• South Africa
    • Knysna
2 to 12 weeks

Program Details

Age Min.
Age Max
Short Term Spring Break Summer Winter Year Round
Small Group (1-15)
Travel Type
Budget Family Older Travelers Solo Women


Starting Price
Price Details
This project helping with Youth Development and Social Work in the beautiful town of Knysna, is a minimum of 2 weeks at $1390. Each extra optional week is $445.
What's Included
Accommodation Some Activities Airport Transfers Meals Transportation Wifi
What's Not Included
Some Activities Airfare Domestic Airfare SIM cards Travel Insurance Visa
Dec 20, 2023
Jan 30, 2024
7 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

This is a very special project close to our hearts. The Youth Development and Social Work volunteer in the townships of Knysna started for children living on the streets as a safe daily drop-off centre. Over the years it has grown to assist mediating and giving support and training between the youth, families and schools and has now expanded to all youth at risk in the town of Knysna in South Africa. It is the perfect project for those interested in social work, life skills, sport, drama, art therapy, music, education, psychology and counselling. Many of the youth that attend the centre have learning disabilities and come from backgrounds with many economic issues. Together with qualified child care and social workers, the aim is to get them back into the schools - if possible - and with the long term goal of gearing them towards being self-sufficient upstanding members of society despite the challenges they have faced at such an early age.

Consider your impact: Volunteering abroad can be a rewarding experience for both volunteers and local communities, and at Go Overseas, we believe all volunteers should have the resources to make informed decisions about the type of volunteer project they want to partake in. However, despite best intentions, some organizations offering placements in orphanages may unknowingly place children in danger. You can read about the potential dangers of orphanage volunteering here. Learn more about how Volunteer International Adventures is promoting ethical volunteering.

Video and Photos


Ethical Impact

Volunteer International Adventures focus is on ethical youth and animal projects which we feel very strongly about. We see the need for assistance from international volunteers in developing countries and have seen the difference extra hands-on help can make to communities and conservation if done responsibly.

Program Highlights

  • For students and qualified Teachers, Counsellors, Social Workers and Psychologists this is a great opportunity to assist youth at risk in the NPO sector
  • If you do not have studies or qualifications, we still need volunteers to take basic literacy and numeracy classes or one-on-one reading sessions
  • Great for those with an interest or background in creative arts and art therapy with clay, painting banners and music with marimbas
  • Get to show and share your soccer skills with the youth or if joining in school holidays, with street soccer tournaments with the local kids in the area
  • Jam-packed fun-filled weekends with extreme sports, whale & dolphin watching, local markets, lagoon cruises, beach & forest walks, wildlife safaris & animal sanctuaries

Program Impact

Volunteers can provide a huge impact on this project not only with the youth but with the staff too. If you have any specialised skills, we would love to put them to good use on the project so that when your project time is over, you leave a lasting impact. Your attention and time with the youth on the project, is also such a fantastic way of improving their confidence and helping them to feel like they matter. So whether you can assist boosting their confidence, improving their reading, teaching them how to bake or sew, teaching them to play a musical instrument or helping them to deal with anger, peer group pressure, gender based violence, bullying and substance abuse, every little bit of help has a long lasting effect

Program Reviews

5.00 Rating
based on 6 reviews
  • 5 rating 100%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 5
  • Support 5
  • Fun 5
  • Value 5
  • Safety 4.85
Showing 1 - 6 of 6 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Youth Development Centre in Knysna

I had the great pleasure to volunteer at the Youth Development Centre in Knysna last year (July and August). This was one of my best experiences and I can only suggest to be part of this program.
Besides of spending an amazing time in one of the most beautiful countries, exploring Garden Route and its natural beauty, I learned a lot about the way of life and culture.
I had the possibility to assist with sports, music, art and teaching...
Working and spending time with these kids gave me a sense of personal fulfillment and definitely made an impact on my life.
Everything was perfectly planned and organised by the team of Volunteer International Adventures. Even if it's your first time in South Africa - don't hesitate! You will gain an unforgettable experience.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Bring your ideas, be creative and motivated! The kids are curious and eager to learn and are grateful for any experience.
  • learn about culture and way of life
  • happy smiling children faces every day
  • gain personal fulfillment
  • also winter in South Africa can be cold ;) don't forget to bring some warm clothes...
14 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible opportunity, exceeded expectations

My experience with the Social Work, Education & Youth Development project with Sharon and Rustin was life-changing. It was meant just to be a stop on a year-long participatory research project. I planned to commit to a month with this organization and ended up extending twice. Needless to say, my expectations for this project were exceeded in every category. Social impact and activities: If you prioritize local-community centered, ethical and grassroots organizations, this project has to be at the top of your list. The organization itself supports at-risk youth and the kids themselves are talented, engaged and earnest. You will spend much of your time learning from and laughing with bright young people while facilitating programs that nurture their development. In your off time, you can immerse yourself in the outdoors (some of my favorites included ziplining, game drives and nature reserve hikes) and explore part of the Garden Route or even just hang out in town with your new friends at many of the locally owned cafes. Location, safety and support: Knysna is a gorgeous, easily navigable and friendly town. People know one another and in that way, it is a great place to connect with folks with similar interests. There is a great sense of community, people’s networks are often interwoven with each others and acquaintances become like family at an unprecedented rate. Overall, I encourage anyone who’s interested in either the broad category of social welfare or even just has an interest in visiting South Africa to come and learn and experience under the guidance of Sharon and Rustin who go above and beyond to provide you with the best experience. Their generosity with their time and efforts and their passion for this work is evident in the way they organize this project and others for and with their community. Working with organizers as dedicated as they are and a community that is so engaged is really an incredible opportunity not to be missed.

44 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Youth development and Social Work

I loved my time in South Africa, working with locals and planning lessons/activities and spending time getting to know new people and exploring a new continent. I made Memories that will last a life time, 3 weeks flew by and we managed to fit so much in to the little time we had! Sharon was amazing making sure we explored all areas, helping us to book excursions and taking us to local places that are a must see after travelling so far! I would highly recommend volunteering to any one as it’s so much more than just volunteering!!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
My sky dive after waiting until the day before we were scheduled to leave for home after the wind was finally safe for the sky dive to take place! And the tandem sky diver originally being from 30 minutes from my home town!
93 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Youth Development and Social Work in Knysna, South Africa

An excellent learning experience for young and older adults alike. This was an impressive programme, working with children and young people who were not in school and who were therefore at risk within their communities. What was especially impressive was the programme’s “whole child” focus, looking not just at the child/ young person’s particular individual needs but taking account of their family and community context and working collectively to achieve progress. In spite of often limited financial resources, the programme staff had developed a significant range of skills and personal resources to support the children/young people. Their commitment was very evident and was much valued by the children/young people.
In the end, it was lovely to be reminded that all across the world and irrespective of the huge variation in the challenges they face, children/ young people are very much the same. They all have dreams and aspirations, they all recognise the importance of their families and communities, even where these may sometimes present risk. With the right support, even the most isolated and excluded children/young people can recover, can thrive and they all deserve the very best efforts of those adults who can provide them with that support.

What was your funniest moment?
Re-visiting my footballing skills, which were never very good, with some very enthusiastic and skilful young footballers!
86 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Youth Development & Social Work

Rewarding and engaging programme which has been hugely beneficial for all participants. Very participant focused and the staff are passionate and selfless and ensuring they get the most out of it. The project helped those in need get back on their feet and each individual was taken care of and shown compassion by all volunteers helping out. As a volunteer this was a completely unique experience and each day was well spent contributing what I could to the project. Highly recommend to anyone travelling.

94 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Youth Development and Social Work

This was a wonderful experience. I got to meet a lot of great people and was made to feel very welcome from the start. It was also nice to give back to the local community and feel that I was making a difference to these young people’s lives. I volunteered in 2010, teaching maths and English, as well as assisting with the youth football team. I have a lot of fond memories of my time there and would not hesitate to recommend this experience to others. My only regret is that I was not there for longer!

79 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers