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Volunteer work includes childcare at local pre-school or crèches, childrens homes, or day care centres. There is also the opportunity to work as teacher assistant at a primary and secondary schools in the Venda region. Volunteers may work in settings such as day care centres or "places of safety" in the community.
The town's Children's Home and certain foster home situations are referred to locally as "places of safety". As a volunteer, you can help by working with children ages 2-6, helping with general caretaking like handing out porridge and brushing teeth, teaching English, reading, writing and pronunciation. Simple mathematics and counting, body hygiene, crafts and educational games for younger children may be available as well. Volunteers will be able to use this time to display their mentoring experience, and motivate the students toward a positive future.
Volunteers with varying skills will be able to help in areas of academic and skill development through mentoring and tutoring activities. Currently there are schools in South Africa that struggle to meet their achievement goals, achieve specific skill sets, and motivate young people. There are many factors contributing to this challenge from high student to teacher ratio, lack of resources, and most important history. Volunteers can assists teachers in core subjects, such as English, mathematics, life skills, and science. The subjects will be relative to each school's needs; however the greatest need is typically in mathematics and science. There will be additional opportunities for tutoring, career development, and organizing extracurricular activities for students.
The school in Soweto caters to needy learners coming from poor communities. Volunteers must be prepared to either assist a local teacher or teach in classroom by themselves. Classes usually comprises of 40 students. Volunteers with varying skills will be able to help in areas of academic and skill development through mentoring and tutoring activities.
No teaching qualification is required, but experience in subject areas like English, Math, Health, Hygiene and Science. Volunteers are particularly encouraged to initiate extra curricular activities.
South Africa comprises the southernmost tip of Africa. It shares it's borders with Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Swaziland, with the southern coast bordering 2 different oceans. Further, in the interior of the country lies the Free State of Lesotho, encircled entirely by South Africa.
In terms of size, South Africa is one-eighth the size of the US, twice the size of France and over three times the size of Germany.
South Africa is a country rich in natural resources such as gold, coal, platinum and copper.
South Africa's unparalleled scenic, wildlife, cultural and historic attraction has made it a very popular tourist destination. Tourism contributes over R25-billion to the economy (8.2% of GDP).
About a quarter of the population is unemployed, and lives on less than US $1.25 a day. Development is significantly localised around four areas: Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban, and Pretoria/Johannesburg. Beyond these four economic centres, development is marginal and poverty is still prevalent despite government efforts.
Volunteers provide greatly needed assistance in the social and academic development of young people in Soweto and Venda, South Africa.
As a volunteer in South Africa you can provide love, affection, education and support to disadvantaged children. You will help to improve education in schools ensuring children learn and flourish. You and also provide education, inter-cultural exchange and understanding in South African communities.
If you're looking for diversity, South Africa's hard to beat. If landscapes are your thing there’s the deserted Kalahari, Namakwa’s springtime wildflowers and the phenomenal Table Mountain.
No visit would be complete without a trip to Kruger National Park to join a safari where if you're lucky you could spot the Big Five. For something a little more cosmopolitan, try the nightclubs of Cape Town, a curry in Durban’s Indian Area, or dig in at a braai, a traditional South African barbecue!
If your application is successful you will accepted and we will then get to work organizing your placement. You don't have to pay us anything at this stage. (We are the only volunteer organization which begins preparation for your placement before any funds are paid). It is an honor for us to do this as you have chosen GVN and the communities we serve for your volunteer work and after you have chosen to "Join Us" we will send further detail on your placement with information on how to prepare for your trip abroad, including:
Placements longer than 8 weeks are available, please contact us or apply online for details.
*Based on an 8 week placement
Flights, insurance, visas, vaccinations, transport to projects, departure from the program.
We recommend you allow a weekly budget of up to US$ 40 for your other expenses like bottled water, personal items, beverages, and entertainment.
Apply now for the South Africa (Youth) Program:
Start Date: 1st and 3rd Friday of each month
Length: From 2 weeks – 6 months
The childcare program runs year round with limited placements during the December holiday.
The Teaching program in Venda and Soweto are also closed during school holidays which is towards the end of March to mid April, mid June to mid July, end of September, and December/early January.
There are winter school placements available in Venda during June/July. School holidays change slightly each year.
Placements in Soweto program are no longer than 2 months. For longer volunteer durations please consider the Venda program.
We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions which we receive at the GVN inbox. This is a great place to start if you have questions about Global Volunteer Network and our placement process. This information should answer the majority of questions you may have.
As its name suggests, South Africa is the most southern country on the African continent. It is bordered by Namibia to the north west, Botswana and Zimbabwe to the north, and Mozambique to the north east. South Africa is roughly 5 times the size of Britain, and covers 1.2 million sq km. South Africa was isolated politically and economically for a long period of time, as other countries protested against their racial discrimination known as apartheid (apartness). That era ended in 1994 when the ANC (African National Congress) was elected to power, led by Nelson Mandela. Pressure from ANC, other black political organizations, and the international community forced an apartheid government to pass a referendum in 1992, for everyone to vote in free and fair election.
In South Africa, the seasons are predominately summer and winter. The autumn and spring seasons are very fleeting. Finding itself at South Africa’s northernmost area and bisected by the tropic of Capricorn, visitors to Limpopo can expect sunshine, long summer afternoons, and dry days for most of their stay. Summer (October to March) in the Limpopo province can reach 30°C -35°C during the day. The winter is dry and very pleasant. Although the temperature can fall below 5°C at night, the days can present clear blue skies and temperatures in the low 20s.
Teaching Assistance/Tutoring in Soweto and Venda: Volunteers with varying skills will be able to help in areas of academic and skill development through mentoring and tutoring activities. Assist with teaching at preschool, primary or secondary level. At primary and secondary levels, volunteer teaching assistants can help teach core subjects, such as English, mathematics, life skills, health and hygiene, and science. The subjects will be relative to each school’s needs, however the greatest need is typically in mathematics and science, particularly at the secondary school level. There will be additional opportunities for tutoring, career development, and organizing extracurricular activities for students. At the preschool level volunteers will teach basic English skills and carry out basic childcare duties. A teaching qualification is not required but volunteers need to be confident in the above subjects and preferably have, or are studying towards a university degree.
Childcare in Venda: Volunteers may work in settings such as day care centres or "places of safety" in the community. The town’s Children’s Home and certain foster home situations are referred to locally as "places of safety". As a volunteer, you can help by working with children ages 2-6, helping with general caretaking like handing out porridge and brushing teeth, teaching English, reading, writing, and pronunciation. In addition, simple mathematics and counting, body hygiene, crafts, and educational games for younger children may be available as well. Volunteers will be able to use this time to display their mentoring experience, and motivate the students toward a positive future.
No. There is an orientation process when you first arrive to help you adjust to your new surroundings, determine a schedule, and answer your questions, supervision and general guidance are provided throughout your placement. Volunteers are however expected to be confident in carrying out their program activities without further training.
Volunteers in the Soweto project will stay with a local family in Soweto. Accommodation facilities are more western, basic bedding and 3 meals a day are provided. Volunteers in the Venda project will stay with local Venda families in Thohoyandou town area and surrounding villages. The accommodation facilities are basic, typically with electricity, pit toilets, and bucket showers being the norm. Basic bedding and 3 meals per day are provided. Thohoyandou Mall in town has an internet shop approximately $2 per 30 minutes.
No, we can take volunteers from all over the world. Participants have come from Australia, the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, and parts of Europe. Everyone is welcome.
The program runs year-round. Volunteers should arrive on the first or third Thursday of each month for the Soweto program and the first or third Friday of each month for the Venda program, preferably in the evenings. Placements run between 2 weeks and 6 months according to your preference and program availability.
DTP (Diptheria, tetanus and polio): Essential
Yellow Fever: Required if travelling from an infected area
Hepatitis A and B: Recommended
Rabies: Not Required
Malaria is endemic in the lowveld of Mpumalanga and Limpopo, and on the Maputaland coast of KwaZulu-Natal. Kruger National Park, a very popular destination, is within a malaria area. We strongly urge you to visit your GP or travel medicine specialist. If you intend traveling beyond South Africa, you must consult additional, reliable sources.
Absolutely. The project is well positioned for trips to local scenic sites and Kruger National Park less than an hour away. An optional weekend excursion will be organized by our partner organization if there is enough interest. Pilanesberg National Park, Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), Mozambique, Durban, and Swaziland are other examples of destinations volunteers have visited in the past.
The in-country fee covers all the necessities - food, accommodation, airport pickup, and so forth. You will need to have additional money for bottled water, internet, extra food, additional traveling, tourist activities, for days off, airport departure tax, and any personal shopping you may do.
South Africa, particularly Johannesburg, has a high crime rate and a very poor image when it comes to the issue of personal safety. You will be staying in rural South Africa which is quite a close-knit community, volunteers are still asked not to walk around at night. When you are outside the area, we will advise you on where it is safe to travel and stay. Most volunteers will be accommodated in a home stay situation. The host families have all been carefully selected to provide you with a safe family environment and an insight into Venda life. As in many countries, foreigners are perceived as wealthy in South Africa. Although the people are generally warm and friendly towards foreigners, as well as appreciative of the work done by volunteers, not every individual is the same. We work extremely hard to ensure you are placed in safe environments while volunteering and security policies are in place to achieve this. However, as in any situation at home or abroad, there is no way to erase all potential threats.
Volunteers are encouraged to wear comfortable but tidy attire. It can be very hot at certain times of the year, however covering up is important not only for protection from the sun and insects, but also to show respect to your local co-workers and members of the community. For women this means long pants, skirts, and dresses. For men, this means long pants, or even nice knee-length shorts if necessary. If you are working with very young children, keep in mind that your clothes may get extra dirty as the greatest fun for children is making a mess!
Our partner is a South African based organisation aimed at establishing educational, cross-cultural, and service delivery projects in areas of Africa. Through its projects, our partner asserts its active commitment to youth development, improved education opportunities, and skills development for young people. Their education initiatives (volunteer program and career fair) seek to work in partnership with Vhembe District to create an enabling environment and communities which are supportive of youth and present positive role models.
Each GVN program has different criteria depending on our partner's requirements. Every application is reviewed to ensure that the minimum requirements (as set out on the program page) are met. Next we look to see what skills or experience you have that relate specifically to the program. We are also interested in any previous volunteer experience you may have (either local or international), travel experience, and your particular interest in the program.
After reviewing your application, should we require any further information from you, we will email you to request this.
All GVN Volunteers must have insurance. You are free to take out insurance cover through any provider of your choice. However, as some policies do not cover volunteering, we recommend you check you are covered during your volunteer placement.
For your convenience we have arranged a comprehensive package specially designed for volunteering. It includes excellent medical and accident coverage as well as “loss of deposits” cover which covers fees paid to GVN, airlines etc. If you would like to learn more just follow this link: http://www.globalvolunteernetwork.org/insurance/
Your program fee is payable to Global Volunteer Network 10 weeks prior to the 1st of the month you wish to volunteer. Please note, your placement is not confirmed (ie secured) until your program fee has been received. Please note that all charges incurred by the payment of the program fee are at the volunteer’s expense, e.g. if a bank transfer incurs a bank fee at the point of origin, that is at the expense of the volunteer. Seventy percent (70%) of the program fee is refundable until two calendar months before the 1st of the month you are due to begin your program. For example a volunteer with 15 July 2012 as their start date would need to submit their refund request form by the last day of April 2012 to be eligible for a refund. Refer to GVN's legal terms of service for full details.
Yes, all volunteers in this program will be required to provide a police clearance document. This is because volunteers will be working closely with children and other vulnerable individuals. To obtain a police clearance you will need to contact your local police station to find out what their procedure is. Normally, you will be asked to complete an application form authorizing the check to be done, pay a fee and a few weeks later the check will arrive in the mail. A copy of your police clearance will need to be sent to GVN before your placement begins and you will need to take the original with you when you volunteer.
Monday, March 14th, 2011
I wanted to share some of my emotions that I am feeling as this experience gets closer and closer. *I feel stressed because I am in the middle of my last semester of college, trying to sublet my apartment, trying to find new housing for next year, fighting off sickness after sickness, moving out right [click here to read more]
Monday, March 07th, 2011
As all of you know I will be traveling to South Africa this coming May 2011 to volunteer. I leave May 5 and come back June 18. I am beyond excited about this opportunity. I have been looking for an organization for a long time; and now, the timing and everything is just right! I [click here to read more]
Thursday, December 31st, 2009
We had the a gorgeous full moon & partial lunar eclipse in South Africa last night! It’s an auspicious sign of good things to come in 2010. This is the last post to my GVN journal. Volunteer time has ended & I am headed to Cape Town & surrounding areas. It’s easy for visitors to fall under Cape Town?s [click here to read more]
Please visit journals.globalvolunteernetwork.org for more journals and feedback from past volunteers
As a volunteer you must be:
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"All in all, I really love it here- the people are very hospitable and friendly. I am having a great time, I love playing with the kids and it's a great experience to live with a local family!"
"I worked at a children's home in Thohoyandou, S.A. for one week, then taught at Manamani secondary school for three weeks. Just do it, you won't be disappointed in any way, shape or form, and just have a completely open mind as to what you would like to experience/accomplish as these goals change weekly, even daily, as you are there."
"Living a relatively privileged life has given me opportunities and experiences almost unparalleled. One of these opportunities, by definition, is to be in a position to aid those less fortunate than myself. Its seems too cliched to say that in cases such as this, duty amounts to obligation, but this combined with the adventure potential made it an experience not to be missed."
"My time in Venda, and as a teacher, has most certainly been an element in my development of global perspective. The resilience, good humour and willingness to learn -continued in children who have very little, certainly instils me with humility, admiration, and even a little awe."
Like getting your hands dirty? Fancy feeding a giraffe, handing out meat parcels to vultures, and then heading off to put out a raging bushfire on the African plains? The Global Volunteer Network's South Africa program made it all happen for Chris Fong, a 23 year old engineer from Atlanta, Georgia, when in June 2006, he volunteered on a game...
It has gotten back to the GVN Headquarters in New Zealand that one of our volunteers, Alex Lee, has been an absolute hit with the local school children at his placement in the small town of Venda, South Africa! Nyawira Tshivhengwa, GVN South Africa Partner, tells us that the children who know Alex as the local teacher now rush to school and push...
At GVN we align with the idea of 'local solutions to local problems', so we work with local community organisations in each country. What this means for our volunteers is that they receive a unique and genuine cultural experience whilst being immersed in a local community.
Volunteering abroad could be the very thing for YOU!
If you're looking for something worthwhile to do volunteering will give you the opportunity to travel whilst making a difference in the community you are based in.
Did you know taking a Gap Year can improve your college admission chances and success rate during your studies?
"Harvard College encourages admitted students to defer enrolment for one year to travel, pursue a special project or activity, work, or spend time in another meaningful way" – Harvard College Office of Admissions, 2010.
International volunteering is a great way to gain experience living in a developing country, learning about another culture and experiencing a different way of life. It is a fantastic way to grow as a person, to develop life skills, self-confidence and self-esteem, and is a tool for self discovery and identity formation.
Other personal benefits include, developing international friendships and networks, social awareness, and building independence.
Volunteering can increase your employability, help you to gain valuable work experience and enhance your CV/resume.
"Going to a foreign country for a volunteer experience is a huge boost on a resume. Employers love to see a person that can think outside the box and work past their comfort zone. The added benefits of teamwork, foreign language knowledge, and plain old hard work also add polish to the volunteer candidate. Since business now happens on a global scale, the volunteer is armed with useful, and potentially actionable, information." – USA Today, 2010.
The Global Volunteer Network (GVN) is a New Zealand Charitable Trust (non-profit NGO) based in Wellington, New Zealand. Our Charitable incorporation number is: CC46460. GVN has been verified and approved by Idealist (the largest volunteer portal on the internet. GVN is also a member of the World Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (WANGO), and our ‘sister’ organization the GVN Foundation has been granted special consultative status on the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Prestigious web sites such as Lonely Planet and Goabroad.com have placed web links to us. Additionally, when you apply, we can provide you with contact information for previous volunteers if you wish. GVN is also an approved member of the Site Trust Network and you can view our verification page.
Bill Gates personally recommended GVN by stating "I'd love to see more young people taking action to help the poor and disadvantaged. Two places to get started are Network for Good and Global Volunteer Network." Newsweek Web
To give you peace of mind, GVN has over eight years experience and has placed 13,500+ volunteers since 2002. Read volunteer's journals and testimonials or speak to a returned volunteer directly about their experience abroad through GVN.
GVN’s specialist staff provide personal support to volunteers, assisting not only with preparation for your placement, but whilst in-country, and follow-up on return home. GVN provides comprehensive Program Guides, project resources (eg teaching resources).
GVN aligns with the idea of 'local solutions to local problems', therefore we work with local community organisations in each country. We believe that local communities are in the best position to determine their needs, and we provide volunteers to help them achieve their goals.
CNN listed the Global Volunteer Network as one of 10 organizations that can help you to make a positive impact on the world around you. CNN encourages you to visit our website to get more details on how you too can Be The Change.
GVN offer an insurance package tailored specifically for volunteers. Partner's staff are always available (24hr/7days), along with this GVN also has a 24hr/7day emergency hotline.
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