If you've got this far then you are obviously more than just a little interested in spending some time volunteering with Soft Power Education. That's the first step! From there on in it's easy peasy!
We are a small organisation operating very much hand to mouth. Our volunteers are self-funded bringing with them their own living expenses and donation. We encourage anyone who wants to join us to do some fundraising before they arrive (the minimum amount we ask volunteers to donate is £75 per week for every week that they are here) – for ideas take a look at the Fundraising page. We are 100% charity so every penny you raise for us goes straight back into the projects and enables us to assist you with materials for the work you will do whilst you are here. If we don't have the funding we cannot create the work.
We offer volunteering opportunities from anything from one day through to three months. We are an incredibly flexible organisation and volunteering with us gives you the chance to really make a difference in the communities we work with.
Our busy season is from June to September when we enjoy having lots of volunteers, both independent travellers and groups from Universities from around the world. During this time we encourage our volunteers to live on site in the communities, which has proved to be incredibly rewarding. Living on site means living in one of the classrooms at the school you are working at and being truly submerged in the local community and enjoying the warm Ugandan hospitality. The majority of the work is helping with the refurbishment… that means painting the buildings, painting teaching aids on the classroom walls and if there is ongoing building work at that site then you can also get your hands dirty by helping the builders!
Living on site at the school will also enable you to become involved in all aspects of the school, helping in classrooms, organizing sports events, hosting drama workshops and much more. We will take you to the school on a Monday morning and will collect you on a Friday afternoon to bring you back to Bujagali, where you will spend the weekend enjoying the many activities on offer from white water rafting, kayaking, horse riding, quad biking….. Organising the volunteers in this way allows us to source schools where work is required and to get things ready in advance for groups.
During the slightly less manic low season (the rest of the year!) there are fewer volunteers so you will more than likely stay around Bujagali where our operations are based. There are plenty of activities to keep you occupied such as:
- Assisting our Volunteer Coordinator with the management of the one day volunteers
- Working on the school refurbishment programme (without living on site)
- Taking lessons or assisting at one of the two pre schools
- Building fuel effecient stoves in the community
- Working in our community garden and the gardens of our cooperative members
- Assisting Soft Power Health with malaria net sales and follow ups
- Conducting research in the communities
- Assisting with community lessons in ICT, English, Drama....
Phew! The list is endless! As the community programmes at the Amagezi Education Centre continue to grow there are more and more opportunities for our volunteers. Many of the roles depend of the length of time you are here. There may also be other placements available – talking to tour groups in the evenings; conducting surveys in the local community; researching new projects; helping to deliver building materials, driving the SP truck… These roles depend on when the long term volunteers already doing them leave Uganda, so cannot be arranged in advance.
Schools in Uganda break up for holidays throughout the year. However please don’t worry if you are looking at volunteering when schools are closed – we still have access to these buildings and sites and children of all ages are often around. It's also worth remembering that when the children are on school holidays then our Community Programmes get into full swing!
We are awaiting confirmation of the official dates for the 2010 academic year but to give you an idea, the 2009 time table was:-
- Term 1:- 2nd February to 24th April
- Term 2:- 25th May to 14th August
- Term 3:- 14th September to 27th November
We have been able to complete all of our targets through the continued support of visiting tourists, independent long term volunteers, hardworking groups of students and inspired donors. Volunteers get to see that it’s not only the local communities and their children who benefit from Soft Power working within the schools, but that we employ trained and skilled builders and foremen from the villages to assist us in our venture. Without these dedicated individuals we would not have completed half the work we had set out to do in such a short time frame.
We offer the chance of having a real impact on the lives of the Ugandan people and the opportunity to leave behind more than just dusty footprints. If you are interested in volunteering please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org