Cape Town Adventure And Cultural Immersion Teen Volunteer Program

Discover Cape Town, South Africa during this hands-on, two week project for under 18 volunteers.

Durations:  2 weeks

Program information

Volunteer alongside an international team teaching children from local townships important sports skills and co-ordinating drama lessons, facilitating the development of their physical and cultural skill set.

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undefined 31 May 2022
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Included in your program

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Connect with our alumni
Want to connect with some of our past participants about their adventures? Get in touch with hundreds of friendly ambassadors all over the world who would be more than happy to answer any questions.
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Erin Craig

14 Jan, 2020
We got involved with GVI as when we were researching programmes, GVI had the most to offer. It had a broad range of programmes from Wildlife and Marine Conservation to Women’s Empowerment to Teaching. And every single one of the programmes we looked at with GVI had an aspect that someone liked and wanted to be a part of. Eventually, after taking time as a group to decide, we chose to take part in a programme with Sports Teaching and Construction in Gordons Bay, South Africa. Week 1: We started the first week off with assisting in a sports summer camp. We left the house that we were staying in at quarter past 9 each morning to go to the local playing field to start the morning with some games. The children were from all ages, there were children as young as 5 and as old as 13 there each day. We started each day off with some songs which they seemed to love, and then played a few games such as tag and British bulldogs. We also played throwing, catching and batting games with footballs and tennis balls. At around 12 o’clock we left to go eat some lunch and then came back at 1 to serve them all a hot meal that someone had locally provided. We did this each day. After lunch, we played some more games such as duck duck goose or played some batting games. Week 2: After a week of sports teaching we then went on with our construction project. We were helping to paint and re- decorate a story room and set up a sick bay within a crèche. The first day, we were filling in holes in the walls, clearing out the sick bay and giving the walls a good clean. On the second day, we started to give the walls a paint and this continued into the third day too as they needed a second coat. During this time, we painted the cupboard doors and doorframes to try and brighten up the crèche. On the last couple of days, we were painting our murals onto the walls and moving the furniture back into the rooms. What I really love about GVI, is how much money and effort they were willing to put into the projects that they hold. They didn’t do a half job. They bought the crèche new bean bags to sit on for the story room and a bed for the sickbay. The teacher was incredibly grateful to us and GVI, and it was a wonderful thing to witness when she came into the room. I also loved the fact that GVI spent time to put together a special programme for our youth group as we all wanted different things and I thought this effort was amazing. Not only do they cater to the projects they hold within the communities needs they also cater to the volunteers. We did face challenges during these two weeks. One of the most difficult things I have ever faced was having to refuse a little girl when she asked me to buy her something nice. She was so kind, and so accepting when I had to say no, but it was incredibly difficult to refuse. It was also very hard to deal with the conditions of the crèche, as there were many spiders and a dead rat in the cupboard, and it was incredibly upsetting to think how long it had been in that condition, how they couldn’t change it and the fact that that was meant to be a medical room for children. The Staff who were with us for two weeks, Jack Allison + Charlotte Goodwin, were absolutely brilliant! They both made our group feel completely at ease and at home by playing fun games at night time and doing compliment cups which made everyone so happy (where everyone in the group writes a compliment per day for someone and puts them in that someone’s cup.) They were always there if we had any questions about anything and are two amazing individuals who are an amazing part of the GVI team They were a main reason why our experience in South Africa was so life-changing and wonderful. GVI has impacted my future in many ways. the whole trip made me become more of a positive person, it made me realise that even on a bad day, there is ALWAYS going to be someone worse off, and seeing it first hand, has made me realise how true that saying is. It has made me stop thinking about all the negatives in my life and to start focusing on the positive and instead of counting what I don’t have, to start counting what I do. But most importantly it made me realise, that I am incredibly lucky to have a home, a decent government, a healthcare system that everyone has access to, an education, a family who love me and opportunities, I can go to college or university if I want, it’s my choice, and it’s a choice not many get and after this trip, I am so thankful to be privileged enough to have an option. GVI has shown me something that I don’t think I will ever forget. We received training before we left. We did a 12-week fitness programme to prepare for the sports, had culture training and had conflict resolution sessions with a mediator to help us deal with issues that may occur while on our trip. However, we also received training after we got there, the adults who we were with carried out risk assessments and went through what we would be doing during the days we were on project to make sure we knew what we would be doing and making sure we would be safe. My advice to someone who is thinking of joining a GVI programme, is to not be scared, worried or nervous. I was so nervous before going onto projects when I was on my trip, but then realized quickly that I had wasted time being scared. In my experience, the adults who work and volunteer for GVI are all so helpful and explain things so well. There really is nothing to worried about:)

Meg Smith

06 Mar, 2019
I travelled to Cape Town for the under 18s sports programme in 2018. GVI allowed me to travel alone to meet a whole new group of amazing volunteers - who I never would've met had it not been for this programme. The sports programme really allowed us to get into the school community in the township. Teaching kids who speak a different language and come from such a different life to us, really was incredible. Leading lessons to a group of people you have never met before really teaches you a lot about confidence (with yourself and also within a group) and just how once a football is in sight, all kids act the same regardless of their backgrounds, beliefs or nationality. The trip has certainly made me more grateful and really appreciate what I have at home. It was incredible to see how much the kids in the township really appreciate everything they have, however little this may be. The staff were amazing and really helped us to get the most out of our own experiences. This project has encouraged me to do more volunteering in the future, where I can also feel like I really have had an impact. I think anybody who is considering a trip with GVI should definitely go you will have an amazing time and learn a lot, about different cultures and also about yourself. I can't thank GVI enough for allowing me to experience volunteering like this at only 17.

Meg Smith

05 Mar, 2019
My name is Meg, I'm 17 and from Warwick, England. Last year I had the opportunity to visit Central America for a month and a very small part of that trip included volunteering. However, I did't fully feel that I had spent enough time there to really contribute very much with the volunteering aspects of that trip. So I decided that I would look at volunteering trips where I would be more involved with the communities and I would feel like I had actually contributed. I chose to come to South Africa because I have some South African in my family but I have never really looked into the culture or experienced the country fully. After my 2 week programme with GVI working at the primary school I feel like I have developed my confidence as an individual and learnt a lot more about myself and my future potential. I have learnt skills about sports coaching which I can take home to the sports groups that I work with on a regular basis. Travelling to another country on my own, to meet and work with a group of people I had never met before has given my reassurance that I do have the potential to be able to travel solo during a gap year. I have also decided that I would like to do some longer term volunteering in one location, which could possibly be back in South Africa, because even after 2 weeks it feels very rewarding that I have actually contributed. I had an amazing trip, thanks to everybody.

Kirsty Stewart

05 Mar, 2019
My names Kirsty Stewart. I’m 16 and from Aberdeen, Scotland. I came to South Africa as a part of my Dofe residential and also because I wanted to experience what was life was like in a community that was different to my own. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and it has made me realise the privileges that I received every day and take for granted. My project coordinators, Tilda and Charlotte, immediately made me feel welcome when we arrived and base and have continued to make us all feel comfortable. I was glad that they treated as if we were friends and made us all feel like a family when we sat down at the dinner table. Working with the children in the school surprised me as I believed before I arrived that they would all be miserable in the conditions they lived in but I was greeted with the complete opposite the children were more than happy and were passionate and excited to be doing sports. This experience has made me rethink going straight uni and to explore the opportunities I could possibly do instead.

George Goodwin

05 Mar, 2019
Hi my name is George and I am 17 years old. I have been on the under 18s program in South Africa. I have been working in the townships in Gordons Bay. I have experienced a lot whilst staying here and learnt a lot more about the children that grow up and go to school here. I have worked with the most amazing people and learnt a lot from them. Charlotte and Tilda have been fun and enjoyable people to be around have brought this group of volunteers closer than I would have ever imagined. The stay here has been amazing and I thank every participant that was here.

Yara Eltayeb

05 Mar, 2019
My name is Yara, I’m 17 years old, I’m coming from Northern Ireland and I chose to come to South Africa because I wanted to try something new this summer and I wanted to visit a different part of Africa to experience a new culture and I love working with children. It has been an amazing experience and I’ve learned so much from it. I have learned to be appreciative of all the opportunities I’ve had and the enthusiasm of the children has taught me that no matter what your circumstance is, your happiness is not defined by your state of living. Our coordinators Charlotte and Tilda have been so supportive throughout the whole trip and have helped me with every little problem I’ve had. I have loved every minute of this experience and I will hopefully come to South Africa again.

Jessica Cruttwell- Brown

05 Mar, 2019
My name is Jess and I’m fifteen years old. I live in Shrewsbury in the UK. I found GVI by looking through my Facebook timeline and seeing an advert for it . I have always been interested in volunteering and helping people and I want to work with children when I’m older, so when I saw the GVI under 18’s program in South Africa it was perfect for me . Before coming in the program I had in my head what I thought South Africa would be like. People have a bad misconception of but people have adapted to their circumstances for the better and made the best out of their situations. I would 100% recommend GVI to people I know as it has honestly changed my hole perception and I have changed and matured as a person . For anyone wondering on going on a GVI trip I would say go for it , it is so much fun living in a house with people who you don’t know and getting to know them and the leaders are young and very approachable , you honestly forget that they are leaders and they definitely become part of the group . By the end of the two weeks you honestly feel like a family and I’m so sad to be leaving . GVI has been a life changing experience for me and I will definitely be doing another one.

Isabelle Pisano

05 Mar, 2019
My name is Isabelle Pisano, I am 17 years old and grew up in California in the USA. My 2018 volunteer trip to South Africa was my second experience with GVI and just as influential as the first. I feel as if every trip to different places is entirely different depending on the area, the work, and of course the people that accompanying you on the trip. This trip gave me a new perspective on this foreign culture that I had yet to experience yet in my life, offering a new and improved version of what I already had pictured in my mind. I hope to keep doing these types of trips and continue on to be a coordinator or staff member in the future. Each experience has been completely different for me, both thoroughly appreciated and offered a multitude of opportunities for me to explore, and I can’t wait to experience what else I can do in the future.

Maya Gamble

05 Mar, 2019
My name is Maya I’m 17 years old and i am from England. I have decided to come to South Africa as I have always wanted to have an experience in volunteering here and explore a different culture. Seeing the children faces light up when doing sports activities was overwhelming and surprising as I have never seen this before. The children were always happy and had a sense of community within the township. The leaders were very supportive and always helped when you were struggling for ideas for teaching. From this experience, I have learnt that you should always appreciate what you have at home and the opportunities that are given to you and to always take them.

Malika Sumra

05 Mar, 2019
My name is Malika, I am 17 and I live in London. I was very excited to come to South Africa mainly because I have always wanted to work with children and because travelling the world and exploring different cultures are big interests of mine. Coming here was scary for me because I had never been to Africa or South Africa before and everyone was telling me how dangerous it would be and how the people were in poverty and I built up a picture in my head of how the people would act and the reality was so much different. The people in the township Nomzamo were so wonderful and sweet and they had this amazing sense of community, also some of the kids at the school were so intelligent and talented which I was not expecting. At first teaching was hard because I had no idea how to control the class, the boys I had were so energetic and overwhelming but after the first day I felt so much more comfortable. The kids had a great spirit and the lessons with them were so much fun because they got so excited for the lessons. I also enjoyed the extra activities, the Langa tour and the Cape point tour, these were an great experience to see the wildlife and the lives of the people in the townships. Charlotte and Tilda were great leaders and they really taught us how to lead the kids. I really enjoyed this trip and I hope to do this again.

Adam Chaabane

05 Mar, 2019
My name is Adam and I am 16, I originally came to volunteer in South Africa because I wanted to experience teaching and widen my views. Initially I believed that Africa was a far more impoverished place than it actually was and that crime rates and danger were far higher than I initially believed, however as the trip progressed I was able to fully witness the beauty of South Africa and came to realise the narrow mindedness of my beliefs, the children always laughing and smiling at the school, each day excited to learn and taking each opportunity with gusto. It was through these experiences that I learned the real story of Africa and the lives of the people in the townships. The trip itself was amazing and widened my views far wider than I had expected and I was faced with a refreshing standpoint on life in Africa. We in the group were also lucky enough to enjoy national women’s day at Nomzamo Park, which was an inspirational event that truly empowered the community and was a fun activity for the whole day. Truly, this was a wonderful trip.

Mary Wagland

05 Mar, 2019
My name is Mary Wagland and I am 17 years old. I am from England and I’ve always had the desire to travel, South Africa being high on my list so when I saw this programme I immediately signed up. I’ve had an incredible time seeing a new place and experiencing things that I otherwise wouldn’t have been involved in. This programme allowed me to go into a school within a township and teach sports and drama lessons to the children within the community. The children were highly receptive and surprisingly understanding despite the language barrier, often one child who could understand more English would translate what we were saying to the other kids. This was really helpful and we appreciated the help. Teaching the children despite the short length of time, felt worthwhile and meaningful. I feel like I made a difference regardless of the magnitude. Regardless to say I had an amazing trip and it has inspired me to return back to Africa for further volunteering.

Tess Hubbard

05 Mar, 2019
My name is Tess Hubbard and I decided to come to South Africa after a personal experience left me feeling down on myself. Upon arriving on my first day of project I immediately felt uplifted by the children’s energy. The house we all stayed at was so beautiful with an incredible view, Tilda and Charlotte were also more than kind during the trip. This experience was such a wonderful experience for me and I would love to do something like this again.

Indigo Pike

11 Oct, 2018
I believe that GVI has developed me as a person, making me think deeper about my passions, morals and future aspirations. As well as developing me internally I feel I have made a physical impact in the community by building a greenhouse for the local pre-primary. Seeing lasting impacts formed both emotionally and physically has given me a sense of drive and passion that I hope to carry with me always and into every aspect of my life. I am beyond thankful to GVI for giving me a challenging yet immensely rewarding experience that has changed my life and the people I have met. I hope that I will be able to return to a GVI project and continue to share in the positive work that this amazing NGO is doing.

Megan Hutchinson

11 Oct, 2018
My time with GVI has been absolutely incredible. This trip has not only altered my perspective of the world, but has helped me further understand myself and the goals I wish to achieve in the future. My experience with GVI has been shaped by happiness, kindness, laughter, and joy of not only myself but the people and communities that I worked with. Throughout my excruciatingly short two weeks with GVI in South Africa I have observed more small acts of kindness than I have seen in a year back home. I believe that the impact I have made throughout my time here is not only a physical construction but an emotional uplifter for the local community. I am so thankful to GVI for the amazing experience and I cannot wait to hopefully spend more time with this exceptional organization and their work across the rest of the world.

Kayley Williams

11 Oct, 2018
My time with GVI was amazing. I couldn't have asked to be apart of a better organisation as I spent the most interesting and educational two weeks helping a township community in Cape Town. I have experienced so much in such a short space of time and met so many amazing people along the way. Being apart of GVI has changed my perspective and allowed me to understand more about the great community I worked in. On project, GVI created a safe and friendly environment for both us volunteers and the children I worked with. Their child protection and ethical policy's stand out from other organisations and made my volunteering experience unique. I would recommend this experience to everyone and hope to return with GVI in the future.

Emily Opack

11 Sep, 2018
Their sense of fearlessness, persistence, confidence and ability to recover came from an amazing sense of community they created themselves at such an early age. This was something I hadn’t seen in any of my previous travels or experienced in primary school in Boston. Those kids are able to overcome obstacles by learning from each other. I can honestly say that they have inspired me to be fearless and persistent in everything I attempt

Sophie Craig

15 Aug, 2018
Hello, my name is Sophie Craig and I’m 16 and from Scotland. I was given the opportunity to volunteer with GVI with my local youth group in July 2018 in Cape Town and I had a truly amazing and humbling time. During the two weeks I volunteered, I worked with children in a summer sports program at ACJ primary school and did some construction work transforming some rooms into a sick bay and story room for the kids in a crèche. The idea to volunteer with GVI originally started in early 2017, after a youth group I attended was given a generous donation to go on a volunteering experience which we decided to use to come to Cape Town with GVI. We planned and carried out loads of fundraisers such as a quiz night, a race night and a 70’s night (which went down a treat with the Mamma Mia fans in our community, myself included!) in order to raise the money to come to South Africa and although it was exhausting it was totally worth it and I wouldn’t change a thing. There were so many reasons I wanted to come to South Africa and volunteer with GVI. Firstly, I just wanted to experience something new and to see a completely different way of life, something I definitely was able to do during my visit. I’m also quite passionate about global issues and felt as though GVI offered me the best opportunities to help make a difference – something which looking back I definitely think I have achieved. But I also wanted to come to South Africa because I thought it would be a fantastic experience and could help me suss out if I did in fact want to pursue a career in international development and by going on this trip it really set this career choice into stone for me and opened up countless opportunities and ideas for my future that I hadn’t even thought of! Throughout this trip I have had a truly fantastic time teaching and feel I have gained confidence not only in my ability to teach and to lead - but in myself and what my future holds. Before coming on this trip, I struggled with working in groups as sometimes I find it difficult to get myself involved, yet by working in teams so closely with my peers and GVI, I have learned skills which have helped me to improve my team working abilities. There were so many highlights during my Cape Town trip, but the best part of this trip was definitely teaching the children sports. Seeing their happy wee faces light up when we sang and taught them new things such as hand games was amazing. A highlight of this trip for me definitely was while teaching, a small girl ran up to me who had painted one of her nails silver to match mine, as it showed I had had an impact on her and she remembered me even after the day was over. It is something I don’t think I’ll ever forget. I also loved seeing the sights in South Africa and visiting the penguins in Betty’s Bay. I don’t think I would change anything about this trip, but I was definitely love to come again and do more volunteering. I am now looking at taking a gap year and volunteering with different projects with GVI in the near future and love the look of some of the international projects. This trip has definitely altered my perspective on things such as wealth and waste and made me way more grateful for what I do have, it really has been sensational. I truly am so grateful that I got the opportunity to go on it.

Caroline Anderson

25 Nov, 2013
This program has been amazing. I could not have asked for a better experience, from the kids at the school to the other volunteers and GVI staff, this experience is something I will never forget. I have made lasting friendships, not only with other volunteers but also with the kids at school. It is one thing to give the kids hope, but it is another to give them a future, and that is what GVI is giving them.