Friends of Amasango

Friends of Amasango is the UK charity that supports the work of the Amasango Career School in Makhanda (Grahamstown), South Africa.

This special needs school enables severely marginalised children and young people to obtain a primary education and build self-esteem. Grants from the Friends mainly provide:

  • two meals a day and food parcels at weekends – without these, many children at the school would not eat
  • school uniforms, shoes, coats and other clothing once a year – without these, the children could not attend school
  • uniforms, schoolbooks and rent (if needed) for ex-pupils who go on to high school
  • teaching equipment, tools and vocational equipment that are not provided by the education authority.

Children often have no financial support or family backing, so the food, clothing and transport supplied make attendance at school possible.



Disadvantaged children need a lot of individual attention, so volunteers are welcome at the school to help teach and motivate them. You can be involved in a way that plays to your strengths. You'll get real satisfaction from seeing learners grow and become motivated under your guidance.

The school can make use of any specialist skills, including skills in sports, drama, art, crafts, music, expertise in teaching English as a foreign language and pottery. Everyone has something to offer.


What are the typical tasks?

Volunteers work on their own initiative under the guidance of the principal and with a mentor available at all times. 

The day starts at 7.45am with staff briefing followed by assembly twice a week. Lessons last from 8.30 to 1.45 with a 30-minute break. Volunteers' tasks will include: assisting pupils one-to-one in class, individual reading in the library, playing games, English conversation practice, helping prepare weekly food parcels and assisting with the distribution of clothing.

Previous volunteers have organised after school activities such as karate, sewing, chess and tennis clubs.

Volunteers are free from 2.00pm each day and at weekends.


Who volunteers?

Volunteers must be aged 18 or over. Many are gap year students or retirees with experience and time. Increasingly volunteers include those who are either taking a career/work break or wanting to use their holidays in a meaningful way.

Volunteers are expected to conduct themselves professionally both in and out of school.

Friends of Amasango offers detailed support and advice and ensures that a DSB check has been carried out but there is no formal volunteer programme.


How long do I volunteer for and when?

It is up to you how long you go for: some volunteer for just a few weeks and others for a few months.

The most useful time for volunteers to be at the school is during the first six weeks or so of term because the last couple of weeks usually involve exams. So if you can offer four weeks of your time this could most usefully be in:

  • Last week of January to the first week of March
  • Mid-April to mid-June
  • End July to mid-September, or
  • Mid-October to beginning of December

If you can go for a whole term or longer that would be even better


Where will I live?

Volunteers can board at the Community of the Resurrection in Grahamstown, or with the former principal. They can make other arrangements such as renting accommodation if preferred. The Friends can offer advice and help with this.


What does it cost?

Volunteers travel to Grahamstown at their own expense, fund their living expenses and any expenses incurred in terms of insurance, inoculations, visas and so on. There is no payment for this work. The Friends of Amasango asks for no fee for facilitating a placement, but requires volunteers to hold one fundraising event for the Friends on their return home and to submit a written report on their time at the school.


What papers will I need?

You will need to obtain, at your own expense:

  • DBS clearance and certificate which the Friends in the UK will assist you with
  • Travel and health insurance
  • Visa: British subjects and citizens of most western countries will not need a visa if going to South Africa for less than 90 days. Consult the ​South African Consulate in London (or your country of origin).


Making an application

​If you have decided that you wish to volunteer at Amasango, that's great news. All you have to do is fill in the application form and return it and we'll be in touch.

Contact / Enquiry

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