Company : Travellers Worldwide
Activities: Community Volunteer Projects / Teaching
Location : Knysna
Duration: 1 week to 3 months
Approx Costs: 750 to 3000+ £ Pound (UK)

Teach design technology in a township school and help to nurture a new generation of design thinkers in South Africa.

Design Technology has always been an important part of development and learning for children in the United Kingdom. It enables children to become free thinking, creative and helps them to actively use their imagination. Design Technology, in other aspects, also enables children to break away from the usual text book rituals which dominate so many classes in Africa.


Walk around the streets anywhere in Africa, but especially in the townships, and you'll be overwhelmed by the creative talent in the communities. From the Craftsmen who make cooking pots from discarded oil drums on the road side, to souvenirs. If you look at the shanty houses, you’ll be impressed by the initiative used in putting them together. Design Technology was introduced into the school curriculum in South Africa back in 2000. It has proven to be extremely popular amongst the children. The problem is that many of the poorer township schools know little about the subject and are in desperate need for people with design experience to come to their schools, bringing with them their own ideas and hopefully help to nurture a new generation of design thinkers in South Africa.


--> An exciting, never-to-be-forgotten adventure into Africa and the many diverse cultures in South Africa
--> The enormous satisfaction of helping disadvantaged children and knowing that you made a difference to them.
--> New skills, more confidence, a greater understanding of a different culture, invaluable personal and professional development.
--> An entry on your CV or résumé that will put you head and shoulders above most others in the job market
--> And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!

You will probably be based at two schools - Percy Mdala and Knysna High School. Knysna High has similar standards to those in Western countries and you will work alongside the teachers at the school. Working here is a good opportunity to gain a feel for the subject and at the same time you will find the school extremely keen to learn as much as possible about Design Technology as it is in the UK or your home country. This is an excellent placement for anyone studying or has good knowledge of Design Technology. By helping the children have a greater knowledge of the subject, you will find that the teachers will be extremely grateful for the support and knowledge as, for them, this is a subject the schools are still learning about.


This teaching programme is located in the town of Knysna in the Cape Province, on the Indian Ocean coast and within easy reach of the beautiful capital city of Cape Town. The seaside resort of Plettenberg Bay is about 20-30 mins away from Knysna. Both places are extremely beautiful and are favourite holiday resorts for South Africans.


The schools are mainly for the poorer African and Coloured children in the local community. General facilities at the schools are somewhat limited although two of the schools have computer facilities and one school in particular would appreciate the help of volunteers with computer experience! Average class size is between 15 and 40. Standards are generally very high, but in most of the schools we work with, materials and resources may be scarce; however, working conditions are very good. The enthusiasm of the students and colleagues more than makes up for any hardships they may experience.

On your first day of teaching you will be taken to one of the schools that we help and introduced to the Principal, the teaching staff and pupils. You will be made very welcome by all! Your key immediate contact will be the School Principal. S/he will have been fully briefed by our staff but will want to discuss your programme with you before any final decisions are made. Some principals may also wish to discuss with you the possibility of using any of your other interests or skills which may be fun or useful for the children, and here your degree subject might well be helpful and any interests, from hiking and wildlife to football, chess and Western music, may be of great interest.

The Principal and/or relevant teachers at the school will liaise with you about your teaching assignments. South Africans generally are very friendly, approachable and helpful and they will be delighted in your interest and your enthusiasm.
You will have weekends free and this will also allow some time for travelling and sight seeing.


Claire Baker describes a typical day on her project -

" Within the school the volunteers do different things in different year groups, from children aged around 6 to children aged 14 and it is up to you whether you wish to take a whole class, or to work in the class with the teacher as more of an assistant, or to take small groups of children. I chose to take groups of children to work on the computers. Lessons run from 8.15 in 45-minute lessons up till 2.00 pm with 2 breaks in between. Break: every break we have a group of children who come to see us, some are practicing dances and songs for a performance two of the volunteers have organised, some are playing on the computers, others just come for a big hug from all of the volunteers. When I left school [at the end of the day, 2.00 p.m.] it was always through a huge crowd of children all giving us huge hugs. The children are all very loving and you get hundreds of hugs each day!”


Various afternoon activities are available in Knysna enabling you to immerse yourself in the African culture & give a caring hand to the local community. Example activities below:

--> The Children's Home - Make the afternoons fun and exciting for these lovely children by playing games, helping them with home work and just being there to give them the attention that they so crave.

--> The Art Centre for children - The centre was set-up to unite children in understanding and fighting HIV and AIDS through art and education, so that they can increase children's knowledge of HIV & AIDS and create more open communication, as well as reduce risk-taking behaviour by increasing self-esteem. You can be a part of this extremely worthwhile programme and make a huge impact to their lives as well as helping them to express their creative side and enjoy an afternoon full of art and crafts. This is such an exciting opportunity for children that also helps to raise HIV awareness, which is very important.

--> The Soup Kitchen - Soup kitchens have been set up to provide a meal for the poorer children in the community and often this will be the only decent meal a child has during the day - any support given is greatly appreciated by all.

--> After-school drama or sports - Take some time out after school to set up after school sports or drama clubs, the children love it and it's a great way to get to know them better in a relaxed and fun environment

--> Other community projects - previous projects included painting the crèche, putting together a jungle gym and so on.

You could be part of these excellent and worthwhile projects ... so why not volunteer in Knysna!

Start Dates

Flexible start and finish dates you choose, but subject to school holidays. Our placements are flexible and can be tailored to match your preferences. For availability please contact the office.

Costs / Benefits

Costs vary depending on length of placement, but starts at £795 for one week. You can participate for up to twelve weeks, subject to visa requirements.

Included is full support from the moment of booking and throughout your placement to your return home. There are support staff 24/7 in all our destinations worldwide and a 24 hour emergency international telephone line direct to the Head Office. All meals are provided, unless otherwise stated. Accommodation is provided (whether a rented house, a hotel/hostel, home stay, apartment or flat).
You'll also receive a free T-shirt.
You’ll be met at the nearest airport on your arrival by our in-country manager who will take you to your accommodation and give you a full induction into the area. He/she will also be on call 24/7 and you’ll see them frequently.

Pre-departure you’ll receive comprehensive information about every aspect of your placement and necessary preparations, ranging from what to pack, to visa information, to what to do on your weekend travel in the country. Your safety, well being and happiness throughout your placement are our primary concerns and we will keep in touch with you throughout. International flights not included.


No qualifications or previous experience are necessary, just a good dose of enthusiasm! Everyone is welcome on a Travellers programme, whether gap year, undergraduate, on a career break - or even retired! From 17 years old upwards, and all nationalities. This placement would suit anyone who wants to make a real difference, wants first-hand experience of a different culture and has initiative.

Booking / Enquiry


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