As in many African countries, family comes first in South Africa. No matter what, you stick together. If someone in your family is struggling for money, you all come together to help them. However, if the entire family is struck by poverty, it can become difficult to take care of one another. Often, South African grandparents have to go out to work to bring in extra money for their family. This can mean that there is no one at home to take care of the children, who are left on their own. For this reason, many families will use the services of low-cost or free kindergartens. These facilities are often connected to other nurseries or pre- schools.
Your job site will be one of the many kindergartens in Cape Town. These kindergartens usually have space for between 70 to 240 children, depending on whether they are affiliated to a pre-school. As a volunteer, you help the staff look after the children. The children come from disadvantaged areas such as the townships, where there is often widespread drug abuse and crime. These kindergartens provide a safe and secure place where children can freely develop and receive encouragement to learn and grow. The children receive meals, lessons and care. The aim of this program is to improve the provision of education and care in local kindergartens and pre-schools to enable the children to develop at a healthy pace.
You’ll support the local teachers in their daily work, whether that is caring for the children, playing games, or feeding the babies. You may also assist the teacher when it comes to teaching the children how to count, spell or tell the time, as well as leading craft activities, singing songs or whatever else you can think of! The children love when our volunteers read to them, play with them in the yard, or even just stop for a hug. We always encourage our volunteers to bring small souvenirs to the kindergartens, such as colouring books, because the children are always delighted to receive them.
You will work Monday to Friday in the kindergarten. The schools open early in the morning and close early afternoon. Usually you get to choose what you want to focus on that day, but if extra help is needed in another area you may have to be flexible. During your free time you can explore Cape Town, learn how to surf or even go on safari. South Africa has a lot to offer!