Volunteer teaching opportunities in South Africa exist across the age spectrum and extend far beyond the classroom. Education needs in historically disadvantaged communities range from pre-school tots needing developmental stimulation and job-seekers needing to learn conversational English, to old age pensioners for whom literacy is a long-awaited gift.

Did you know?

The largest numbers of illiterate people are found in KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, and the Eastern Cape.

Volunteer teaching is one of the most popular forms of voluntourism worldwide.

The Bulungula Incubator (BI) is a NGO non-profit community development project along the Eastern Cape Wild Coast. In this rural location, remoteness, poverty, and illiteracy have severely affected the children of Nquileni villages’ early learning opportunities. Ensuring access to quality education for pre-school children aged three to six years is the main priority of the Jujurha Early Learning Centre, which includes after school care, a library and primary school learner interventions. Volunteer teacher opportunities at BI are on a needs basis determined by the local community. For this reason, and because you’ll be working within a vulnerable community and with small children, applicants are pre-skills matched, screened thoroughly, and long-term volunteers are preferred.

In Port Elizabeth, retired schoolteachers can volunteer to teach as part of Calabash Tour’s education volunteer programme. Calabash’s Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa (FTTSA) accredited programme focuses on the structured transfer of skills, to build local teaching capacity within the community. Calabash Tours has used their volunteer programme to develop travel philanthropy models, in conjunction with the Calabash Trust. The result has been the development of school libraries, nutrition support in schools and pre-schools, and educational resources for schools.

Volunteer Africa 32° South’s (VA32) volunteer programme works with six peri-urban schools in the Cintsa area of the Eastern Cape. They build networked IT labs and facilitate computer literacy for students, helping them gain vital hands-on computer skills. The goal of the FTTSA accredited programme is to develop information technology infrastructure and resources in the schools, and build skills-capacity among the teachers. Volunteers need only basic computer literacy (an educational background is preferred), as you’ll work fully supervised by postgraduate students from Nuremberg University, teaching the children computer skills. VA32 also collaborates with an Eco-schools programme that teaches learners environmental awareness via computer applications.

Teaching English reading, writing and conversational English, as well as basic adult literacy and numeracy are other educational volunteerism options.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Volunteer Africa 32 South
Tel: +27 (0)43 738 5523
Cell: +27 (0)82 269 6421

Voluntours
Tel: +27 (0)82 416 6066
Email: info@voluntourssouthafrica.com.

Calabash Tours
Tel: +27 (0)41 585 6162
Email: paul@calabash.co.za

Chennells Volunteer Projects
Tel: +27 (0)35 474 2298
Email: richard@chennellsvolunteerprojects.com

Bulungula Incubator
Tel: +27 (0)47 577 8908
Email: rejane@bulungulaincubator.com

How to get here

Most organisations will organise transfers from the closest airports.

Best time to visit

Educational voluntours may be subject to South African school and university terms. Check with the individual tour operator.

Length of stay

Calabash Tours and Volunteer Africa 32 South require minimum one month stay. Due to the remoteness of their location and the basic living conditions, Bulungula prefers volunteers to stay from three months to one year.

What to pack

The volunteer organisations will advise you on what you should bring along.

Where to stay

Accommodation is generally organised for volunteers.