Volunteer Teaching in South Africa

Gain practical experience while teaching one-to-one literacy and numeracy classes to children from the local South African community.

Durations:  1 - 12 weeks

Program information

Teach primary school children from under-resourced local township schools while participating on this program. You will be providing assistance via dedicated one-on-one sessions, assessing student abilities and boosting confidence levels in order for them to develop their potential and ability to further their education.

undefined 31 May 2022

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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Isla O’Neill

11 Oct, 2018
I took part in GVI Cape Town. I started seriously considering volunteering in early 2017, when our youth group received funding from a charity which meant we could volunteer abroad. After looking at lots of opportunities, we decided Cape Town was for us and it was time to start fundraising. We had workshops with a local artist to design our logo and make t-shirts, and we set up lots of different events to raise money - from a 70s night to a sponsored hill climb. After a year and a half of fundraising, we finally got to go on the trip of a lifetime. I've had a wonderful time in South Africa, teaching sports and doing construction. Our team has gelled so well and it's been brilliant to see everybody's strengths in action. Jack Allison and Charlotte Goodwin, our coordinators, were fantastic and really added to my enjoyment of the project. I've loved spending time with the children teaching sports in the township - I didn't think I could teach sports before I came here, but I really enjoyed my time on project and feel I've learnt and grown. During construction, I've loved watching rooms being transformed into bright, colourful spaces with fresh paint, murals, and refurbished furniture. It feels great knowing I took part in such an amazing project, and managed to make a difference in the community as well as leaving something permanent behind. Overall, my time in Cape Town has taught me so much about myself and has allowed me to take part in activities I never thought I was capable of. I've loved working in the community and making a change, and I've had so much fun along the way. I'd thoroughly recommend GVI Cape Town, and I'd love to go on another GVI programme and help even more!

Ceri Russell

11 Oct, 2018
When I first applied for the volunteer teaching program in South Africa, I had no expectations. All I knew was that I wanted to experience a different culture and that I wanted to work with children. I am a qualified primary teacher in England and thought this would be good experience. ‘Good’ was a complete understatement. My two weeks in Gordons Bay, despite being such a short time, was truly life changing. If any teacher thinks they are confident or have even mastered behaviour management, this would test the best of you! I gave it a good go and left some techniques for the staff over there to develop. The funny thing is, the behaviour I experienced was just different to what I was used to. The children are just so eager to learn and to simply be with you that it can be so overwhelming. They have people in their lives changing every two weeks so consistency is difficult to maintain, plus the language barrier is a challenge. However, the rewards were indescribably amazing, from watching the children learn to them hugging you and shouting with excitement ‘teacher teacher’ on our arrival. The children truly touch your heart in such a short time. GVI have made such an impact already, supporting the community and the school. It was hard for me to understand at first why we couldn’t just make conditions better for them, but the idea is to help develop and support rather than take over. The children benefit from GVI volunteers simply being there. The lesson planning and assessments that are being developed are just a couple of things that are the result of committed volunteers determined to make a difference and it was such an honour to be a part of that. The people there become your family. The weekends ‘our family’ ventured into Cape Town ticked off a few things on my bucket list; safaris, hiking mountains, paragliding. Things I never planned to do when I was there, but when you’re in such an amazing country you just have to say ‘yes!’

Suji Sogbesan

11 Oct, 2018
Prior to volunteering for GVI I was a PhD student and a volunteer at a local nursing home. I worked at ACJ Parkade school in Cape town teaching in the classing room and on the sports field. I heard about GVI through doing my own research online of volunteering organisations, they seemed to be a bit more expensive but the website, videos of past volunteers and conversation with GVI representative gave me confidence that I would enjoy this. I only planned to take part in sports coaching but ended up doing bits of everything including Grade R. My average day involved waking up around 8am, having breakfast and being picked up to go to the projects at 8.40. Classes started at 9.10 and lasted an hour which which always went by so quickly. Some afternoons I got involved with the afterschool projects, others were spent playing football in the school compounds with the kids or watching the school football matches at the field. We left work at around 3.30 and rested till 5 before preparing dinner and having social activities with the other volunteers till bedtime! The main highlights were being on the field with the kids, seeing them finally understand maths topics and dancing around with them. My most interesting discovery was that the projects were set up to make a lasting difference whilst allowing individuals to flourish in their own talents. The biggest challenge was learning to communicate in basic English with the kids, as well as learning when to be firm as teachers rather than friends. The aspect I enjoyed the most were the socials (weekday evenings /cape town weekend) and seeing my actions leaving a smile on the faces of the pupils. If you are reading this and thinking about going I would say "Go for it! You have nothing to lose and so much to gain; at the vert least you will get a pretty good holiday out of it.

Taylor Vance

11 Oct, 2018
My name is Taylor Vance and I am currently studying Art Therapy at the University of Minnesota, Morris. I chose to come to South Africa to do an Internship as part of my studies. I wanted to broaden my experiences and work with children in a different culture than I am used to. My experiences here have exceeded my expectations. I have had a chance to work with the children at the Grade R project. I had the opportunity to do a range of Art activities with the children and it was rewarding to see them express themselves through painting and other art activities. As part of my leadership activities, I ran a workshop for the other volunteers on ideas for Art lessons, presented an information session to staff, and organised a “Colour Day” at the school. It was a great experience. I feel this experience has helped me gain a better understanding of how Art Therapy can help children from a range of backgrounds and experiences. I have also learnt a lot from the other volunteers. In all it has been an extremely valuable experience. I look forward to continuing my studies once I return home.

Jack Allison

11 Sep, 2018
I’m a passionate advocate for change and a strong believer in the idea that ‘it’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness’. I wanted an opportunity to make a difference and a chance to join global efforts to make the world a slightly brighter place instead of merely criticising it; GVI enabled me to do precisely that. After volunteering with GVI in Thailand on the Under 18’s programme in 2015, I gained a deep passion for making a difference and discovered the benefits of volunteering; both the positive effects it has on the local communities you are actively supporting, but also within myself. I could not wait to join another project with the organisation and when the prospect of attending the Alumni Exclusive Trip to Cape Town came up, I jumped at the offer. I spent one week volunteering with children at Ikhayalethemba and undoubtedly, it was the most superb, humbling and awe-inspiring seven days I have experienced in my life. The children, staff and fellow volunteers were brilliant and the memories I created and shared with those wonderful people will always remain close to my heart. Whether I was teaching the alphabet, reading ‘Biff and Chip’ to the children, completing some arts and crafts or playing a game of tag rugby, the children constantly left me with a smile on my face and an aching stomach from an extensive amount of laughter. Staff and volunteers on the project were from all over the world, with different faiths, ages, genders and backgrounds. Despite all these differences, we were all in the same place at the same time with the same aim: To make a difference; for me, that was astonishingly powerful. You go on these projects with an idea of changing lives in mind; you do not realise that your life changes in the process.

Alana Lacey

18 Mar, 2014
Volunteering and living in South Africa far exceeded any of my expectations. I fell in love with the school, the people, and the country so quickly. It has been an experience that compares to nothing I could have ever gotten in a westernized country. I saw and experienced a simplistic way of life that has affected me and helped me grow as a person. The experience of being with the children has been unforgettable. This project left me with so many little moments and memories that I’ll forever hold dear in my heart.