrounds.
In addition to the childcare and education work, our work at the sanctuary at times includes construction, Health Care and Arts and Child Care, so our support of our partners is many-faceted and does not purely focus on volunteer enjoyment of time with the children.
What's Not Included
Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate on programs assisting disadvantaged communities or endangeredecosystems 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 options in this stunning country.
Meet Andy, our brilliant community officer in Cape Town, South Africa. In the States he was involved with Habitat for Humanity and volunteering at the local soup kitchen, but coming to South Africa with GVI was his first time volunteering abroad.
He first heard about GVI through a friend who had nothing but good things to say about it. So he looked into it a bit more and saw how much of the focus is on sustainability which he really appreciated and so shortly after signed up to come out as a volunteer. Since then he has joined the Cape Town team as a valuable and energetic member.
His favourite part of the whole experience of GVI has been working with all the kids and our project partners at the sanctuary where the Cape Town team operates.
"Seeing them grow and progress and being able to contribute to it has been beyond rewarding."
Transport and Logistics Manager
Introducing the amazing Moses, our transport and logistics manager in Cape Town, South Africa. What he loves most about working at GVI is seeing the hard work volunteers do in the township as well as creating a positive environment for the little ones.
Moses is an invaluable member of the Cape Town team, ensuring all the projects run smoothly.
He was recently married (2015) where he travelled for the first time in his life to the UK. He enjoyed the vast differences between the ways the British celebrate Christmas to how it is celebrated in South Africa.
Meet Alex, our awesome education officer in Cape Town, South Africa. She got the travel bug from a very young age but only travelled solo from the beginning of 2014. She circumnavigated the globe, starting in South Africa volunteering with another organisation teaching in KwaZulu-Natal and continued to Indonesia, Australia and across the USA before finding her way back to Cape Town and GVI. As soon as she left South Africa, she knew she wanted to come back and GVI stood out as the organisation she wanted to work for.
She has a degree in philosophy and psychology and believes an open mind is a must-have for any traveller.
"If you try to over plan or over-prepare, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Just go with whatever happens. The best travelling experiences I’ve had are when everything has gone wrong."
Meet Karissa, our vibrant country expert for our Cape Town and Thailand, Phang Nga, hubs. She loves travelling and has had her fair share of travelling too. Her first solo travel was to New Zealand to work as an Au Pair, followed by Fiji for over a year. She then travelled to Thailand, where she met her South African partner and worked as an English Teacher at a public High School.
Karissa is TEFL qualified and has first-hand experience of working abroad. What first attracted her to join GVI? “The amazing volunteer projects and stunning locations across the world.”
She moved to Cape Town in November 2015 from her home country, the USA, and is loving every minute of being able to call South Africa her new home!
Assistant Director of Programs
Meet Shayle, our innovative and driven country director for all our projects in South Africa. She has two honours degrees, one in Industrial and Organisational Psycology, and another in Developmental and Education Psycology. Shayle also has over 10 years experience in setting up, managing and evaluating environmental and community programs across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.
She is well-practiced in facilitating meaningful and effective intercultural engagement and this makes her the perfect person for overseeing our operations in the multicultural country of South Africa.
When not attending meetings or planning her next endeavour, Shayle can be found spending time with her family or taking part in some or other exciting outdoors activity!
Service Learning Manager Cape Town
A sustainable development extraordinaire with a great commitment to create sustainable solutions for local communities. Katie has worked in South Africa for many years before her role with GVI and after completing her Master's degree in International Education she joined our team of professionals.
Her credentials include over eight years of volunteering, teaching, managing, and leading international education programs around the world. This includes working in zero-waste policy communities in New Zealand, and in an orphan bear refugee center in Croatia.
As our Service Learning Manager she is excited to use her experience designing experiential education programmes and managing community programmes.
Director of Programs
Meet Danny, our Director of Programs. Although he’s based in Playa del Carmen, Danny oversees the development and running of all of our field operations. He started out with GVI as our Country Director in Mexico and quickly became an invaluable part of the team.
Although being Director of Programs is a pretty demanding job, Danny manages to find time to do the other things he loves in-between. He’s an avid photographer and is always training for a triathlon or ironman.
What’s Danny’s favourite aspect of his job? “Starting new projects – we get lots of request for assistance and it’s difficult to decide when funds are limited. The evaluation process and those initial talks with local partners are very interesting. Seeing projects grow from an idea to full programs is very exciting. I also love the relationships you create with local organisations, they become friends and we jointly work to achieve the project aims.”