Township Teaching with Doreen
Doreen’s Creche is a well-established childcare centre in Masiphumelele township near Cape Town. The centre takes care of over 60 children aged from three to six years during the day whilst their parents go out to work. It’s a big job, looking after all these lively, enthusiastic kids and the project needs all the help it can get! That’s where you come in. If you love spending time with children, are up for a challenge and have lots of energy then this project is perfect for you. It’s an amazing opportunity to have a meaningful impact on the lives of disadvantaged children, while working alongside a team of inspiring women and having a whole lot of fun. You’ll be playing, colouring in and reading to these kids every day. To top it off, you’ll get to spend time living in Cape Town and enjoying all this beautiful city has to offer. Who would have thought giving back could be so much fun?
"It was an amazing experience working with the children in the township and on weekends we partied and explored the beauty that Cape Town has to offer. Highly recommend Volunteer & Explore if you’re looking for a wonderful experience you will never forget! I stayed at the Volunteer & Explore house in Fish Hoek, Cape Town for a few months in 2017 and had the BEST time! It was so good to meet such a lovely bunch of people from all over the world - most of whom I am still in touch with to this day."
Ross from the U.K
Teaching and bonding with these gorgeous kids
Learning about township life, their culture and history
Experiencing amazing South Africa and all that goes with it.
At a Glance
Project duration: Min two weeks - max 12 weeks
Location of project: Masiphumelele township, around 45 minutes from central Cape Town
Arrival airport: Cape Town (airport code CPT)
Activities: General care and assistance in looking after the children, playing games, fun activities, feeding little ones, and small cleaning duties, learning through play!
Working hours: Flexible. Monday to Friday 9am to 13pm all other time is free
Requirements: Minimum age 18. Police check required
Accommodation: Shared dormitory room in volunteer house, same sex rooms
Food: Food is not included. You will need to purchase your own food (budget approximately US$50 per week)
Airport pickup: Included on arrival date - ask us for details if you're arriving early
You need to organise: Flights, insurance, visas, return Airport transfer (in country)
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 them 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 from Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 12.30pm. 13:00pm However, if you are able to give more of your time to the centre, your extra help will be greatly appreciated!
Project resources and advice
There are very few resources at the project, so they welcome any resources you can bring, such as simple educational books, stationary, educational toys, learning aids or wall posters. However, you can also buy things when you’re in South Africa where your money will go back into the local community.
Please note that the weather can become quite cold during the winter months of May to September. Please remember to pack warm clothes.
Day 1 (Monday) – hello and welcome!
Arrive at Cape Town International Airport (airport code CPT) where you’ll be met at the airport and taken to our volunteer house in Fish Hoek. You’ll need to arrive before 4.15pm so that you’re in time for orientation at 5pm. The journey from the airport to Fish Hoek takes about 45 minutes and you’ll see the magnificent Table Mountain on the way! 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.
Note: If you aren’t able to arrange a flight to get you into Cape Town before 4.15pm then we recommend you fly in a day early. We can arrange an early airport pickup for you including one night’s accommodation. Please give us a call for more information.
Day 2 (Tuesday) – say hi to the kids!
This morning our team will be on hand to make sure you know where you’re going and get you settled. You’ll head off to project to meet the dedicated staff and the children they look after. It’s going to be a happy introduction as the kids are always super excited to have someone fresh and new in their lives – they’re not shy! We hope you’ve slept well as every moment of your day will be full of fun and games.
Days 3 to 5 (Wednesday to Friday) – get stuck in!
You’ll start getting to know the kids and bonding with them. 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 fun ways to approach problems and 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. Cape Town offers so much to do. There are loads of stunning beaches to choose from, where you can get a tan and relax. Or you could visit the city, climb Table Mountain, check out a penguin colony, go wine tasting or pop in to the many fascinating museums and art galleries. Alternatively you could just chill at the volunteer house in the garden or around the swimming pool.
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 (whose parents often work long days, leaving them with Doreen from early till late) is always much appreciated.
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 £25/R300.
About the Project
Masiphumelele, often referred to as Masi, means ‘success' in isiXhosa. Originally a small village of 800 houses, it’s grown to house more than 50 000 people. Masi residents generally have a strong sense of community and locals like Doreen are dedicated to helping each other out. Doreen’s day care centre was founded in 1994 and has developed into a large childcare centre which cares for more than 60 young children aged between three and six years old. 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. They also supply each child with two meals a day – a full belly is the foundation of learning and development.
The parents are asked to pay R200 a month towards fees. It sounds like a tiny sum but not all parents can afford to pay. However, the staff never turn the kids away.
Doreen is also part of the Masi Educare Forum and has been instrumental in helping other community members start more creches in the neighbourhood so that even more children can have decent daily care.
All of these people are dedicated to the wellbeing of these children, even though they themselves are far from wealthy. It’s their mission to help these children break the cycle of poverty and have the best 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 help them all.
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 (our volunteers only) in dormitory-style, same sex rooms with bunk beds, a maximum of six people per room. There are three bathrooms with hot, running water, showers and regular flush loos. There’s also a lounge area, balcony, lush garden and barbeque. You’ll be only a short distance from the shops and beach. You’ll find lockers at the accommodation to lock your valuables away but please remember to bring a padlock and keys with you! You’ll need to pay R1000 deposit when you arrive which will be given back to you when you leave if everything’s still as you found it.
You’ll be self-catering while in the house. The kitchen has everything you need from cookers, loads of fridge space and microwave to toaster, kettle and and kitchen utensils. You can eat at the dining room table or lounge on the balcony. There’s a barbeque outside or, as we call it in SA, a braai, which is the best way to cook on a warm evening. You can also grab takeaways at the many spots in the town, about 10 minutes’ walk away.
Note: While in the house you will be responsible for keeping the place clean so please tidy up after yourself, especially in the kitchen. Budget around US$50 per week for groceries, as prices are similar to home.
Facilities and the area
There’s a phone at the house for incoming calls, and buy local phone cards to make outbound phone calls.
Washing can be done at the laundry down the road: simply drop off your clothes and pick them up later!
Cape Town has a temperate climate but winter is still chilly so pack warm jumpers and even some cosy socks as SA doesn’t have central heating.
Bedding is provided but bring a sleeping bag for away weekends and extra warmth.
Bring along a towel
Fish Hoek’s main street is only10 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 drive away.
Fish Hoek is on the train line and trains are a great way to travel but they stop running at 7pm.
Taxis to Cape Town CBD cost around US$35/ R250 each way.
Advice & Safety
Throughout your programmes you will have the support and guidance of the programme co-ordinator and team. You will be provided with competent assistance and help with any questions or advice you may need during your stay and someone will always be available in case of emergency.
This trip requires a Police Check to be carried out.
What you get
We're always available to offer support and guidance before, during and after your trip.
Thorough project briefing materials
Once you’ve booked you'll receive a full pack of all the information you need for the project. It contains general information about volunteering, your specific project and South Africa as well as advice on safety, visas and inoculations.
Don’t worry about arriving in a new country on your own. We’ll be there to welcome you and take you to your accommodation.
Soon after you arrive you’ll attend a thorough orientation with our team. It covers everything you need to know about your next few days, dos and don’ts and your safety. You can ask any questions and find out more about the fun stuff to do around Cape Town and South Africa.
Accommodation and meals
Accommodation is included with all projects and meals are included with some. We only use locally-owned and operated accommodation so that part of your placement fee is filtering back into the local economy. Most projects offer homestay, guesthouse or shared volunteer houses as standard accommodation, but some offer the chance to upgrade to a more comfortable living standard.
24/7 emergency support
We’re always on hand in case of an emergency.
After you've booked
- You will receive a welcome email confirming your booking
- You’ll receive a full project pack with all the info you need
- You’ll be asked for any extra info if we need it – such as doctor’s notes for medical conditions, or maybe a CV on some projects
- You’ll need to pay if you haven’t paid already (at least 90 days before travelling)
Then the fun starts!
Next you should:
- Book your flights
- Arrange suitable travel insurance
- Get a visa for your trip if it's needed
- Visit a nurse or travel clinic for advice on inoculations and malaria prevention
- Start packing and come and join us!
*Remember to keep our contact details in a safe place in your hand luggage in case you need to contact us during your travels.
About South Africa
South Africans are patriotic and passionate about their country. And it’s not despite the country’s famously troubled history – it’s because of it! The people of this democratic country are so proud of how far they have come from the dark days of Apartheid and it makes us grateful for the diversity of cultures and languages that make up our amazing rainbow nation.
South Africa is a country of diversity in so many ways. It’s not a big country but travelling across the length and breadth of it, you’ll encounter an incredible range of climates and landscapes. There’s beautiful Cape Town, with its Mediterranean feel, pristine white beaches, sparkling oceans and magnificent Table Mountain providing the craggy backdrop for every setting. Travel east along the Garden Route with its picture-postcard coastal villages and you’ll eventually reach Durban and surrounds, a tropical area where the sun shines almost every day, the sea is warm and the surfing is fantastic! Then there’s the rugged Drakensberg mountain range, a place of rich Zulu heritage, spectacular views and jagged sweeps of peaks. Further north you’ll hit South Africa’s famous ‘veld’ or bush where you’ll find Africa’s big five and many thousands of other species of animals, hiding out in landscapes that are lit at sunset by the most vivid orange, pinks and purples.
There are so many things to see and do here that you’ll need years. But if your time is limited, here’s our top five must-dos:
You can’t come to Africa and not experience the amazing animals, the wild and beautiful African bush and the chorus of an African dawn. Kruger National Park is the most popular choice but there are a host of other parks in the northern parts of South Africa and the Free State as well as KwaZulu-Natal, offering a range of options from the most luxurious accommodation with chefs at your service to DIY game viewing and camping.
Adventure is the name of the game in this crazy country and if it’s outdoors and adrenalin-inducing, you’ll find it here. From the highest bungee jump and highest commercial abseiling in the world to shark cage diving, downhill mountain biking, trail running, walking safaris, big wave surfing and multi-day hiking, there’s something for ever thrill seeker.
South Africa has thousands of miles of glorious coastline, with Blue Flag beaches and hidden gems dotted along its length. There’s beaches for the glamorous, where you can go to see and be seen, beaches perfect for families, beaches for walking, beaches for swimming and beaches for watersports. There’s probably beaches which have never been trodden by a tourist before. Go on, we dare you to find it!
Nightlife, restaurants and entertainment
No holiday would be complete without a few good nights out and South Africa knows how to entertain. With so many cultures making up our population, there’s loads of delicious food on offer full of every fresh ingredient you could think of. There are pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes to suit every taste. South Africa is famous for its wonderful wines and there’s a craft beer revolution happening right here. Pack your dancing shoes!
A taste of township and culture
South Africa has a rich, tumultuous history dotted with dismal lows and incredible highs – and full of astounding stories from amazing people. It’s what makes South Africa the colourful place it is. Museums of every shape and size document the various aspects of our human and natural history, arts and culture – you’ll find them all over the country. Or why not take a township tour and experience the true heart of South African culture? If you’re visiting Cape Town, come to Kommetjie and visit Masiphumelele with the Township Sisters, our special Volunteer and Explore partners, and help support the sustainable development of this vibrant township.