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childcare support in Swaziland (CDS)

Location: Swaziland
Project type: child development support
Price from: £1373.00 - details below

Help support a network of Neighbourhood Care Points where staff care for disadvantaged children. Share your creative skills, life skills, early childhood develoment and education - there are numerous ways to benefit the children and their teachers.

Skills required

We work closely with the local people who manage this project, and they have identified their primary volunteer needs as follow:
  • helping to teach the children English, maths, life skills and creative subjects to prepare them for school
  • preparing resources to help the children learn
  • encouraging learning through play
  • organising activities, games and educational outings for the children
  • teacher training and curriculum development
  • therapists and counsellors to identify and work with children who have particular needs
  • taking part in community awareness initiatives - e.g. running parenting classes
  • providing expertise on nutrition
  • constructing basic shelters and helping to improve existing shelter structures
  • developing gardens, water systems and structures needed at the centres and child-headed households
  • getting involved in fundraising activities and organising events with the aim to raise awareness and funds, which will in turn benefit the vulnerable children.

Main project details

The Neighbourhood Care Points (NCPs) require your help in many ways.  They cater for children aged from 3 to 6 but frequently have only one teacher, so classroom support is urgently needed. Local teachers are mostly untrained so will welcome any form of advice on teaching methods and ways to help their children learn through play. You can help to organise activities for the children and prepare resources to make their classroom a more interesting place for them. You can also help with children's individual needs - either educational or physical - or with community support projects, all with the aim of creating a healthier, more supportive environment for the children to live in. You can help to develop the infrastructure for the NCPs, including the play areas and gardens.

Whilst educators, social workers, administrators and professional fundraisers are desperately needed, the project leader will welcome anyone who is willing and able to support the local team as they offer comfort and support to the children in the Care Points and local communities.

The NCPs operate in the mornings, from about 8.00 to about 12.30.  Volunteers' hours would vary according to their specific placement outline, but might include some work in the afternoons with teachers or the local community, or helping at homework clubs for school children who have graduated from the NCPs, or in the preparation of materials to support the curriculum.

This project offers a responsible alternative to the volunteer who would like to work in childcare but is rightly concerned about the ethics of short term volunteer work abroad in an orphanage.

How your work will help !

The project

The project is based at six Neighbourhood Care Points where basic education, life skills and two meals a day are provided to vulnerable pre-school children.

The NCP initiative was originally started by UNICEF to provide support and care for children left without adequate family support because of the effects of the HIV/AIDs epidemic. There are many NCPs throughout Swaziland, some run by NGOs, some by churches and some by the local community. Their over-riding aim is to provide orphaned and vulnerable children with the care and support they and their families need to enable them to continue to live within their community. Many children are cared for by grandparents or other members of the extended family. Many of them are more vulnerable to abuse in all its forms than children brought up in more conventional families. The NCPs are an important source of stability in their lives.

In addition the NCPs supported by this project aim to provide the right nurturing and educational environment to get children ready for school.

The NCPs are basic, rough structures, located near community dwellings, although with volunteer help they are gradually being improved and extended. The people of the community run the care points in conjunction with our local partners and volunteers from the communities look after the children, teach them and prepare their food.  All the NCPs have a garden where food is grown to supplement the meals.

Read more about how the volunteer programme works with this project here.


Despite its stable history and peaceful reputation, Swaziland has the world's highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate which has taken its toll on the population leaving many children orphaned or vulnerable. It also has an unemployment rate of about 30% which rises to over 50% among the youth. These factors combine leading to approximately 63% of the population living below the poverty line.  Young people in particular are increasingly becoming vulnerable to poverty; around 31% of children in Swaziland experience health challenges due to malnutrition, and on average children attend school for just seven years. Many of Swaziland's children have lost their parents and thus face food shortages, lack of adequate shelter and care, and most of all lack of attention and love. 

'This project is excellent for early learning volunteers, very well organised, possibly the best organised of all the projects I've been on.' Volunteer, Yvonne

Volunteer opportunities in this community support programme can involve child care, teaching skills, health care, sport, craft - and other experience will also be put to good use. Take a look at the list of needs, as identified by the project, near the top of this page. Work with local people and play your part in responsible volunteer projects abroad.

Minimum duration

4 weeks is the optimum placement duration,
Please note the required Arrival Date is the first Monday of each month

Living Conditions

Volunteers' accommodation is in the Lidwala Backpackers' Lodge, where you will have a private ensuite room.
There are communal  kitchen facilities.

(dormitory accommodation is available, if you don't mind sharing, and costs £102 less per week.)

Project costs

From £1,373 for 4 weeks - based on full board, private en suite accommodation
Read about our costs and pricing policy here 

Watch an explanatory interview with programme director Sallie Grayson
Additional weeks  are costed at a sliding reducing rate. 
Please note these costs are correct to the best of our knowledge but can only be confirmed at time of booking due to changes in transport and taxes outside our control.
Included: private en suite accomodation and 3 meals-a-day, Johannesburg airport transfers on arrival and departure, full local orientation,  project & placement liaison
(Various other accommodation options, such as weekend guesthouse stays or self catering accommodation can be arranged).
How your money is spent based on 4 weeks:
In Swaziland:
10% - admin & communications
8% - salaries
8% - project expenses
54% - accommodation 
4% - fuel & travel
In the UK:
18% - £260 placement matching fee
Not included: flights, insurance, visa costs, personal expenses such as phone calls, medical expenses, etc.
If you or your friends and family wish to make further donations to this project please contact us at

Project gallery

Registered volunteers can learn about the local team for this project - LOG ON to learn more about this project and the local team we work with. Not registered yet? It's easy and free HERE!

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