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Teach Design Technology in South Africa



Walk around the streets anywhere in Africa, but especially in the townships, and you'll be amazed at the creative talent in the communities.

Design Technology was introduced into the school curriculum in South Africa back in 2000. It has proven to be extremely popular amongst the children. The problem is that many of the poorer township schools know little about the subject and are in need of people with design experience who can come to their schools, bringing with them their own ideas and hopefully helping to nurture a new generation of design thinkers in South Africa.

You'll teach in one of the schools that cater for children from the local township. You don't need any qualifications, but you do need to have good knowledge of design technology.

List of ALL PROJECTS in South Africa TEACHING Projects in South Africa List of ALL PROJECTS in South Africa 

Start Dates All year round, subject to school vacations - you choose your start and finish dates.
Duration From 1 week to 12 weeks or longer, subject to visa requirements
Requirements No qualifications or experience required, just lots of enthusiasm and a love of children.
Price Full Price List
What's included Arranging your program,
Full pre-departure support and assistance,
Payment Protection insurance

Meeting you at the nearest airport
Transfer to your accommodation
Transport to and from your project
Local in-country team support and backup
24-hr emergency support.
Certificate of Completion
What's not included Flights, Insurance, Cost of Visas (if a visa is required), Return transfer to airport.
Who can do this Project? This project is open to all nationalities and all ages over 16.
Suitable for gap years or those taking a year out, grown-up gappers, career breakers, anyone interested in teaching or working with children overseas while doing voluntary work, teaching projects abroad, or study abroad.
Also available as a summer placement in South Africa, short breaks or for those wanting to do TEFL teaching.


  • An exciting, never-to-be-forgotten adventure into Africa and the many diverse cultures in South Africa

  • The enormous satisfaction of helping disadvantaged children and knowing that you made a difference to them.

  • New skills, more confidence, a greater understanding of a different culture, invaluable personal and professional development.

  • An entry on your CV or résumé that will put you head and shoulders above most others in the job market.

  • And best of all ... an unforgettable experience!

Teach Design Technology in South Africa

Our teaching program is in the beautiful Western Cape’s Garden Route are situated in Knysna. We work with a few schools that cater for many children from the poorer township community. Our program has been running in this region for many years and the impact our volunteers have had is amazing. The result is a community that has benefited tremendously since we started.

Standards in the schools are generally very high, but materials and resources may be scarce. Even with the lack of facilities, the enthusiasm of students and staff more than make up for this. The children have such energy and you'll be welcomed with enthusiasm - it's difficult to stop them smiling!

You will probably be based at two schools. One has similar standards to those in Western countries and you will work alongside the teachers at the school. Working here is a good opportunity to gain a feel for the subject and at the same time you will find the school extremely keen to learn as much as possible about Design Technology as it is in the UK or your home country.

You're likely to spend the majority of your time at a Xhosa Township School. It lacks many facilities and resources. Although you will have plenty of help and support at the school, you will have to be a lot more independent and use your own initiative and many of your ideas. 

This is an excellent placement for anyone studying or has good knowledge of Design Technology. By helping the children have a greater knowledge of the subject, you will find that the teachers will be extremely grateful for the support and knowledge as, for them, this is a subject the schools are still learning about.

On your first day of teaching you will be taken to one of the schools that we help and introduced to the Principal, the teaching staff and pupils. You will be made very welcome by all! Your key immediate contact will be the School Principal who may deal with your specific program personally.  He or she will have been fully briefed by our staff but will want to discuss your program with you before any final decisions are made.  Some principals may also wish to discuss with you the possibility of using any of your other interests or skills which may be fun or useful for the children, and here your degree subject might well be helpful and any interests, from hiking and wildlife to football, chess and Western music, may be of great interest.

The Principal and/or relevant teachers at the school will liase with you about your teaching assignments. South Africans generally are very friendly, approachable and helpful and they will be delighted in your interest and your enthusiasm.

You may find while teaching that you will also be asked to help with English, especially with the poorer schools. You will normally be asked to stand up in front of a class and teach conversational English - you are not expected to be an expert on grammar or literature. The important thing is to help people speak English. You may also be asked to help with other subjects but this is optional and it is only if you feel confident. What you are out there for, most importantly, is to help with Design.

If you are asked to help with teaching English, the Teaching Suggestions Booklet which we provide you with has ideas for teaching English and will also help structuring lessons in other subjects. Video facilities are available in some schools and audio equipment is quite commonplace. 

Please note that this placement is not available during the school vacations, so it’s important to consult the school semesters below to plan your placement dates. Your project coordinator will also assist you with your placement planning, as well as suggest alternatives and exciting things to do during the vacation periods.

Dates for the 2015 school terms (semesters) are given below.

Term 1: 21 January – 1 April
Term 2: 13 April – 26 June
Term 3: 20 July – 2 October
Term 4: 12 October – 9 December

Dates for the 2016 school terms (semesters) are given below.

Term 1: 13 January – 18 March
Term 2: 5 April – 24 June
Term 3: 18 July – 30 September
Term 4: 10 October – 7 December

Please see a complete list of current public holidays for 2015 and 2016 at http://www.publicholiday.co.za.

Generally the last week before terms end is given to exams and tests.  This means that you will generally find your work load dropping during this week and you will usually find more free time than normal school time.


You may also have the opportunity to provide help and support to the local community through the various afternoon activities we have to offer. This is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the African culture, but most importantly to give a caring hand to the local community. The activities could range from helping out at;

  • The Children's Home:Make the afternoons fun and exciting for these lovely children by playing games, helping them with homework and just being there to give them the attention that they so appreciate.
  • After-school drama or sports - Take some time out after school to set up after school sports or drama clubs, the children love it and it's a great way to get to know them better in a relaxed and fun environment. If you'd like to set up a drama or sports club, please let us know when you apply so that we can arrange it with the school before you arrive.)
  • Other community projects  - Past volunteers have helped to paint the outside of a crèche that was in desperate need of a lift. The crèche is now looking very cheerful with brightly coloured walls. A jungle gym was donated to this orphanage and volunteers also helped to put it together for the crèche too! There may be other similar projects available at the time you're there that you might want to participate in.
  • Township soup kitchen: On days that your school roster might allow you to finish a little early, our volunteers sometimes help at a local township soup kitchen. The soup kitchen is open on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

The project may possibly be extended to involve local unemployed people, or street kids, or even elderly people or children's orphanages. These are just a few ideas and it may be that some volunteers will have more ideas that will help to make this project a worthwhile one that will benefit the community for a long time to come.

Teach Disadvantaged Children in South Africa

Morning Assembley at one of the schools

The volunteer house in Knysna is within walking distance of the town, yet set against a natural green belt. The bird life is prolific and often the local Vervet monkey troop comes to visit to entertain the volunteers with their antics. The sunset views from the top balcony of the volunteer house of the Knysna lagoon are beautiful and great way to relax after a day working at your placement or to catch up on your tan in the summer. See photo on right-hand side.

The house is large and spacious and also has a self-contained flat  downstairs for couples and families. The bedding in the two same sex dorms and the towels in their ensuite bathrooms are changed regularly every Friday by our much loved cleaner, Pretty, and there is plenty of cupboard space to store your clothing.

Facilities include a kitchen kitted out for cooking, dining area, a few bathrooms, TV, DVD player, free Wi-Fi, garden and several wooden verandahs.

There is an outside courtyard and garden in the secure grounds where you can have a typical South African barbeque known there as a ‘braai’. Make sure you try the local spicy sausage known as ‘boerewors’ and the Karoo lamb chops are to die for on a ‘braai’, but if fish is more to your taste then a fish ‘braai’ with South African ‘snoek’ is a must.


You'll be given a food budget which will cover your basic essentials (but not extras like alcohol, snacks and eating out). The kitchen has all the cooking amenities that you might need to take advantage of preparing meals with some of the great seafood, meat, fresh fruit and vegetables South Africa has to offer.

There are supermarkets and local shops where you'll do your food shopping.

There are plenty of excellent restaurants within walking distance that offer the most incredible local and international cuisine which our volunteers rave about. Knysna is also famous for its oysters and even has an annual Oyster Festival where everyone eats and drinks far too much!

The waterfront and marine is beautiful and full of restaurants and cafes with cuisine that ranges from breakfast, coffees, cakes and snacks, through to sumptuous meals and various different nationality menus.


Volunteer house in Knysna

View from the house overlooking the lagoon

Got any questions? Please email us: info@travelersworldwide.org


So far what is the best thing about your placement?:
"I don't think I could actually define my "best experience" as one moment. What with teaching at the school, rehearsals for my play, the dance classes, soup kitchen, orphanage, hanging out at home with the other guys, going for a drink, the worlds highest bungee jump, trips to the beach, and countless other activities we really are spoilt for choice. I have been here for over 2 months now and I can honestly say there has not been 1 day that I haven't enjoyed!!"
Luke Brennan

Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well as while you're on your placement and on your return home.

The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide and any manuals that may assist you on your particular program (e.g. Teaching Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome, elegant and beautiful country.

As with all our destinations, the culture and heritage is different to what you're used to ... which, although one of the most exciting aspects of travelling, should be borne in mind.    Self-reliance and independence are highly appreciated in all our destinations and will help you to make the most of this wonderful opportunity! 


On Arrival, your Introduction to the Country: When you arrive you will be welcomed by a member of our South African staff who will take you to your accommodation and introduce you to everyone. During your first few days you'll be given an induction so that you can learn about the country and its culture, as well as other useful information, like how to use the transport system, banks, safety issues, tipping, and lots more.

The schools are mainly for the poorer African and Coloured children in the local community. General facilities at the schools are somewhat limited although two of the schools have computer facilities and one school in particular would appreciate the help of volunteers with computer experience!

Average class size is between 15 and 40. Standards are generally very high, but in most of the schools we work with, materials and resources may be scarce; however, working conditions are very good. The enthusiasm of the students and colleagues more than makes up for any hardships they may experience.

You will have weekends free and this will also allow some time for travelling and sight seeing.

Claire Baker taught at Sunridge Primary in Knysna, and this is how she describes a typical day on her project (but please note that this is only one school and that work in other schools may vary):

"A typical day on a teaching placement in Knsyna, SA., starts at around 7.00 am. After my first week it was established that in a house shared with 3 other girls, the earlier you get up, the more likely it is you will get in the shower! At 8am we are picked up by Stan, who drove us to and from school every day.

Within the school the volunteers do different things in different year groups, from children aged around 6 to children aged 14 and it is up to you whether you wish to take a whole class (of around 45 children) on your own, or to work in the class with the teacher as more of an assistant, or to take small groups of children. I chose to take groups of children to work on the computers.

Lessons run from 8.15 in 45-minute lessons up till 2.00 pm with 2 breaks in between.

Break: every break we have a group of children who come to see us, some are practicing dances and songs for a performance two of the volunteers have organised, some are playing on the computers, others just come for a big hug from all of the volunteers. Expect to get hugs from just about every child you pass.

Volunteers have 3 breaks, really, as there is a dedicated reading lesson lasting around 20 minutes during which we are free to eat our lunch early (by 11am we were usually very hungry). There is a tuck shop but taking your own food is recommended as the sweets and crisps on sale are not very nutritious – or tasty!

12.00 is lunch break: the children are provided with a peanut butter sandwich. 12.45 to 2.00 pm: lessons continue until 2.00 pm but school often closes early for staff meetings and training.

When I left school [at the end of the day, 2.00 p.m.] it was always through a huge crowd of children all giving us huge hugs. The children are all very loving and you get hundreds of hugs each day!

"The area is beautiful and travelling is easy. The house we stay in is lovely and the Travellers workers are such kind, loving people which really makes it feel like a home away from home. What with all the other volunteers and the Travellers staff, it really does feel like our own little family ... well, our own very big family, I suppose!!" Luke Brennan


Feedback on Teaching Volunteering in South Africa

Lots of eager-to-learn children just waiting for you!

Read an excellent case study by a group that raised the funds to work with township schools in South Africa

Photo Galleries
Knysna Diary
Wildlife Rehabilitation Diary
Wildlife Expedition News!


While on your placements, you can also book some Optional Add-Ons to make the most of your Travel Experience. The most popular choices are the safari trips from Cape Town and many volunteers use these as their means of travel to arrive at their project in Knysna..

Wildlife Safaris & Adventure Tour Combos
4-Day Surf Safari and Wildlife Adventure
1-Day Adventure Activities in Cape Town
1-Week Wildlife Rehabilitation

1-Week Whales Sharks Dolphins
Cage Dive with Sharks

This project can also be combined with any of our other projects in South Africa, or you could even do a second project in a different region of the country, thus doubling your adventure and enjoyment!

Volunteering in South Africa, and having fun!


The best advice you'll get from us is to try to see some of the country while you're in South Africa. It's big (huge!) and each different region is exciting and very, very beautiful. Cape Town is probably the most beautiful city in the world (I can say that, I grew up there :-)  KwaZulu-Natal comes a very close second, albeit very different. Knysna is where South Africans go on vacation, which gives you some idea of how lovely the region is. When you lie on the beach and watch dolphins jumping the waves, you'll think you're in Paradise.

is approximately 500km from the beautiful capital city of Cape Town  and voted South Africa’s favourite town 4 years in a row! Its mountainous backdrop, impressively sized estuary and indigenous forests really give the town a natural feel to it. Although it still has that ‘small-town’ feel, Knysna is growing rapidly, and has all the amenities you could ask for such as banks, hotels, internet café’s, cinemas and shopping malls.

About 20-30 minutes' drive away from Knysna you'll find Plettenberg Bay (better known simply as Plett), which is a bit smaller than Knysna, but equally stunning.  Its' pure white beaches stretch as far as the eye can see and there is a lot to do, from whale and dolphin watching, to hiking trails and awesome nightlife.

The Garden Route is famous for all sorts of activities from adrenalin sports such as bungee jumping, skydiving and shark cage diving to more relaxed pursuits such as hiking, quad biking in the forest or visiting one of the many animal sanctuaries in the area. Your local Travellers liaison will be happy to assist you in finding interesting things to do and places to see so make the most of it!

Knysna nestles on the banks of a beautiful lagoon in the heart of the ‘Garden Route’ of South Africa. It is surrounded by a natural paradise of lush indigenous forests, tranquil lakes and golden beaches, making it a real natural wonderland.

Knysna is a vibrant town, buzzing with creativity and energy, and the pulse of good music. It's a place where the you can enjoy the mellow atmosphere of street cafes, watching the world go by. The main street is very leafy with trees along the pavements and it has a wonderful vacation atmosphere with sun umbrellas everywhere.

Most cafes have outdoors seating areas overlooking the street or on the pavements, with colourful sun umbrellas - a perfect place to sit with the sun on your face, watching passers-by ambling along, sipping a steamy cappucino or staving off the heat with a cold drink.

Read more about Knysna and its attractions

To read about Travel arrangements and what happens when you arrive in your new country, please click here.

Support & Backup: To read about the excellent Support & Backup we provide before you leave and during your program, please click here.

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