During a Childcare Project in South Africa, a young girl hula hoops outside a care centre.

Volunteer with Children in South Africa

Do volunteer work with children in South Africa and focus on supporting early childhood development

At a glance

  • Volunteer with children in South Africa and work with teachers and caregivers to support early childhood development.
  • You’ll help us work toward our goals of improving literacy, numeracy, and hygiene practices among South African children.
  • You’ll work in Cape Town, a diverse coastal city, and live with a local host family. You’ll learn about the local culture and traditions, use your free time to explore the city and stunning nature.

Start Dates: 


See Dates

Minimum Duration: 

Two Weeks


16 or over

Is volunteering with children in South Africa right for me?

Volunteer work with children in South Africa is a great fit for anyone who wants to help improve the lives of children living in disadvantaged areas.

You’ll gain practical childcare experience, which could help your future career. It’s also the perfect project to help you develop important skills such as teamwork, leadership, and planning.

If you have loads of energy, and enjoy the challenge of creating a better learning environment, this project is definitely for you.

You don’t require any previous experience. All you need is a willingness to help. You’ll support local teachers and caregivers and our staff are there to help and guide you if you need it. We also run regular workshops for all Childcare volunteers, where you can discuss ideas and challenges.

Childcare volunteers with children in South Africa pose for a group photo during a care and community project.

What will I do on this Project?

You will work at a daycare centre or preschool and support local teachers and caregivers. Your focus is on early childhood development.

Here are some of the tasks you can expect to do during your placement:

  • Work one-on-one with children during literacy and numeracy lessons
  • Help make educational resources like flashcards and posters
  • Improve hygiene standards and help implement better hygiene habits

Your work will focus on the following areas:

Promote early childhood development by teaching basic literacy and numeracy

Through inventive literacy and numeracy classes you will help children learn new skills. You will get the opportunity to teach them their ABCs and 123s, or play ball games and build puzzles. All of these activities help with their physical, cognitive, and emotional development.

This will ensure a foundation is laid for their future education and character-building. Placement staff will encourage and welcome any new ideas you can bring to the table. You will also be able to find inspiration from our resources database, your coordinator, and other volunteers.

Improve the learning environment

You will focus on creating resources for lessons. These include posters, flashcards, and any innovative, dynamic materials you can source and come up with.

Improve Hygiene Standards

You can help with the implementation and regularity of best hygiene practices. Volunteers in the past have helped introduce new hygiene facilities. Volunteers have also run basic hygiene workshops to encourage more frequent hand-washing and better tooth-brushing habits and techniques.

Where will I work in South Africa?

Cape Town

You’ll work in and around Cape Town in areas deeply affected by poverty. These areas are known as townships. Childcare facilities in these areas are often overcrowded and understaffed, with a high student-teacher ratio. As a volunteer, you’ll be a welcome pair of helping hands for local caregivers and teachers. By being there, you also help us reach a larger number of children.   

The city is nestled on the southernmost point of the African continent, and is flanked by vast stretches of natural beauty. Table Mountain - arguably the greatest natural highlight - is popular with everyone visiting Cape Town.

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 Childcare Project in South Africa

Your day usually begins at 9am, and your week runs from Monday to Friday. Morning classes end at 12pm, and you will have a one-hour break for lunch.

Your afternoon starts up at 1pm, and usually ends around 4pm. During this time, you’ll do workshops and community outreaches. 

However, working hours vary greatly throughout the week. You should be prepared to adapt to a flexible schedule.

Your days will be filled with lots of activity and it will undoubtedly go by in a flash. South Africa childcare volunteers will do activities that support early childhood development, like arts and crafts, puzzles, and more. You may also offer remedial classes to small groups of children who need additional support.

Your evenings, however, will be much more laidback. You can spend your free time with other volunteers, and take advantage of exploring the city. Spend time with your host family, who will give you great insight into the local culture.

Projects Abroad Childcare volunteer helps a young child withs crafts in South Africa.

What are the aims of this project?

The aim of this project is to improve early childhood development.


Preschools and kindergartens in townships receive very little support and funding. Most of the time, there is not enough space for all the children from the community. As a result, many young children do not receive the educational support they need, and struggle once they start school.


Through our development checklists and Global Impact Database, you will monitor children and support them in areas where they’re behind. This way, we can make sure children meet the development milestones required for their age group.


To help us with our work in South Africa, we have identified four major goals to work toward:


  • Increase literacy
  • Promote Early Childhood Development
  • Raise awareness of healthy living, the environment and family planning
  • Improve English


Projects Abroad has elected not to work with children in orphanages in South Africa, but rather focus on community-based programmes that allow children to remain within their families.


We have a number of volunteer opportunities with children for you to join in Cape Town. Join our Childcare Project in South Africa and be part of our efforts to improve the lives of disadvantaged children.

Female volunters with children in South Africa hold hands of local children and lead them on a walk at their Childcare Project.

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.

This placement is fully researched, safety audited, and risk assessed in accordance with the British Standard BS8848 for the Adventure Travel Sector.

When you apply you only pay 1195 AED, which comes off the total price. Flexible payment options and fundraising advice available.

Looking to do more than one project? Call us on 01273 007 230 to see if we can offer a discount.

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