Teenagers volunteering with children on one of Projects Abroad's programmes in South Africa

Volunteering with Children in South Africa for Teenagers

Work with a group of teenagers your age in Cape Town and help local children learn through play

At a glance

  • Work in kindergartens and daycare centres, and support the work of local teachers and caregivers.
  • Your focus will be on helping the children learn through play, and doing light renovation work, like painting a colourful mural.
  • You’ll also be part of the work we do in the local community, such as helping at a soup kitchen.

Start Dates: 

Fixed dates during school holidays

See Dates

Minimum Duration: 

Two Weeks


This project is only for 15-18 year olds

Is volunteering with children in South Africa for high school students right for me?

This project is perfect if you enjoy working with children and don’t mind getting your hands dirty to help the community. It’s also the ideal way for people your age to travel safely, knowing that experienced Projects Abroad staff are with you every step of the way.

You don’t need any qualifications or experience to join. You’ll support the work of local teachers and caregivers, and Projects Abroad staff are also there to guide you if you need it. All you need to bring with you is plenty of energy and a commitment to making learning fun!

Through this High School Special, you’ll be able to add practical childcare experience to your CV, and you’ll develop personal skills like teamwork and planning. It will also give you interesting points to talk about in applications and interviews.

This project runs for two or four weeks over fixed dates in the summer. It has a set itinerary, and we’ve planned every detail for you from the moment you arrive at the airport in Cape Town. Over the weekend, we’ll take you to visit some of the famous attractions around Cape Town. All of these activities take place in a group and under supervision of local Projects Abroad staff members.

A student spends his summer vacation volunteering with children in South Africa as part of Projects Abroad's placement for teenagers

What will I do on this project?

As a teenager doing volunteer work in South Africa, you’ll focus on young children’s education and work with local teachers and caregivers. Here is what you can expect to do:

  • Help the children learn through play through games and educational activities
  • Encourage the children to practice good hygiene everyday to keep them healthy
  • Assist with light renovation and community work, like cleaning or painting
  • Work and explore with volunteers your age from around the world

Your work will focus on the following areas:

Work with children and help them learn through play

Because many of these care centres are overcrowded, caregivers often aren’t able to pay attention to each child equally. You will be an extra pair of hands and eyes, helping them reach more children throughout the day.

You will also do activities like:

  • Help children learn through songs, games, and flashcards
  • Organise arts and crafts to encourage their creativity
  • Play sports to get kids active and working on hand-eye coordination
  • Read to children to help improve literacy

Your Projects Abroad supervisor will have loads of activity ideas to share with you. Plus you can brainstorm with fellow volunteers to come up with new ones of your own. You will also have the local teachers supervising and helping you.

Encourage the children to practice good hygiene everyday

Hygiene is a very important part of keeping children healthy. You can encourage children to wash their hands regularly and to thoroughly brush their teeth. You’ll also help implement a routine of washing hands before meals, and after using the bathroom. This helps ensure they adopt healthy habits early in life.

Assist with community work

Part of your work will involve helping with community work. You can put a fresh coat of paint on a classroom, assist at a local soup kitchen, or help clean or maintain homes.  

Work and explore with volunteers from around the world

You’ll volunteer with teenagers from around the world. There will be plenty for you to learn from your new friends, like the customs and cultures in their home countries. During social activities, you’ll all learn about life in Cape Town, under the supervision of our local staff.

Where in South Africa will I work?

Cape Town

You’ll work in a care centre. We partner with several care centres in Cape Town, and focus our efforts in disadvantaged townships. The townships are deeply affected by unemployment and poverty, and there is very little infrastructure. Most care centres are understaffed, overcrowded, and need extra pairs of helping hands.

Cape Town will serve as a great backdrop while you volunteer. When you’re not working, you’ll be able to visit local attractions, shop for souvenirs, and explore the city with your group and Projects Abroad staff. And whether you visit the penguins at Boulders Beach or explore some of the legendary Garden Route, you’ll have the time of your life!

Airport pickup, flights and visas

When you arrive at your respective airport, a member of Projects Abroad staff will be there to meet you. You can find more detailed information on arrival airports, orientation, and visas on our South Africa Arrival Procedures page.

What are the aims and impact of this project?

The aim of this project is to support the education of young children by working closely with local teachers and caregivers in disadvantaged areas.

The care centres we work with are often overcrowded and don’t have enough resources. Teachers and caregivers often struggle to give enough attention to each child equally. You’ll support the work of local staff by helping the children learn through play and running fun, educational activities and games.

Creating spaces for cultural exchange and growth for you is another important reason we run this project. During your time on the programme, you’ll learn about South African culture first-hand by living and working closely with locals.

Join us in South Africa and make a difference by working with children in need.

High school students prepare meals during volunteer work in South Africa for teenagers

Management plans

We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.

Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.

Measuring our impact

Every year, thousands of High School Special volunteers and interns actively make a difference around the world. During their time abroad, they contribute towards achieving long-term goals and make a long-lasting positive impact on the communities where they work.

We produce an annual High School Specials Impact Report, which documents some of these achievements. Find out more about the impact of these projects, and read the latest report.

Food and accommodation

You'll stay with a host family in Cape Town. They will welcome you into their home, eager to share their customs and have you teach them about your own culture. We believe that this is the best way to immerse yourself in the culture of South Africa and have a truly unique experience.

On our High School Specials, we will always try to have you share a room with at least one volunteer or intern of the same sex and approximate age. Your room will be modest, but comfortable, clean, and safe.

Your programme fee includes three meals a day.

Find out more about our accommodation.

Safety and staff support

Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have all the extra support you need as a young person travelling abroad. Our Projects Abroad staff are there for you 24 hours a day during the week and over weekends to provide constant support and guidance. Our staff also make sure you feel comfortable and safe at your placement and accommodation. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.

Find out more about safety and backup.

When you apply you only pay €295, which comes off the total price. Flexible payment options and fundraising advice available.

Looking to do more than one project? Call us on +353 (0)1 571 5080 to see if we can offer a discount.

Please choose a Duration and Start Date to continue.

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