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You can find our organization in Kasese, the largest town in the Rwenzururu region (Western Uganda). The town originally grew around the copper mine at Kilembe, but economy later turned to cobalt mining. The town of Kasese offers you all you need, from fruit and veggie markets to small restaurants and even possibilities to enjoy nightlife. Besides that, Kasese functions as a gateway to the Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kibale park and the stunning Rwenzori mountains.
Our foundation was started by Masika, who works as a nurse at the local clinic and dedicates all her free time to organizational projects. About five years ago, Masika became aware of the harsh life faced by young children who fled the wars in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo. She decided to build a place where these children can live safely, where basic needs such as nutrition and education are provided, and where they can grow into productive adults with a promising future.
Realizing the importance of education and development of young children, especially girls, Masika is extending the organization to the entire community. This does not come without challenges: families are facing many obstacles along the road to education for their children, among which diseases, poor health, poverty and absence of transport.
At the moment, a 3- classroom nursery school is being built by a dutch NGO, which is supposed to be finished in May 2021.
The plan is to add on more classrooms for a primary school, an administration office as well as a library equipped with computers.
The school will be free of charge for vulnerable children, whereas other children must pay a school fee to maintain the school and pay the staff.
Furthermore, land and some of the material for a piggery project have been purchased. Now, we are looking for builders to actually start constructing. The goal is to become more sustainable and to not depend on donations as much anymore.
A wide piece of land is being used to grow crops and vegetables for the pigs as well as for the kids. To make sure that the crops make it through the dry season, a solar water pump for irrigation is inevitable.
We focus on the following groups in society:
Health care, nutrition and basic education are basic requirements for the development of a generation capable of change and growth.
Talent enhancement and skill development is needed make this generation a self-reliant one. The future needs independent, strong and creative individuals who will invent the tools and the Ugandan-made solutions to the challenges this country is facing.
Women and girls.
Education and development of current mothers and future mothers is key to change. Time and energy lost in water fetching, poor health and the combination of single crop farming and climate change are among the obstacles on the way to unlock the potential of the women that are going to raise the next generation.
Victims of Sexual and Gender Based Abuse (SGBA).
To avoid a lost generation which could potentially make a change, psychological and economic empowerment of SGBA victims is a requirement. This includes engagement, understanding and support to lighten strength and motivation in those who might have given up on the future.
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Babysitting and creative play
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
Help with Computers/ Internet
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
You will experience the reality of living in the Pearl of Africa. Sometimes the Pearl is actually more a diamond in the rough, unpolished but potentially shining bright, but you will learn to discover and appreciate this hidden gem.
Life in Kasese is simple and peaceful. In contrast to the fast and industrialized Western world, you will be brought back to the essential of life: living it. Time does not always have to be filled here, living life in a rush is no priority. Where in the developed world time is very costly, here time is something that simply passes by while you're living your life. Food is produced locally and handcraft is still king. The people will teach you about their traditions, customs, and talk about their wishes and you will be surprised of the similarity between their wishes and yours.
You might experience a culture shock, but we will help you overcome. Your experience here will change the way you look at life, which will be of value for the rest of your time on this planet.
Oh, and you'll probably get a tan ;-)
We are looking for innovative, creative, hands on and autonomous workawayers in the following fields:
Sustainable architecture and construction.
If you have experience in ecological architecture and recycling projects, we want you. For the extension of the school, we are in need of architects. Experience with construction of schools is a plus, but interest in ecological architecture is a must. Keep in mind that you will be working with limited economical resources and local materials.
Permaculture and environmental conservation.
For farming and gardening projects, we are looking for innovative engineers in the fields of permaculture and environmental conservation. We need to live up to our responsibilities, even with limited economical resources available in this part of the world, and create a sustainable present for an everlasting future. We are looking to combine environmental conservation and crop variety to fight the disastrous consequences that climate change has on food supply in this region of the world.
If you have experience in permaculture projects and ecological design or are familiar to irrigation using solar water pumps, please come and join us, we need your knowledge!
Grant and proposal writing.
As we are an an NGO, it needs funding. Instead of personal fundraising, we want to focus on funding for projects that will eventually become sustainable. Therefore, we are in search of creative but professional grant and proposal writers, able to find the niches in our projects qualified for one-time big funding.
Initially, we will need teachers for several subjects who will educate the students, help them unfold their potential to prosper and flourish. Subjects will include the regular ones (math, geography, English, sports, etc.) but also new fields such as theater, French, Spanish and Chinese. Think out of the box and create ideas of how to provide the students (nursery and primary) with the knowledge and tools needed to thrive and change the future of Uganda and possibly Africa.
Always in need of social workers, preferably with experience in developing countries. We are trying to map the challenges faced by (single) mothers and families in rural areas to categorize the main obstacles to a promising and prosperous future. This is not a simply task, since there are many obstacles that can be initially underestimated or even overlooked. Prejudices or a Western-biased attitude create solutions that in the end won't work in Uganda. Therefore, it is crucial to possess cultural empathy, to be very open minded and capable of carefully listening and registering details as if your brain were a tabula rasa.
This host offers a language exchange
I am interested in language exchange
Currently we provide free accommodation for workawayers in the new youth center that we built. The compound is located in Queen Elizabeth National Park and a ride on a bodaboda to Kasese town takes about 15 minutes (further information about transport in the following section). Workawayers will sleep in a shared room (mosquito nets provided), sanitary facilities are to be found in a different building. Remember this is Africa, so you will probably not enjoy the luxury of your home country. Rain showers are not common here, instead, you will learn how to clean yourself with a bucket of water and soap (it's not difficult and you might even feel cleaner afterwards). Likewise, clothes and bed sheets are hand washed.
Workawayers will enjoy their meals in the dining room, often together with the 24 children living on the compound. Simple dishes are prepared by the maid. These dishes include sweet potato, beans, matooke (savory banana) porridge, rice, chapati, posho (cornmeal porridge), cassava, maize, some veggies and sometimes fish or meat. We are an NGO with limited budget and voluntary donations for food are not unwelcome. If you desire special meals it's up to you to purchase food in town and prepare the food. You can find examples of food prices at the market, supermarket or restaurants in the section below.
Tap water is used for washing and cooking. Drinking water is filtered, but you might want to buy your own bottled water to avoid the unpleasant situation of spending your days on the toilet.
The compound is surrounded by a big strong wall, which is needed to protect from unwanted visitors in both human and animal form. The youth center is located in the Queen Elizabeth National Park and particular animals wandering around is not common but neither impossible.
The compound of the youth center is equipped with solar panels that provide electricity. This means that you can charge your phone, tablet, laptop, power bank or any other device, just not all at the same time.
Currently there is no Wi-Fi at the compound. Workawayers are advised to purchase a Ugandan SIM card with internet bundle. There are different providers of SIM cards with internet bundles and minutes but MTN and Airtel are most common. You can purchase a SIM card upon arrival in Entebbe or Kampala, but there are also possibilities in Kasese. A SIM card including registration free will cost you around 20000 UGX (5,44 USD, 4,80 EUR). The Ugandan mobile system works with mobile money that you put on your phone as it were a mobile wallet. Mobile money can be used to buy internet bundles, to call or to send messages and it's also possible to withdraw or transfer money through your phone. In general, a monthly 10G internet bundle will cost you 50000 UGX (13,59 USD; 12 EUR). In order to use social media in Uganda, you need to pay taxes to the Ugandan government. Monthly social media tax is 6000 UGX (1,63 USD; 1,44 EUR). In Kasese town there are some internet cafes to be found, or if you want to relax while browsing, you can order a coffee in a hotel with Wi-Fi zone.
Pineapple: 3000 UGX (0,80 USD; 0,70 EUR)
One avocado: 500 UGX (0,14 USD; 0,12 EUR)
8 pieces of passion fruit: 1000 UGX (0,27 USD; 0,24 EUR)
Bunch of sweet bananas: 1500 UGX (0,41 USD; 0,36 EUR)
5 tomatoes: 2000 UGX (0,54 USD; 0,48 EUR)
There are several small supermarkets in Kasese, where you can find everything you need: soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, food, water, soda, toilet paper, sunblock (!), etc. Prices are generally low except for Western products. You will for example find a small jar of Nutella for 22000 UGX (5,98 USD; 5,29 EUR) or an entire yellow cheese for 33000 UGX (8,97 USD; 7,93 EUR).
There are good restaurants to be found in Kasese, serving traditional food or Western food. You will find a plate of pasta bolognaise for 12000 UGX (3,26 USD; 2,88 EUR), a club sandwich with chips for 15000 UGX (4 USD, 3,60 EUR), a big milkshake for 11000 UXG (2,99 USD; 2,64 EUR) and a refreshing fruit juice or a cold 0.66 Nile beer for 3000 UXG (0,82 USD; 0,72 EUR)
There are different ways of travelling from one place to another in Uganda. Within cities (such as Kampala) Uber and bodaboda are used, in towns people rely on bodaboda motorcycles or even bicycles, between towns buses and matatus are used for transport. A bodaboda is a motorcycle that functions as a taxi, carrying up to 3 people. It is often a pleasant ride with the possibility of observing the environment with a cooling breeze in your hair. To avoid ugly discussions after the ride, the price for a bodaboda needs to be established before mounting the bike. With time, you will understand the pricing and comfortably bargain with your bodaboda driver.
A quick Google (maps) search will show you that Kasese is located in an area with many touristic attractions. Examples of the activities that you can fill your free time with are visiting the several national parks (elephants, lions, hippos, etc.), hiking and trekking in the Rwenzori mountains, primate tours (chimpanzees, gorillas), relaxing in the natural hot springs or visiting the crater lakes around Fort Portal. We will happily provide you with information and help you organize your trips to discover this interesting region of the Pearl of Africa.
Workawayers are recommended to apply and pay online for the visa they want to obtain. On the website of the government of Uganda you can find information about the different visas, requirements and costs. For a three-month single-entry visa, you'll have to attach a copy of your passport, a recent passport size photograph and a copy of the yellow fever page of your vaccination booklet. The three-month tourist visa costs 50 USD. Other visa possibilities include among others, a multiple entry visa and an East Africa visa (Uganda, Rwanda and Kenya). At the airport in Entebbe they will ask you for proof of yellow fever vaccination, sometimes a cholera non-indicated stamp, and for your printed approval of visa application.
News stations provide more and more alarming news regarding Ebola crossing the border with Uganda. Kasese is not very far from the Congolese border, but luckily the Rwenzori mountain chain is a huge natural protection against the spread of Ebola. Nonetheless, governmental agencies and health institutions are following the developments concerning Ebola to the second and any update will be communicated. The malaria mosquito is alive and buzzing around from sunset to sunrise, so workawayers are advised to bring enough anti-repellent with DEET. Mosquito nets are provided in the compound but you might want to bring your own if you are planning to travel around. Regarding other diseases workawayers are advised to contact the vaccination center in their home country. Never hesitate asking questions in case of doubts, we are here to help you.
Many travelers ask what clothes they are supposed to bring to Uganda. Of course, it depends on what you're most comfortable in. However, do not think that because this is Africa you needn't bring anything fashionable. People in Uganda dress very well! Colorful dresses, good jeans, branded shirts, shining shoes; Ugandans like to look good. It's possible to wear short clothing like skirts, dresses and shorts, just leave your sexy hot pants home. At the accommodation, you'll probably want to wear thin, short clothing and flip-flops. Keep in mind that items are cheaper here and that you can even have your custom clothing tailored here. You will pick a fabric and explain or even draw what you would like to have (jumpsuit, trousers, jacket) and voila: your personal design clothing.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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