Mandela's Soweto Kids: Teach Kids in South Africa

Johannesburg, South Africa Children & Youth Development



Your time will be dedicated to helping children expand their world view and learn new skills. You will be helping a community which has limited resource to build capacity by providing an extra pair of hands for teachers and caregivers and making a difference while being a positive influence on people's lives.

This project is based in Orlando, one of oldest suburbs in Soweto. This township with its rich history and a population of over 2 million is the biggest black urban settlement in South Africa.

Soweto was the center of political campaigns aimed at the overthrow of the apartheid state. The June 16th, 1976 student uprising, which began the slow meltdown of apartheid, started in Soweto and spread to the rest of the country. Sowetans have a strong sense of community. They would say that Soweto has soul, and who wouldn't want to live in a place with soul? You will be introduced to a melting pot of South African cultures and have an opportunity to experience it.

Use your initiative and skills working at a primary school in the morning helping to build capacity where it is needed, while providing the care and attention these young people of South Africa need to help them create a better life for themselves.

Get involved with a variety of community projects, meet local personalities and be part of the community. Soweto has a vibrant night life and a Jazz evening is not to be missed.


Helping children acquire new tastes in arts and culture creates better opportunities for children who either seek to pursue a career or just need a reason to feel special. Working with a primary school will trigger your own childhood memories and motivate you to ensure these children are getting similar opportunities you may have been afforded. Helping them develop a well-rounded skill set while become contributing members of society in this great African nation will bring nothing but joy. You could be helping to craft future renowned artists, musicians, and poets with your hard work and dedication to this amazing project. Plus, you might learn a thing or two and want to change your career path. Watching these children grow at every turn through your interactions will prove motivating for everyone involved. Fall in love with the Motherland and allow her children to become prosperous young men and women. Be their hero!

Field conditions

Your mornings:

-- Share your world view and assist teachers where needed in a classroom of 6-year-olds

-- Help organize daily programs

-- Play games and support children with their daily lessons

-- Provide an extra pair of hands to help teachers in overcrowded classrooms

Your afternoons:

-- Facilitate possible life-changing courses to youth at risk, at a local youth center. These activities include art, craft, dance and music

-- Share you skills while providing the care and attention these young people need to help them create a better life

Arrival and orientation

You will arrive in Johannesburg on a Thursday for a free three-day orientation. You will learn about local customs, social skills, transport and much more. Here’s how each day will pan out:

Day 1

– A tour of Johannesburg by foot

– Getting to know the local culture

– The opportunity to take in evening entertainment including movies, music, and more

Day 2

– Visiting the local market.

– Sampling delicious food in the market

– Travel to Soweto in the late afternoon to settle into your accommodation and meet your hosts

Day 3

– Get a four-hour tour of Soweto. Travel by bike or by foot, whichever is more comfortable.

– You will understand South Africa’s struggle for freedom and its deep history during a walk through Vilakazi Street. This street historically houses two Nobel Peace Laureates – Tata Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

– Try customary foods, Shisa Nyama (barbequed meat), Makwenya (doughnut) or, if you think your stomach can handle it, a Smiley (sheep’s head).

Evenings are at your leisure.

Your stay


  • HousingVolunteer house

  • Provided mealsBreakfast, dinner

Accommodation description

You will be staying in a trendy backpackers in the famous township of Soweto, a few minutes’ walk from the school. Close to many historical sites such as the Hector Pieterson memorial and museum, and Vilakazi Street, where both the late Nelson Mandela and also Bishop Tutu lived. Today this area is a major tourist attraction with facilities such as restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and shops.


Volunteers will be staying in dormitory-style accommodations.


from $538 USDper week

from $538 USDper week


What’s included

  • Certificate & report provided upon request

  • A south african sim card that works on a pay-as-you-go system

  • Breakfast and dinner

  • Dormitory accommodation

  • Appointed supervisor for duration of program

What’s not included

  • Transportation to accommodation if volunteer arrives before start date

  • Accommodation if volunteer arrives before start date

  • Towel and toiletries

  • Local transport for social activities

  • Weekend excursions

  • Medical insurance

  • Visa cost if your stay is longer than 90 days

Start dates

Arrivals every Thursday for a 3 day Johannesburg Orientation, then volunteer work starts the following Monday, except during South African School Holidays.

Hero Holidays was founded by Lorraine Keenan, a proud inhabitant of Johannesburg of Irish heritage. This venture was started after she went on a camping trip in Malawi, where she met volunteers and exchanged several stories with them. It motivated her to start something that would ensure young people were getting the necessary care and experience to become functioning members of society.

Hero Holidays’ Volunteer Programs has long been a registered social enterprise, empowering itself with its firm belief that NGOs and other development projects cannot survive on donations alone. For this program to become profitable and a successful long-term venture, volunteers are needed to achieve these goals. Using your skills to fill needs and fulfill dreams. The project not only benefits people Hero Holidays are meant to help, but those volunteers who provide help that makes a difference. A win-win situation for all involved that makes everyone feel adequate and wanted.

Lorraine has a deep passion and commitment to the development and upliftment of impoverished communities in South Africa. Her work is supported by her 35 years of experience in philanthropic endeavors as well as in sustainable development in Gauteng.

Hero Holidays is accredited with the following:

– Member of the South African Youth Travel Confederation

– Hero Holidays is compliant to the National Minimum Standard for Responsible Tourism (SANS 1162) which is aligned to the International Standard (ISO/IEC 17011)

– Hero Holidays is a registered participant of The Climate Reality Project

Their wish is to change the image volunteer travel often portrays. Too many times, these volunteer missions present imagery of volunteer travel where people jump off a plane saying, “I’m here to help you.” At Hero Holidays, people are welcomed with volunteers who say. "I'm here to learn from you, how I can be of help, now, or in the future." It’s more than just words; it’s an unbreakable commitment that builds hope and trust for an eternity.

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