"KCH has been one of the most inspirational and life changing experiences I have ever done. I will never forget the 2 amazing months that I spent out in Kenya with KCH. I met some absolutely amazing people that I will never forget, both the children, who I still think about as each day goes by, and the ever inspiring adults"
Cat Canejo, Volunteer
Interested in changing a child’s life, simply through giving your love, time and attention?
To commemorate International Volunteer Day here at Kenya Children's Homes we thought it would be good to introduce our extremely diverse group of international volunteers and hopefully encourage you to consider taking part in the rewarding work that we do, by asking the volunteers some questions about the highs and lows of serving here in Africa.
From left to right we have Jesse a chef from Canada, Michael an accountant from the UK, Melissa who is a waitress from the USA and Lisa a psychology university graduate from Austria. As you can see it really doesn't matter what your background is or where you're from, we can use you.
Michael, what made you want to volunteer here in Kenya?
“It was a mixture of things. First I had never been to Africa which is a place that has always been of interest to me, and secondly I wanted a change from the corporate world back home. The struggles of orphaned children in Africa have always been close to my heart as I also underwent some struggles of my own as a child. I guess I just wanted to see if some of my gifts and abilities might be able to help out in some small way.”
Melissa, what has been the biggest challenge working here in Africa?
“No Starbucks, :-) Actually the need for extreme flexibility has been a bit challenging to get used to.”
Jesse, what has been your favourite part or biggest reward while working there?
“When you actually see the tangible evidence of the work you do here like watching Alex actually improve in math after all those countless hours spent tutoring him during homework club. Or having little Melanie stop to greet you on her way to school when it seems like only yesterday I was feeding her in the nursery. You can never really prepare yourself for the impact these children are going to have on your life as well.”
Lisa, what advice would you give someone who is thinking about volunteering here?
“Make sure you give yourself enough time to be here. It can take a while to really connect with people and learn to go with the flow of this culture. You really can't do all that a couple of weeks. I would suggest you make sure to give yourself at least a couple of months to really let yourself connect and get involved. Also, I know that two months sounds like a long time but I promise you when it's time to go you won't want to leave.”
Think you'd like to volunteer?...
Here at Kenya children's homes we're always looking for people interested in coming to join our volunteer team. Volunteers are a very important part of our work as they bring their own unique skills and abilities to the staff and children here in Kenya.
KCH runs a successful volunteer programme based at Kenya Children’s Home in Nairobi, Kenya which accepts volunteers aged 21+ for between 2 to 12 month periods.
The programme offers free accommodation in modern, secure apartments located just 5 minutes walk from the home which are shared by no more than 3 volunteers at any time. Free lunch on working days is also provided at KCH.
The range of projects which need the support of volunteers is vast and the duties assigned to each volunteer vary, however standard duties include; nursery assistance; crèche assistance; children’s activity clubs; homework club assistance; kitchen and catering assistance; holiday camps help; and some commercial projects assignments.
Depending on a volunteer’s skill set and experience, there may be other areas in which volunteers can help such as; teaching assistance in the school; admin; social work and counselling assistance; music and sports assistance and fundraising activities.
The volunteer’s schedules are decided on by the Chief Administrator of KCH and a Balcraig Foundation manager dependent on the needs of the home at the time.