Aidan Flynn – Review

Why did you want to volunteer?

To try to make a difference in a child’s life. To see if I could help someone less fortunate even if in a small way.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?

Yes, by helping the boys to read and write we were able to help in some part in improving their future.

What did you do for fun?

We played games, played cricket outside after classes.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?

Playing cricket with the boys – they didn’t want to stop.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?

Yes but I would like to try some other projects, Cambodia and Thailand appeals to me.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?

Just have a go and see what happens, you will be surprised how easy it is and everyone is so friendly.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?

Clothes for summer and spring – I was there in the winter and was still really warm.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?

£50 is enough for all your basics.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?

Just have a go! It’s really not that hard and you’l be a better person for it afterwards!

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Emma Harper – Review

Why did you choose to volunteer?

I had been to Kenya before for a holiday with my family.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?

Yes definitely, the boys rely on volunteers being there and helping them. Sometimes you think your hour might have made them change their mind and not go back to the streets. That is a massive deal.

What did you do for fun?

I enjoyed sitting chatting with the staff in the evenings and learning more about what it is like to live there, some volunteers went into the city to hotel bars for fun.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?

When we took the boys to the beach and organised a picnic that was great fun. Some of the boys had never been to the beach to have fun.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?

Yes I would like to go back to Mombasa, one of the other volunteers was on her second visit as her first trip had affected her a lot and she wanted to keep on helping the project.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?

Just do it and don’t let anyone put you off. The people are amazing and the boys at the shelter really need all the support they can get.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?

There is no need to bring a lot of things for the boys as you can buy everything there for less. I bought some new shorts and t-shirts for the boys. They also need more paper and pens but find out before you go so you take what is needed.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?

£50 was more than enough. I spent £380 on a safari, it was a once in a lifetime experience and I could have paid less.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?

Don’t let anything stand in your way, the boys need you.

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Amanda Mullen – Review

Off to Mombasa! Well, After a long flight to Mombasa I was picked up by a really lovely gentleman, and driven through the suburbs of Mombasa. Already you can see the major contrasts between the UK, where we live and where they live. It was so different…

Here’s the rest of my story with photos and why I fell in love with this project…

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Claudia Allen – Review

Why did you want to volunteer?

To experience another culture and help others.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?

Yes I think we made a difference in the short time we were there. We painted, fixed some windows and laid a cement floor. We also walked the children home after school and helped them with their maths.

What did you do for fun?

The volunteer bar in the evenings, especially when new volunteers had arrived that day.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?

Building work, it was something I had never done before.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?

Yes but probably I would like to try another country next time.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?

Just go for it, you get so much out of it more than you think you will. I learnt so much during my stay I will never forget.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?

Strong shoes for walking around the local area, flip flops will just break on the hills.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?

£50 – £60 should be enough.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?

The children love cuddles!

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Kieren Brown – Review

Why did you want to volunteer?

To have a safe way of visiting other countries and a chance to make friends with like-minded people.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?

Yes, absolutely, we organised fun games at playtimes and an after school club.

What did you do for fun?

Sit around the fire chatting in the evenings, played pool.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?

The visit to the hot springs was a good afternoon.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?

Yes I would definitely go back if I have the time.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?

Just do it, it’s not like other types of travelling and you meet lots of great people.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?

Snacks from home can be important treats if you are away a long time.

How much money would you suggest you take per week?

£50 a week was plenty but if you do safaris then you need to budget for that.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?

Be openminded and have a go at everything!

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Sarah Grier – Review

Going to Mombasa and working on the street kids project had been at the back of my mind for at least 5 years…last June I just decided to book it…6 months later I reached steamy hot Africa, not knowing a word of Swahili and not really knowing what was about to take hold of me.

Here’s my story and why I am going back for a second time…

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Stephanie Chambers

What members of staff do you remember the most and why?
Adeel, Rachid and Amina. They were always very friendly and helpful. I enjoyed sitting on the terrace in the evening with Adeel who told us funny stories.

What were your impressions of the accommodation?
It was better than I expected and I like the traditional building with the courtyard in the middle which was really authentic.

Have you done any similar volunteering before?
This was my first time volunteering anywhere.

Why did you want to volunteer?
I wanted to travel and do something to help others and put something back.

How did you find the children’s reactions to you and other volunteers?
They never stopped smiling and were a lot better behaved than I expected. They loved all the games and things we took for them. They really seemed to enjoy our visits and asked when we would be coming back.

What did you do for fun in your free time?
We did a camel safari and visited a waterfall. During the week in the evenings we spent time in the main square watching the entertainers and eating at the food stalls.

When was your most enjoyable experience?
Away from the children, feeding the monkeys at the waterfall.

How easy was it to make friends?
Very easy as everyone is there for the same thing and you spend all your time together.

What were the names of the best places to hang out and socialise, why was this?
My favourite place was cafe arab but there are lots of places to relax and eat near the square.

Would you consider going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
I am planning to go to Ghana next, depends on time and how much I can save.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
Just do it. If I had known before I would have done it sooner.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
Comfortable trousers are practical because it’s too hot for jeans in the heat

What items do you think are essential for daily use at the projects?
You need to take a bag with lots of things to do. You might not use them but if no one else takes games you’ll get stuck!

Read more about our: Volunteers in Morocco

Hospital Project Manager helps build school in Africa

While volunteering in Ghana a Project Manager for a Midlands Hospital helped to build a Classroom, install a Creche, and set up Maths, and English tests during her two week stay at a school.

Joyte Parmar, who works at the University of Birmingham Hospital, described her time spent volunteering at the Lisa Findlay school in Ghana as ‘the best thing that I have ever done, It was fantastic’.

During her time there she said that she found that the classrooms were too small, and so along with two other people they knocked down walls to turn a spare room that was not being used into another classroom.

She then went on to help create a crèche for 50 babies, structure classes into Kindergarten and Primary school levels, and set up Maths and English tests.

This was a particular concern for Joyte as she feels that ‘the kids need to learn, and they have not grasped the concept that they are there to be taught’.

She was full of praise for the Volunteer Co-ordinators, and was able to put her administration skills to good use when American Doctors visited the area. ‘A free clinic was set up and the Doctors were able to carry out Eye, Diabetes, and Blood pressure tests.

I got the children into a line, and kept a record of them all’ she said. She was concerned that the country as a whole lacked ‘planning skills, and administration’, and added that ‘I found my niche, re-audited the structure of how things were taught, filled in forms, registered children, and helped to create manuals for the next set of people who will volunteer there’.

During her time in Ghana she also visited remote Village Schools, and felt that it was a shock compared to the school that had been set up by Lisa Findlay.

She found the people of Ghana to be very friendly, adding that ‘although they have nothing they are unbelievably happy people’.

Joyte made several new friends while she was there, and hopes to meet up with some of them who are travelling after they finish volunteering in Ghana.

She said that she would like to return to Ghana, but may well go to Tanzania next as she has heard that they need Administrators.

She said that she would ‘definitely recommend volunteering in Ghana to anyone’, and added that it is a ‘fantastic way to see a different side to a country’.

She feels that along with the other volunteers they ‘contributed a lot in a short space of time’, and that it has made her realise that ‘there is more to life than work’.

We here at Original Volunteers are quite amazed by all that Joyte has achieved in such a short space of time, and look forward to hopefully arranging for her to volunteer in Tanzania in the future.

Hopefully, as a result of her efforts the school is now more spacious, organised, and structured Educationally.

Well done Joyte.

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

It was an amazing time in Africa – Sarah Ashmore

The street kids project in Mombasa, Kenya is a favourite with many of our volunteers, and Sarah Ashmore is no exception. Sarah, 40, from Orpington in Kent, volunteered at the educational centre for street children for two weeks. Teaching children aged between seven and seventeen can be a challenge, but it is also extremely fulfilling.

It was amazing. All the staff and other volunteers made it a really special experience, but especially the children. The age range is huge, but some come across as being younger than their age and that is reflected in the level you teach at. It’s a great organisation.

The shared volunteer apartment also adds to the feeling of community in Mombasa, and spending so much time with the boys really shows volunteers that their contribution is integral to the continued success of the centre. As Sarah and other volunteers have experienced, it’s amazing how the simplest resources can make a real difference to the children you visit.

The volunteers do most of the teaching, after Madam Pamela has given the morning lessons, so it is good if people take out books that will help them to make lesson plans. English, maths, geography and science are particularly helpful, along with any other topics they think would be good to teach.

However, it’s not all hard work. The chance to take time out and have fun with the children as well as educate them was an important part of Sarah’s volunteering experience, and sparked her enthusiasm to volunteer in the future.

I would recommend that anyone going takes along some colouring books and pens, the boys are very creative and really like this. Any kind of arts and crafts, such as beads or other things that can be made, are great, and can make for a very constructive afternoon! My time at the project was great, and I hope to get the chance to work on this or another project soon.

If you would like to more information about volunteering in Kenya click here

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Africa was absolutely unforgettable – Jane Strand

One volunteer placement was not challenge enough for Jane Strand.  She took on two very different projects in two very different  projects in Ghana and in Kenya.

It has been absolutely unforgettable, was Jane’s simple summary of her 8 week trip.

Starting in Kenya, Jane, 22-year-old from Childer Thornton in Cheshire, joined a small baby orphanage in Nairobi in Kenya. Working alongside Kenyan staff and volunteers to feed and nurse over 30 orphaned babies Jane undaunted by a totally new culture took on the role of nursery nurse for the first time.

The baby orphanage’s main aim is to find adoptive families for the children whilst they are still young so they can avoid a more uncertain future from within an institution.

According to a report by USAID, in 2005 more than 34 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa were orphans with this figure expected to reach 42 million as we approach 2012. The prevalence of AIDS is expected to be the biggest influence with affected families running out of people to look after the new arrivals. Orphaned children usually face one of two futures: the streets or an institution.

Jane said her greatest passion is travelling which provides her with an opportunity to continually learn new things and develop. Jane describes herself as naturally inquisitive. In her short visit to the baby orphanage in Nairobi and with little experience Jane was soon implementing a baby progress monitoring system.

Jane even managed to organise and fit in trekking and living with the Massai before jetting off to the other side of Africa to Ghana for a second volunteering placement. Jane’s responsibility stepped up a mark as she stepped into coordinator’s shoes, moved into a children’s home as live-in staff and increased her responsibility for over 60 children and young adults. Besides basic child care and domestic duties which involved bathing, feeding and collecting water from the well Jane was also responsible for teaching basic English and numeracy. Following on from her experiences in Kenya Jane also helped to get the children on the health care register.

Commenting on this live-in position Jane joked: the volunteering never finished!.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you and found your service fantastic.
I will certainly be volunteering through your company again.

Jane Strand in Africa.

If you would like to more information about volunteering in Kenya click here

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Volunteering in Africa was life changing and highly rewarding

Volunteer who work at baby orphanage in Kenya gets in touch to share her experiences with Original Volunteers.

To Original Volunteers Team, I just wanted to drop a line or two to you regarding my visit to the baby orphanage in Nairobi.

Thanks to yourselves I was allocated a month placement in Nairobi, Kenya. The time I spent in Kenya was life changing and highly rewarding. However my host family were the icing on the cake with their warm welcome and flexible attitude. In particular Julia, my host was very supportive and loving towards me and took much time to see that i was comfortable and happy. I would recommend her to anyone wishing to volunteer in Kenya (Nairobi); and wish to emphasise that her home was clean, comfortable and brilliant for the short walking distance to the orphanage.

Whilst working at the babies home I found that I bonded with all 20 babies very quickly. Although a toddler named Candy seemed not to take to me as much as I tried to play with her or make her laugh. Round about the third week of my stay I had pretty much come to the conclusion that she just didn’t like me. But one day I walked into work and to my surprise she ran towards me smiling and shouting my name the best she could, ELINA ELINA. I picked her up and she squeezed me so tight that i could have fallen over with shock. I learnt that some children have seen so many passers by that they learn to be non-attached. But continuing in love and playfulness towards her meant that she learnt to trust and love me back and from that day she always called my name and expected a big hug from me on arrival and leaving the house.

Thank you again for connecting me to volunteer work in Kenya and i look forward to a soon return.

Many thanks for your time.Yours sincerely,

Selina Whinnery

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Annie urges people to volunteer in Africa

Annie who volunteered at Orphanages in Morocco has issued a plea for enthusiastic, and outgoing people to follow in her footsteps…

She would like to see ‘more volunteers who are enthusiastic, and outgoing’ volunteering in Morocco, ‘full of new, fresh, exciting ideas’, that are ‘both fun and Educational’..

In return for those hours spent patiently, and diligently teaching the children comes a reward in ‘a tiny Moroccan smile’ she says..

Annie felt that when volunteering in Morocco you must be ‘very open to different cultures, and willing to try all kinds of communication from hand gestures to ridiculous facial expressions’.

This was a particular concern for Annie as she feels that ‘the kids need to learn, and they have not grasped the concept that they are there to be taught’.

She urged future volunteers to take Stationery items, and Arts and crafts materials as well as clothing for the children.

Arriving with an open mind she feels will enable you to ‘meet fantastic new friends, and to embrace a unique fascinating culture’..

Annie feels that if you arrive in the country with this attitude ‘you can actually make a difference to a few Moroccan children’..

If you would like to more information about how to volunteer in Morocco click here

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies