As a childcare volunteer in South Africa, you will provide additional support to childcare projects within the Cape Town community. PMGY’s South Africa volunteer programs will see you help young children in Cape Town. Volunteer with children in South Africa to make a vital contribution in brightening up the lives of young children.
CHILDCARE VOLUNTEER PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS THE UN'S SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL NO.4 - EDUCATION
WORK WITH CHILDREN FROM DISADVANTAGED BACKGROUNDS IN SOUTH AFRICA
PLAN FUN ACTIVITIES AND MAKE A POSITIVE IMPACT WITHIN THE PROJECTS IN CAPE TOWN
EXPERIENCE CAPE TOWN FROM CENTRALLY LOCATED ACCOMMODATION
USE WEEKENDS TO HEAD ON SAFARI, CLIMB TABLE MOUNTAIN OR GO WINE TASTING
BACKGROUND TO THE CHILDCARE PROGRAM
It is estimated that 80% of young children in South Africa’s townships do not have access to early childhood development education. As a result, many lack the support required to develop to their full potential. Since the end of Apartheid in 1994, poor government funding and flawed policies have hit the most vulnerable South Africans hardest. For instance, many of the problems for South Africa’s poorest have been exacerbated.
Today about 57% of South Africa’s population lives in poverty. In low-income township areas, living conditions are challenging, with high crime and unemployment rates, health problems and high population densities. A lack of childcare facilities leaves many children unattended and unprotected.
Affordable and accessible childcare services can be very difficult to source across Cape Town and surrounding communities. Above all, it is families from low-income backgrounds that struggle the most. Whilst this has not gone unrecognised, many centres established to accommodate for such families are inadequate. To clarify, such centres are understaffed and operate with a limited stock of resources. This makes the roles of our PMGY volunteers invaluable to the quality of care that can be offered to these children.
The daycare centres we support are either independent local initiatives or government subsidised community support programs. Some are home-based crèches run by local women and others are more structured organisations. They all have a common goal. That is, to help children develop to their full emotional, social and physical potential.
Plan My Gap Year supports a range of crèches, day-care centres and kindergartens. All based centrally in the city within Cape Town. These facilities provide essential childcare to impoverished families of nearby communities. The majority of these children come from the Townships and other underdeveloped backgrounds. In short, locations where social and health problems are rife whether it be gang violence, drugs, malnutrition and HIV/Aids.
Most parents or relatives of these children from vulnerable communities work in the city. Consequently, they are able to bring the children with them in the morning to drop them off at the daycare centres. Other children arrive each day by bus. The teachers and assistants communicate to the children using a mixture of Afrikaans, English and Xhosa. Some of the centres provide meals for the children so volunteers can assist with feeding times.
Volunteer opportunities in South Africa provided by PMGY will provide you with a platform to make a positive impact. When working at our childcare volunteer abroad projects in South Africa, it is important to maintain energy, enthusiasm and creativity. For the reason that many of these children will be seeking the care and attention that you as a childcare volunteer in South Africa can bring. To volunteer with children in South Africa, you will need to donate your time and skills effectively. This is to ensure you can maximise your impact on the local people.
CHILDCARE VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT EXAMPLES
The Kiddies College - A cross between a crèche and a Kindergarten, the Kiddies College was established in 1997. The project supports children from 2-6 years old. Volunteers aid local staff with the day to day schedule and supervising the children. Kiddies College was formally a preschool closed down by the local council. However, the passion of one of its former staff members led to its re-emergence. As a result, local employment benefits and many spacious rooms and a nice garden area are utilised.
Meals are provided for the children at the project. In addition, activities such as visits to the library, swimming and karate lessons or speech and drama classes also take place. Volunteers can support such activities if placed at this specific volunteer project. PMGY volunteers ease the workload of the understaffed team by providing the children with extra care and attention.
Mini Einsteins Crèche - Home to around 160 learners, Mini Einsteins crèche can be a hectic environment! Most of the children are aged from 3 months to 6 years old. However, some of the children can reach up to 12 years old. The crèche aims to provide a safe, secure, supportive and stimulating environment for all children to discover their full potential naturally.
There is a strong philosophy at the crèche that children’s development is based on playing and growing. Volunteers are encouraged to support and embrace such a philosophy. Subsequently, international volunteers help with homework and games. In addition, volunteers will also get involved in creative arts activities or even support in the two designated baby rooms.
Many of the children at the crèche come from broken homes and deprived backgrounds. As a result, the children highly appreciate the extra care and attention that PMGY volunteers contribute. In the same vein, contributions made by childcare volunteers in South Africa are also highly appreciated by the staff and the local community.
Gingerbread House Educare - Located in one of the oldest suburbs of Cape Town, Gingerbread House Educare can be found in the Mowbray district. A serious shortage of affordable childcare facilities in the area led to its initial opening in 1993. Since then, the centre has grown year-on-year. Moreover, the centre now provides care for more than 110 children in the morning. In addition to this, 30 primary school children join the centre in the afternoons!
The facility aims to provide its learners with a well-balanced education. Emphasis is placed on building up the children’s overall character and self-confidence. As a volunteer in South Africa at the Gingerbread House, you will assist in every facet of the projects daily routine. This involves helping the local teacher run lessons and dance/creative arts, to food preparation and feeding. General playtime is everyone’s favourite time of day!
YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL CHILDCARE DAY
As a childcare volunteer in South Africa, you can expect to participate in a range of activities. Most noteworthy, you will be supporting the local staff with daily duties (whether this is cleaning activities and/or admin work). Furthermore, you will assist with food preparation and feeding, supervising during free playtime and nap-times.
When you volunteer with children in South Africa, you will also have the opportunity to carry out some teaching. Examples will include helping with basic maths, reading and arts & crafts activities. Most importantly, you will become a positive role model for the children. Sadly, this is something that many of the children are lacking. Ultimately, as you complete volunteer work in South Africa, you will be providing invaluable assistance to the overstretched local staff.
The typical volunteering abroad hours are 8am-1pm Monday-Friday with a lunch break in between. The children usually have nap time in the early afternoon. If volunteers wish too, they can return after until the project closes. Weekends are your own free time.
Volunteers will need to make their own way to the childcare project each day. Moreover, this usually involves taking public transport but sometimes projects can be walking distance from the Volunteer House. On average, it takes around 30 minutes to get to the childcare project. Our local team will instruct you as to how to get to and from the project each day. Alternatively, you will be paired with a volunteer who has already been working at the placement you have been assigned to.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING IN SOUTH AFRICA
Township Projects - Please note, most projects we support are centrally based in the city within Cape Town. Projects in the township area represent a much more challenging experience both logistically and structurally.
Consequently, we do not promote or endorse projects in these locations. Should volunteers wish to experience projects in the townships this may be arranged on an ad hoc basis. This is dictated by the discretion of the local team. Volunteers are best to discuss such options with the team upon arrival into South Africa.
Resources - On the childcare project in South Africa, resources can be very limited. Volunteers are recommended to bring materials to the project each day to maximise their productivity and day-to-day involvement. It is therefore important for volunteers to prepare well in advance to get the most out of their childcare volunteering experience in South Africa.
Wildlife Reserve Volunteer Extension - PMGY participants joining us in Cape Town have the opportunity to extend their trip by joining our wildlife reserve project located near Port Elizabeth. You can join for a period of 1 week+ to maximise your experience in South Africa and get involved in this very unique opportunity. Participants will need to fly from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth on the Monday following the completion of their first program and the one-way domestic flight is included within the extension price.
Placement Settings - PMGY does not provide volunteer opportunities in orphanages in any of our locations. Research and studies have shown that visiting and volunteering in orphanages has the potential to generate an industry that separates children from their families. In turn, putting children at increased risk of neglect and abuse. Therefore, we do not support these institutions with our volunteer network.
Instead, we focus on offering alternative childcare volunteer opportunities whereby children come to and from the placement setting each day. In other words, our local teams collaborate with childcare projects which do not offer any form of residential care. These are safe, responsible, and vetted projects, where participants continue to provide valued assistance supporting local staff.
Weekends - Your project work in South Africa runs from Monday-Friday and weekends are free. You are welcome to relax and hang out at the volunteer accommodation but most participants will use this time to travel and explore the country. As a result, you can check out our South Africa Weekend Travel Guide for top tips on how to spend your weekend.
CHOOSING A VOLUNTEER TRIP
Can people from outside of the UK or USA volunteer with PMGY?
Of course! Although PMGY was founded in the UK, with offices now extending between the UK and US, we welcome participants of all nationalities onto our programs. Within the last decade, we have hosted tens of thousands of volunteers from across the globe. From France to Italy, Mexico to India, Namibia to Russia and Ireland to China – these are only a handful of the countries volunteers have joined us from! We want everyone from across the world to have an equal opportunity at experiencing a different perspective on life, and make friends across the world.
Why are PMGY’s fees so much more affordable than other organisations?
The PMGY International Team works hard to ensure that our fees are kept as low as possible. Consequently, this makes our experiences affordable and accessible without sacrificing the safety and quality of the overall experience.
Registration Fees to join our programs are assigned to the high levels of comprehensive support that we are renowned for. This includes telephone and online support staff available 24 hours each day, as well as detailed hand-guides and interactive webinars. Therefore, the remaining Program Fees to join the program go directly to our in-country teams, covering everything for your time volunteering. In general, these fees are reflected in your accommodation, meals, airport pick-up, in-country support and project upkeep during your time abroad. Furthermore, we make sure our fees are transparent, which is something our volunteers really appreciate.
Similar organisations offer fancy brochures, run large high-street offices and are usually owned by larger travel organisations with many shareholders. As a result, participants are charged an extremely high price to cover all of these overheads. Therefore, at PMGY, we have embraced the online age by focusing everything around an online presence. We have done away with out-dated brochures, an unnecessary high street presence and we are an independent organisation without any outside financial interests.
What are the requirements to volunteer in South Africa?
PMGY welcomes childcare volunteers in South Africa of all nationalities, religions and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the program is 18 and there is no upper age limit. Furthermore, all volunteers need to have a good level of English, although it does not need to be your first language. Of course, you do not need to speak the local dialect. However, you will find that learning a few words in your days with us in South Africa will go a long way.
As a childcare volunteer in South Africa, you must be able to provide a clean criminal background check in advance of volunteering with us abroad. Thus, we are unable to accept anyone who has any previous criminal convictions. In general, no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation! However, medical and healthcare projects usually require additional documentation before participation begins in-country.
Volunteering overseas can be both physically and mentally challenging. Therefore, all participants must be fit in both areas. Consequently, if you have any medical/mental health conditions that may affect your participation overseas, then these must be declared to us during your online application. If you have any queries regarding your suitability to participate, we recommend that you contact us before committing to the program.
What date should I arrive and leave the South Africa volunteer program?
For your volunteer trip to South Africa, you should book your flights to Cape Town International Airport in Cape Town on the Sunday start date. The airport code is CPT. You will be met at the airport by a member of the local team or an appointed driver, who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.
The program ends on the Saturday of your final week. Therefore, you must depart the accommodation on this day.
When is the best time of year to volunteer in South Africa?
Feedback from childcare volunteers in South Africa often suggests that it is best to join a PMGY project outside the European summer months. This is since June-August tends to be when we have peak numbers at each of our projects and volunteer accommodations. Conversely, outside of these months, there is typically the greatest opportunity to become fully immersed in the project and within the local community.
Are there any age restrictions to be a volunteer in South Africa?
In order to join as a childcare volunteer in South Africa, you need to be at least 18 on the program start date. Typically in South Africa we find 70% of PMGY volunteers are aged between 18-22 years old.
There is no upper age limit to our programs, and in the past, we have hosted participants up to the age of 70-years old. Whilst we have found that our more mature participants get a lot from the experience, at times individuals have found it more challenging to integrate with a younger crowd. Furthermore, some participants have perhaps expected a higher level of accommodation, the structure within the local community, and general overall communication at the project setup. Consequently, whilst we welcome volunteers of all ages, we stress that all participants should remain open-minded and flexible. Additionally, participants must appreciate that the majority of our participants are across the 18-22 age range.
When should I apply to be a childcare volunteer in South Africa?
For the majority of our programs, you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on the program. This is since some of our programs only have limited capacity, meaning that spaces get filled very quickly. Therefore, it is particularly important that you apply in good time if you’re looking to travel between our peak period of June and August. This is because spaces can fill up very quickly during this period. Furthermore, please only apply if you are 100% committed to joining the program. You need to apply online by locating the “Apply Now” button on the individual project page. This will guide you through our online Application Process.
Indeed, once you have applied and confirmed your place on the program, it may be possible to change your start dates and this will not incur a fee. However, please note that this will be subject to availability and any changes should be made at least 60 days prior to your start date.
What duration would you recommend to volunteering for?
Based on feedback from previous childcare volunteers in South Africa, we believe that 4-6 weeks is the ideal amount of time to volunteer in South Africa. Consequently, this means you have enough time to integrate into the local community and really get involved in a project. For one thing, you will be able to make a positive impact on community development. Additionally, you will have a greater opportunity to explore during your weekends. Childcare volunteers in South Africa who join us for 2 weeks frequently tell us that this was long enough and wish they had stayed for longer!
While our programs are available for a long duration and we’d love for people to join us for longer periods of time, we only allow people to initially sign up for a maximum of 12 weeks in each destination. In the past, we have had volunteers commit to longer periods and then prefer to shorten it in order to do independent travel or switch to a different program. Therefore, we recognise that a degree of flexibility is best applied as program fees are nonrefundable once committed. Once you have arrived and find that you are really enjoying the program, you would be more than welcome to extend your placement. This is subject to availability at the time of extension.
For those looking to potentially join us for a longer period, we recommend checking out our Encounter Programs that offer a 2-4 week stay across 3-10 destinations.
Can I volunteer abroad with my friend/parent/boyfriend/girlfriend?
You’re more than welcome to travel and volunteer with friends, family members or with a boyfriend/girlfriend. If required, we can make sure that you stay in the same accommodation and volunteer for the same project. However, please note the majority of our volunteer accommodation is on a single-sex basis. Consequently, we cannot guarantee that you would be able to be placed in the same room.
Please outline in the ‘Special Requirements’ box of your online application if you’d like to make sure you’re placed alongside another applicant/s.
Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?
Although our volunteers work in the developing world, we work hard to ensure that our host locations are safe. Firstly, volunteer safety in each of our destinations is monitored regularly. Each of our volunteer programs has been inspected by a member of the PMGY International Team. Additionally, PMGY closely follows advice published by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Alongside the frequent contact we have with our local teams, we are able to ensure that our volunteers are never placed in unstable or unsafe regions.
The PMGY International Team have visited and participated in every program we offer. Thus, we have carefully inspected every little detail of our set-up, from the living conditions to local neighbourhoods and even the food you’ll be eating. Through these checks, we are able to ensure that all of our projects are up to scratch. Furthermore, all of our local teams are experienced development professionals, with years of experience hosting international volunteers. They are PMGY’s representatives on the ground and assist volunteers 24/7 throughout their stay. Our teams are therefore always on-hand to assist in any emergencies that may occur. Additionally, our 24 hour international emergency telephone line is always accessible. PMGY’s in-country staff also have access to local medical professionals should these be required during a participant’s time with us.
When you join as a childcare volunteer in South Africa, we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visas and dress codes. For any unanswered or specific questions, PMGY offers a comprehensive support network, with online and telephone support staff available 24 hours each day. Our advisers welcome participants to ask as many questions as needed for them to effectively prepare for their trip overseas. On a monthly basis, our International Team also hosts both an Introductory Webinar and Safety Webinar. These are interactive opportunities for international volunteers to learn more about our projects and managing their safety overseas.
When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive introduction to the general volunteer program and your specific project. During this session, our team will also cover important safety advice specific to your country. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM-card. This is something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. In like manner, we will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.
Although we cannot guarantee your volunteer experience to be 100% trouble-free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each program is as safe as possible.
When do I pay for my volunteer program? Can I pay in instalments?
In order to confirm your place as a childcare volunteer in South Africa, you need to pay a deposit of 249 USD. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated free of charge. If you’re applying within 60 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. Likewise, in the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your payment will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying.
Payments made in advance of the 45 day window can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 5% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur. Bank transfers can be accepted by UK participants only.
Can I use the program as part of a university or college placement?
It is certainly possible to be a childcare volunteer in South Africa as part of your university or college placement. However, PMGY is unable to guarantee that your time as a childcare volunteer in South Africa will fulfil the requirements of your establishment. Therefore, participants are encouraged to speak to a member of the International Team to establish whether the required parameters can be met. This should be done in advance of applying to the program. When appropriate, school/college/university representatives are welcome to contact PMGY to discuss further the suitability of the program in meeting the participant’s requirements. In addition, we can arrange school expeditions to South Africa.
First of all, the PMGY International Team are able to complete paperwork after a childcare volunteer in South Africa has confirmed their place on the program. Additionally, project staff in South Africa can also sign-off any paperwork that is required by your course tutors. However, while our team will do their best to complete any paperwork, we are unable to guarantee that we will be able to comply with every learning objective and requirement or your university/college. PMGY regularly receives medical, nursing, childcare and psychology placement students on our projects globally, with ties with some leading universities.
If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programs could meet the placement requirements for your course, please contact us directly to schedule a meeting.
BEFORE YOU DEPART
Can I fundraise for my volunteer trip?
With PMGY, the money our volunteers pay goes towards the structure you receive on the South Africa volunteer program. The fundamentals of this cover aspects such as accommodation, airport pick-ups, around the clock support from our international and in-country teams, pre-departure training as well as the implementation and monitoring of the projects.
We do our best to keep our program costs as low and affordable as possible, without sacrificing quality and safety. However, with flights, travel insurance and spending money to factor into your overall budget, you may find you need a little bit of help with the finances. Consequently, a large number of PMGY volunteers decide to fundraise for their trip. In these instances, we recommend that childcare volunteers in South Africa set up an online fundraising page to notify friends and family of your trip.
PMGY have partnered with the online crowdfunding website GoGetFunding for volunteers to create a personalised fundraising page for their trip. This professional online fundraising service allows you to set financial goals and get the message across about what you’re doing. You can also share your PMGY fundraising page across various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word.
Can I raise money for the projects?
The PMGY Foundation is a UK registered charity (1169415). This charity has been created to help provide financial aid and assistance to projects we work with on an ongoing basis. Importantly, the objective of the PMGY Foundation is the prevention or relief of poverty for people living in the communities we support. This is achieved by providing or assisting the provision of education, training, healthcare and general living support. Therefore together, we hope that the support offered by the PMGY Foundation helps to enable individuals to generate a sustainable income and be self-sufficient. Consequently, donations made to the PMGY Foundation will be directed to the projects most in need. This is determined by the trustees of the charity during our International Team overseas visits.
If you are looking to help raise money directly for the PMGY Foundation, you can do so via our Virgin Money Giving fundraising page. 100% of all money raised will be donated directly to the projects we support around the world. However, please note that participants are unable to raise money through the PMGY Foundation to help finance the cost of their trip overseas. For childcare volunteers in South Africa looking for further information on how to raise money for their trip abroad, please visit our fundraising page.
How do I register for your online webinars?
Every Tuesday at 4pm (London time), the PMGY International Team hosts one of four pre-departure webinars. These last approximately 45 minutes each and importantly provide volunteers in South Africa with invaluable advice on their upcoming trip. The webinars are hosted by a member of our International Team, who all have extensive knowledge of our projects around the globe. You can attend (and even ask questions) from anywhere in the world, simply by logging in through your own computer. All you need is a computer, a good internet connection and a pair of headphones. In addition to this, if any family or friends would like to attend the session as well, they are more than welcome to do so.
For individuals who have not yet signed up to one of our programs, but would like to learn more about us, we encourage you to join our Introductory Webinar. Across 45 minutes, a member of the International team will introduce you to the concept of volunteering abroad, our destinations and both social and safety aspects of our programs.
For childcare volunteers in South Africa who have already confirmed their volunteering role on the program, there are three for you to choose from. Please note that you need to sign up for the webinar a few days in advance.
Travel Essentials Pre-Departure Webinar – covers all the basics.
Program Preparation Webinar – covers specifically childcare and teaching community work programs.
Safety & Wellbeing Overseas Webinar – covers the risks associated with overseas travel and how you can keep as safe as possible.
Will I require vaccinations and malaria tablets for my volunteer work?
It is possible that as a childcare volunteer in South Africa you may require a course of vaccinations in preparation for your volunteer work in South Africa. However, unfortunately, PMGY is unable to legally advise on these matters, since we are not medical experts. Therefore, it is vital that you contact your local doctor or travel clinic a few months in advance of your intended travel. Your local doctor/nurse will be able to advise you on vaccinations and malaria prevention you may need for entry into your volunteer destination. Additional information can be found on the NHS Fit For Travel website.
How do I arrange my flights to volunteer in South Africa?
When you apply to be a childcare volunteer in South Africa, we cannot guarantee your place on the program immediately. Indeed, on receiving an application, we have to liaise with our local team to ensure there is space available on the program and to assess your suitability for the specific project. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not make any flight and/or travel arrangements until your program has been confirmed by us in writing. Of course, once your place as a childcare volunteer in South Africa has been confirmed, you are then free to book your flights either with PMGY or through a third-party travel agent.
After confirming your place on a PMGY volunteer program, we strongly advise that you book your flights as early as possible. This is since it will help ensure that you get the lowest airfare. You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you with arranging them. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries. Therefore, we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use. Therefore, if you would like any assistance booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during your online application. Alternatively, feel free to contact us on the phone or by email.
Do you offer travel insurance?
Importantly, having an appropriate travel insurance policy during your time abroad is essential. Therefore, it is mandatory for all of our international volunteers to be appropriately covered across all of their trip dates. This includes your travel to and from the host country, as well as any onward travel. Although PMGY does everything to ensure your trip is safe, inevitably things can go wrong. Therefore, having a travel insurance policy in place helps you effectively deal with any problems you may encounter during your time away.
We have partnered up with the insurance company battleface to create an affordable and comprehensive optional policy. This has been designed with our international volunteers in mind, to cover our participants for all of their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone across the globe, up to the age of 65 years. The document will cover you for your time on any PMGY destination and any onward travel (excluding the US and Canada). You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.
How do I obtain a background check?
To become a childcare volunteer in South Africa, you’ll need to provide us with a clean DBS or Police Check before you travel. This is a check that must be issued by an official Governmental or Police Body. PMGY have a commitment to the projects we support to ensure the volunteers we send are trustworthy and of sound moral character. Consequently, we are unable to accept participants who have had any previous criminal convictions.
If you hold a current DBS or Police Check, then we can accept this, providing it is clear and issued no more than 18 months prior to your program start date. You will need to upload a copy of this to your online portal after confirming your place on the program. Furthermore, the DBS or Police Check must be submitted to us no less than 21 days prior to your program start date.
If you don’t have a valid DBS check, then you will need to apply for one. UK volunteers need to apply for a “Basic Disclosure” through Gov.uk (which serves all people in the UK). This costs 23 GBP and takes around 15 working days to process. Full information on how to obtain a DBS check through Gov.uk is outlined in the Volunteer Handbook, received once you have confirmed your place as a childcare volunteer in South Africa.
For childcare volunteers in South Africa from the US, you can apply for a background check through US Criminal Checks. It costs 17.95 USD and is usually processed immediately. Alternatively, you are welcome to arrange your own background check through your local Sheriff’s Office or governmental body.
For all other international participants, we recommend you obtain a Police/Criminal Background Check through your local police station or official governmental body.
When will I receive my Volunteer Handbook?
All volunteers in South Africa will receive a PMGY Volunteer Handbook once they have paid their deposit and confirmed their place on the program. We will send you an email entitled ‘Welcome to PMGY’ which will include a link where you can download the Volunteer Handbook. Please note that we do not send a hard copy of the PMGY Volunteer Handbook.
This Handbook contains everything you need to know to prepare as a childcare volunteer in South Africa. Ranging from what to pack to how to obtain a visa, we do our best to ensure you are ready to hit the ground running. Therefore, it is really important that you read through the Volunteer Handbook carefully once you’ve downloaded it. If you find any of your questions unanswered after reading through this, then our team are always on hand to assist you. You can contact us via email, telephone, Zoom, Facebook, online chat…whatever works best for you!
ON YOUR TRIP
Can I arrange a private room?
All of our accommodation options on the South Africa volunteer program involve sharing a room with other participants (usually same-sex). Unfortunately, we are unable to arrange private room options for our childcare volunteers in South Africa.
Can you cater for my dietary requirements?
Our teams will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements. However, this cannot be guaranteed as a childcare volunteer in South Africa. Consequently, there may be instances where you need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense. Any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Importantly, any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the program.
Are there any public holidays that affect project availability?
We aim to communicate as clearly and accurately as possible all holidays that impact project availability. This information can be found via our Holiday Dates page and in the Volunteer Handbook. However, due to the nature of developing countries, holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change. In turn, these can unexpectedly affect project availability. Therefore in such instances, we ask our volunteers to be flexible and appreciative of this. These periods often provide volunteers in South Africa with a unique experience to enjoy the festivities and holidays themselves. However, our local teams will always do their best to find alternative project work if applicable/possible.
What is the dress code at the projects?
Dress code varies from country-to-country and sometimes from project-to-project. Importantly, we ask that our volunteers adopt a smart and responsible image during their time in the communities. Of course, we will outline the specific dress code requirements in your Volunteer Handbook so you know exactly what to pack. In addition to this, our local team will also brief you during your in-country orientation on arrival in South Africa.
The general rule of thumb for girls is to cover shoulders, chest, stomach and thighs. In a like matter, for men, shorts should not lie above the knee and shirts should cover shoulders. Whilst we do not wish to impose strict regulations on our volunteers, we do ask that you respect the local culture during your travels. Moreover, dressing appropriately will earn you the respect of the people you’ll be working with. Therefore, our Volunteer Handbooks, outline preferred dress-codes in detail.
Additionally, it’s also a good idea to take some nicer clothes for the weekends and special occasions. However, please avoid tight and very short clothing. You should also avoid clothing that may have potentially offensive slogans on it. Tattoos and piercings should be covered where possible whilst you’re at your placement, particularly if you’re working with children.
How much spending money will I need?
The amount of extra spending money you should take with you as a childcare volunteer in South Africa can depend on a multitude of factors. Considerations include what you undertake during your free time and how many souvenirs you purchase! Therefore, if you plan to go for a safari in Tanzania or perhaps go trekking in South Africa, you will need to budget accordingly. However, for general expenses and some independent travel, you should find 100-150 USD per week a suitable amount.
Will I be able to travel whilst on the program?
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to travel during your time with PMGY. In fact, we encourage you to travel during your free time! Most of our programs have been designed so that you have weekends off. Therefore, this gives you the opportunity to explore the local area or even travel further afield within your host country. Our local coordinators will provide you with all the weekend opportunities and travel tips you need to help you plan any independent adventures. During your time as a childcare volunteer in South Africa, you are sure to make some travel buddies along the way!
Before booking your flights, we recommend that you look into travel opportunities across dates on either side of your volunteering placement. It is always great to spend some time travelling and seeing more of the country you wish to volunteer in. However, if you plan to travel extensively, please factor this into your flight itinerary. This is since we only encourage travel during weekends while you’re volunteering, as you have made a commitment as a childcare volunteer in South Africa.
During your time on the South Africa volunteer programs, you will live in our Volunteer House. This is located in Observatory - better known as ‘Obz’ by the locals! Home to South African’s oldest Astronomical Observatory, this is Cape Town’s most bohemian suburb; an arty district. The main entertainment area is located only a 10 minute walk from the hostel, along lower Main Road. During the day, this road is home to various boutique shops, restaurants and cafes. However, at night, the street comes to life, with a vibrant nightlife.
The accommodation is basic but comfortable. Moreover, Wi-Fi is available free of charge. Each room has bunk beds with up to 8 people per room (on a single-sex basis). Bathrooms are shared, with showers and western-style toilets. During the winter period (June to August) it can get quite cold, so please bring warm clothes. International volunteers are provided with a bedsheet and blanket. However, you may also choose to bring a sleeping bag or buy an additional blanket from the local store for extra warmth.
The house has a communal area for volunteers to hang out after completing volunteer work in South Africa. Moreover, the Volunteer House comes with sofas, a flat-screen TV and DVD player. In addition, there will also be fridge space available for volunteers to store any chilled items. Each volunteer will be assigned their own lockable cupboard for the safekeeping of small valuable items. For example, this could be storing your passport and/or money. Therefore, volunteers are advised to bring with them a small lock to make use of these.
During our busiest months you may be placed at alternative accommodation. For instance, you could be placed in one of our secondary Volunteer Houses.
During your volunteer trip to South Africa, volunteers will be provided with breakfast. You will need to purchase your own lunch and dinner during the volunteering week. In addition, you will need to budget for all meals at the weekend. Please note, that although the Volunteer House has a kitchen, this is quite small. As a result, cooking meals can be difficult and it can be more practical to eat out for lunch and at weekends.
Breakfast operates in a self-service format. Volunteers just help themselves and all cutlery and crockery are provided. If you fancy eating out there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and local amenities in the surrounding area.
* Please note our local team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements. However, there may be instances where you may need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense. Any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Most importantly, any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the volunteer program.
* These fees apply to each individual application.
In order to apply to join PMGY you are required to make your Registration Fee payment of 249 USD. In the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your Registration Fee will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated for an admin fee of 60 USD. Please note any changes will be subject to availability.
If you’re applying within 60 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. Likewise, in the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your payment will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying.
Any remaining payments must be made no less than 60 days prior to your start date. This payment can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance or book a flight with PMGY then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking.
Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 5% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.
OPTIONAL TRIPLE CARBON OFFSET SCHEME - 45 USD
PMGY provide participants with the opportunity to contribute towards our Triple Carbon Offset Scheme. This not only helps eliminate your carbon footprint but helps the planet with a positive contribution every time you fly. The Triple Offset Idea for volunteers in South Africa works as follows -
🇰🇪 Kenya - 59 mango trees are planted in Kenya. These are capable of absorbing the total carbon emissions for a volunteer trip to South Africa and also help provide a sustainable income for local farmers.
🇮🇳 India - 80 days of access to a solar cooker are provided to a family in India. This means the family don't have to spend on firewood and thus reduce their dependence on trees.
🇺🇸 USA - 1.25kg of rescued meals are provided to the homeless in the USA. This recycles wasted food reduces methane emission from food waste which is equivalent to 1lb of CO2 emissions.
This optional add-on can be added during the online application process or can even be added on at a later date. The offset platform is provided by our charity, the PMGY Foundation and ensures that 100% of contributions are put towards high impact projects around the world.
Anyone planning on coming to Cape Town late June 2024 maybe early July ?? I know it’s very early just never solo travelled before and slightly nervous I won’t find anyone to hang with outside of the volunteer program ❤️🔥❤️🔥 ... See MoreSee Less