Volunteer Community Village Project in Fiji
- Placement locations: Villages near Nadi
- Role: To get involved in all aspects of village life
- Requirements: None
- Accommodation: Host family
- Length of placement: From 1 week
- Start dates: Flexible
Whether you are volunteering on a gap year, summer vacation, or career break, if you want a volunteer trip where you are truly immersed in a traditional culture, our Community Village Project based in a traditional Fijian village could be the perfect volunteer project for you.
Volunteers on the Community Village Project need to be prepared to fully immerse themselves in the community and culture. You will get involved in all aspects of village life. Mornings will be spent assisting in the school or kindergarten and afternoons will be spent assisting with other activities in the village.
If you choose to work in the school your time will be split between individual and small-group tutoring sessions and helping to teach a non-core subject, such as IT, art, drama, music, or anything else that can enhance the students’ learning. Some of the villages choose to take a more traditional approach to teaching. Instead of adopting the modern exam system, they prefer more practical methods, such as song and dance, and using a more hands-on approach to the standard subjects of math, English, and science.
If you would prefer to work with younger children in the kindergarten, you will assist the teacher with lessons and activities, and will be encouraged to come up with your own games to keep the children busy.
Afternoons are more flexible and can be spent helping with farming, cooking, basket weaving, mat making, tending to the gardens, and wherever else they may need an extra pair of hands.
Volunteers joining the Community Village Project will get away from the hustle and bustle of the towns. However, all our villages are within a 1 hour drive of our office in Nadi, so you will always be within easy reach of Projects Abroad staff. Depending on when you join the project there may or may not be other volunteers in the same village, so you must be prepared for the exciting opportunity of being the only foreigner.
Community Volunteering Abroad in Fiji
Volunteers live with a Fijian host family, who will ensure that you soon feel at home and integrated into community life. You will live in the local, traditional manner, eating what the family eats and joining family activities, such as going to church. The villages have basic amenities, and not all homes will have full-time electricity. In almost all cases only cold water will be available for showering, and some homes may have an outside toilet and washing facilities.
Fijian village life is communal and friendly. Family homes are open to their neighbors, and the villagers live and work together. Evenings are generally family time where members of the extended families catch up on the day, play cards, or maybe even sing along to the strumming of a guitar. Kava (a traditional drink made from the root of the Yaqona plant) often forms a major part of village life and most occasions happen around the Tanoa (the large bowl that the Kava is served from).
Fijian villages are presided over by a Chief, a hereditary role passed from father to son. The Chief will often preside over ceremonies. Each village will also have an elected Turaga ni Koro who acts as an administrator of mayor for the village. He plays a key role in the day-to-day running of the village.
Fijian culture sees the women doing the majority of the household work such as cleaning, cooking, and looking after the children. Men concentrate on farming and fishing.
The program was run really efficiently, and along with another English volunteer, I wrote a brand new curriculum. Several computers were donated to the school, and since most of the children were not computer literate, yet harbored dreams of going to high school, I thought it was the perfect chance to make a tremendous difference. Read more...
Volunteers should have a mature attitude and be able to work independently, as there may be less contact with other volunteers during the week. You will normally have the opportunity to meet up with other volunteers on the weekends should you wish to travel.
This project is available for less than a month if you don't have time to join us for a month or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for shorter durations for both the host community and the volunteer. Although you will gain valuable cultural insight and work intensely within the local community please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone participating for a longer period.
If you are a high school student and first-time traveler you may want to consider our High School Special programs in Fiji.