A student receives homework help from a volunteer working as a teacher in South Africa

Volunteer Teaching in South Africa

Volunteer as a teacher in Cape Town and work to improve the literacy levels of children at disadvantaged schools

At a glance

  • Help to improve the literacy levels of students in disadvantaged areas.
  • You’ll work at a primary school and support local teachers to give struggling students the extra attention they need.
  • During your leisure time you’ll be able to enjoy the incredible sights that Cape Town has to offer.

Start Dates: 

Completely flexible dates

See Dates

Minimum Duration: 

Two Weeks


16 or over

Is volunteer teaching in South Africa right for me?

Are you looking to gain practical teaching experience in a different culture? Then this is the ideal project for you. This project will give your CV an extra edge, and teach you skills like planning and management.

Our volunteer Teaching Project in South Africa is open to everyone, and you don’t need previous experience. You’ll receive a thorough induction upon arrival, which will take you through everything you need to know about your new volunteer placement.

There is also a dedicated Projects Abroad supervisor who will ensure you get the most out of your time abroad. We run regular workshops for our Teaching and Childcare volunteers, so that you can share ideas, plan lesson activities, and ask for advice.

If you're interested in teaching other subjects, contact our Project Experts. They'll advise you on what subjects you can teach in South Africa, and whether you can teach those subjects part-time or full time.

In order to join this project, you need to stay for a minimum of four weeks. The project is available throughout most of the year, except for school holidays. If you want to volunteer during school holidays, please speak to us directly. Our start and end dates are entirely flexible, so you can choose a time that suits you.

You don't need to bring teaching supplies with you, as the classrooms are equipped with the basics such as chalk and a blackboard. However, feel free to bring additional materials along if you feel that they will be helpful.

What will I do on this project?

On our volunteer teaching placement in South Africa, there are opportunities to get involved in a range of different tasks. Some of these include:

  • Work with small groups of students to improve their literacy level
  • Assist teachers with a range of different classroom tasks
  • Teach additional subjects such as sports and IT

Your work will focus on the following areas:

Work with small groups of students to improve their literacy level

The main focus of this project is to work with young children who are struggling with reading in English. You will work with small groups of students and provide them with individual support. We encourage you to make the lessons fun and interactive. This in turn helps to keep the students focused and motivated. While the school has fairly basic resources, the literacy programme we run is well stocked with different materials that you can use.

Assist teachers with a range of different classroom tasks

There is also the opportunity to act as an assistant teacher where needed. Here, you will work alongside local teachers in the classroom, and provide extra support. You might also be needed to help mark papers, or invigilate tests. This is a great way to gain even more teaching work experience while in South Africa.

Teach additional subjects such as sports and IT

If you would like to add some variety to your placement, you can combine this with Teaching IT or sports.There is a great need for someone to take these subjects, and it’s a great way to share your skills if you have the experience.

Where in South Africa will I work?

Cape Town

You will be based in beautiful Cape Town, the second biggest city in South Africa and a popular tourist destination. Your placement is a primary school in a disadvantaged area of the city.

With a range of public and private transport options, it’s fairly easy to make your way around the city. Cape Town is famous for its scenic views, diverse cuisine, and cultural heritage. Go for a stroll on the beach, check out the local markets, and try out some of the amazing restaurants. You should definitely make time for a visit to one of the nearby wildlife reserves over a weekend.

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.

A typical day on the Teaching project

After enjoying a delicious breakfast at the home of your host family, you will be transported to your placement by a Projects Abroad driver.

A typical day on this project runs from 9am - 2.30pm, Monday to Friday. You will have the rest of your time free to relax, explore and travel.

Your day starts at 9am. You’ll spend your time working with small groups of children ranging in age from 7 - 9 (Grades 1 - 3) who have been identified by their teachers as in need of extra support.

We encourage you to use your creativity to make these sessions fun and interactive. You’ll need to monitor the children’s progress so that this data can be used for their term marks and reports.

There is a weekly workshop for Teaching and Care volunteers which is held at our local office. This is a great opportunity to share any achievements, develop ideas for activities, and learn more about the school system in South Africa.

Once you’re done for the day, you have the chance to take advantage of all that Cape Town has to offer. This city really has something for everyone, whether you’re simply going sightseeing or enjoying a “braai” (barbeque) with your local host family.

Students complete their classroom exercise while a volunteer assists during her teaching work experience in South Africa

What are the aims and impact of this project?

The aim of this project is to improve the literacy levels of young children in South Africa.

While South Africa has a high literacy rate, many young children struggle with reading English. The situation is made more challenging with the fact that many schools use English as the medium of instruction. This is a problem because a lot of children do not speak English as their home language

Classes in schools that are situated in disadvantaged areas are also often overcrowded, with up to 60 - 70 students per class. This means it is impossible for teachers to provide students with the individual attention that they need. Inequality between public and private schools is a growing problem in the South African education system.

The early years of education are essential to rectify this problem. You will work with small groups of children aged 7 - 9 who have been identified as in need of assistance. This enables you to give them vital individual attention to help them improve. Literacy is an essential life skill, and forms the foundation for all their future learning.

We have identified several goals for our Teaching Project in South Africa, which inform the work that you do. These include:

  • Increasing literacy
  • Encouraging learning through creativity
  • Improving teaching techniques
  • Increasing IT and sports teaching

Join us in South Africa and support the educational development of disadvantaged children.

A group photo is taken of the students and a volunteer teaching in South Africa

Volunteering for professionals

This project is also perfect for qualified professionals. With your skills backing up our ongoing efforts, we can make an even bigger difference together. We'll match you to the placement where your skills are needed most.

This means you can share your training and and knowledge with others. You can work hand-in-hand with our partner organisations and local communities to support sustainable development.

If you have relevant skills or qualifications, read more about how you can make use of them with Projects Abroad.

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

Our projects work towards clear long-term goals, with specific annual objectives. Every volunteer and intern we send to these projects helps us work towards these goals, no matter how long they spend on our projects.

Every year we take a step back and look at how much progress we've made towards these goals. We put together a Global Impact Report, which documents our achievements. Find out more about the impact our global community of volunteers, interns and staff make, 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.

We will always try to let you live alongside at least one other Projects Abroad volunteer or intern at the same host family. Your room will be modest, but comfortable, clean, and safe.

Your programme fee includes three meals a day.

Find out more about our accommodation.

Leisure activities and free time

Known as the Rainbow Nation, South Africa has a diverse mix of cultures. Our projects are based in Cape Town, a region filled with an exciting variety of activities to do during your free time.

You can catch a wave at Muizenberg beach or just relax in a seaside restaurant. There’s plenty of local cuisine to try, including delicately spiced Cape Malay curries and the creamy milk tart dessert.

South Africa has a difficult past, which you can learn more about at the District 6 Museum and Robben Island.

For an awe-inspiring experience, you can spend the day getting lost in the towering silos that make up the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Arts Africa. Finally, no trip to Cape Town would be complete without a cable car ride up iconic Table Mountain.

We run many different projects in South Africa, so there’s sure to be other volunteers in the country with you. So if you want to travel with a group, you’re sure to find like-minded people who’ll join you on your adventures. 

Safety and staff support

Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have the support you need to enjoy your trip with peace of mind. Our Projects Abroad staff are available 24 hours a day to help, and will be on-hand to make sure you settle in well at your accommodation and placement. 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? Get discounted prices when you combine projects or destinations!

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