Plan My Gap Year supports a range of day-care centres that provide essential childcare facilities to impoverished families of nearby communities.
South Africa is a nation with huge potential. Much of its future hope lies with the youth of this great country. Huge steps have been made by the post-apartheid regime to implement a fully inclusive and comprehensive education system for all. But the sad reality is that the quality of education that a child receives is largely dependent on their location and family wealth. As a result, many young ones quite simply don’t receive a sufficient level of education to prepare them for the future.
Furthermore, the influx of refugees to emerging cities such as Cape Town has put an extra burden on the already under resourced and overcrowded government schools. Most classrooms are filled with 40+ children to only one local teacher.
Many of the children that attend the public schools that we support come from broken homes where criminality and illiteracy are commonplace. Far too many children become a product of their environment and so become largely disengaged with formal education. The further difficulty lies in the fact that the schools seriously lack manpower and the resources to tackle these issues. In many cases the schools will offer little or no recreational activity such as sports and arts to help integrate some of the less enthusiastic learners.
PMGY South Africa volunteers provide assistance to primary schools in and around Cape Town. The children are aged 6 to 13. Primary school teaching will be largely focused on English language training, basic level maths, arts and science etc.
You should arrive into Cape Town International Airport on the selected Sunday start date. Programmes start on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month. You will be met at the airport by one of our local staff 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 programme ends on the Saturday of your final week and you should depart the accommodation on this day.
Can I use this program as part of a university or college placement?
It is certainly possible to use one of PMGY’s programmes as part of your university or college placement. Project staff can sign off any paperwork required by your course tutors. PMGY regularly receives medical, childcare, psychology and nursing placement students at our projects around the world and we have ties with some of the leading universities.
If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programmes could meet the placement requirements for your degree course then please contact us.
Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?
Although our volunteers work in the developing world, we always ensure our host locations are safe. Each programme has been extensively researched and has passed our strict vetting process. Our UK team undergo an extensive routine when establishing our in-country infrastructures and we continue to monitor our safety procedures on a regular basis. Furthermore, we monitor the stability of our volunteer destinations on a daily basis. Through our constant contact with consulates and embassies and our reports from our overseas teams, we are able to ensure that our volunteers are never placed in unstable regions.
The PMGY team have visited and participated in every programme we offer and verified them based on our own independent criteria. We carefully inspect every little detail of our set-up. From inspecting the living conditions, checking out the neighbourhoods you’ll be staying in, to tasting the food you’ll be eating – each and every programme we establish has gone through a lengthy and rigorous vetting process. Risk assessments have been written for all areas in which PMGY operate and our experienced local coordinators are always on-hand to manage any emergencies that may occur. Our UK team are always on the road reviewing our risk management procedures in the field and monitoring local conditions.
In emergency situations we have the necessary protocols and equipment in place and we are able to evacuate our volunteers from potential dangers. Our local coordinators are trained to deal with emergency circumstances.
When you join PMGY we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visa issues etc. Furthermore, our UK team are only ever a phone call away should you wish to discuss any aspect of your upcoming programme. When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive safety briefing during your orientation course by our local coordinators. We will go through everything from emergency procedures, how to use local transport and cultural differences. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM card, something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. We will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.
All our local teams are experienced development professionals who have years of experience in hosting international volunteers. They are our representatives on the ground and will assist you 24/7 throughout your stay. Whether you need to call home, travel at the weekend or require urgent assistance – they are there to support you.
While we cannot guarantee your volunteer experience to be 100% trouble free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each programme is as safe as possible.
As a volunteer you provide an important pair of extra hands to help reduce the burden placed on local staff. In addition, that extra support and teacher presence helps improve discipline and overall class productivity. Troubled students and those with learning difficulties greatly benefit from the individual attention provided by international volunteers. Volunteers will usually work as a teaching assistant but expected to understand that there may be times where you may be required to lead a class yourself and it is not uncommon for this to happen. Volunteers are therefore encouraged to prepare lessons accordingly in advance if so.
Your role is not limited to teaching set subjects. One of the most important ways in which you can contribute is through sharing your culture and experience with the view to help promote new ideas within the school. Whether you’re raising awareness about social issues such as substance abuse or organising a school sports day or afternoon club, your level of contribution is far reaching.
We work with a range of primary schools across Cape Town. These are government based schools with class sizes varying from 15 to 40 pupils and aged from around 5 to 12 years old respectively. Below is two examples of the projects that we work with.
PROJECT EXAMPLE – IKHAYA PRIMARY
Ikhaya Primary is situated in the township of Kayamandi outside the city of Western Cape. The school has 571 pupils and 32 full time teachers. Pupils are between the ages of 6 and 13 years of age and are mostly from the local neighbourhood. They offer various subjects including Xhosa as first language, Maths, Science, Social Science, English, Economics, Life Orientation, Technology, Arts and Crafts. They also have a daily feeding scheme at the school. Considering the socially disadvantaged nature of the area, the school has very limited resource.
Pupils with special needs and learning difficulties most benefit from PMGY volunteers as they can offer them more intensive one-on-one tuition than their own teacher has the capacity to do so.
PROJECT EXAMPLE – KANNEMEYER PRIMARY
Kannemeyer is a government funded public school located in Grassy Park. Grassy Park is a working/middle class community in Cape Town’s southern suburbs, within close distance of the Atlantic coast. The area has been badly affected by drug problems in recent years and young people are most vulnerable to fall victim to substance abuse. Education and awareness on drug abuse is vital. The vice principal coordinates the volunteers work schedule. The school has 16 educators and 530 pupils between the ages of 6-13 years. They also offer various sports at the school including soccer, rugby and netball.
IN & AROUND CAPE TOWN
PMGY volunteers are based in Sea Point, a fantastic cosmopolitan spot in Cape Town with a great vibe. The Promenade runs the length of Sea Point’s beachfront, from Bantry Bay to Mouille Point and is the ideal place to walk, jog and watch the sunset. The beach provides a nice spot for just chilling out and relaxing in the sun.
There is a host of pubs, music clubs, coffee shops and restaurants. Sea Point’s vibrant nightlife creates a carnival atmosphere for visitors and locals alike. The beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay are not too far off, and the V&A Waterfront and Two Oceans Aquarium are just minutes away.
In fact the possibilities in Cape Town during your time off are endless and you may well struggle to fit everything in! Whether you want to stay in the city or explore the rest of the Western Cape there really is something for everyone.
THE V & A WATERFRONT
Located in the heart of Cape Town’s working harbour the Waterfront offers visitors an abundance of experiences. You will find a range of restaurants, shops and hotels surrounding the highly impressive marina. There is usually live music being played throughout the day. The Waterfront is only a stone’s throw away from the Cape Town Stadium and is about a 20 minute walk from the Volunteer House. It is definitely worth a look!
Situated in the City Bowl, Long Street is the main hangout spot for backpackers in Cape Town. It is famous for its bohemian feel and the street is lined with bars, restaurants and interesting shops. Many of the backpacker hostels are located on Long Street and it is the main place to go if you want to experience Cape Town’s exciting nightlife.
One of the most popular attractions in Cape Town is Table Mountain. It stands 1000m above sea level and the summit can be accessed via cable car. If you’re feeling energetic then you can always trek to the top! The journey takes around 1.5 hours. It is a challenging trek but the views from the summit are truly spectacular. The cable car is weather dependent so don’t rely on it to take you back down to the bottom! There is a restaurant at the top, it’s quite pricey but if you took the trekking option it’s a nice place to sit and relax. For the adrenaline junkies there is an abseiling company who operate from the top of Table Mountain, it’s the highest commercial abseil in the world.
Used as a prison right up until 1996, this Unesco World Heritage site is preserved as a memorial to those such as Nelson Mandela who spent many years incarcerated there. You can only go there on a tour lasting around 4 hours. It includes the ferry and departs from the Nelson Mandela Gateway beside the Clock Tower at the Waterfront. Booking online well in advance is highly recommended as tours can sell out.
We provide a free pickup service from the airport. If you would like us to also arrange your return, we will charge a fee of £15
During your time with PMGY in South Africa you will live in our Volunteer House located in Sea Point, a great, lively spot in Cape Town. The beach is only a short walk away, and there are plenty of bars, restaurants and local amenities in the surrounding area. Long Street, Cape Town’s premier nightlife destination is only 10 minutes away by public transport. You’ll be living with other PMGY volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way.
The accommodation is basic but comfortable with Wi-Fi (there will be a small charge). Each room has bunk beds with up to 8 people per room in mixed-sex rooms. Bathrooms are shared, have a shower and western style toilet. During the winter period (June to August) it can get quite cold, so please bring warm clothes and a sleeping bag – although you are provided with a bed sheet and blanket so it’s up to personal preference.
The house has a communal area for volunteers to hang out with sofa’s, flat screen TV and DVD player. Each volunteer has their own locker to store valuables so you should bring a padlock with you to store away your items. There will also be fridge space available for volunteers to store any items they need to keep chilled.
Please note that rooms are mixed gender and we cannot accommodate single-sex or private rooms in the Volunteer House.
During our busiest months (June to September) you may be placed at alternative accommodation. This could be a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.
You will be provided with breakfast and dinner from Monday to Friday. You will need to purchase your own lunch during the working week (Mon-Fri) and all meals at the weekend. Please note that although the Volunteer House has a kitchen, this is quite small and makes cooking meals difficult if the house is very busy, so it may be easier to eat out. You should budget around £40 per week for meals not included.
For breakfast we provide yoghurt, fruit, cheese, bread, jams, tea and coffee, peanut butter, eggs etc. Volunteers just help themselves – all cutlery and crockery etc is provided. Dinner is provided at a local restaurant where volunteers all eat together, the restaurant is a short walk from the Volunteer House. Typical meals include spaghetti bolognese, curry, burgers and chips, fish, salads, pasta and vegetables.
If you fancy eating out there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and local amenities in the surrounding area. Long Street, Cape Town’s premier nightlife destination is only 10 minutes away by public transport.
Note: Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements but there may be instances where you may need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense.