Volunteers are essential to help look after all these adorable little rascals. Aged between three and six, they’re all lively, inquisitive and excitable so there’s lots of running around and fun involved. Having the help of extra hands means that each of these children gets the opportunity for some one on one time. This gives each little voice a chance to be heard over the racket and is very important to their development. Teaching rhymes and songs stimulates their learning and also helps them to learn English, which is likely to get them better jobs later in life. They’re always enthusiastic and they love to sing and dance.
Your days will be spent helping out with play time, getting stuck into play dough and colouring-in books, reading stories and running around making make-believe. You’ll supervise the mini playground and help out with the maintenance of the centre, painting, gardening and cleaning. All the fun and games contribute towards learning, as well as creating happy, balanced children. Your enthusiasm, care and time can help lay the foundation for a brighter future for these special kids.
Your typical working hours will be half-days from Monday to Friday (for example 9 – 12.30 or 1-5 however you’ll never be turned away so if you are able to give more of your time then your extra help will be greatly appreciated!
Project resources and advice
There are very few resources at the project, so they welcome gifts from home such as books, stationary, educational toys, learning aids or posters. You can also buy things when you’re in South Africa – this has the added benefit of putting your money into the economy of the local community.
As part of our duty of care to the children, you will need to provide us with a Police Check / Working with Children Check prior to arrival in South Africa.
Day 1 (Monday) – hello and welcome!
Arrive at Cape Town Airport (airport code CPT) where you’ll be met and taken straight to your new home, a journey of around 45 minutes during which you’ll get your first sight of the iconic Table Mountain. You’ll need to arrive by 4pm so that you’re in time for orientation at 5pm. Orientation will take you through what you can expect from your project, dos and don’ts and how to stay safe. It’s also a great opportunity to ask any burning questions you’ve got. Afterwards you can relax and prepare before your first day at the project.
If you aren’t able to arrange a flight to get you into Cape Town before 4pm then you should fly in a day early. We can arrange an extra night accommodation and airport pickup.
Day 2 (Tuesday) – say hi to the kids!
After a good night’s sleep, it’s time to get into it. This morning you’ll head off to the township kinder along with our team, to meet the dedicated staff and the wonderful children you’ll be helping to look after. Prepare yourself for lots of excitement and noise, it’s always a happy introduction as the kids love having new faces in their lives – they’re certainly not shy!
Days 3 to 5 (Wednesday to Friday) – get stuck in!
Each day you’ll head to the crèche by public minibus taxi, a cost of around $4 a day for the 15 minute journey. By day 2 you’ll have started getting to know the kids and bonding with them, and this will get better each day. They’ll learn so much from you, simply through play and general conversation. If you have any ideas you’d like to contribute, like different games you remember from school, or new and fun activities, speak up! Your contribution will always be appreciated.
Days 6 and 7 (Saturday to Sunday) – it’s the weekend!
Spend your free time as you please, your weekends are yours to enjoy. Cape Town offers so much to do. There are loads of stunning beaches to choose from, go for a surf or check out a penguin colony. Maybe you’d like to climb Table Mountain, visit Robben Island, explore the city with its fascinating museums and art galleries….or even go wine tasting. You’ll also want to kick back and chill in the garden or around the swimming pool at the volunteer house.
Following weeks – keep up the good work!
Your weekdays will be spent with the kids who you’ll get to know and love. You’ll learn more about the community and may even get involved in fundraising or other activities. And any extra time you can spend at the crèche with the children is always much appreciated. The parents often work long days, leaving the kids at crèche until late.
Your last day (Monday) – goodbye, we’ll miss you!
It will be sad to say goodbye to your newfound friends but you’ll have so many special memories to take back with you. The return transfer from Fish Hoek to Cape Town International is not covered within your project fee but our regular transfer company will be able to organise the journey. Budget around $30.
While you're here...
Our large volunteer house in Fish Hoek will be your happy home for this trip. It accommodates up to 20 people in single-sex six-share bunk-rooms. Three shared bathrooms all have hot showers. There’s also a lounge area, balcony, a nice garden and barbeque. You’ll be only a short distance from the shops and beach. There are lockers for your valuables - bring a padlock with you. A $100 security deposit is payable on arrival.
You’ll be self-catering during your stay, and can cook your meals in the communal kitchen complete with stove, fridge/freezer, microwave and toaster. We recommend you budget around $70 per week for groceries – markets and shops are nearby.
There’s a braai (Barbie) in the garden which is yours to use – always nice on a warm evening. If you prefer a night off cooking, then there are heaps of take-out options, bars and restaurants about 10 minutes’ walk away.
Facilities and the area
There’s a phone at the house for incoming calls - buy a phone card to make outbound calls.There is a laundry down the road.Cape Town has a temperate climate but winter (May to September) is pretty chilly so pack warm clothes and plenty of sweatshirts.Bedding is provided - but bring a sleeping bag for extra warmth – also BYO towel.
Fish Hoek’s main street is only 10 minutes’ walk away where you’ll find a supermarket, serviced laundry and internet café, as well as banks and other shopping. The beach is just a stone’s throw beyond that!
Bars, restaurants, more shopping and more beautiful beaches are only 10 minutes away by taxi.
Fish Hoek is on the train line, this is also a great way to get around
Taxis to Cape Town CBD cost around $30
About the Project
Originally a small village of 800 houses, Masiphumelele (Masi) township now has a population over 50 000. Masi residents generally have a strong sense of community and its people are dedicated to helping each other out. This township day care centre was founded around 20 years ago and now cares over 60 little ones (aged 3-6) each day. Their parents work long hours so the centre is open from 6.30am to 5.30pm. It’s a long day for the little ones so the creche needs every helping hand it can get to make their stay pleasant and develop each child to their full potential. Two meals a day are provided – a full belly is the foundation of learning and development.
The crèche founder, Doreen is part of the Masi Educare Forum and has been instrumental in helping other community members open more creches in the neighbourhood so that even more children can have quality care.
All of these people are dedicated to the wellbeing of the children. It’s their mission to help these children break the cycle of poverty and have a chance at a better life. Though short of resources, the kids are happy, bright and well-looked after. It’s a very special place and you will be so pleased that you were able to be a part of it.