Children’s Day Care

South Africa

The project supports children from low income families by helping at short-staffed day care centres.

Volunteers assist staff at day care centres running fun and engaging sessions with the children to develop skills which will help them when the enter the school system. Despite the beautiful surroundings, the wine region surrounding Cape Town is plagued with high levels of unemployment and poverty. The Children’s Day Care project provides child care for farm workers so that families are able to earn a living and break the cycle of poverty.

The project is perfectly positioned to explore the vibrant city of Cape Town, the Garden Route and the Western Cape.

Volunteers are needed to provide care and education at this local community initiative.

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Key Info

key info
  • Location: Cape Town
  • Start dates: 1st and 15th of each month
  • Duration: 2 - 12 weeks
  • Age requirement: 18+ (groups also welcome)
  • Availability: Spaces available
  • Cost: From £895 / €1045 / $1145 - see fees table below

Project Information

Volunteer role: What will I be doing?

The day care centres we work with are located on working wine farms just outside of Cape Town. Despite the beautiful surroundings the region is plagued with high levels of unemployment and poverty. Historically many of the farm workers, living in townships close to farm, were not paid in cash wages but given wine instead. This led to alcohol abuse and has resulted in poverty, foetal alcohol syndrome and neglect which has given rise to the desperate needs of the children in the region.

Children are often neglected as parents are not able to provide sufficient care as they are exhausted from working long hours doing hard physical work on the farms. Children are left behind on the farms and rarely have the opportunity to develop even the most basic practical or social skills.

The Children’s Day Care project provides child care for farm workers so that families are able to seek well paid work and break the cycle of poverty.

Each day will differ but volunteer tasks include:

  • Reading to the children
  • Supervising and interacting during play time
  • Playing games
  • Helping with music and art activities
  • Providing one to one attention to specific children
  • Helping with feeding and clearing up during lunchtime
  • Supervising nap time
  • Helping with sports coaching
  • Assisting with adult education for the women in the community (when needed)

Working days and hours

Volunteers normally work 4 days per week, Monday to Thursday, with long weekends off. Volunteers start at 8am and finish at 2pm. On your days off there are a variety of free time activities for you to get involved in.

Other volunteers

There are usually 2-4 volunteers at each day care centre, but there may be up to 20 volunteers in total.

Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Award

This placement has been approved by the DofE as meeting the requirements for the Residential section of the Gold Award, including a minimum number of other participants.

Child and vulnerable adult protection

Pod is fully committed to safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of children and vulnerable adults - please see our Child and Vulnerable Adults Protection Policy.

All volunteers are required to have a criminal records check, which we will arrange with you.

Volunteer reviews

Read about volunteer experiences and challenges in our South Africa Children’s Day Care reviews.

Why are volunteers needed?

As the day care centres are often short-staffed, volunteers are able to provide the one to one attention that the children would otherwise not receive. Volunteers also offer an extra pair of hands to the organisation’s staff by assisting with feeding, clothing and playing with the children.

The centres provide an environment where the children are safe, supported, well cared for, given nutritious meals and learning opportunities. Volunteers and local staff can act as positive role models for many children who may not have this at home. The project also aims to teach and equip mothers who come to the centre with academic training and practical skills. Volunteers free up local staff to focus on helping the children’s parents.

Closure dates

Project closed from 15 Dec 2017 to 1 Jan 2018

Location, free time and accommodation

South Africa

South Africa is situated at the southern tip of Africa and ranges from desert to sub-tropical. With dramatic landscapes, amazing wildlife and a rich and diverse culture and interesting history, South Africa has something for everyone. Popular activities in South Africa include:

  • Spotting the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo) on safari
  • Travelling the Garden Route
  • Visiting Cape Town and sampling some of the local wines

To find out more, see the Lonely Planet South Africa.

Local area and free time

The project is based in the town of Somerset West which is approximately 40 minutes from Cape Town. Somerset West is situated between the Cape wine lands and one of the Western Cape’s longest stretches of beach. It combines landscapes of imposing mountains and views of the Indian Ocean, so it’s a beautiful place to be!

The town of Strand (where volunteers live) has beautiful long beaches and a promenade where volunteers often sit on the beachfront with an ice cream watching the world go by. The beach is great for surfing too and many volunteers will spend their afternoons sunbathing and catching waves.

You can use your long weekends to explore the Western Cape. Being so close to Cape Town means that you can take advantage of the sights and activities it has to offer such as Table Mountain, Robben Island, wine tasting and whale watching. The historic town of Stellenbosch is only 25 minutes away and has an array of cafes, pubs and wildlife attractions.

Accommodation

Volunteer apartments are fully furnished and have all modern conveniences and WIFI. You may be expected to share a room with 1-2 other volunteers and bathrooms are also shared.

Read volunteer reviews from the Children's Day Care project

Jessie

“This volunteer project of working at the day care center in Cape Town, South Africa was amazing. I loved the people I worked with and the kids were absolutely adorable. I gained a rapport with them all so quickly. I felt I was free to help when and where needed and at the same time was given direction on what was needed to be done. There was a good balance.

The second I walked in the door in the morning I was greeted with all the kids screaming, “hello” and when I was leaving and they were actually supposed to be in nap time, would all scream, “goodbye.” I would highly suggest anyone who wants to volunteer not only to do it but also to do it with this company POD. This was my second year volunteering for them and both times was perfect!”

Kathryn

“My experience working in South Africa was fantastic. I was slightly unsure about doing volunteering as I am slightly older than the average but would recommend it to anyone. I loved working at the crèche - the kids were so cheerful and welcoming. You felt you were really making a contribution. There was also plenty of opportunity to explore the area and make some memories.

Most rewarding was being asked to read one of the books I had brought to the kids. Just relax and enjoy it. Don’t worry about anything - you’ve got the support of a great company who can help you with anything. It is such a rewarding experience. You’ve feel so proud of yourself afterwards.”

Caroline

“The staff at the project were friendly and obviously enjoyed having the volunteers there as I was made to feel very welcome. The children were a delight-always friendly and so appreciative of anything that was done for them. It helps to give us a perspective about what is important in our lives whilst doing something that is immensely rewarding. I loved my stay at the project and would love to return.

The routine was very well structured which meant that we knew exactly what we had to do each day. We just helped the children with all the things that they did in the centre. Each day I helped with feeding, playing, schoolwork and anything else I could do to be useful. Most rewarding was the work with the children and their appreciation of all that was done for them.”

Lacey

“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to take part in such an amazing experience! I had a brilliant time! Seeing the children’s face light up when you walk in is something special that will stay with me forever! I’m 18 years old and was a bit wary about going to South Africa on my own! I can honestly say I had the most amazing time!

The sense of achievement the project brings, and the smile on the children’s face when they see you is something I can cherish for the rest of my life! It helped me to grow up and very much influenced my career path! The sense of achievement when the children come and hug you or when you teach them a new word and they remember it. Brilliant!”

Read more reviews

What's Included?

Before you go:

  • Carefully selected and vetted volunteer project
  • Support from our friendly and highly experienced Pod UK team
  • Single point of contact - Ellie is your dedicated Pod Volunteer Specialist
  • In-depth volunteering and planning your trip guides
  • Travel information - visa, health and safety advice
  • Help arranging criminal record checks
  • Access to specialist travel insurance at exclusive rates
  • Recommended travel agency for flights and tours
  • Access to special deals and resources
  • Fundraising guide and support
  • Financial protection for monies paid to Pod

On your placement:

  • Child care volunteering placement
  • Airport pick up (Cape Town) and return transfers
  • Accommodation - a shared room
  • Food - breakfast
  • Daily travel to the project site
  • Induction
  • Tour of Cape Town
  • Support from local team
  • Support from Pod UK office by phone and email
  • 24/7 emergency back up
  • Incident Management and Emergency Response Plans

On your return:

  • Contact from your Pod Volunteer Specialist
  • Feedback scheme
  • Volunteering certificate (on request)
  • References (on request)
  • Member of the Pod community

Not included: Flights, travel insurance, visa (if required), criminal records check, food (lunch and dinner). Budgeting guidance is provided in our Volunteering Guide which we will email you when you apply.

Pod Volunteer is run as a non-profit organisation. Fee levels are set to match costs and any surplus monies are distributed to the projects we work with via the Pod Charity.
Price table
2 weeks £895 GB Pounds
Each additional 2 weeks £230 GB Pounds
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Fees in currencies other than GBP are indicative only and volunteers are invoiced in GBP. For current exchange rates please see www.xe.com

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children provided with education and support

"It was an amazing experience that will stay with me forever! Pod Volunteer provided the ideal amount of support and guidance"Satvinder

Ellie

Pod UK Specialist

Ellie has visited the project, apply and you'll hear from her soon!

We look forward to receiving your application! There is no commitment by applying and we will send more information.

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VOLUNTEER REVIEWS

  • South Africa Children’s Day Care volunteer – Beth

    “It’s a great experience and you come back with memories that you will never forget. Seeing the kids’ faces light up when you walk in is an amazing feeling. Having the weekends off meant I had time to explore Cape Town.”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • South Africa Children’s Day Care volunteer – Mackenzie

    “Volunteering was an amazing and life changing experience. It was an awesome experience and I would definitely recommend It if you are considering going. Working with the children was very rewarding”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • South Africa Children’s Day Care volunteer – Rachel

    “This trip to South Africa has been a life changing experience. I did so many things I never thought I would do. I also met friends that I will have for life. Truly a once in a lifetime experience!”

    Read more volunteer reviews

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AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal