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

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

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

Nurse reviews time volunteering in Mombassa


NURSE FROM BIRMINGHAM DESCRIBES VOLUNTEERING IN MOMBASSA AS ‘BEST THING EVER’.

A Nurse from Birmingham who volunteered at an Orphanage in Mombassa has described her time there as the ‘best thing ever’.

Satwant Kaur spent 2 weeks at the Orphanage in September, ‘Loved’ her time spent there, and is making plans to volunteer abroad again with Original Volunteers.

She said that she would definitely recommend volunteering to people, particularly in Mombassa. ‘ I would recommend it as a first one’ she said, adding that ‘they looked after me so well, and I felt safe there’.

Satwant, who has a PGCE, particularly enjoyed teaching English, and Maths to the children, and hopes to return to Mombassa again one day. For the moment she is thinking about volunteering in Thailand, working at an Orphanage again, possibly at the end of April. ‘ I gained a great deal of personal satisfaction’ she said, talking about her time spent there, and that it was a wonderful feeling to be able to ‘put a smile on the children’s faces’.

We are very happy to hear that Satwand had such a wonderful time, and very pleased to hear that she is considering volunteering abroad again with us.

If you feel that you could enrich, and enhance the lives of Orphanage children why not contact us on 01603 856932 or contact us by e mail on [email protected]

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Volunteer Reviews her time in Kenya


Cheap Volunteer Prices for Volunteering in Kenya

Being able to volunteer with us for a short time, and at a fraction of the cost of Charity organisations appealed to University student Cassandra Badham.

Cassandra, who is studying for an English degree, wanted to spend 3 weeks volunteering in Africa before returning to her course. However, she found that many charity organisations spent months assessing as to whether you were suitable or not, wanted you to volunteer for a minimum of 6 months, and charged you an extortionate amount to do so.

She said that a friend at her church recommended Original volunteers to her, she discovered that we offered a wide range of projects at a very good price, and spent 3 weeks in Mombasa, Kenya as a result of this.

Subsequently Cassandra described her time there as ‘great’ and ‘fantastic’, and has recommended us to other people as well.

Cassandra said that she had been to Africa before, but that she had seen an item on the news about Mombasa and wanted to help.

While she was a little bit surprised to be teaching classes of children she adapted well, as she had a background in Education. She hopes that she was able to teach them things that will prove to be useful in life, and she left behind lesson plans for future volunteers

She said giving the children care and attention, and playing games with them made them smile. She enjoyed getting involved in all sorts of things from football and playing games, to working with the street kids, and digging potatoes. The key, she felt, was to be ‘flexible’.

She said that she felt very welcomed by the children, teachers, and the cook at the volunteer house where she stayed who gave her a great big hug when she returned at the end of each day.

She felt that her time in Mombasa gave her an insight into life in Kenya, and was amazed at how happy people who have so little can be. She felt that it put life in the U.K into perspective, and that the experience has taught her a lot about fending for herself.

We wish Cassandra well for the rest of her degree, and are very happy that we were able to help her to volunteer abroad for a short period of time, and at an affordable price.

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Ellin Evans Kenya Masai


What members of staff do you remember the most and why? My host family were amazing! Francis and Jasinta were very accommodating I felt like their daughter and didn’t want to leave. The whole support team were very helpful and could not do enough to help.

What were your impressions of the accommodation?
The accommodation was much better than expected, it was very basic but comfortable and homely.

Why did you want to volunteer?
I wanted the experience of a lifetime and a chance to help out those who need it.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
I feel like I made a huge difference to the lives of my family and the community. They were so grateful for any work I did, big or small.

What did you do for fun?
Mostly just went into Ngong (2 ½ hour walk) or sat in on the mountain and chilled with all the volunteers

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
Just helping out was a brilliant experience in itself! We built a toilet for the school in order for it to become registered with the government, finally finishing it was so satisfying we all jumped up and down because we were so happy.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
GO FOR IT! It will be the best experience of your life!

What items would you suggest future volunteers take?
Millions of baby wipes! A good torch as it is very dark in the nights; a good warm sleeping bag and a jumper as it is cold in the nights; ear plugs (to block out the animal noises); a pair of flip flops just to wear around the house as there is no floor only hard mud; lots of snack bars; maybe some spices/flavourings for the food because it can taste very samey; dry shampoo; mirror; hand gel and a water bottle for daily water!

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Try everything, the best experience you will have is if you muck in and get involved.

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Catrin Elder Kenya Masai


What members of staff do you remember the most and why? 

All of them because they did their best to support me, for example, I was sent to the hospital in Ngong and they all came to see me as they were concerned

What were your impressions of the accommodation?
I thought it was fine, I wasn’t expecting anything more and my host family were so warm and welcoming. They even apologized for the accommodation which was not needed at all!

Why did you want to volunteer?
I wanted to do something helpful. In the UK, people moan so much about not having money. But in Africa they suffer poverty every day, yet the children there are so happy and the people there just get on with life and work so hard just to get by.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
Yes, I definitely made a small difference, obviously it is hard to change the way things are there when going for a short period. But I worked together as a team to fix a road in Olasiti, and the results were visible and the road was more accessible when I left. I taught in a primary school, which allowed the teacher to do other things which was a help. Also the children love volunteers just being there so much and they will remember us and our time there forever.

What did you do for fun?
Safari!

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
So many! Going to see the giraffes in the next village on foot was incredible. Also I would say just spending time in evening with my host family and volunteers were really enjoyable, listening to my host, Leah’s stories about living in the village. She told some very interesting ones about when they had a lion on the loose.

Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
I made friends with the volunteers because we got on well, and they were very nice people with lots in common.

What were the names of the best places to hang out and socialise, why was this?
I was staying in a village called Olasiti, a very small village, so I just found out where the other volunteers were and hung out with them round there or in Ngong.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers? Please explain why.
Definitely!! Not sure about going to Kenya Masai again, just because there are so many places I want to see. It’s just such an amazing experience in so many ways. It brings you out of your comfort zone into so many exciting new cultures and allows you to meet wonderful people. It is an emotional experience, it makes you realise what is important. It is inspiring to see people with absolutely nothing so upbeat.

What items would you suggest future volunteers take?
A money belt is a good idea, also a camera which uses AA or AAA batteries is a good idea as you don’t need to worry about charging it as long as you take lots of spare batteries.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
Plan your stay around the rainy season, as you will be able to do more then. Just try to be as open minded as possible and try things you wouldn’t normally

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies

Stella Gleeson Kenya Masai


Why did you want to volunteer? 

To try and help people experience their own lives better, without changing their culture or views. I also wanted to experience a totally different life and broaden my horizons.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
I think I made a short term difference. If the project was more organised and had more step by step goals it would have been a better use of time

What did you do for fun?
Sang and danced with our families and fellow masais, went into ngong, helped on the land with cattle.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
All the time spent with my host family. They made me feel so welcome into their home, we all cried before we left!

Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
All the other volunteers were very friendly.

What were the names of the best places to hang out and socialise, why was this?
We mostly stayed at our individual houses in the evenings, and at the weekend we walked into the town of Ngong.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
They should go for it and try everything that comes with it!

What items would you suggest future volunteers take?
Supplies for schools, English food for masais to try, diary to take down your experiences, head torch and a radio – anything solar powered would be a good idea!

Read more about our: Volunteers in African Case Studies