The roots of change

Volunteer with Children

Make an meaningful impact that can last a lifetime

Make a meaningful impact that can last a lifetime 

 

Whether it’s helping a child solve a maths problem, score a goal, or finish reading their first book, when you volunteer with children you can have a direct impact on their education, well-being and future employability. 

The ripple effects of your volunteer work will make a real contribution to the community you are working in, as well as to your own personal and professional development.

GVI offers a range of programs where you can volunteer with children in a way that is ethical, safe and responsible. Our projects are all run in partnership with educational and child-focused organisations in each of our locations to ensure that our programs are inclusive and sustainable.

Cutting Edge

Cutting Edge

Our programs are partnered with locally-led projects that are at the forefront of inclusive, actionable community engagement and development.
Ethical

Ethical

We pledge to do good only through meaningful, considered action that can make a proven difference in the world.
Sustainable

Sustainable

Using the UN’s SDGs as a framework, we’re committed to community development solutions that are built to have a lasting, positive impact.

How to volunteer with children?

Overview
Types
Locations
Health and Safety
FAQs

Volunteering with children in a sustainable way

Providing children with a stable and ongoing learning experience is a vital part of all our volunteer work with children. When you join one of GVI’s volunteer programs, you’ll always work alongside local teachers in community-led initiatives who consistently invest in children’s education. This ensures that, even if volunteers come and go, volunteer work doesn’t disrupt classes or have a negative impact on children’s learning.

GVI’s volunteering with children programs around the world contribute towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). Why does this matter? Well, this means that our activities are aimed at the most relevant global issues. And, by collaborating with local communities, GVI is able to offer you a meaningful experience abroad where you can make a real impact in building on childhood development globally.

Join top-rated volunteer programs all over the world

GVI’s volunteer with children programs are top-rated by GoAbroad, so you’ll be signing up for some of the best childhood-development opportunities out there. 

Our projects are perfect for gap year students, over 50s or career breakers who are passionate about making a positive impact, and love working with children. 

GVI operates on four continents:

 

Use your travel experience to see some of the most sought-after destinations in the world while doing meaningful volunteer work with children. Imagine hiking Table Mountain and surfing in the Atlantic Ocean, while coaching sports to children in South Africa. Or, how about learning to speak Spanish while you add to early childhood development in Costa Rica.

Develop your own skills in the process

When you volunteer with GVI, you’ll also develop your professional and personal skills as you work alongside local child-focused organisations on the ground. Some of the renowned organisations that we partner with include CoralWatch in Mexico, SASAE Sisterhood Trekking and Travel in Nepal, and Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa (WESSA) in South Africa.

Having volunteering experience on your CV will go a long way towards improving your employability in the fields of childhood education or sustainable development.

Our volunteers and staff on base are also committed to making the learning experience fun for the children and volunteers alike. Why not hold a mathematics class outdoors, and assist children in learning to count by using the shells that dot the beaches?

Choosing a program where you can volunteer with children

At GVI, there’s a whole host of ways that you can work with children as a volunteer. Depending on your passions and interests, you can contribute to the efforts of local organisations who run a variety of initiatives to empower children in different ways. And by joining our meaningful volunteer programs, you’ll not leave unchanged either.

As a volunteer working with children, you don’t need to have a specific qualification or have previous experience working with children. Every project provides orientation and comprehensive training that’s led by experts, and will get you up to speed on everything you need to know before you start volunteering with children.

What will you do when volunteering with children?

As a volunteer, you’ll support local schools and education-focused organisations in their day-to-day activities which could include tasks such as:

  • facilitating English language lessons
  • organising lesson plans and assisting teachers
  • assisting children in completing their homework
  • reading with children
  • organising sport and craft sessions
  • presenting physical exercise and helping to coach sport
  • planning and presenting lessons to raise awareness about sustainability topics.
  • Facilitating health-education workshops with children at community organisations.

 

GVI Volunteer with children programs

Teaching and educational programs

If you want to focus specifically on empowering children through teaching and educational support, we offer programs where you can contribute towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) 4: Quality Education.

All of our volunteering with children programs in education offer fantastic opportunities to add to global goals, no matter where you are in the world. And at every location, you’ll get to work with local teachers to develop relevant, effective and engaging lesson plans that aim to make it easier for local students to achieve their academic potential.

You’ll also get the opportunity to deliver lesson plans to your class, and gain first-hand experience in what makes volunteer work with children successful. Some of our programs focus on Early Childhood Development (ECD) initiatives where you’ll work with young pre-school children, whilst other programs focus on older school-going children.

Volunteering with children abroad could also involve teaching English language classes. This is important because being able to speak English can improve the access that children have to employment opportunities in the future.

Sports programs

If you’re keen on joining volunteer opportunities with children that add to their physical education and overall wellbeing, we also offer sports-focused volunteer programs.

In South Africa, you can contribute to childhood development by facilitating sports lessons during school, or as an after-school activity. These programs will allow you to volunteer with children in a range of different sports, including athletics, cricket, football, netball and tennis.

Community development and sustainability awareness

Many of our community development and conservation programs include volunteering opportunities with children. This is because we always include the community in our local initiatives to ensure that the projects are sustainable – and early education is often a key component.

Join local organisations to educate children on critical local issues like the climate crisis, to raise a generation of change-makers who are knowledgeable and equipped to be part of the solution.

By volunteering with children in this way, you’ll plan lessons on recycling, sanitation, water conservation, health, environmental awareness, and any other topics that are relevant to the community you’re working in.

These projects are a great way to also broaden your own understanding of sustainable development, and witness the power of education and its impact on other aspects of sustainable development.

Where can I volunteer with children?

We know that picking a location to travel to is a big deal. You want to be sure that you’ve experienced plenty of new things when you return from your volunteering with children trip abroad. 

With GVI’s incredible variety of locations across so many different countries you can be certain that you’ll find the perfect location. Taking part in volunteer work means being immersed in local cultures, and experiencing the sights and sounds of locations while adding to global development.

Our volunteer programs with children run from one week to six months, and we have many participants who decide to extend their programs (often a few times) once they’re on base.

GVI hubs where you can volunteer with children

 

GVI hubs where you can volunteer with children through teaching

 

GVI hubs where you can volunteer with children through sports

 

Not sure where to go? Let our program experts talk you through your options and answer all your questions. Get in touch – we’d love to help you find the perfect program for you.

Health and safety for volunteers

GVI has a comprehensive, and regularly updated Health and Safety policy that’s the foundation of all our activities abroad. If you decide to get involved in volunteer work with children abroad, you’ll be taken through this policy during orientation. 

This will fill you in on health and safety procedures with regards to:

  • health and safety on base
  • on-project health and safety
  • off-site health and safety – including what to do when travelling on your own, or with friends during your time off. 

 

Our staff also undergo regular health and safety training, to ensure that they are well versed on health and safety procedures. In this way GVI promises a safe volunteer experience with children at every one of our overseas locations.

You can read more about how GVI ensures volunteer health and safety in this article: How the best volunteer travel programs ensure your health and safety.

Responsible volunteering to safeguard children

Because child safety is our top priority, all our staff and participants are required to complete a police background check before arrival on their chosen program. 

On-site child protection training is provided to every volunteer and staff member on a regular basis. We protect children from both real-world and cyber threats by ensuring that our marketing material follows child protection best practices.

It’s also important to note that GVI does not support orphanage volunteering in any of our locations. For more information check out our stance on orphanage volunteering

We partner with a number of reputable local and international organisations, and regularly review our comprehensive Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy.

Questions to ask before you volunteer with children

Before joining GVI on a trip to volunteer abroad with children, there are a few questions you probably want answered.

Q: Do I need any specific qualifications?

A: No qualifications are required to volunteer with children on a GVI program. All necessary training will be provided by our qualified staff members and field experts. This ensures that the safety of the children we work with, as well as our volunteers, is prioritised every step of the way.

Q: How old do I have to be to volunteer with children?

A: Whether you’re on a gap year or taking a career-break – you’re welcome to volunteer with children with GVI. Volunteering with children abroad isn’t just for adults or over 50s who may have experience with children. 

Participants of all ages are required to complete a police background check before arrival on their chosen program, and on-site child protection training is provided once they arrive to volunteer.

Q: How long can I volunteer with children?

A: You can choose to volunteer for anywhere between one week to six months, depending on the volunteer abroad with children program you have chosen.

Q: Will I get paid to volunteer with children?

A: No, you will have to pay the volunteering program fees with GVI. 

So why pay to volunteer? By contributing to a project as a paying volunteer, you are assisting in supporting communities abroad, and ensuring that programs are efficient and beneficial to children in the long run. You are also investing in your own training and development, so you can continue making an impact in the world long after you’ve finished your volunteer with children program.

Q: Who will I be volunteering with?

A: Volunteers with GVI come from all around the world. And, because of this, you’ll get to interact with people from different backgrounds, who have a range of cultural beliefs. You will more likely than not find yourself leaving your volunteer experience with new life-long friendships.

Q: Can I teach sports when I volunteer with children? 

A: At GVI we understand the importance of sports for childhood development, and the importance of managing both physical and mental health. Sport also allows learners who are not academically inclined the chance to excel in another area. This can often boost the confidence of these learners. 

So, while sports don’t always form a part of the curriculum of the schools we partner with, because of a lack of resources and funding, GVI tries to incorporate sports and time outdoors into our volunteering with children programs.

You can learn more about the topic of sports and early childhood development by reading this article: Four reasons why sport is important in early childhood development.

Q: What if I’m unsure about what program or location to choose?

You can either get in touch with one of our program experts by completing our enquiry form or getting in touch with us via email or phone

Another way to put your mind at ease or ask any questions you have, is to chat to one of our ambassadors – someone who has been where you are now, and can give you first-hand information.

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