Volunteer in South Africa Community


Follow in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela and take action in South Africa. Use your personal experiences and creative activities as motivation and encouragement for youth and communities in various rural and urban locations. While living with your host family, you’ll contribute to projects in education, childcare, health and wellness and a specialized ‘Heroes of Service’ program in honour of the late Mandela.

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.

Amanda | South Africa Volunteer


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.

Evelyn | South Africa Volunteer


Just Choose a Project and Apply!


When you volunteer in our South Africa program, you'll have a unique opportunity to join in everyday life in South Africa with your host family. Our South African host families are selected for their dedication to the development of their community. Along with sampling some of the local delicacies, there’s plenty to see in South Africa – including the 'Big Five' at Kruger National Park.

GVN Projects: Only $250 application fee + $495 per week (for the first four weeks of placement), and $200 per week after this. This includes accommodation, meals (as specified below), coordination, supervision, training, airport pick up and it is due at least 10 weeks prior to your arrival.

Vulnerable Children

Vulnerable Children

Are you great with kids? Do you want to help them get a good start in life? The town's Children's Home and shelters are referred to locally as "places of safety". As a volunteer, you can help by working with children, and general caretaking which includes 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.

By working with orphaned children you will be moulding the young minds of talented and blossoming children. These children are in unfortunate positions and the impression that you leave on them will remain for the rest of their lives. Working at a Children’s home is a life changing experience for you and the children you are helping.

Locations: Venda (Limpopo Province) or Soweto (South West Johannesburg)

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Teaching and Cultural Learning

Teaching and Cultural Learning

By joining this program, you will have the unique opportunity to assist local staff by teaching and mentoring students coming from impoverished communities.

This volunteer program offers individuals the opportunity to work with primary school-aged children (5 years to 12 years) and secondary school-aged children (13 years to 17 years). Your role will be to teach and assist in a variety of ways. You can teach English, Math, or Science at your comfort to identified classes, or work with a teacher and assist in reading comprehension. You will have an opportunity to engage with many students in the classroom, one-on-one, and during classroom breaks.

Volunteer teachers may teach geography and the history of their countries, introduce life skills lesson plans, or teach extra-curricular activities between classroom breaks.  Each school-lead will serve as your anchor and guide throughout your learning and teaching experience. 

The children receive a meal at school and volunteers can assist with planning and distribution of meals. An important role for volunteers in this program is teaching English and Mathematics, as well as reading and writing skills. You will inspire the students to develop a positive attitude towards learning, while learning about their culture.

Locations: Venda (Limpopo Province) or Soweto (South-West Johannesburg)

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Child Daycare

Child Daycare

Do you enjoy working and playing with small children?

This volunteer programme places you at a village pre-school or daycare center. You will be working with children from the tender age of 6 months to 5 years old. You will work as an assistant and teacher with the support of a school staff member.  There is a lot of interaction, care, singing, laughing, etc. This is a perfect placement for a person who enjoys working with little children and thrives in a positive, high-energy environment. You can assist with activities in the classrooms as well as games during playtime, setting up and tidying the children’s learning spaces and teach them personal hygiene and health skills.  These children are young and they will need close supervision.

Location: Venda (Limpopo Province)

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South Africa Community Application Form


Apply Now: Step 1 of 3



Why GVN?


Our vision is to connect people with communities in need, with a particular focus on vulnerable women and children. We do this by supporting the work of local community organizations in countries through the placement of international volunteers.

We are excited to get your placement under way where you will:

  • Be a part of GVN's efforts to inspire learning, innovation and action to unlock the potential of vulnerable communities around the world. Work with exceptional grassroots projects in community development, conservation and wildlife, personal development, fundraising and physical challenges.
  • Have the 24/7 support of a non profit with 14 years experience in placing 20162 volunteers that will provide you with an affordable and rewarding placement.
  • Volunteer with a world-class organization which is recommended by Bill Gates and CNN.
  • Be a part of progressive non profit that has raised over $2 million to help women and children in need.
  • Have the comfort of knowing that GVN staff have collectively flown over 1 million miles to ensure you get a quality placement.
  • Make a long-term impact in your community of choice - it's not just a vacation.




How GVN works...


The first step is to fill out an application to see if we have a place for you. Then if your application is successful you will be accepted and we will then get to work organizing your placement.

GVN is a registered Charitable Trust, so volunteers finance themselves, or can fundraise online with our unique GVN platform, with US donors receiving tax receipts. The Program Package provides you with all that is listed below, along with personalized support from our expert staff and the knowledge that you'll be working with a reputable and registered charity with over 14 years experience in the field.

At the heart of our work is the communities our volunteers work to support - we ensure that these communities truly benefit from your time in South Africa Community and that the Program Package fully supports you financially while you're volunteering.

Program Package

GVN Projects: Only $250 application fee + $495 per week (for the first four weeks of placement), and $200 per week after this. This includes accommodation, meals (as specified below), coordination, supervision, training, airport pick up and it is due at least 10 weeks prior to your arrival. due date.

The Program Package also includes a project donation, which supports the work the GVN Foundation does in addressing nutrition, education and healthcare needs, as well as supporting longer-term development approaches, including income generation activities and microfinance.

Your program package includes:


  • Personal support from your Program Specialist throughout the preparation process.
  • Your Program Guide, with all the details on South Africa Community and your placement.
  • Fundraising strategies and access to our crowd funding platform where you can raise up to 100% of the cost your trip, with tax receipts for your US based donors.
  • Access to Your Own Online Journal: which helps you to communicate effectively and easily with your family and friends back home.
  • Opportunities for Preferred Pricing and Personalized Service when booking Airfares: through our travel partner GYT Flight Centre who go the extra mile to support GVN volunteers.


  • Accommodation: Home stay.
  • Meals: All meals are included, except the first two nights of orientation.
  • Airport pickup: Included on arrival date.
  • Training: In-country orientation and training.
  • Supervision: In-country staff supervision.
  • Support: Pre-departure personal support from your volunteer coordinator, 24/7 in-country support from partner, and 24hr emergency e-mail.


  • An opportunity to debrief and provide feedback
  • Free access to GVN Changemakers program which alerts you to future internship/job opportunities at GVN.
  • A Letter of Completion in Volunteer Service.
  • The opportunity to stay connected with your project.
  • Global advocacy and fundraising campaigns to continue your part of the movement for social change with an international non-profit that has granted over $2 million to our partner organizations.

The program package does not include: 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.




Tell me more about South Africa?

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.

What is the climate like in South Africa?

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.

What kind of volunteer work is available?

There is a wide range of volunteer work available.

Teaching Assistance/Tutoring: 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: 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 or at a daycare centre working with children ages 6 months to 5 years old. You can get involved 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.

Healthcare: As a volunteer you can participate in projects around HIV/AIDS awareness, gender based violence, chronic disease management, home-based care and vulnerable children. We are seeking volunteers who are studying medicine or nursing, or volunteers who wish to make a contribution in health awareness in rural and township communities in South Africa. You will work with a wide range of young and elderly people. You may work as an administration assistant or accompany care givers when they go to visit patients and children headed households. We welcome individuals, researchers, or health practitioners who wish to experience the challenges in South Africa’s health care sector to apply.

Community Service: You could be one of 10 volunteers getting involved in community service tasks in our specialized program in honour of Nelson Mandela. Volunteer work includes the following:

  • Helping out at an orphanage by doing chores 
  • Offering to paint and renovate a shelter for the homeless
  • Helping fix the playground at a daycare centre 
  • Helping paint and decorating a children’s ward at a local hospital 
  • Spending time at a children’s ward in hospital talking to the children and assisting the nurses 
  • Spending a day with the elderly listening to their stories
  • Taking a bag of toys to a local hospital’s ward or a daycare centre in a rural village
  • Reading to someone who can’t read 
  • Coaching an extramural activity at a school 
  • Helping out at a local soup kitchen

What hours do I work?

Teaching assistants typically work weekdays, approximately 7 hours per day. There is a small variation in hours depending upon the time of year. The hours are generally longer during the school terms. Volunteers in childcare centres will normally have a busy afternoon schedule as children are done with school for the day, however there are some morning shifts where the children are under school age. Weekends are the normal days off.

Where will I be located?

Volunteers will be asked their preference on rural or township setting after they have confirmed their spot on the program.

The initial orientation and first night of accommodation is in Tshwane, Pretoria.

Volunteer placements are in the following locations:

Venda (rural setting): Placements are in Manamani, Itsani, and Mahematshena villages which are all located in the Limpopo province (the northernmost province of South Africa). Volunteers can get involved with Childcare, Teaching, Healthcare and our specialized Heroes of Service project. Venda is about 4.5 hours north of Johannesburg within the Vhembe District, situated in Limpopo, the northernmost province of South Africa.

Soweto (township setting): Teaching and Childcare placements are available in Soweto which is located south west of Johannesburg. Areas include Orlando West Soweto, and Kliptown Soweto.

Olivenhoutbosch (township setting): This is a recently added location and is currently available for our Healthcare project only. This is in the southwest area of Pretoria.

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About South Africa


South Africa

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.

Development in South Africa

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,[3] 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.

Volunteer Impact

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.

What else can I do in South Africa?

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!


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