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Where can I volunteer in Africa that won't cost an arm and a leg?

Josepha24

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  • Added on: April 22nd, 2007
My girlfriend and I are on month 8 of our 1 year RTW and are heading to East Africa in a few weeks - from India.

Since money is starting to run low we wanted to find a place where we could volunteer for 2-3 weeks. Most places I found on the internet are "volunteer vacations" that cost thousands of dollars. I'm looking for something cheap or free. Anyone know of a place that needs a couple of volunteers? Or where I can find one? Thanks!
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KateL57

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  • Added on: April 23rd, 2007
One organization that someone mentioned on these boards before was Volunteers For Peace - they seem to be organized volunteer projects and many cost $250 for three weeks. It might be hard to find something online or in advance without any cost for such a short period - usually the organization has to invest time and resources orienting and supervision volunteers

I'm sure you're aware that many organizations will want people who specifically want to volunteer - I'm not trying to be rude or say you shouldn't do it because I think volunteers motivated by a variety of causes can still be effective - but if you're mainly interested in saving money and still kind of want your time free to do as you'd like, it may still work out in the end to focus more on budget travel. But you may well come across something short-term and low cost that could work searching or in person.
Make cay, not war - Kesmen

SoloTraveller

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  • Added on: April 25th, 2007
So who do you expect will pay for your expenses then?

Josepha24

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  • Added on: May 23rd, 2007
I was willing to pay for my own accomodation and make a donation to the charity I would be staying with. There's a difference between that and paying package-vacation-prices to "volunteer".

Anyways, for those who are in the same situation I was in here's what I did. We are currently volunteering at El-Shadai Family Foster home in eastern Uganda. It is run by one man and he has 33 kids he is the foster parent of. He is a community leader and is involved in several other projects that help the local community. Since getting here we've worked on building sponsorship profiles for the kids, setup a financial tracking system for the house, talked to women's groups who are starting small business and playing with little kids at all hours of the day. My girlfriend and I have business backgrounds so we help where we can be most useful.

There is an application on the Kids Worldwide website which costs $30 each. Then you take the rest of your fees/donation in cash directly to the home and give it the founder. It goes to good use and there are no admin layers skimming off dollars other than the application fee.

We've had an excellent experience so far. The kids have been welcoming and so warm and open. I would recommend to anyone. Check out www.friendsofelshadai.com for more info.
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Christina M

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Joined: December 13th, 2006

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  • Added on: June 10th, 2007
Oh wow, that looks like a wonderful thing to do. Definitely gonna be researching into it!

stevemce

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Joined: September 16th, 2005

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  • Added on: June 13th, 2007
Pleased you found something - and it sounds like a great org.

Grass-roots (read Free) volunteer opportunities are difficult to find on the Internet, the same 'placement agencies' come up time and time again.

I know its to late for the OP, but these sites list free
and low-cost volunteer opportunities:

www.truetravellers.org
www.independentvolunteer.org
www.volunteersouthamerica.net

Steve
www.volunteersouthamerica.net
www.volunteersouthamerica.net - Support free Volunteering

static

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  • Added on: September 6th, 2007
I've looked and looked. I have tested every link. They are all working for me. There is no comma in Kate's post.
Have you refreshed your screen?

KateL57

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  • Added on: September 6th, 2007
Thanks static and sorry - I think I found the commas in the other voluntourism post.
Make cay, not war - Kesmen

Globeflower

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Joined: February 18th, 2006

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  • Added on: September 30th, 2007

gigirtw

Holds PhD in Packing
 
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  • Added on: October 3rd, 2007
Hi, I don't think that there's anything "wrong" with volunteering to save money along the way in your trip. Unless that's the only reason you're doing it of course!
But if you have a heart for service, and can still afford to pay room/board(as other wise you are costing them $),
I cannot say enough good things about www.hostelhoff.com in Tanzania. I've mentioned it before, but it always deserves mentioning again. Good luck! gigirtw

lostnfound00

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  • Added on: February 17th, 2008
Hey everyone,

This is another late post, but I am currently volunteering in Cameroon for BERUDEP, a local development NGO. They don't charge any fees, you just pay for your living expenses. This is a small NGO that is accomplishing incredible things, and they appreciate any help they can get from international volunteers. For more information, you can send me a message or see www.berudep.org.

VagabondStoryDotCom

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  • Added on: July 21st, 2010
This is another late reply but it was a blog like this (or the other entry by gigitw!!)that led me to Hostel Hoff. Im actually out in Tanzania at the moment, I came to Hostel Hoff in April, left in June to travel to South Africa but have come back up to the Hoff and am planning on staying another few months. The Hoff is a great place to stay and hang out while volunteering and there are quite a few great projects that they are working with that you can get involved with. You're just paying for the accommodation, so its good value, and a great experience, you meet a lot of great people here too. Im working on the construction site for their new Children's Centre, helping with setting up the garden and buying materials, info about the project can be found at www.pathtoafrica.org. All the funds for the project come through people from Hostel Hoff so anyone who fundraises comes out to the site to see them being used. Most of the funds for the site come from volunteers who fundraise before coming out and so everyone gets to see exactly where their funds go when they get here and come down to the site.
http://www.vagabondstory.com

Wild Jasmyne

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Location: Lome, Togo

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  • Added on: July 21st, 2010
This is an old post, but I wanted to mention that in Uganda, on Lake Bunyoni is the Byoona Amagara Hostel. It is an eco-hostel on Itambira Island which is only reached by canoe. When I was there a few years ago, they were seeking out and offering volunteer positions to basically anyone who would take it! They can use you for a number of things including maintenance work around the hostel, volunteering at local schools, helping in the library there, even building geodomes! At the time they offered free accomodation in their dorms (nice) in exchange for the work. Highly recommended, a very good project.

Grey

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  • Added on: July 22nd, 2010
Good info from both :)

Jasmine your like our very own African Wikipedia.
Wandering Africa for a year in Search of Sunsets.

Wild Jasmyne

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Holds PhD in Packing
 
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Joined: June 3rd, 2004
Location: Lome, Togo

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  • Added on: July 22nd, 2010
Lol! I don't know if thats a compliment or an insult.. do I post too much?


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