Volunteer in Kenya and live and work alongside local people making a positive difference to two marginalised communities. You can choose to live as part of a Maasai tribe or help street children in the coastal city of Mombasa.
These two Kenyan projects can also be combined easily on the same trip by taking the night train sleeper between Nairobi and Mombasa so you needn't be under pressure to choose just one if you have time to help at both.
Volunteer Locations in Kenya
Maasai Tribe Village
The Maasai village placement is located 2 hours south west of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, inside the great African Rift valley. This sweeping Rift valley stretches for 3,700 Miles down through Africa and is believed to have been created 22 Million years ago.
A visit to Kenya can be considered getting back to your roots as it is where some of the earliest human fossil remains have been found dating back 200,000 years.
Living in the village with your new adopted family and your new Maasai name you will easily forget about concerns back home and modern life. Lucky visitors may not feel the urgent need to go on safari here as wildlife can often be seen strolling past the village on their way to and from the great plains in Tanzania.
Detailed Maasai project information, photos and what to expect can be found here.
Street Children Project
The street kids project is located in the coastal city of Mombasa, perfect for history fans and beach lovers.
Mombasa was an important Kenyan sea-faring trading post for thousands of years trading in spices, gold and ivory with links with India and China. The historical old town of Mombasa and the Jesus fort is worth a visit.
With an average minimum temperature of 20 Celsius throughout the year, beach fans will be able to enjoy a swim at any time of year, even in July, which many visitors do not realise, is the middle of the Kenyan winter.
Getting off the plane from northern Europe you will probably find their mid-winter considerably warmer than our summer as temperatures can still reach 27 Celsius.
Kenya Projects - Helping You Choose The Right One For You
If you are not sure which project in Kenya to join, you may find the guidance below helpful.
Alternatively, why not volunteer at both? Overnight trains operate between Nairobi and Mombasa three times a week which offer affordable first class sleeper berths so you could turn your trip into a real adventure with style along the way!
A Genuine Maasai Experience
For anyone wanting to get away from it all, escape the endless posting and liking on Facebook and get back to basics, then a stay in the Maasai village is a must. Although you can stay for a minimum of one week, we recommend two to allow yourself time to settle in, bond with your host family and really wind yourself down.
There will be a lot to experience in one week; cockerels at dawn, the family routine, meeting the neighbours, new sights and smells, exploring the hill trails above the village with a Maasai guide, shopping trips with your family into town or to unwind in a hotel pool, the famous Maasai welcomes and shawl wraps.
Teaching volunteers may be able to get started fairly quickly, either at the nursery school or teaching the children in the village at their homes or as a group down at the play park. The play park in the village was built by volunteers - but may need a new coat of paint by now.
There was also communal village toilet in need of repair in 2014, volunteers did what they could to create a more private enclosure for it. Carrier bags had been previously used as a makeshift wraparound wall. You might want to double check on your own visit if it is still standing or needs repair.
Host families can accommodate two volunteers at a time. If you are travelling alone as most of our volunteers are, you will usually be paired up with another volunteer staying at the same time.
If you are travelling with friends it may be possible to squeeze three in together or more practically for larger groups, volunteers are placed in pairs at families close to each other.
Whether you are travelling alone or as part of a group spread around different host families, the village is not large. It is only a few hundred yards from one family to the next. Often you will be close enough to call to each other between houses, avoiding the need for mobile phones.
If you do not have concrete plans for what you want to achieve during your stay in Kenya, do not worry. By simply living with your Maasai family you are helping them preserve their culture and way of life. Too many in Kenya, forced by drought and it's associated poverty, will leave the community and their culture behind to live in the slums of Nairobi.
Many Maasai often end up sleeping rough and begging at the roadside for a day's manual labour from passing drivers. It is a sad fact of life that at the moment Maasai people find it harder to be offered work than non-Maasai.
Working with Street Children In Mombasa
The street children project in Mombasa is a more traditional volunteer placement. Volunteers attend the project at set times working with small groups of boys informally around tables on the roof terrasse.
No teaching experience is required, instead the idea is to positively inspire a new general love of learning rather than scaring them away from education with formal lessons.
For example, volunteers have brought art and craft resources and taught numbers through board games such as Monopoly and help teach them patience and strategy with chess.
When the boys have settled into their routine at the street kids project they will have a chance to move on to more formal education at the sister center. You may have an opportunity to make an afternoon visit at some point during your stay.
Volunteers with a background or interest in sociology, psychology, mental health and drug abuse may find this placement extremely interesting and be able to put ideas or research into action. The boys live at the project so you will be able to work with the same group every day.
There is a large field close by for any sporty volunteers if you still have the energy, to play in the afternoon. The boys love football but a couple of volunteers took cricket equipment and the boys were happy to play until the sun went down!
Got A Question?
For any questions on the Kenya projects big or small please ask us!