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Community Children's Project

Work in a rural township community on the Garden Route where you will support children from the ages of 2 to 6. Volunteers provide basic day care and assistance with daily developmental programmes. This project requires lots of hands-on work both in the classroom and outdoors.

Overview:

Location Kurland Village, Plettenberg Bay, South Africa
Duration From 2 - 12 weeks
Dates All year round from mid-January to mid-December
Requirements
  • You must have an upper intermediate level of English
  • Special skills: You need an evident affinity for youth where a smile and patient understanding helps bridge gaps
Minimum Age: 18
Your impact
Documents required Enrolment form, curriculum vitae, letter of motivation, passport copy, proof of medical insurance, police clearance certificate
Day of arrival Sunday
Day of departure Sunday

Highlights

  • Make a meaningful difference by bringing joy to the lives of young children while working with inspirational people from the community. 
  • Get acquainted with the local cultures of rurally based Afrikaans and Xhosa speaking people who share English as a common second language.
  • Experience the many areas of natural beauty in the immediate Plettenberg Bay area and broader Garden Route region.
  • Choose from a long list of adventure activities to add to your experience – including the world’s highest bridge bungy, swimming with seals, marine safari’s, river-rafting, sky-diving and many more.
  • Enjoy a comfortable, busy yet supportive home-stay environment (with all needed mod-con’s), surrounded by open agricultural pastures and indigenous forests away from the usual routine of urban living.
  • Make new friends from all over the world.

Project information

Working within a historically disadvantaged yet vibrant, multi-cultural rural township community in the greater Plettenberg Bay region, this project is centred around a long-established non-governmental care facility, registered for 100 children, plus a more recently established independent facility for 60 children. Both facilities are driven by concerned, passionate individuals who provide basic day care and formative developmental programmes for children aged between 2 and 6 years old.

You will have immediate, hands-on involvement lending support with routine daily activities in the classroom and outdoors, as well as with the daily feeding programme. You will also be encouraged to participate in the activity planning process, making use of available resources and/or those newly acquired. While your volunteer experience can include rotation through two vastly different child development centres, your involvement will make a real and meaningful difference where it is most evident, and needed – helping prepare the foundation needed by village children for their eventual transition to the more formal public sector education facilities.

The children’s home language is mainly either Afrikaans or Xhosa (although there are some other minority languages) but English, as a common second language, is increasingly understood from age 5 years upwards.

The project has two pre-school care facilities:

  • Kurland Village Child Welfare: This the oldest of Kurland’s pre-school facilities and is the most advanced in terms of facilities, staff, building structures and material – and currently has an enrolment of +/- 100 children who are also provided with meals. Originally catering for predominantly Afrikaans speaking children, the percentage of Xhosa speakers attending the facility has increased dramatically in the past ten years. The project has been seconding volunteer support to this facility since 2003.
  • Happy Kidz: This facility also grew out of an identified need for more personalised individual attention than was being offered at the much larger Child Welfare facility. Happy Kidz is now based in formal buildings and currently accommodates children through to pre-school year.

Your role

A routine programme from Monday to Friday could be as follows:

  • 07.00: Breakfast.
  • 07.45 – 07.50: Transfer from your accommodation to the project.
  • 08.00 – 12.30/13.00: Participation in morning routine activities of the pre-school according to their programme.
  • 12.30 – 14.00: Participation in meal preparation, feeding and tidying up plus regulation quiet time rest. Please note that on selected days you have the option of leaving your routine assignment early to go and help out at one of the external feeding stations that operate 2-3 times per week.
  • 15.00 – 16.00: Transfer from the project to your accommodation.
  • 16.00 onwards: Leisure time.
  • 19.00 – 19.30: Dinner with the team and leisure time. 

Weekends:

  • Friday evenings: Traditionally, a braai (BBQ) takes place on Fridays with the meal served around 20.00. The outdoor hot tub is fired up for this evening. You are also free to make arrangements to go to Plettenberg Bay to enjoy the nightlife there.
  • Saturdays: Generally, this is a free day so open to individual choice. You are welcome to sleep late, make your own cooked breakfast and make plans to visit Plettenberg Bay (note that shops, but not supermarkets, close at 13.00 on Saturday and Sunday) and/or enjoy some of the many local attractions – whether going to the beach, hiking or doing more-adrenalin filled activities.
  • Sundays: As on Saturdays, you can enjoy free time. Please note that most shops are closed on Sundays.

Any public holidays, whether falling on weekdays or weekends, will follow the Saturday/Sunday routine.

It is important to note that this description serves as an example only. The daily tasks and challenges depend on the volunteer, the time of year and the work that needs to be done. The final job description can therefore vary substantially from the above.

Accommodation

You will stay in a backpackers’ based in The Crags, a rural suburb of greater Plettenberg Bay. The backpackers’ is set on a 5-hectare smallholding amidst indigenous forest and open grazing pastures. You are accommodated in shared rooms and/or in under-cover luxury Safari bow-tents that come fully equipped with carpets, beds, linen, electric blankets, lights etc. You will, where required, be sharing with one or two other volunteers. There are numerous bathrooms for communal access and use. The main homestead is equipped with an office, TV lounge, two kitchens plus a large verandah, with a residents’ bar, and two fire-hearths for those chilly nights. It is here that guests and hosts gather for social interaction and where evening meals are served for all to enjoy. Immediately adjacent is an outdoor braai (BBQ) area, while close by, is a combination plunge pool/hot-tub (the latter fired up for Fridays) plus a golf practice putting green and a proper boule/petanque track where guests soon get to know their co-guests. Bedding and towels are provided and your laundry will be regularly done on a wash-and-fold basis by the housekeeper. Free WiFi is available at the main homestead area only.

Testimonials

Santiago from Colombia

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"My experience was better, because in my first couple of weeks I went to different places within the project. I was introduced to the children, the elderly and many of the different projects within the community. I have more opportunities to create some projects in different contexts. Mac also helped me to visit the kindergartens in the area and the library. It’s good to know you can stop when you need a break at the Pepper Mill Cafe. I had the most wonderful experience and I am so glad I did this."

Rikke from Australia

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"This was the most amazing, challenging and fulfilling experience. I have learnt a lot about myself especially when having to initiative in situations that I would never have even considered. I came here wanting to experience the real South Africa and I’m definitely feeling as though I have."

Laura from Brazil

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"Working here in South Africa and the kids for five weeks was the best experience I have ever had. It was all about coming here with a wide open heart and bringing live and happiness to the children. I hope that I made a difference in their lives as much as they did in mine. They are so lovely."