Volunteer in Kenya with a community based organization offering the volunteers the opportunity to participate in short or long term voluntary work development in Kenya.
Volunteer in Kenya
Travel Directory: Volunteer Africa
Studying abroad is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the world and yourself, and of course you want to work to make the world a better place as you do so. Then you remember that you need some cash even when you are learning and volunteering and a job gets thrown into the mix. Before you know it, you are going to start feeling more than a little frazzled! The truth of the matter is that no matter how good your intentions are, you’ll find that you are going to get stretched more than you want to be. How can you make sure that you don’t burn out?
Learn To Say No
Saying no is tough, but it is something that you need to learn to do, especially if you are invested in volunteering. Assume that there is always something that needs to be done, no matter how much you work today or how much you work tomorrow. Your ability to say no may feel cruel, but the truth is that you are saving your energies so that you can continue to do good work in the future. Say no if a favor is inconvenient, or if your workplace is being presumptuous about your good will.
Even if you are someone who keeps track of things in your head, it will never hurt to keep a written schedule around. Pick up a small date book and use it to keep track of where you need to be and when. This allows you to make plans without worrying that you have forgotten about something while you were working or volunteering. Remember that while your schedule may be flexible, you should always make sure that you keep it consistent for your own sake. Remember that you should always build some time into your schedule. For example, if you can make it from work to school in ten minutes on your best day, make sure that you allot 20 minutes to get where you need to go. You won’t always be having a great day where traffic is on your side!
Sleep is not negotiable. If something is asking you to stay awake longer or to get up earlier than you usually do, it should be exceptional. You need to make the time to sleep, or you will find yourself burning out at an exceptional rate. If you are studying abroad in a place that is very distant from home, it might take you a few days or even a few weeks to get really comfortable with the time shift, but the faster you do this, the better. No matter how much sleep you need, whether it is six hours or ten, make sure you get it.
If you are in a study abroad program, there is a student liaison that is meant to help you get settled. Especially during the first few weeks, it is easy to feel as if the whole world has shifted around you. Contact your liaison if you feel that you are having a rough time of it. They may be able to help you get settled, and they also will be able to help if you need more serious aid, like counseling or medical care. If you want to avoid burnout, remember that you are not in it alone!
Between working and volunteering on top of studying in a new environment, you may find that it is very easy to start skipping meals or to grab meals that are not necessarily healthy for you. The truth is that this will cause you to feel tired and irritable over time. Think about the food that you want to eat and start planning it. It takes time and effort to make or purchase good food, but it is worth it in the end. It will give you the energy that you need to keep going. Another thing to remember is that you should snack whenever you think about it. A small snack that is high in simple sugars and starch can help you stay awake and alert for the things that you need to do.
If you are working, volunteering and going to school, there are a lot of people involved. The truth is that people are depending on you, and it is important to keep that in mind. The way that you can keep everyone on the same page is by being open and honest about what you are doing. Make sure that everyone understands your schedule, and that if you say that you have to leave by a certain time that you mean it. It can be a little nerve-wracking to make sure that everyone knows what they need to know, particularly if you are shy, but at the end of the day, it is entirely worth it.
If you’re about to become an international volunteer, lucky you! There’s really nothing quite like heading overseas and utterly immersing yourself in a local community. That said, it’s understandable if you’re a bit apprehensive about how well you’ll fit in – especially if you’re travelling somewhere with a really different culture.
It doesn’t need to be a terrifying prospect though – read on to find out all kinds of ways to make sure you integrate into the community smoothly.
Learn the local language
Now, us UK travellers have a bit of a reputation for heading abroad and speaking nothing but English – and thinking that if we just speak a little more loudly and a bit more slowly, we’ll be understood.
Ok, we might get lucky and talk to someone who understands what we’re going on about, but it’s not the best way to ingratiate yourself with the locals. You’re a guest in their country, so make an effort to use their language. Even if you don’t do it particularly well, the fact that you’ve tried will speak volumes – so give it a go.
You can make things easier by preparing as much as you can before you travel. You could take a short course, for example, or get a friend who knows the local lingo to help you out. It’ll definitely help you communicate more smoothly and make friends faster – which can only be a good thing!
Research local customs and traditions
Another frequent stumbling block when you’re living with other cultures is being unfamiliar with their customs and traditions. This is definitely an area where research before you travel is essential – otherwise it can be pretty easy to accidently offend someone.
For example, if you’re in India and your hosts offer you a flower garland, make sure you accept gracefully; being given a flower garland is considered an honour and to refuse would be disrespectful.
Of course, learning every single custom and tradition before you go might be a bit of a tall order. So, while you’re there, be willing to ask questions if you’re ever unsure – people will usually be only too glad to tell you more about their culture. Plus, it shows you’re interested in them, which will always help you make friends.
Get involved in local life
The next step is throwing yourself into local life. Since you’re taking part in a volunteering project, you’ll probably be doing this already, so you might not need to think about this one too much. Don’t be shy about getting involved in local activities or trying a new type of food – you might discover a new passion!
Don’t cling to your camera
It’s pretty easy to spot a tourist a mile off – they’ll be the ones with the camera, the map and the slightly confused expression on their face. When you’re travelling, that’s you. If you really want to fit in, try to leave the map behind – once you’re familiar with your surroundings and are comfortable doing so – and don’t incessantly take pictures. I’m not saying don’t take any, but having a camera permanently hanging around your neck will mark you out, so try to let the tourist side of yourself go for a few days and just enjoy being where are you and doing what you’re doing.
If like many around the world, you’ve watched the news of late in despair at the crisis in East Africa, now could be the moment you’ve been waiting for to get involved and embark on volunteer work abroad.
UNICEF is asking for $31.8 million over the next three months in donations, through which aid agency professionals are providing on-the-ground assistance in Kenya and Ethiopia, as well as some parts of Somalia.
Demand for aid across the plains of Africa is staggering. With U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon claiming that almost 4 million people are in crisis, it seems that now is the time for action, and for anybody that can spare the money or the time to consider working alongside aid agencies in order to find a solution in East Africa.
Whilst for varying reasons you may not be able to gain direct access to the famine declared areas of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, there are many ways you can help stop the crisis from spreading to further African nations.
By embarking on community development volunteer work you can do everything from teach children, orphans and adults with learning disabilities in rural communities to help build homes, schools and shelters working towards stabilising the African education infrastructure.
If you are keen to take action and work abroad embark on crucial community based work in other areas of Africa, where you will get to make a real contribution to the lives of those affected by famine and poverty. As the refugee camps in Kenya are expanding rapidly any help improving the lives of those on the ground throughout the region is welcomed unconditionally.
Now, more than ever is the time to think about the chance to volunteer abroad: with some parts of the problem area cut off from aid workers, and a large proportion of the work occurring in densely packed areas as a result, the work is being spread further, and at greater intensity. One thing’s certain: the work ahead is not going to be easy, nor the pathway clear.