“When you let your own light shine, you unconsciously give others permission to do the same” ~ Nelson Mandela
Our approach to Volunteering Programs is one of co-investment and community involvement, where local communities and local organisations are also encouraged to commit time, energy and basic resources to the projects. Gap Year South Africa Volunteer Projects are ‘owned’ by local communities and local organisations and a stringent operational code of conduct is always adhered too. This encourages a two-way commitment and investment both from the local community and local organisation as well as the from the Volunteer and from Gap Year South Africa as a Volunteer Organisation. Our model avoids creating a mind-set of dependency but rather builds self-sustainability within under-resourced communities. The intended beneficiaries of our Volunteer Projects are people who have inherently been afforded very little exceptional opportunity. Working with local communities, we aim to empower underprivileged people with the essential life skills to become future values-based leaders of development in their own communities.
Who Volunteers and What are the Requirements?
There are no prerequisites to Volunteering with Gap Year South Africa, we only seek out compassionate individuals that are ready and willing to selflessly serve individuals and communities less fortunate than that of ourselves. If you are taking a year out between finishing school and starting University, or if you are unsure of what to study. Perhaps before committing to your studies, you would like to experience the industry by volunteering or travelling then taking a Gap Year is a good idea for you. If you are wanting to Volunteer abroad and looking for a Volunteer Program that not only offers meaningful volunteering Opportunities, but also the chance to have and adventure, explore a new Country and experience and exciting and beautiful city then we are the Gap Year Organisation that you are looking to volunteer with.
How does the Volunteer Program Work?
Over time Gap Year South Africa has invested into Charities, NGO’s and community initiatives and watched them grow and expand to reach their potential and become powerful resources in the community.
Gap Year South Africa places Volunteers into different charity organisations according to specific interests, skills or abilities that the volunteer would like to explore. If you are a potential volunteer then have a read through the Volunteering Opportunities that we have available to you, and feel free to contact us for more information on each volunteer organisation.
If you have a specific need, skill or interest that you would like to address in a Volunteer position that you do not see on this page, then please do contact us on our inquiry form and we will do our best to help you find an organisation or volunteer program that is the perfect fit. We are experts at finding the perfect Volunteer Program, ensuring that our Volunteers are always needed and our partners are satisfied with the passionate volunteers that we provide them with.
Our Primary Programs run regularly from Monday to Friday 09am-2pm and will take up the majority of your time. You will be required to commit to volunteering on at least one of our Primary Programs.
If you are a Volunteer that is interested in following a career in Sports coaching, sport psychology or physical education then this Volunteering Opportunity is great experience in the field. The Volunteer will be teaching physical education in under privileged community schools. This Volunteer Program works with an Organisation called “Good Sports” who are Integrating physical education into the government school curriculum to give each child a fair opportunity in life. Have a look at our Sports Coaching Program on the “Programs” page to find out more.
Sinathemba – School for disabled children
If you are a volunteer who is interested in following Teaching, Remedial, Occupational Therapy or even interested in being a pediatric specialist then this Volunteer Program would be perfect for you to learn what it takes. Gap Year South Africa partners with the Incredible School “Sinathmba” who are also an NGO and offer an outstanding service to the public and community members around Masiphumelele and Ocean View. Sinathemba go over and above what they are called to do, as they teach, take care of and even specially train children with severe mental and physical learning disabilities. Sinathemba work with Children who are born with Developmental disabilities including cerebral palsy, autism, and more. Sinathemba have created a schooling environment for these children as despite the childs immediate learning disability, Sinathemba believe that each child should have the opportunity to education, so the school teachers work through basic schooling curriculum with the children and patiently assist the children in learning basics from days of the week to seasons in the year. As the Volunteer your job will be to classroom assistant to the teachers and this volunteer job is not limited to just teaching, you will be assisting with taking care of the children physical needs such as helping with feeding, basic occupational therapy, and much more. This program is not just amazing experience to any volunteer but is really rewarding as you meet some of the bravest woman and children to walk this earth happily, bravely and with a fight for life that you will never see anywhere else. A truly heart warming program. Please send us an enquiry if you would like to Volunteer, Support Sinathemba or just find out more about the amazing Organisation.
Orphan Care Foundation – Miracle Kids
If you are specifically interested in volunteering with orphaned children then this volunteer program and the children are truly desperate for your love and affection. The Orphan Care Foundation are an amazing organisation that really does its absolute best to give each orphan the best opportunities at life. OCF support a number of small orphanages around Cape Town by distributing toys, cloths, food, household supplies, educational supplies and even schooling equipment. Gap Year South Africa places its Volunteers in Miracle Kids – which is an orphanage that is just desperate for helping hands, as many of the adorable children are dealing with unfortunate childhood experiences that are mentally and physically traumatic. As a Volunteer you would be required to give the children love, you will be the classroom assistant teacher, you would help promote discipline in the necessary boundaries that are in place – even though the orphanage is as close to a family environment as possible, the parental discipline and guidance is missing, often leading the children to misbehave. It is the volunteers duty to set good examples for the children, giving them great guidance and motivation to excel in all areas of their life. The pre-school is on the property and the volunteer will help as a classroom assistant, ensuring the children are participating, behaving and learning in school. After School the volunteer will be helping with feeding, taking care of the babies, as well as supervising all children at playtime. This volunteering role is great for a volunteer with a big-brave heart and is guaranteed to be rewarding.
The Masi-Educare Prep School
The Educare Center is a prep school based in Masiphumelele, and focus on Early Childhood Development Education and integrates Montessori teaching methods into the classroom. If you are interested in Studying teaching, child care, Montessori, or if your just fond of Children then this is the Volunteer Program for you. Your main role as the volunteer would be as classroom assistant which includes helping children to understand their work, supervising lunch, play and sleep time. The school is very inclusive of the Volunteer and often will be asked to offer input into the class work, prepare work sheets, games, songs and other activities. The volunteer is always encouraged to extend their own role by offering a specific skill such as music, arts, dance, photography or sports to this program, as there is an amazing platform from which to integrate your individual interests and skills. The school is always looking for volunteers who can assist with admin roles or implementing new sustainable structures like vegetable gardens etc. If you are not yet sure what you would like to Study or which program to choose then this volunteering opportunity is great fr you, as it is interactive, fun and open to exploring different skills. As a volunteer you will soon find something that your good at and that you will love.
These Volunteering Programs are less consistent and will be on one or two days a week, usually during after school hours. You are able to choose which Secondary Program you would like to Volunteer on.
Mentoring Teenaged Girls, living in Poverty stricken Communities, but dealing with ordinary issues that affect the youth on a global scale. This An intimate program that induces an understanding of the South African Culture and lends volunteers the opportunity to laugh, cry, build friendships, mentor and reflect one’s own situations.
Tears Animal Rescue:
Rescuing and caring for abandoned and abused animals. Tears is situated on the outskirts of the township and have their hands full as they fight for the lives and well being of animals that are just as affected by poverty as the people are, in fact the animals are sometimes worse off. You will go by and rescue animals as well feed them, nurse them and walk them. Forming intimate bonds with the animals and learning a huge deal about the social economic situation of the township.
After Care Club:
A brilliant initiative that focuses on a small group of children in the township, with the aim to further their education through an after school mentoring program. The Children get fed a healthy meal, and then have the opportunity to get homework tutoring or revise class work. The aim is to nurture the children’s education and give them a better chance of finishing school.
Thomas’s Football Club:
Thomas is a well-known and respected elder in the township who noticed a need for unity amongst the children. He discovered that a love for football was a language that all the children could speak so he started a team. He has invested two afternoons a week for the past 3 years, in bringing the children together and they have been successful in playing matches, organising practicing grounds and much more.
Westlake Kids Club:
A partner of the Orphan Care Foundation, this program runs every Friday and is planted in a hugely devastated and violent township which lies on the outskirts of Pollsmoor Prison. Kids Club provides a chance for the children to enjoy a healthy and fun environment where they are enriched with an educational Bible Message, participate in all types of arts, crafts, music and dance and are blessed with food at the end.
Soup Kitchen for the Homeless:
The homeless people who are debatable worse off than some of the people living in the townships as the homeless don’t have any shelter from the unpredictable and often cold weather of Cape Town. Gap Year South Africa started its own Soup Kitchen which is done out of the Gap House in Fish Hoek and aims to feed all of the homeless people in the Southern Peninsular. This program is actually a lot of fun as we all work together to prepare the food and enjoy interacting with the homeless as we learn from their stories and testimonials.
Communiversity Learn to Swim and Surf Program:
Many townships and poverty stricken communities are situated in close proximity to the ocean, and the vast majority of residence in these communities have never been afforded the opportunity to learn how to swim, which in a Coastal City, is a basic survival necessity. We have teamed up with community college called Communiversity to empower the youth to face their fear of water as they learn how to swim and introduce them to the joy of surfing with a 12 week program. This builds confidence and creates opportunity that they could have never even imagined.
|Type of project:||Community Development|
|Minimum duration:||5 Weeks|
|Maximum duration:||18 Weeks|
|Location:||Masiphumelele, Cape Town, South Africa|
|Airport:||Arrive and depart Cape Town International Airport. All transport to and from airport is provided by Gap Year South Africa.|
|Included:||Accommodation, with Wifi. Food (healthy balanced meals) Transport to and from programs. Cape Town exploration excursions. Volunteering Program materials and services.
|Excluded:||Flights, Travel insurance, spending money, any adventure activities that we do not provide.
|Laundry:||A washer and tumble-dryer are available in the volunteer house for volunteer usage.
|Accommodation:||The Gap House is located in the Beach Town called Fish Hoek, which is known as the safest suburb in South Africa. Fish Hoek is central to all the Southern Peninsula attractions such as Kalk bay, Cape Point and Simons Town. It’s a short 10 minute drive from both Muizenberg beach and your volunteering programs in Masiphumelele. The Gap House is safe and secure, all necessary security precautionary methods possible are implemented to ensure your safety at all times. This house has 3 bedrooms and caters for up to 14 people. Each room has private bathroom, and the Gap House has as communal kitchen, a lounge area and Dinning area.
The Gap house is nestled between mountains and has an outdoor area with a pool, front garden and braai area where volunteers can hang out and enjoy the view. Housekeeping provided to ensure
|Schedule:||You will participate on your Primary Program from 09-12 Monday – Friday, and your Secondary Programs will take place in your afternoons from 2-5pm. You will come back to the house for your lunch break. Weekends are free to relax, discover Cape Town and participate in planned excursion with your fellow volunteers.
|Menu:||Breakfast and Lunch are provided on a Self Catering basis. Dinner meals are home cooked and hearty, and cater for dietary requirements such as Vegetarian and specific allergies. Meals are well balanced including all essential food groups and designed to promote a healthy lifestyle
|Outings:||Every Second week we arrange an excursion to explore Cape Town. Please see our Adventures Page to see what an Included Excursion looks like.
5 Weeks – 2x Paid Excursions included.
8 Weeks – 4x Paid Excursions included.
12 Weeks – 6x Paid Excursions Included.
|Required:||To have an open mind and a heart for humanity as well as a respectful attitude towards the Culture.|
Hannah Huesman, USA – Community Development Program 2013
Has it really been a year since I landed in South Africa and began one of the most meaningful experiences of my life? They tell you to travel the world, they tell you it will open your eyes and be fun. But what they don’t tell you is that your life will change and you’ll blink and all of a sudden nothing is the same anymore. You’ll leave little bits and pieces of your soul in distant lands and your heart will have a constant dull ache for familiar faces separated by thousands of miles. I long to dip my toes in the cool waters of Kalk Bay, run through the streets of Masi and pick up these girls into a hug and let them critique my Xhosa. I long to jump rope on the playground and hold hands with my baby Evermore and kiss the faces of my students. I long to braid flowers in my hair and practice Sunday morning yoga and drink fresh juices from the vineyard. I long to jump and scream at the top of my lungs and tell everyone how much I miss these places and these people and how the presence of their souls has made me a better woman, a better friend, a better human. We love to glorify our work. We love to say how we made a difference. How we left our mark somewhere. It’s so easy to do. So so easy. We plunk down a couple thousand dollars and hop on a plane and step inside a school in some third world country and try to teach kids even though we don’t speak the same language and we blog about the differences we made and we feel special. It happens. I do it. It’s easy. But looking back I’m realising that though these experiences are constantly weighing on my heart, I left those places without a trace. Sort of like a spirit simply passing through. The South African dirt is still on my shoes, but my footprint was never really there. And that’s ok. Because what I’m really realising is that I never really went to help anyone, I went to help myself. And I am so gracious. So so gracious. And I look at the year that has passed and I realise that I am not the same person I was at this time last year, I’m not even the same person I was five minutes ago. Because my life is constantly filled to the brim with love and gratitude. And as long as I can wake up every morning and do what I love with people I love and walk through this world with dirt on my shoes and leave no footprints, I’ll be happy.
Lacey harper, USA – Community Development Program 2014
I had the most amazing 5 months of my life with Gap Year South Africa in 2014! I signed up for the volunteering project, which I loved, and I was able to mix and match between different projects as there as so many to choose from. Jess finds out what your interests are places you into the perfect project for you. Between lovely Jess, Martha, and Clive, your every need is looked after. I learned that GYSA, is about more than just volunteering and helping the community around you, it’s about finding yourself, learning what you’re capable of and stepping out of your comfort zone. This program is amazing I would tell everyone to just come and do it. Hope this helps with you decision!
Hannah Brown, Canada – Community Development Program 2015
Sinatemba School – I’d arrive at 9 every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday morning and stay until 12. While I’m here I’m working in the toddler room or in the baby room. Once the kids arrive we unpack their bags, get them settled and do the morning ring with them. Once the songs are finished we do an educational craft with the children, depending on their disabilities, some are doing more intellectual crafts while others are participating in something a little easier. The children then have snack time, outside play then lunch. Tutoring/Feeding program – From 2-4 children from Massi township come to this program, receive a hardy lunch prepared by the staff, and get help with their homework from school. We also have lots of educational games, books, and activities to do with the children to help them proceed with their English, letters, numbers, spelling, math and Khosa. Miracle Kids (safe house) – Miracle Kids is a safe house provided to give children a safe home to come to if the city have taken them away from their homes due to improper care from their parents or family members. They have a schoolhouse attached to the home where the kids spend their morning. I’m normally either in the school or with the babies. In total there’s 14 kids there now, although that number changes continually as children are being adopted and moving away while others are showing up on the doorstep. Kids Club – Kids Club is an amazing program every Friday afternoon from 2-3ish. The kids come gaining biblical knowledge, sing songs together, participate in games or a craft and then get a nice home made sandwich and a juice box to take home. Massi Girls Group – The Library in Massi township holds a girls mentoring program every Friday afternoon from 3:30-5. Girls can come here and talk to each other about issues going on in their own life as well as play some games, and just have fun…cause we all know… ♬ GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN! ♬ Feel free to check out my blog for stories, experiences and my adventure in South Africa at smilesinafrica.weebly.com
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