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

Want to do something worthwhile? Teach disadvantaged children and work with underprivileged communities who really appreciate your help.

Our teaching programme is in the beautiful Western Cape’s Garden Route are situated in Knysna. The schools cater for many children from the poorer township community. Your help and support are appreciated by everyone, but mostly by the children! Our programme has been running in this region for many years and the impact our volunteers have had is amazing. Many of them return again and again. The result is a community that has benefited tremendously since we started.

Standards in the schools are generally very high, but materials and resources may be scarce. Even with the lack of facilities, etc., the enthusiasm of the students and staff at the schools more than make up for this. The children have a fantastic energy about them and you will be immediately welcomed in by hoards of children running up to greet the new teacher. It is often difficult to stop them smiling!

*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'll normally begin your placement by assisting the teachers but, depending on your ability, you may progress on to being given complete control of a particular class or group. You'll receive a lot of help and support from the teachers and staff at the schools, but you should be prepared to use your own initiative and ask when you need something. The average class size ranges from 15 to a manageable 40.

The best way to describe this project is to let one of our previous volunteers tell you about it in her own words. Felicity du Pulford taught at Sunridge Primary, and this is how she describes a typical day on her project (but please note that this is only one school and that work in other schools may vary slightly):
We didn't anticipate how much there would be to do in Knysna, so our only worry is fitting it all in. Last week, after meeting all the other guys, we went out on Friday which was lovely. 

Our headmaster at Sunridge, Mr Solomons, is so approachable and welcoming. It’s difficult to describe just how welcome the children make us feel, the atmosphere at the school is just so happy, the teachers so willing to help and we just seem to have slotted into place. We have been to both the soup kitchen and the orphanage. Lewis and I are keen to go to both as much as possible, and love getting to know the kids. We're going to be very muscly by the end of the month though - all of them want picking up and swinging around all the time!

Knysna has absolutely everything we could want or need, and we are being well looked after by Pauline. We're just starting to regret that we are only here for a month!

You will normally be asked to stand up in front of a class and teach conversational English - you are not expected to be an expert on grammar or literature. The important thing is to help people speak English. You may also be asked to help with other subjects but this is optional and it is only if you feel confident.

The teaching Suggestions Booklet which we provide you with has ideas for teaching English and will also help structuring lessons in other subjects. Video facilities are available in some schools and audio equipment is quite commonplace.

You will most likely teach in more than one school. Most of the schools are State schools, both secondary and primary. You will generally be asked to help out with any age groups. You are, in fact, very likely to be in popular demand everywhere - in and out of the classroom.

Please visit these links for further details on other subjects that you can teach in Knysna:
-Teaching Drama & Music
-Coaching Sports
-Teaching Design Technology

The famous Garden Route stretches along the warm Indian Ocean with natural splendors ranging from exotic white beaches to ancient indigenous forests, home to exotic animals. The Garden Route is famous for all sorts of activities from adrenalin sports such as bungee jumping, skydiving and shark cage diving, to more relaxed pursuits like hiking, quad biking in the forest or visiting one of the many animal sanctuaries in the area. Our local staff will be happy to assist you in finding interesting things to do and places to see, so make the most of it!

Knysna is approximately 500km from the beautiful capital city of Cape Town, voted South Africa’s favourite town 4 years in a row! Its mountainous backdrop, impressively sized estuary and indigenous forests really give the town a natural feel to it. Although it still has that ‘small-town’ feel, Knysna is growing rapidly, and has all the amenities you could ask for, such as banks, hotels, internet café’s, pubs, restaurants, clubs, cinemas and shopping malls.

'I've just had a great time, thanks so much for helping me be a part of life here in Knysna. The kids really are great and they are so excited to learn. The memory of them performing songs will stay with me forever as will their pride as they declared that they were the "mighty Thembelitsha!" Mary Stokes

The town of Knysna is just 20-30 minutes drive away from Plettenberg Bay (better known simply as Plett). Plett is a bit smaller than Knysna, but equally stunning. It's pure white beaches stretch as far as the eye can see and there is a lot to do including hiking trails and awesome nightlife.

Another fascinating and rural town close to Knysna is George. George is much larger than both Knysna and Plettenberg Bay put together and has more of a city feel to it. The town lies comfortably nestled at the foot of the picturesque Outeniqua Mountain Range.

As an added bonus and extra activity during your project, you may also have the opportunity to provide help and support to the local community through the various afternoon activities we have to offer. This is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the African culture, but most importantly to give a caring hand to the local community. The activities could range from helping out at;

*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.
*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 (If you'd like to set up a drama or sports club, please let us know when you apply so that we can arrange it with the school before you arrive.)
*Other community projects - In the past volunteers have helped to paint the outside of a crèche that was in desperate need of a lift. The crèche is now looking very cheerful with brightly coloured walls. A jungle gym was donated to this orphanage and volunteers also helped to put it together for the crèche too! There may be other similar projects available at the time you're there that you might want to participate in.

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

Once you apply for this placement, all your arrangements will be taken care of by Elizabeth Tratt (better known as Liz J), Travellers UK-based Project Co-ordinator for teaching in South Africa. She'll liaise with you to discuss your needs and will be able to answer all your questions. Once you're in South Africa, you'll be well looked after by our South African team, but Liz will remain in touch with you throughout your stay.

Dates for the school terms (semesters) are given below.

Term 1: 13th Jan – 26th Mar
Term 2: 12th Apr – 9th June
Term 3: 13th Jul – 23rd Sept
Term 4: 4th Oct – 10th Dec

Dates for the 2011 school terms (semesters) are given below.
Term 1: 19th Jan – 1st April
Term 2: 11th April – 24th June
Term 3: 18th July – 30th Sept
Term 4: 10th Oct – 9th Dec

Teaching is not available during school holidays, so if you're planning to participate in a placement, please take the above school term dates into account when planning the timing of your project. On the other hand, if a holiday falls during your proposed placement, you could use this time to do any independent travelling and sightseeing. If you're a little unsure about the idea of standing in front of a class and teaching, you can, before you leave, enroll in a 1-day intensive open teacher training course (optional) to help you teach if you have no previous experience and would like to gain a little teaching knowledge.

Nervous about going somewhere new? Or about teaching? Read Adrian Tate's description of his arrival in South Africa to teach Sports So far what is the best thing about your placement?:
"I don't think I could actually define my "best experience" as one moment. What with teaching at the school, rehearsals for my play, the dance classes, soup kitchen, orphanage, hanging out at home with the other guys, going for a drink, the worlds highest bungee jump, trips to the beach, and countless other activities we really are spoilt for choice. I have been here for over 2 months now and I can honestly say there has not been 1 day that I haven't enjoyed!!" Luke Brennan

Knysna: For this project you will live in our volunteer house with other Travellers volunteers. You may either have your own room or will share a room with one or more other Travellers volunteers. It will depend on how many people are there at the same time that you are. This is a comfortable house with good facilities and a beautiful view of Knysna Lagoon. You will be provided with a food budget, so that you can buy your own groceries and cook and prepare your own meals at the house, this makes for a great social event.

When accommodation is limited, we occasionally place volunteers in a local Guest House which is very comfortable and convenient for access into town. Please note that occasionally the house that we use may change owing to availability.

There are several good, inexpensive steak houses and lots of good Chinese, Italian and other ethnic restaurants all over South Africa. Seafood, of course, is often fresh and plentiful.

On Arrival, your Introduction to the Country:
When you arrive you will be welcomed by a member of our South African staff who will take you to your accommodation and introduce you to everyone. During your first few days you'll be given an induction so that you can learn about the country and its culture, as well as other useful information, like how to use the transport system, banks, safety issues, tipping, and lots more.

"The area is beautiful and travelling is easy. The house we stay in is lovely and the Travellers workers are such kind, loving people which really makes it feel like a home away from home. What with all the other volunteers and the Travellers staff, it really does feel like our own little family ... well, our own very big family, I suppose!!!!" Luke Brennan

To read about the extensive Support & Backup we provide in our countries, please click here.
Read how our volunteers have made a difference to the children in the schools
Be inspired by one volunteers story of her time in South Africa and the subsequent links she developed when she was back home. Sarah Cowan's heart warming story

You'll fly into George Airport (or Baz Bus into Knysna) where you'll be met at the airport by one of our staff. From there, you'll be taken to your work and your accommodation and introduced to your hosts. You'd be well advised to prepare yourself for an almost overwhelmingly friendly welcome!

You have the option to arrange your own flights or we can assist you with your flight arrangements. If you would like us to do this for you, we will liaise with you regarding available flights and dates to suit you. All arrangements for your flight bookings/payments will be fulfilled by Murray Rogers Travel Limited, ATOL No. 6856. Where possible, we arrange for two or more people to travel on the same flight and we will let you have the names and telephone numbers of other volunteers on your flight, so that you can chat to each other or even meet up before leaving for your placement.

VISAS: For many nationalities, visas are not required for a stay of 90 days or less. If you’re not sure whether you need a visa or not, please visit to see whether your country is exempt. If you do need a visa, we will assist you and help make the visa process as easy as possible.

Where possible, all flights we arrange for you have changeable return tickets because many of our volunteers choose to extend their stay once they are in their destination country. Changeable return tickets enable you to do so, within the limits of your visa and the level of your air ticket, of course. If you choose to book your own flights, you should endeavour to get a changeable ticket.

We can also arrange your flight dates to give you additional time at the end of your project for travelling around and sightseeing - this is a fascinating and wondrous country!

Start Dates

All year round (subject to school terms) - you choose your start and finish dates! 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.

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 needed, just a good dose of enthusiasm!All our projects are open to all nationalities. Unless otherwise stated, you need to be aged between 17 and 70+

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