Volunteer Opportunities in Uganda
We offer exciting short-term and long-term volunteer opportunities in our home. Our volunteer placements are open to people of all ages and backgrounds, regardless of nationality or qualifications. Volunteers certainly gain an amazing life experience from their participation in our placement program and we recruit new volunteers all the year round.
The Ugandan Experience
As a volunteer, you will experience traditional Uganda life and participate in daily activities, such as cooking over an open fire, collecting firewood, playing with children, teaching children, assisting in the vegetable garden as well as construction projects.
The type of work you are involved with will be dependent on your interests, abilities, level of experience as well as your comfort levels. One of the advantages of See Them Grow Foundation program is that you are not limited to one job role and will have the opportunity to ‘sample’ other roles during your placement. To become involved in another project simply inform a member of staff who will happily make any necessary arrangements.
Working hours are normally 4-8 hours a day. Time away from work e.g. for traveling to other parts of Uganda or East Africa can be arranged through informing a staff member. Upon arrival, there is an orientation session for new volunteers to become acquainted with the local culture, language and project work. Further training and supervision may be provided to new volunteers who are interested in tasks for which they lack adequate experience.
While working at the school or surrounding community, volunteers sleep in shared rooms with other volunteers and kids. Although we provide sheets, blankets and mosquito nets, volunteers are encouraged to bring their own sheets or sleeping bags
Food and Water
All meals are provided by the foundation as part of the program fee. The main staples of the diet are rice, beans, posho (corn meal), potatoes, cabbage and bread (chapati). Fresh fruit and vegetables are readily available and are inexpensive to purchase. Meat is provided at our placement areas on weekends only. Volunteers are encouraged to cook and to introduce different meals. The water used by the foundation is from a well and is very clean and safe to consume. Bottled water is also available in a nearby shop.
Cost and Payment
Volunteers are required to commit a fee that caters for expenses of their meals, housing and support for our projects. This is payable in cash upon arrival in Uganda (payable on first arrival) or online by credit card. Kindly inquire directly about the volunteer program costs. Please be aware that some participants come through Volunteer Organizations and pay different price. These Organizations support See Them Grow Foundation year round with donations and program fees may vary.
We recommend volunteers to get tourist visas to come to the school. This normally is a 6 months renewable VISA, and can easily be purchased upon arrival (with cash) at the airport for US$50.00 or in advance from Ugandan consulates in most countries. Uganda Visa : click here HERE.
With regards to clothing, keep in mind that the Luuka is very dusty and is often hot and dry, even in rainy season. Volunteers should anticipate that clothes and footwear will become dirty quickly so we suggest durable outdoors clothes that will last your stay. Of course there are facilities to wash clothes and shoes as regularly as you wish.
Some suggested hints for clothes are:
– As the foundation is in a conservative area, all volunteers should bring at least one pair of long pants or skirt as well as a shirt that covers your shoulders otherwise acceptable clothing includes singlet and knee-length skirts/shorts. Volunteers should understand that very short skirts and skimpy clothing will attract attention and we particularly advise that women volunteers limit the wear of bikini tops, halter necks, midriff tops and short skirts. However, we also advice that male volunteers wear a shirt/singlet (i.e. not topless) and wear knee length shorts.
– At least two pair of shoes, including one pair of comfortable covered shoes or trainers and one pair of sandals or flip-flops.
– Sunhat to prevent sunburn (particularly for volunteers unused to strong sunlight).
– During rainy season, the nights and mornings can get cool. We suggest that volunteers bring light jumpers or pullovers to layer clothing (rather than thick jumpers etc).
Airport Transfers and Orientation
Upon arrival at the Entebbe International Airport (airport code: EBB) in Entebbe, you will proceed through immigration and customs officials. One of our representatives will be waiting for you outside the arrivals hall. Look for a sign with your name on it. Our representative will accompany you to Luuka the same day if you arrive before 5:00 PM. If you arrive after 5:00 PM, we organize for volunteers to stay in a hotel in Entebbe, and proceed to the village/school the next day. We are able to assist with arranging accommodation. If you are arriving via other transportation (such as Bus) please contact us so we can make the necessary arrangements to meet with you. Upon arrival at the orphanage, we offer orientation which include meeting kids at the school, a tour of the local area, discussion of the volunteer role, recent changes and current plans/developments at the orphanage, etc. On departure, volunteer will be accompanied by See Them Grow Foundation representative to the airport.
Access to Facilities
The foundation is solar powered with inverter, so you are able to charge electrical items, such as phones, laptop, cameras, rechargeable batteries etc. At nearby shops, you are able to purchase basic supplies. For other facilities and a larger range of supplies, Iganga is a short distance away (1 hour by a taxi). In Iganga, volunteers will be able to access the post office, banks and ATMs (including a Barclays), and a Western Union to change money. Also, there are large supermarkets where you can purchase most supplies, such as shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, various food items, and moisturisers.
Mobile phones in Uganda are GSM and there is excellent reception available in the local area. If you bring a mobile phone from your home country or an international phone, provided you are permitted by your service provider, GSM-enabled phones will work on this network. Also, it is possible to purchase sim-cards for a GSM mobile phone when you arrive in Uganda, or even purchase a mobile phone relatively easily. Also, you can access internet on your phone while at the school.
What Volunteers Can Expect
Prior to your Arrival
Prior to departing your home country, representatives of See Them Grow Foundation will be available on email and via phone (if you prefer) to discuss your placement at the orphanage. Once you have been selected to join See Them Grow Foundation community, you are sent an official acceptance letter, which gives you a go-ahead to book the flight that brings you to the Pearl of Africa!
Health, Insurance and Vaccination
It is recommended you have travellers’ health insurance when you leave your country. We suggest purchasing on-line www.TripTithe.com. At the foundation’s compound, we have a well where we get our drinking and bathing water which is clean and free of diseases, so it is safe for all to drink. Most of our food is vegetarian, cooked from crops we grow on our own land. No volunteer has gotten ill from eating or drinking any of the compound’s supplies. However, in case of illness or any emergency, we have contact of a local doctor who has a clinic at Iganga. Medicines are readily available at pharmacies in Luuka however it is advisable that volunteers bring their own first aid kit, and any prescribed medication. Basic medication such as paracetamol and for upset stomachs is available, as are basics such as band aids, cotton buds and wipes.
Yellow Fever is absolutely required to enter Uganda and you may be required to show prove at the airport. Also, the following are recommended vaccinations;
Volunteers will also require anti-malaria pills.
During your Stay
There are staff members at the foundation to support and assist you. They assist with caring for the children, administration and managing the day to day activities of the foundation. They are available to answer questions, act as a local guide and ensure that you settle into the foundation and way of life.
Volunteers can also expect regular visits from a representative of the See Them Grow Foundation. This representative will be able to bring any supplies you require, provide information, support and assistant if you require. Also to resolve any issues that may occur. This representative will be available via phone and email at any time during your stay. We will provide you with work that is suitable for your level of ability, experience and meets your interests.
What We Expect of Volunteers
Your Role as a Volunteer
As a volunteer, we encourage you to actively participate in the daily activities of the foundation such as caring for children, cleaning, teaching, cooking, washing clothes/bedding, fieldwork, construction, watering the vegetable garden, collecting firewood, hauling water, feeding animals, preparing food, etc. We also encourage you to utilize the skills you have to assist in improving the lives of the children and workers.
It is important for volunteers to understand that the culture in Uganda may be quite different to what they may be accustomed to. Volunteers should bring with them an easy-going, open-minded and relaxed attitude. Ugandan people are very friendly and social people. While we will endeavor to maintain a daily routine, volunteers should understand that things move slowly in Africa (and indeed even at the foundation). Relax and enjoy the slow pace. Remember that life here is not as organized and predictable as life in developed world. Although work can be very busy and active, at other times work is determined by number of factors including weather, availability of resources, whether a relevant contact has turned up, cultural activities etc.
After Your Stay
See Them Grow Foundation like to remain in contact with all past volunteers and we expect you to spread news about us to your community. We often send updates from the orphanage and the progress of children to past volunteers. Often, we receive volunteers recommended by our former volunteers with some even making return visits.
What to Bring
Below is a list of recommended supplies to have with you during your experience with See Them Grow Foundation, as suggested by past volunteers. Of course, this is not a comprehensive list but rather should give you an idea of some of the essentials as well as items that will make your stay more comfortable. Also note that most of these items can be purchased with ease in the local town.
- First aid kit
- Camera batteries (rechargeable)
- Flashlight/torch (rechargeable)
- Bed-sheets & mosquito net
- International adaptor
- Umbrella /poncho / raincoat (dependent on when you are visiting)
- Durable Water Bottle (such as a Nalgene bottle)
For the Foundation
If possible, we would love for you to bring some supplies for the kids! Anything that you can bring would be greatly appreciated but below is a guide! Many of these items are cheap to purchase and would be loved by the children.
- Clothing, mixed dresses, shirts, shorts for boys & girls, sweaters ages 4 – 14 years)
- School children backpacks
- Black shoes for school (boys & girls, ages 4 – 14 years)
- Toothpastes & toothbrushes
- Medical supplies (common ailment)
- Stationeries & school supplies.
- If you are interested in bringing some of the above would like specific items that are current required, we are able to send you a list with more detailed and up-to-date information about the children (number, gender, age, etc).
- Also, if you are interested in bring items for the orphanage to use (such as laptop computer, camera, cell phone) please let us know. We are reliant on donations for many of these items that often have a short lifespan and would be grateful if you could assist.