English School Assistant with NGO

Do you have an interest in migration and refugee issues? Are you passionate about teaching? This exciting opportunity might be exactly what you are looking for. One of the biggest obstacles migrants and refugees face when looking for a job is their lack of language skills. During this internship, you will be working on the English School project from this nonprofit organization in Cape Town. Every term around 350 students from different African countries enroll in their program. You will assist with day to day administration and management of the school as well as teach English classes two afternoons. An excellent opportunity to make an impact and contribute to cultural, social and economic integration between migrants, refugees, and South Africans.

Quick Facts

  • Destination Cape Town
  • Type of Organization Nonprofit
  • Work focus English teaching, coordination, administration
  • Length of internship minimum 4 months
  • Accommodation Choice of several types
  • Fee on demand

This organization started in Cape Town in 1994 as religious assistance to different communities of migrants but soon expanded to offering more tangible assistance as they were confronted with the problems experienced by refugees from Angola, the Congos, Rwanda, Burundi and other African communities. In 2003 a secular non-government organization was started to run these projects, the Scalabrini Center of Cape Town (SCCT).

Migration is perceived as an opportunity by this organization, so they are on a mission to alleviate poverty and promoting development in the Western Cape while fostering cultural, social and economic integration between migrants, refugees, and South Africans. In providing their assistance they advocate respect for human rights and use a holistic approach that considers all basic needs.

Every month around 2000 people visit the center, which offers service through six main programme areas:

  • Advocacy: Protecting, promoting and advancing the rights and freedoms of migrants and refugees by providing paralegal advice and practical assistance to individuals on a walk-in basis. In addition, this team works on driving deeper systemic change in the South African society and immigration and asylum systems.
  • English School: Providing a specialized English language school for refugees and migrants.
  • Employment Access: Providing a gateway to employment by providing support to foreign nationals who are legally entitled to look for work in South Africa. The organization provides a combination of skills training, professional development, and resources needed for success in the job market.
  • Unite: A unique extra-curricular curriculum for grade 8-11, which provokes a deep exploration of the themes of identity, integration, and diversity to promote activism and critical thought in youth living in South Africa.
  • Welfare: Accessing services for migrants and refugees in need. Through a process of consultation, they assist individuals to access basic services such as medical care, schooling, shelter, South African Social Grants (SASSA grants) and assistance with advice/application for voluntary repatriation.
  • Women’s Platform: A multi-national network of women that strengthens individuals to enhance economic independence and integration into the broader South African community.

Scalabrini  Womens Platform

Projects you will be working on

Education is key to a successful life. One of the biggest obstacles migrants and refugees face when looking for a job is their lack of language skills. This organization provides an effective low-cost service aimed at eliminating this language barrier, focusing on communication skills in order to facilitate a socioeconomic integration while providing opportunities for networking and community building. Presently the English School enrolls around 350 students per term from a variety of African countries. What they offer:

  • Classes from Monday to Friday each week, offering five levels from Beginners to Advanced. The school has developed a South African based curriculum designed to assist students with their integration in Cape Town. In several of the beginners’ level courses, students, along with learning English, learn about their rights as refugees and migrants and the necessary basics to a successful integration.
  • Read and Write programme: for those students who struggle with literacy.
  • English Alive: an extracurricular programme that offers students the opportunity to participate in Drama Group, Debate, Tai Chi, Afrikaans, Film Screenings and Body Mapping Workshops at no additional cost.
  • At the end of each course, students have the opportunity of writing a test and receiving a certificate at graduation.

Your responsibilities

  • Day to day administration and management of the school. This includes planning for and helping to execute large events such as graduation, exams, and registration together with the English School Manager, along with small daily tasks.
  • Help manage and act as liaison with the volunteer teachers as well as the students and help to represent English School at team meetings and events.
  • Teach a class two afternoons a week.
  • You are encouraged to contribute to the development of the school through the generation of ideas, activities or projects.

This internship offers lots of learning and development opportunities. The working environment is highly interactive; working when necessary with other departments such as Advocacy and Employment Access Program as the English students are often their clients too, you are exposed to learning about the legal problems students face with documentation and the way the law functions in South Africa, the lives of refugees in their country of origin through conversing with them, the reasons for their departure, living within their new community in South Africa, their struggle to fit in as newcomers and much more. Offering them the language education they need to build their new lives is just as rewarding for the intern as for students. It’s all about making a positive change in their lives.

Lastly, leaving your own mark is possible. Whilst the beginning, mid and end of the term are very busy periods, there is room enough for personal creativity during the remainder of the term. This means that personal projects are possible! In the past, interns have developed projects such as a digital literacy course aimed at newcomers, a nutrition course, and an HIV awareness course, and there are some many more opportunities!

Your tasks

  • Assisting with the smooth running of registration (including placement test, data capturing, interviewing clients about their legal status)
  • Preparing required stationary for students
  • Receiving day to day queries from both teachers and students
  • Collaborating with teachers about updates for final exams, compiling final versions and facilitating the test taking
  • Coordinating bi-monthly teach functions
  • Planning graduation in conjunction with English School Manager and All-Rounder volunteers
  • Teaching an English Class two afternoon per week

This organization also offers internships in CommunicationsHuman Rights and Advocacy, Female empowerment, Employment Access and Skills Development or a 3-month all-round position.

NB. Please note that the internship is based on a volunteer work placement, so you are not receiving any payment or stipend.

English school

Where you’ll stay

Your accommodation is included in the internship fee, and we’ll arrange it all for you! We’re excited to offer a variety of options, ranging from dorm rooms to twin and single rooms. The options available depend on your internship period, but we’ll always make sure you’re in a comfortable, central, and safe place. Please get in touch to find out what options are available during your preferred period.

Guesthouse  Guesthouse


  • Highly organized and responsible
  • Good computer skills: typing, formatting documents (MS Word and Excel), internet research
  • French language skills preferred
  • Experience teaching English as a foreign language an asset
  • Enjoy working with people of different cultures and learning from them
  • Minimum age 20 preferred
  • Open minded and creative
  • Independent and initiative taking oriented

The Application Process

If you’re keen on this work placement and feel that you could make a good contribution, we’d love to hear from you! Here’s what to do:

  1. Fill in the  (it will show in a slider pop-up!) and send us your CV.
  2. If we might have a placement available for you, we’ll chat with you on the phone or Skype to go through your application and make sure it’s a good match.
  3. We’ll set up a call between you and the person who would be your supervisor during the work placement.
  4. If everyone’s happy, we’ll provisionally confirm your placement! We’ll then send you the invoice for the deposit, get started with a detailed booking form, and we’ll give you all the information you need to prepare for your upcoming adventure.
  5. Only once we receive payment of the deposit your placement will be confirmed.

Or if you’d just like to ask us some questions about this internship first, just shoot us an email, or fill in the contact form. We’ll be happy to assist!

When can you start making an impact?
You can start your internship every week, so your final starting date is based on what suits you and the organization the best.


At Roots, we do everything we can to make your internship experience smooth and hassle-free. We offer an all-inclusive service, which means we will help you find the right internship (we believe we are great matchmakers!), help you with visa arrangements, book accommodation for you in Cape Town, give you all the pre-departure information you need before arriving, pick you up from the airport and check in with you while on your work placement to ensure you feel supported.

Your exact fee depends on the accommodation you choose, but start at the following level:

8 weeks   – USD 1,491
12 weeks – USD 1,961
16 weeks – USD 2,432

What is included in the fee?

  • Full accommodation rental fees
  • Transfer from Cape Town International airport to your accommodation and back on arrival and departure day
  • Assistance with finding the perfect work placement
  • Assistance with your visa arrangement & other preparations
  • On the ground support during your stay
  • A discount on weekend activities, exclusive to Roots interns

What is not included in the fee?

  • Flights to Cape Town
  • Visa, medical and travel insurance costs for the duration of your placement – must include cover for repatriation
  • Meals, drinks, snacks, and items of personal nature (f.e. curios, gifts, clothing).
  • Costs for additional excursions or activities

Optional extra

Academic Guidance Apart from the logistical support we offer, and regular check-ins, we also offer additional academic guidance during your internship. At an additional fee of USD 75 a month, you’ll receive monthly sessions with a local lecturer, who will support you in placing your work experience in the context of your academic course, and assist you with any report writing and/or research you’re required to do.

We'd love to hear from you! Leave a message, and we'll get back to you shortly to help find you a valuable work placement where you can make an impact.

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