We are a retired couple who run a school on Rusinga Island, off the shores of Lake Victoria, Kenya. In 2005 we established Academy to get more children into school. We saw that it was near impossible for the nursery age group to walk the long distance to the existing school and during the rainy season access to the school was impossible for all age groups. Academy is a mixed primary school for children from ages 3 to 11 years old, with a total of 90 students. The school helps provide for the education and well-being of orphans and vulnerable children, and through this project we are also able to support students who are consistently unable to pay their school fees.
We are working towards being able to feed the students at Academy one meal per day. We would like to provide quality education to cover all primary school years, from baby class (age 3) up to class 8 (age 13), and eventually secondary school years.
In the short term, we would also like to oragnise presentations with local leaders to educate parents and families on the importance of preservation of the environment, gender awareness and health & nutrition.
We are a non-profit organization juggling to keep all costs at an absolute minimum so we can invest all of our funds into the school. From our years of experience we have seen that educating a child has an enormous impact on their families and the entire community. The students themselves disseminate the knowledge with their peers and parents. Education really is the key to a better future!
Volunteering with us is a unique opportunity to combine adventurous travel with volunteering for a worthwhile cause. It is a rare opportunity to gain insight into a completely different culture and way of life. We are looking for volunteers with a large variety of skills: from assistance at the school, including teaching and organic gardening, to more technical support, such as web-design, fundraising and project management
Help in the house
Help with Computers / internet
Cultural interaction uncovers an interesting aspect of integration and bridging of cultural differences. It opens up understanding of human lifestyles and creates an appreciation of the diversity on our planet.
You will have an opportunity to interact with the local Luo community and their beautiful environment here. The island is home to a huge array of wild animals, notably the diverse species of birds, but monkeys also live in the hills, and if you eat fish you will have the chance to enjoy the local varieties fresh from the lake, such as tilapia, omena and Nile perch. The school will keep you busy during the week days but there are many fascinating places to visit during your free time in the evenings and at weekends:
• Ruma national game park
• Lake Victoria and its islands, [Mbasa (also known as the bird island), Mfangano, Takawiri, Nghode]
• Tom Mboya mausoleum (an important figure in Kenya's political history who came from Rusinga Island)
• Landing and fishing beaches
• Kit mikai stones
• Sikri for monkeys
• Soklo for Holy cave
• Hot springs close to Homa Bay
• Legendary Lake close to Homa Bay
• The Masai Mara, which is a 5 hour drive from Mbita.
TYPE OF HELP:
• General Maintenance
• Teaching English and help with other curriculum subjects (Science, Mathematics, Kiswahili, Social Studies)
• Project management
• Updating of our Web page
It is essential that you speak English for an effective collaboration. We are looking for people that can help in any of the following:
- connect our non-profit project to prospective sponsors or businesses
- grant writing for the project fundraising programs
- children sponsorship for educational costs
• School assistance:
- assisting teachers with music, arts & craft, sports, English development and curriculum subjects
- searching for opportunities for twinning/partnerships with schools abroad
NOTE: School closes during the months of April, August and December. If you are looking to work in the school you should avoid volunteering during these months.
• School organic vegetable garden:
The school has an organic garden for growing vegetables which are used for our feeding program. The planting and harvesting season runs from April till July.
NOTE: If you are looking to work in the organic garden should aim to volunteer during the planting and harvesting months.
• Project management:
We are looking for opportunities to further develop and improve of our project. If you have experience and skills in this area we would welcome your input.
• Help increase efficiency and sustainability of the project
Creation of a You Tube channel that captures the culture and traditions of this region (eg. cooking videos, impacts of climate change, storytelling, daily routine)
NOTE: for those interested in videography we don't have any equipment available on site so please bring your own.
If you have any skills which you feel could be beneficial to us we would love to hear from you. When contacting us please describe the work you are interested in doing and we will send you a booklet with further information.
English, Kiswahili, Luo
You will be fully immersed in a traditional Kenyan lifestyle. Volunteers share a guest house within the same compound as the main house. A private room may be requested depending on the number of volunteers expected. The kitchen and sitting room are shared with the host family. We provide three home cooked authentic Kenyan meals a day which are eaten together with the family. Please inform us whether you have any special dietary requirements.
We provide blankets, bed sheets, mosquitoes nets, clean water (we drink treated rain water and previous volunteers have experienced no issues with this, but bottled water is available to purchase in shops nearby if you would prefer) and solar electricity for lighting. Please bring personal power banks which can be charged here or personal solar power packs to charge personal devices. Smoking is also not allowed inside any of the houses but volunteers are allowed to smoke outside if they wish.
Like in most rural Kenyan homes there is no running water on the compound, which means that we use pit latrines and bucket showers to wash. You are welcome to play with the chicken, goats, donkeys, cat and dogs that happily run freely on the compound grounds. We do not provide internet through wifi on the compound but you may buy an internet bundle (at the airport, in Nairobi or at the local shops here) or visit Mbita (the closest town) for Internet access in a cafe. We suggest using Safaricom sim cards as they provide the best internet and phone signal across the island.
LANGUAGES SPOKEN: Kiswahili, English and Dholuo
More than two
In developing countries (Where most hosts are involved in charity work or community development) some of our hosts may ask for a small donation to help the host family or charity (often less then 5 dollars per day) Workaway will allow this listing when the donation goes directly to the family or charity and is just to cover the cost of the volunteer‘s stay. (This will be clearly marked on the host listing).
We will strictly not allow listings posted by agents, “middle men” or projects who we feel are looking to profit from a volunteers stay.