Community Work with Orphans in South Africa
Due to lack of government funding, the burden of maintaining community centres caring for preschool children from disadvantaged communities in South Africa, tends to fall on willing volunteers. Therefore, many locals and volunteers are overstretched and overworked. However, this placement will give you the chance to help a number of local community workers and make a significant difference to the level of care offered to South African children.
Your Care Work Volunteer Placement
This community work placement is based at participating care centres in Port Elizabeth (Nelson Mandela Bay). Most of the centres are in desperate need of volunteer support, as they are situated in disadvantaged communities where parents are unable to contribute financially, or otherwise, to preschool care. Orphaned children often live in child-headed households or with grandparents, who battle to look after their most basic needs, such as providing daily meals.
Because of this situation in South Africa, 18% of children who start formal schooling must repeat their first grade due to being inadequately trained at preschool level. Starting off their schooling career from such a disadvantaged position, perpetuates the circle of poverty and makes it much more challenging to change the children’s lives during their formal schooling years without the base of adequate care, love and encouragement during their forming years.
The community centres where you will volunteer your services, fill an important gap and deliver essential services to the communities of Port Elizabeth by providing pre-school education, care and a meal for the children who attend the preschools and creches.
Your Care Work Role
You will be placed at the community centres for a minimum of 5 hours per day, 5 days a week, primarily working with children between the ages of 2 to 6 years assisting with general classroom activities. Your role will involve looking after the general welfare of the children, helping with meal times and meal preparation, assisting staff with educational activities – including lesson planning and teaching.
You will work alongside local staff and should be prepared for the unexpected and a sense of creativity and the ability to improvise when things don’t go according to plan will go a long way. This is a challenging placement and you will be expected to be proactive in how you approach the available resources at the centres.
Your love and attention can make a huge difference to the children you meet and whether it’s through teaching English, playing games or simply listening to them talk about their families and the heartfelt hugs and smiles you will receive in return are unforgettable.
Many of the children you will be working with at the centres speak the local languages, Xhosa and Afrikaans, and the staff are proficient in the indigenous languages, as well as English. You will almost certainly learn bits and pieces of both African languages during your stay in Port Elizabeth and you are sure to leave having made some extremely close friends and having had a truly eye-opening experience.
CRB/DBS (Criminal Records Bureau) Check
It is advised that participants complete a CRB/DBS (Criminal Records Bureau) check in order to take part in this project. We can provide this service for you at an additional cost because some people may already have one that is valid (please get in touch for more details).
Optional Teaching in South Africa
In addition to your main placement, you will have the opportunity to teach classes, or assist in teaching classes, within schools based in Port Elizabeth. With a western education, you will be able to contribute massively to the standard of tuition that the students receive. Subject areas include English (language and literature), maths, science, journalism, business, IT, RE and a whole variety of extra-curricular activities.
Gap Year Care Work in South Africa
A gap year care work project in South Africa during your gap year is the perfect way to enjoy gap year travel while giving something back through a gap year volunteer project. Our care work project will provide fantastic gap year opportunities, unforgettable gap year memories, close friendships, and the gap year experience of your life.