The Amapondo Children’s Project (ACP for short) is based in Port St Johns, a small and fascinating cosmopolitan coastal town, which is located in the heart of the Wild Coast, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Originally founded in 2001, the Amapondo Children’s Project registered as a Non-Profit Organisation in 2006 and today, more than ten years later, they have evolved into a reliable and sustainable project.

The ACP offers community support through its involvement in a number of activities. They focus on recognizing the needs of the local people in order to create community led initiatives, jobs, education, self-empowerment and valuable exchange whilst utilizing the skills and experience of both national and international volunteers. Their main ongoing Projects are the Mthumbane Pre-Primary School and the Port St Johns Junior Secondary School but they also support various other local initiatives. The Volunteer Programme encourages groups and individuals from all over the globe to come and assist at any of the projects under the ACP's wings and provide their individual skills and know-how in the areas where they would bring forth the most change and effective, positive development.

Volunteers are able to combine projects and are welcome to design their own programs too. The past initiatives of volunteers have included a surfing school, an online shop for selling the goods made and created by the hands of the local ladies, a music school, a drumming workshop for tourists, the building of a creative workshop and many more. All projects are coordinated by the Project Manager. Depending on new projects or needs from the ongoing projects, the things you get involved with as a volunteer can differ. The Amapondo Children’s Project appoints a full time Volunteer Coordinator, who offers 24/7 support and supervision to all their volunteers. Together they make sure every volunteer gets the most out of their volunteer placement.
  • Age: min. 18
  • Location: Port St John
  • Requirements: min. 18 years, adaptable, flexible
  • Group size: max 10 int. volunteers
  • Project duration: 2 weeks - 12 months
  • Laundry: There is a laundry room available to do your washing
  • WIFI: Need to buy airtime and use this as internet
  • Linen/towels:Linen is provided, please bring your own towels
This project is situated in Port St. John's, Eastern Cape in South Africa.

    The minimum age for volunteers is 18 years. Whilst volunteering at the Community Projects, we require our volunteers to behave in a responsible manner and to be aware of the fact that they have an exemplary role towards the young children and adults they work with.

    Working hours
    You are expected to complete approximately 6 hours of community support at one of the Community Projects for at least 5 days a week. You will be free during Public Holidays, the weekends and school holidays. Under specific circumstances you can be asked to help out during weekend days or school holidays.

    Upon arrival & training
    Arrival/first day:
    • Meeting the Project Manager and Volunteer Coordinator and the volunteer gets showed around the area: explanation of all the facilities at Amapondo
    • General information and orientation:
    • Welcome Pack: information about ACP, Volunteer Contract and Feedback Form
    • What are we currently involved with
    • Does the volunteer have any special skills he or she would like to put to use
    • Visit the school and meet with the principal (if the volunteers arrives during the morning, otherwise on day 2)
    • Shopping trip to town for the volunteer to buy groceries
    • After we have been through the above, you can just relax and settle in

    Accommodation & meals
    The Amapondo Backpackers Lodge is a lovely and viby place, where everybody works together as a family. It is located at Port St Johns Second Beach, about 5km outside of the town centre. You will be accommodated in the Volunteer Dorm (Mzimbeet) of the Amapondo Backpackers Lodge. In case you prefer a private room, an extra cost will be charged. We want you to feel at home and get the most out of your volunteer placement. The Project Manager and Volunteer Coordinator are available at all times to answer all your questions and ensure your wellbeing.

    The communal kitchen at Amapondo is fully equipped: there is a fridge and there are storage boxes available to store your dry food. There is free coffee and tea available. You will be taken to town for grocery shopping once or twice a week.

    There is also a bar and restaurant at the premises of the Amapondo Backpackers Lodge, where you can wine and dine. There is a pool table, table tennis table and numerous board games you can play. There is also a television on which movies get displayed. If the weather is cooler, they make a fire next to the bar area where you can sit and relax. Amapondo does not have a swimming pool because the beach is only a 5 minute walk away.

    The volunteer is expected to complete approximately 6 hours of community support at one of the Community Projects for at least 5 days a week. The volunteer is free during Public Holidays, the weekends and school holidays. Under specific circumstances the volunteer can be asked to help out during weekend days or school holidays. You can participate in one of the projects listed below:

    The Mthumbane Pre-Primary School
    The Mthumbane Pre-Primary School is a two classroom educational institution for children aged three to six (pre-grade schooling and Grade R). There are between 60 and 80 pupils registered at the school, although not all of them come every day. Mthumbane has four teachers, two of whom are volunteer assistants. Connecting the school with the ACP has allowed for valuable improvement within the learning environment, as well as giving them a supporting voice with social services and other important governing institutions.

    The Volunteer Program of the Amapondo Children’s Project has allowed the Mthumbane Pre-Primary School access to additional help and support: both national and international volunteers help the teachers manage the classes and assist with teaching the children, ensuring that every child gets the individual attention it needs.

    Over the years, the ACP has assisted the school with building maintenance (a new classroom and toilet block were built), refurbishment, painting the walls, stabilizing the electricity connection, building outside play facilities for the children, helping to fence the garden and even gardening work. Thanks to the ongoing efforts of the principal and the Project Manager of the Amapondo Children’s Project, the school now finally received funding through the Department of Social Development. This offers the school a budget for at least a part of their expenditure, such as salaries, training, administration and educational material. One of the latest accomplishments was applying and receiving a grant from KFC Add Hope Campaign so the Mthumbane Pre-Primary School can now buy healthy nutritional food for the children for the entire school year.

    Volunteers are encouraged to get involved with teaching, ECD (Early Childhood Development), gardening and maintenance. A few ideas:
    • Compile lessons and worksheets
    • Structure educational exercises and games
    • Foundation phase English teaching
    • Teach a special skill or talent to the kids, if applicable (ie; beadwork, dance routine)
    • Organise a school day trip
    • Assist in preparing snacks/lunch
    • Help with ongoing maintenance
    The Port St Johns Junior Secondary School

    The Port St Johns Junior Secondary School is an established institution where children are nurtured to develop their skills and grow up to be well-educated adults. It offers education for children aged six to fifteen (from Grade R up to Grade 9). The partnership with the ACP was established in 2015 and since the beginning of 2016, volunteers have been placed at the school, providing the teachers with extra helping hands in Grade R and Grade 1.

    Since 2017 the volunteer programme at the school was expanded and volunteers can now also assist in Grade 4, Grade5 and Grade 6. This programme allocated 6 periods per week to the volunteers, during which they are responsible to fill in these hours with educational topics. These topics cover a wide range of different subjects, covering cultural education (e.g. the difference between growing up in Europe and South Africa), sports activities, health (e.g. personal hygiene, anatomy of the human body), life skills (e.g. self-esteem), career guidance (e.g. different professions, what do you want to become when you grow up) and many more. The volunteers prepare for their classes and keep an overview of topics they have discussed in class, to pass on to their successors. Apart from their allocated hours, the volunteers assist the teachers where needed with English classes or Life Skills (sport activities).

    The Amapondo Children’s Project assists the school further with fund raising initiatives, offering them extra resources to draw upon so they can keep up with the high standard of education they strive for.

    Working day
    At the Mthumbane Pre- Primary School: 8u-13u
    After school hours, the volunteer can help out with other things, depending on their own interest and needs of the project. There is a lot of small maintenance that can be done, going from painting to weeding the garden. Apart from that, volunteers can help the teachers by composing a workbook or helping them to prepare other things (e.g. preparation for graduation).

    At the Port St Johns Junior Secondary School: 8u-13u/14u
    • In Grade R and Grade 1 the volunteer assists the teachers until 13u
    • If the volunteer is working with Grade 4, 5 and 6, they’ll get assigned to one of the teachers (English teacher or Life Skills teacher) and they are given a timetable for their allocated hours. The higher grades finish at 14u, on Friday at 13u.
    The ACP organizes numerous fundraising initiatives: quiz-nights, jumble sales, making and selling homemade chocolate cookies … Volunteers can help preparing or organize an initiative of their own.

    On an average day a volunteer works 5 or 6 hours, depending on the school hours and needs of the project. What the volunteer gets involved with, is always compatible with their own interests. Normally volunteers are free during the weekends, Public Holidays and school holidays but it can happen that we have something going on during those free moments and a volunteer gets asked to help.

    • Port St Johns Cultural Tour R250
    • Bululo Waterfall R80
    • Silaka Nature Reserve R80
    • River cruise R120 (2-3hours)
    • Canoeing at Ntafufu R395 (full day)
    • Double Falls R295 (full day)
    • Magwa Falls and Tea Plantation R395 (full day)
    • Whale watching 2h R350 – 4h R750

Start date is very flexible, contact us for availability


Duration2017 Fee
2 weeks500 EUR
3 weeks560 EUR
4 weeks 595 EUR
6 weeks700 EUR
Rates includes
  • Accommodation in dormitory
  • Cultural tours
  • Pick up from Umtata Shell Station/airport
  • Assistance with booking a flexible flight
  • Advice regarding vaccinations, travel insurance, visa, international driving license and other relevant items
  • Goodiebag with South African Simcard
  • Donation to the project
  • Helpdesk during your stay

Rates excludes
  • Flights to Johannesburg/Umtata
  • meals
  • Visa (if required)
  • Vaccination (if required)
  • Travel insurance
  • Optional trips
Application form volunteering

Personal information



Amapondo school project south africa