South Africa Literacy Volunteers

4-12 weeks from £551 (was £569)

£49 Deposit
Teaching in South Africa helping local children

Give children in South Africa the gift of education

Iconic views of Table Mountain and Lion
South Africa volunteering opportunities
Reading project at Cape Town Schools
Volunteer and travel
Help children to read
Explore South Africa

Trip Highlights

  • Teach young children in South Africa how to read and give them the tools for a brighter future
  • Get to know a small group of children desperately in need of your help
  • Encourage children’s existing reading skills and watch them blossom
  • Help deprived children become more confident and able to learn alongside their peers
  • Stay in the beautiful seaside town of Fish Hoek at a dedicated volunteer house
  • Explore Cape Town and the surrounding areas in your own time

Trip Summary

If you’ve ever considered volunteering abroad and working with children to help them achieve their dreams, then our South Africa Literacy Volunteers programme is one of those special experiences you don’t want to miss. You’ll be based in a beautiful seaside town close to South Africa’s vibrant Cape Town and will be working with children struggling to get to grips with their reading at a local school. Lacking in support at home and sometimes overwhelmed by large class sizes, some children fall behind with their studies, with a huge percentage of 8 to 12-year-olds in South Africa unable to read or write – cue our awesome volunteers… You’ll help give these children the best chance of getting back on track by offering them dedicated one-on-one tuition, helping them learn and grow in confidence as well as academically. Want to help? Read on!

Interested and want to find out more? Download more trip information and detailed itinerary HERE!

What to expect at the project

Arriving in Cape Town on your programme start date, you'll be met at the airport by our friendly team who will take you to your accommodation in the pretty seaside town of Fish Hoek. At 5pm you'll have an orientation session to find out more about the area, close by amenities, and everything you need to know to make your stay in South Africa the best it can be. This is the perfect opportunity for you to ask any questions.

On your first full day on the programme, you’ll visit a local training facility for a day spent learning different teaching techniques and to get a better idea of the sorts of backgrounds the children you’ll be helping come from. It’s a unique insight and a really helpful day for volunteers who haven’t previously worked with children.

The literacy project is a school-based placement a short drive from your accommodation where you'll be working with young 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-graders (between 8 and 12-years-old), helping them to improve and build on existing reading and writing skills, some of which will be far more basic than you might imagine. You'll lead one-to-one sessions with each child, helping them overcome any fears they might have about reading out loud, improving their confidence and ultimately their enjoyment for reading and learning in general.

This is your opportunity to make a real difference to young lives, offering children the opportunity to take more of an interest in their studies by helping them with areas they are currently struggling with and tapping into their interests to help make learning more accessible. The skills you give them will last a lifetime and potentially help children in deprived situations reach for a brighter future.

Day in the life

Working from Monday to Friday from 9am to 1pm you will spend at least five half hour sessions per day working one on one with children.

You'll begin a typical day travelling in by taxi and starting your reading sessions at 9am. You'll have children coming to you to read in half-hourly slots in the library – a nice quiet spot where they can have some one-on-one tuition and practice their reading without any distractions. You'll be able to assess their current reading level quickly; most won't have a firm grasp yet, so you can start them off by reading to them and then getting them to read back to you. The most important thing is to have patience and understanding – most of the children you'll meet won't have anyone else in their family who can read or write, which is why they might be struggling.

Having spent the morning with the children, you'll get to stop at lunchtime and take a break before either enjoying the rest of your day choosing to explore and take in the sights of the local area or staying at the school (if you like) and helping out with afternoon lessons or sport.

In the afternoon and evenings, head back to your accommodation in Fish Hoek and chill out with the other volunteers around the barbecue or beside the pool. The weekends are your own to head off and explore, so take a trip to Cape Town and discover some of the city's main attractions. 

Purpose and aim of the programme and how do you benefit the programme

Eight out of ten Grade 4 children in South Africa can't read. Just think: books, magazines, posters, guides, manuals, health and safety notices, road signs, the internet – none of these things are accessible or make any sense to these children, which puts a limit on their success later on in life and could even result in dire consequences. That's where you step in. Often, it's not for lack of want that these children are struggling or falling behind with their reading and writing – usually it's because there's no one able to support or guide them at home, because it's rare that older family members will be able to read and, with ever increasing classroom numbers, it's difficult to give children the individual tuition they need.   

You'll not only be helping children with their reading by working with teachers to give them the extra help and support they need, but you'll be doing wonders for their confidence and self-esteem by encouraging them to achieve reading goals using books and topics that hold their interest. In time, the children will learn to read and write to a standard that will enable them to get good jobs in the future and improve their lives– it's all about giving them the tools to carve a better future for themselves. 


You'll gain unique experience of one-on-one tuition with school-aged children, helping them learn in a way that is both fun and interesting to each child. Not only that, but you'll be able to leave the project knowing that you have contributed to the potential of a better future for each of the children you help.

Children can often feel disheartened when they begin failing or falling behind their peers at school, which can lead to embarrassment and not wanting to continue with their studies. It’s really important to catch these children at a crucial stage in their learning development to make sure they have all the help they need to progress. With your enthusiasmand love for reading, you’ll engage the children by letting them choose books on subjects that interest them and give them a reason to want to read and improve their literacy skills. It all adds up to far more than being able to read a book. During your time at the school you’ll see students blossom as they grow in confidence, too.


  • Arrival airport transfer
  • Accommodation
  • In-country orientation
  • Evening meal on arrival day
  • Local in-country team
  • 24/7 emergency support

  • Flights
  • Visa
  • Travel insurance
  • Return airport transfer
  • Local transport to and from the project (approx. 30ZAR per person per day)
  • Food


For the duration of your stay, you'll share friendly volunteer accommodation in the beautiful seaside town of Fish Hoek. You'll share your living space with other volunteers (not necessarily from the same project) and will share a dorm room with up to five others of the same sex. You’ll have access to communal areas, including a kitchen, lounge, and garden complete with swimming pool and barbecue. You'll even have use of your own locker (bring a padlock and keys) and bedding is provided, but if you're going to be here in the country's winter months you'll want to bring a sleeping bag for extra warmth and plenty of warm clothes. There isn't a washing machine at the volunteer house, but there is a laundry service close by as well as shops, pharmacy, hospital and bank.

Please note: there is a security deposit that will need to be paid to the in-country team on arrival so please make sure you have budgeted for this. The deposit needs to be paid in your local currency and needs to be the equivalent of 1,000ZAR. Your deposit will be returned when you leave the accommodation at the end of your project as long everything is left as you found it.

Food and drinks aren't included as part of the programme, so you'll need to provide your own. You can make use of the brilliant shops and supermarket close by and prepare your own food in the well-equipped kitchen at your accommodation or treat yourself to nights out at local restaurants in both Fish Hoek and Cape Town, or even order takeaway! Local food is delicious in South Africa, but you'll find plenty of western food to indulge in as well. A rough budget for groceries is around 600ZAR/£35 per week but add more to your budget if you think you'll be eating out or ordering takeaways regularly. Wifi is available in the house at an extra cost.


To get a flight quote simply use the form below, or contact our fantastic flights team on 01892 277037.

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You will need to arrange your flight to arrive at Cape Town International Airport (CPT) before 4pm on your programme start date. You'll receive an airport transfer on arrival and will have an orientation at 5pm on your first day. You can depart at any time on the last day of your programme. A return airport transfer isn't included, but the in-country team can help you arrange transport.

To arrange your flights, contact our fantastic flights team on 01892 277037 or email them at [email protected] They will be able to search for the best flight offers to your chosen destinations, so you can plan and organise your trip in one place. Just make sure you give them your full name, as stated in your passport, along with your chosen departure dates, return dates, and any other details you want to include.

It is important that once you have booked your flights you add these details to your online account or alternatively you can contact us with your departure date, the flight number and arrival time at your destination.


The minimum age for this trip is 18.

Nationals of the EU, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand don't require a visa to enter South Africa, though South African Immigration does ask that you have two completely blank consecutive pages in your passport. As long as you hold a valid passport (and a valid return ticket) you will be granted a temporary visitor's permit on arrival, allowing visitors to stay in South Africa for up to three months (90 days). You should also ensure that your passport will still be in date for six months after your return.

DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service)

On this particular programme, as you’ll be working with children, you’ll need to undergo an enhanced DBS check and will need to have a clean criminal record.

DBS checks may list past convictions, cautions, reprimands, warnings, and if applicable will show whether or not you have been barred from working with certain vulnerable groups. Non-conviction information such as fixed penalties may also be included.

There is an additional cost for the DBS check, please speak to your travel advisor at the time of booking. The DBS process is in three stages:

1. Once we receive your booking payment, you will then be sent an online application link for the DBS check, which you will need to complete.

2. Once you have completed the application, the DBS will need verification of your identity – to do this you will need to take three original documents to your nearest crown post office and use their DBS and ID verification service. This costs approximately £5 and is payable directly to the Post Office.

3. It can take up to two weeks for your DBS to be processed, which will be sent to you directly in the post.

How Many Volunteers Will I Be Staying With?

We have a fantastic volunteer house in Fish Hoek where all of our volunteers stay who are volunteering on various projects around Cape Town. There is also a volunteer house next door with volunteers from our sister company so there will be plenty of people to relax or go out with at the weekends and in the evenings.

Do I Need To Have Had Previous Teaching Experience?

You don’t need to have previous teaching experience to join this programme, but you will need to be comfortable sitting and reading with children in a way that will encourage them to learn. You’ll be given initial training on your first full day at the programme to learn different teaching methods, but the most important quality is for volunteers to be enthusiastic. You’ll have support and guidance from our in-country team and staff at the school, so you’ll never be entirely by yourself, but you will be expected to be a responsible individual with patience and a friendly and approachable attitude.

How Do I Get To The School From My Accommodation?

The school is a short 10-15-minute taxi ride from your accommodation. The in-country team can help you arrange daily transport, and you’ll need to budget around 190ZAR/£11 per week for this.

Do I Need Any Vaccinations?

We’re not qualified to offer you medical advice, so you should visit your GP well ahead of time to find out what inoculations you might need. Remember to tell them exactly where you’re travelling to as vaccination and medication requirements vary between different regions. You’ll also need to make sure you have enough of any prescribed medication to see you through the duration of your trip.


Start dates can be flexible so please contact a travel advisor if you wish to start on a date not listed below.


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