The Real City Tour
Discover the essence of Africa... Daily Departures
The Shebeen Tour
Come share real African hospitality... Daily Departures
2. School Support and Advancement Programme
This programme supports hard-pressed teachers in township schools. Though desperately under-resourced, these teachers are working in schools where the pupil to staff ratio is in excess of 50:1.
The following skills are needed on this project
The schools' principals have identified the following needs:
• Basic literacy in English is essential - for nearly all of these children, school is their first exposure to English, and is at least their second language
• Quality educational materials are seldom available, and even if they are, schools struggle to organize and account for them
• Lesson planning and teaching methodologies – these are fundamental areas of modern education in which many teachers have received no training
• Information Technology – whilst some schools have computers, computer literacy among teachers cannot be taken as read
• Sports, arts and crafts practitioners are needed to work with the children to build confidence and enhance life-skills
• The nutritional needs of students can be addressed by programmes to establish food gardens
• Principals are burdened with rampant bureaucracy - they have little training and even less support in appropriate administration.
This project involves far more than teaching! The project currently involves 7 primary schools which formally provide education for children from the age of 4 to13 - from Reception to Grade 7. However, many children have their education interrupted for various socio-economic reasons - this result in classes where the ages of the children differ considerably from that of the official Grade. This is particularly true of two of the schools where children up to the age of 17 are still attempting to achieve the required level for their primary school certificate, without which they cannot attend high school. However, the majority of children are of the expected primary school age.
In post-apartheid South Africa, the education system is in a state of transition. Over-burdened teachers, whilst committed to change, struggle to adapt, and need support and training.
The schools involved in this project have been identified for their innovation and dynamism. Previous volunteers have observed that despite the deprivation, they are joyful places to work, where the vast majority of teachers are professional and committed, and the children are eager to learn.
"I find it so hard to put into words what this means to me. I really enjoyed going back to somewhere familiar. Their amazing warmth and friendliness makes me feel I have a second place on this earth that I belong." Returning volunteer 2009
Port Elizabeth is not only an attractive tourist city, it is also a fantastic example of the new emerging South Africa. The ANC started its struggle against apartheid here and the city was the first in South Africa to accept a black mayor. Port Elizabeth and its surrounding area is being renamed ‘Nelson Mandela Bay’ to reflect these strong local links.
While South Africa is becoming one of the power houses of Africa, the apartheid legacy remains – one of the greatest challenges is the growing gap between rich and poor.
Though many of the township teachers are qualified and professional, the education system is in a state of transition. At the end of apartheid, South Africa had 17 different education systems, with different levels for different 'races', different training institutions and expectations for different teachers. It was an education system designed to maintain social divisiveness, prevent critical thinking, and was based on rote learning and minimal participation. Then, in 1994, it all changed – to an education system premised on democratic human rights, outcomes based, critical thinking and experiential learning – but still with the very same teachers, who have had to adapt radically and the disparity in resources between formerly white and township schools still exists. The education system is in transition, constant flux, and teachers operate with varying levels of skill and confidence.
Coupled with the challenges inherent in this change are the problems of large classes, social deprivation, HIV/ Aids and the resultant breakdown of the family. Teachers do their best under the circumstances, but often just need a bit of support and encouragement – and this is where you can make a meaningful contribution.
"Teachers try to follow the National Curriculum - this has been written for English-speaking children and some of the exercises and stories are far too difficult for Xhosa-speaking children. Teachers seem unable to adapt. I was able to give teachers some ideas for their Grade 2 and Grade 4 classes." - Volunteer, 2008.
Duration: 4 weeks minimum.
Placements of longer duration are also welcomed - please ask.
N.B. placements of 3 weeks have been arranged for volunteers with appropriate levels of skill and experience
Homestay is available near the project, with a host family in a safe township community environment, with your own room. Breakfasts & evening meals with your hosts are included, as well as packed lunches and daily transport on work days.
Other accommodation, such as hotels or guesthouses, is also available – please ask.
3. Pre-School Support and Advancement – GAP Project
Work with vulnerable pre-school children and orphans from some of the poorest communities in South Africa. Give them a real start in life and give them FUN!
The following skills are needed on this project
• Help to deliver “learn through play” educational modules, as developed by a qualified pre-school educator
• Make basic educational resources – from sustainable sources
• Work with local preschool teachers and assistants
• Help with after school groups on Lifeskills, IT, sports and crafts
• Develop a food garden or some basic improvement to the children’s facilities
people and places was conceived to ensure meaningful experiences for volunteers and communities working together.
There is much debate about the validity of volunteering by the traditional "Gapper" - post school or university, but we believe that you DO have real skills to share, and that with good management and planning, your skills can help to make a real difference in the communities we serve.
We've worked with our local partners and communities with whom we already work to design volunteer placements for "Gappers" that will be meaningful, responsible and sustainable. You can be sure that you’re not replacing local employment and that your work will be part of a larger programme that is helping vulnerable communities build the future they would want for themselves.
A placement in this project will be challenging, rewarding, meaningful, frustrating ... and fun! It will help you develop your personal skills too - but that is not the priority - the priority is to help local people create a better future.
The Minister of Education recently admitted that South Africa is still plagued by the scourge of sub standard education - 15 years after the end of Bantu Education and Apartheid. Funds have been allocated primarily to Adult Education, Tertiary Education and High and Primary school. Very little money is paid for Early Childhood Development. As a result many small, self started pre-schools are set up all over the township, with very little local knowledge of early childhood development. These pre-schools are often run in shack structures, community halls, or even converted shipping containers.
You will work together with qualified professionals in early childhood development on a pre-designed development programme. In small teams (maximum 6) you will work with township pre-schools and after school clubs improving their education and child development skills by example. This is an opportunity to work with local people for local people.
The content of your placement will vary slightly depending on the needs of each organisation. You will however know where you are working and the goals of your programme well before you arrive. There will of course be orientation and training days on arrival.
In the township areas of Port Elizabeth, nearly 25% of pregnant women are identified as being HIV positive. Added to this, the ravages of apartheid, poverty and rural migration patterns have had a devastating impact on families. Only a small minority of children grow up in 2 parent households, with close to 50% of children being raised by grandmothers, and the impact of AIDS has seen a steady increase of this percentage. The standard approach in dealing with the 4 million South African orphans is for them to be cared for within the community, through extended family structures and community based care.
The major issues and challenges affecting these children are:
• food insecurity
• lack of support with school work
• few, if any, appropriate activities in the community
• lack of life skills, self awareness & self confidence
• patchy or inadequate emotional support
We have been operating a sustainable Volunteer Programme for the last 4 years with people and places. Our focus has been primarily on more mature, highly skilled volunteers. The reason has been that it was our understanding initially that we needed to facilitate skills development within local communities.
While we still maintain that responsible volunteer programmes are about the transfer of skills, we have also come to understand that the traditional volunteer market, or Gap Year Market, has much to offer and can have profound impact.
This is based on two primary facts:
1. Young people from the developed world have meaningful skills, and can be used effectively, if carefully selected and diligently managed.
2. Volunteers from the developed world undergo a profound change of life on well-structured, well-managed volunteer programmes. They develop a realistic understanding of poverty and development issues, and can in fact become profound agents of change within there own communities, societies and the world.
Duration: 4 weeks minimum.
Placement dates are available on application. If you are planning to travel as a group of 4 to 6 people, dates can be tailored to your requirements. If you wish to travel independently, placement dates will be fixed.
You will live in simple clean and safe accommodation, sharing rooms and bathrooms. All meals are self catering.