Getting involved ...
Who can volunteer at our Uganda project?
Volunteering in Africa is for any age group, it is not something reserved exclusively for ‘Gap Year’ students. Its always a good idea to talk with someone who has actually visited the project, so you can ask questions and get a feel for whether or not the project is something you would like to be involved in.
Volunteering at Uganda Lodge is suitable for whole families, motivated and self-reliant teenagers, and also seniors who are fairly mobile – there are no steps but the ground can be uneven.
When you volunteer at Uganda Lodge you will be in “The Heart of Africa” and you will be staying at a locally owned and run Guest House and working at a School or Medical Centre that are owned and managed by a Ugandan NGO and local committees. UK charities help support these establishments by fundraising and offering advice, but please be aware that you are not being sent out there b,y or working for, any UK charities .
Have you thought about the benefits you will get from volunteering? If you consider the many benefits you will receive, you will be asking yourself why you aren’t more involved with helping a cause. You will get more out of your volunteer experience than you put into it. Don’t hesitate to identify and donate some of your time to a worthy volunteer opportunity. You will be glad you did. Consider some of these reasons to donate your time and efforts:
What can I do?
Don’t think you have to have a degree or some other qualifications or a trade skill on your CV. Anyone with a western education can offer help simply by sharing their experiences of life and general knowledge with the villagers.
You really need to be fluent in English, and even if you are not a Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) teacher (although useful!), you can go into the classrooms and make a meaningful difference. Experienced teachers can take over a whole class if they wish, after consulting with the teacher on content.
We now have over 400 students at the Ruhanga Development School which is very near the Lodge accommodation and so much English conversation is needed for the older children in particular and showing picture books etc. and simply talking to babies helps nurture their stimulation and growth.
Children at the own Nursery School and the classes from P1 and P6 (‘P’ stands for ‘primary’) in the primary schools love help from visitors to learn new nursery rhymes and action songs, or simply talking about pictures in books as well as craftwork and painting.
We have a series of educational interactive DVD’s that are already translated into Runyankole as well as English, and they can be facilitated by volunteers both at Uganda Lodge using the TV or in the heart of the villages on portable DVD players.
What will it cost me to volunteer?
For your food and accommodation whilst staying at Uganda Lodge we charge £105.00 per week including full board consisting of three meals and, additionally, afternoon tea.
We do not charge any marketing or registration fees as all the background work is done for free, however we do ask our volunteers to try and fundraise an additional £50 or more each person to go towards building new classrooms etc. We do also ask for at least two weeks to be paid as a deposit to prevent the staff and community in general being disappointed. This fee for your food and accommodation is paid in the UK before you arrive and except in special circumstances, it is not refundable. Any extension of your stay should be paid upfront when requested rather than when you leave.
You are welcome to bring some extra money with you ~ perhaps from a fund-raising event ~- that with some consultation you can spend on a project of your own choice as you see a need. We ask that you do not give presents of cash or other items out to the local children or other villagers as this will quickly start a begging culture.
Skills, trades and qualifications.
If you have a specific interest, for example singing & music, or sports. or arts & crafts, or you have medical experience, or computer knowledge, or have a trade such as a builder or a welder, then if you wish, we can utilise these skills and match them with work and training that can be done around Uganda Lodge.
Why should I pay to volunteer?
A good question, please let us explain. In Uganda, as in most developing nations, there are many highly qualified young people who are coming out of universities with degrees but who still cannot find jobs…they simply are not out there.
If a project has enough money to pay a salary, or indeed even support a person by providing transport, food and accommodation then the leaders of this project should be spending the money on the nationals from the country itself and not supporting overseas visitors.
This is why we firmly believe that any reputable NGO or Charity or locally run Project should not be offering free placements. I also believe that volunteers should not be asked to pay out for large placement or management fees, and should ensure that anything except a minimal admin fee over the basic costs of their stay should actually benefit the community they are working in