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GAP YEAR | VOLUNTEER ABROAD | WORK EXPERIENCE OVERSEAS

 
Care for Children with Autism in South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA

TEACH AND CARE FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM IN CAPE TOWN IN SOUTH AFRICA

Work in a Center and Hostel for children with Autism, as a classroom and hostel assistant. You may be asked to help where children need special attention, or to work with a small group while the teacher works with another group.

School work varies with different age groups, but is based on the normal school activities – a great deal of one-to-one attention is needed and children learn basic skills. You'll also be able to help with supervised activities like swimming which is part of the daily summer curriculum. After school, you'll help with "play time” duty while the children play outdoors under supervision.

You will also be involved in indoor supervision of children. Autistic children have to be watched closely at all times, as they may react suddenly and unexpectedly.

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SUMMARY FACTFILE
Start Dates All year round, subject to school vacations - you choose your start and finish dates.
Duration From 4 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
Accommodation

Food 
Meeting you at the nearest airport
Transfer to your accommodation
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), Local transport to and from your project, Return transfer to airport.
Who can do this Project? This project is open to all nationalities and all ages over 17.
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, care or 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.

WHAT YOU'LL GAIN FROM DOING THIS PROJECT:

  • 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!

Care for Children with Autism in South Africa

THE SCHOOL:
The best way to get a feel of the very beneficial work you'll do on this project is to give you an excerpt from the weekly report by Eleanor, our Travellers Cape Town Liaison, about a volunteer on this project:

"Tess has a timetable which gives her the opportunity of working in different classes each day. She has specific tasks to do with individual children, which are designed for each particular child according to their type and level of autism. She was highly praised by the teachers she is working with! The children relate very well to her, and the staff are thrilled to have her there.

On good weather days, the children play games in the garden. Sometimes, they go for a walk around the suburb – and this is where the volunteers are such a help, as autistic children tend to dash off in any direction without warning – and someone has to keep an eye on them when this happens and gently direct them back again.

On Fridays, the whole school attends the Eurythmy classes, one group at a time – and Tess helps out there for the day. The music and actions are designed to have a calming effect and create a peaceful mindset – as well as to teach control of the body. For some autistic children this is very difficult, as they can’t always control their body or mind. The gentle guidance and patient repetition offered by carers and volunteers is absolutely essential. And what patience is needed !! Tess finishes her time at Vera on Monday – they will really be sad to see her go."

Autism is a severe, lifelong development disability and children affected by this suffer from a number of conditions. They have severe communication and language problems, they are unable to relate to other people and they display unusual and problematic behaviour. The extent to which a child is affected will vary from individual to individual. Autistic children need predictability in their lives. They cannot express their needs effectively and often have extreme reactions to changes in routine and unfamiliar events.

You'll work in a school for autistic children. There are 85 students and 35 of these children are live-in learners, staying at the school hostel overnight. The rest are brought in each day by their parents. The children are aged between 3 and 18 years and they are educated according to their ability, with some moving on to other schools later on.

The School has three hostels with children housed in age groups: the under 8’s, 8-12’s and 12-18’s. There is a very happy atmosphere at the school and the teachers are extremely conscientious and kind people. There is a lot of love here! For some, the School provides the only opportunity of education for these children. The dedicated care received at the School gives these children a platform from which they can enter society with a secure place, despite the limitations of their autism.

The language of tuition is English, but Afrikaans is also used frequently in interpersonal conversation. A minority of the children speak Xhosa or Afrikaans at home, but all of them can understand English. Without the help of our volunteers the school would not be able to give the children the full attention and care that they deserve and need.

Your Work at the School

  • On your arrival you will have a short Orientation during which you will learn about autism. This will include watching a video as well as meeting the teachers and pupils of the school. You will then be allocated to a teacher for the day. After this initial induction you may spend time in any of the classes for your first week, getting to understand the Center. One of the teaching coordinators will then chat to you about how you are getting on and ask you to decide which of the classes you would like to assist in. You will be working along side the teacher, not alone.
  • The majority of your work will be as a classroom and hostel assistant where you will be helping out in a variety of ways. You may be asked to help where children need special attention or to work with a small group while the teacher works with another group. Schoolwork varies with different age groups but is based on the normal school activities – a great deal of one-to-one attention is needed and children learn basic skills.

  • Help is also very much appreciated at supervised activities like swimming which is part of the daily summer curriculum.

  • After school hours, you'll be allocated a “play time” duty at the different hostels while the children play outdoors under supervision. You will also be involved in indoor hostel duties after this, which involve the supervision of children. Autistic children have to be watched closely at all times, as they may react suddenly and unexpectedly.

  • The help and support given by volunteers is especially needed during preparations for the school concert – and on the actual night. This usually takes place in October and is the highlight of the children’s school year.

  • If there are any outings while you're there, you'll accompany the teacher and pupils. These can be many things, possibly even including a camping trip for a few days. The school loves arranging special events that the students will enjoy. The parents are also included in events like barbecues or concerts for what the school calls – “The Family”.

  • There will also be a certain amount of Admin work involved in your volunteering, such as photocopying for the teacher and also duties at the switchboard if the receptionist is absent - answering the phone, etc.

SCHOOL SEMESTERS IN SOUTH AFRICA:
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.

Care for Children with Autism in South Africa

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Teach and care for Children with Autism in South Africa

ACCOMMODATION:
Nestled under the mountain near the city, is the trendy and arty suburb of Observatory, the student Mecca of Cape Town. We have chosen this location as an accommodation base and make use of a backpackers lodge, where you will be staying. It’s distance from the projects, safety conscious attitude and very friendly staff make this the ideal home away from home.

South African backpackers are unique and majority are run as a ‘home away from home’ in large houses, so there is always lots of space to relax and watch TV, read a book, or just sit by the pool and soak in the sun.

In Observatory, we use The Green Elephant backpackers lodge, which has been running since 1994 and is spaced across 3 beautiful houses. The main house consists of dormitory style rooms, free unlimited wireless internet, a festive bar, a braai (BBQ) area and a swimming pool. The other two houses have private rooms (single and double rooms).
The lodge is situated in the heart of Observatory and a short (5 minute) stroll away from a large supermarket, internet café, restaurants, coffee shops, pharmacy and laundromat. The lodge is also closely situated to the main road, where busses and taxis are available literally at your doorstep.

You’ll be staying in a dorm-style room in the main house, which consist of 6 beds each. The mattresses are great and all linen and towels are provided, but it’s a good idea to bring your own beach towel. There is a laundry self-service area available at the lodge for R15/load (about £1), but there are also laundromats a few minutes walk away that will wash, dry and fold for you.

The lodge has a 24-hour reception desk, and they pride themselves with long-term staff of up to 20 years. This translates into a safe environment with experienced staff, who are able to offer the best local advice to guests for trips & tours, restaurants and basically any local information on the Cape Town area.

The Green Elephant is also committed to low impact and sustainable tourism to preserve our natural beauty for future generations. They recycle everything from water (in grey water systems) to bottles, paper and plastic, which we strongly support!

FOOD:
You'll be given a food budget which will cover your basic essentials (but not extras like drinks, snacks and eating out).

All the lodge houses have fully equipped self catering kitchens, with all the necessities to cook a good meal. If you aren’t feeling up to cooking on any particular day, the lodge also does meals that can be paid for on the day. For example, Thursday nights are pizza nights, and they also do BBQ’s on regular occasions.

Accommodation on your voluntary project in Cape Town, South Africa

Accommodation on your voluntary project in Cape Town, South Africa

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

Letter to Travellers from the School Principal:

"Here are some reasons why we value the volunteers who work at our School:
  • In many instances our learners pose challenging behaviour (cognitively, socially, emotionally, physically, etc.) and it is invaluable to have extra help in a classroom when dealing with this.

  • Our learners often need one-on-one facilitation in certain aspects of their educational program (computer, reading, etc.)

  • When going on outings and or camps, staff always need extra hands to cope with the learners.

  • Hostel staff welcome extra hands to assist with the running of the afternoon program in the hostels (playing simple games, going to the shop and going for walks).

  • Volunteers are also a great help when they assist learners with home work in the hostel. Some of this will entail helping with academic work, or practising making beds, learning how to wash and dry dishes, learning how to follow a program in the school's gym, etc.).

  • A Friday is the Eurythmy day. This is exercises with movement and music. Most children take part and it is very therapeutic for them. However, it is "hands intensive". We cannot do this without volunteers.

  • Our learners sometimes struggle to follow instructions from different people. Volunteers bring variation and give our learners to the opportunity to practise their ability to generalise.

  • Volunteers often do very necessary chores which the staff struggle to find time for (photocopying, book binding, laminating, fetching keys, etc.)


These are just some of the reasons why we value our volunteers so much and why we are grateful for the ones who have been sent to us in the past and for those who will still come.  Once again thank you!"
Keriston Floris

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BOOK YOUR PLACEMENT:
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.

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

  

Feedback on Teaching Volunteering in South Africa

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 Click here to see the Care in Cape Town Video

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!

OPTIONAL ADD-ON ACTIVITIES:

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!

Cage diving with sharks in Cape Town
Cage diving with sharks in Cape Town

LOCATION, EXPLORING AND SIGHTSEEING:

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.

ACTIVITIES IN CAPE TOWN
Adrenaline Activities -
Enjoy exciting and “real” adventures with an adrenaline twist!

  • Abseiling

  • Sandboarding

  • Deep-sea Angling

  • ‘Kloofing’ (insanely jumping off very high cliffs into pools of water!)

  • Paragliding

  • Helicopter flips

  • Bungee jumping (just up the coast)

  •  …..and a LOT, LOT more!!!!

      Township Tours - A visit to one of the many townships surrounding the city is an experience that will open your eyes to the way in which the biggest portion of Cape Town's population are living. Take a township tour of Langa, the oldest township in South Africa or Khayelitsha, the second largest township in South Africa. Township tours will usually be co-led by a resident in the area, showcase local industry and community projects and include a visit to a township bar or 'shebeen'.

       Two Oceans Aquarium - Located in the V&A Waterfront, the Two Oceans Aquarium has lots of display tanks, interactive experiences, a touch pool and the highly popular predators tank.

      Cape Winelands - Wine lover or not, a visit to the Cape Winelands is an absolute must as the region is one of breathtaking beauty and majestic mountain backdrops. Rolling vineyards and quaint Cape Dutch homesteads ... as well as some of the country's best wines.

     Relaxing drives: Drives are a very popular leisure activity in South Africa, because the roads are generally wide, in good condition, relatively empty and a pleasure to drive on. People often go for drives on a Sunday afternoon to a favourite hotel or restaurant for afternoon tea and scones, or to the top of a pass just to look at the view, or to a national park to watch the baboons - there's always a good reason to go for a drive!

Cape Town has lots of cafes and restaurants with 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 Cape Town and its attractions

TRAVEL:
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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