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VVolunteer teaching is one of the most popular forms of ‘voluntourism’ worldwide, and if that sparks your interest, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to volunteer in education on a trip to South Africa.
The Bulungula Incubator (BI) is a non-profit community development NGO running a project on the Wild Coast of Eastern Cape province. In this rural location, remoteness, poverty, and illiteracy have severely affected the early learning opportunities of the children of Nquileni village.
Ensuring access to quality education for pre-school children aged 3 to 6 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 and 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.
The Volunteer Africa 32° South (VA32) volunteer programme works with 6 peri-urban schools in the Chintsa area of 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.
In KwaZulu-Natal, Chennells Volunteer Projects supports schools, orphanages, creches, feeding schemes and skills centres in Eshowe and the surrounding rural areas, and has a variety of roles for volunteers to fill.
Teaching English reading, writing and conversational English, as well as basic adult literacy and numeracy are other educational options that will be welcome in many parts of South Africa, if you’re considering volunteering.
TTravel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0)41 585 6162
Volunteer Africa 32⁰ South
Tel: +27 (0)82 327 3944
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 a minimum 1-month stay. Due to the remoteness of their location and the basic living conditions, Bulungula prefers volunteers to stay from 3 months to 1 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.