Volunteering with Children in Kenya
- PLACEMENT LOCATIONS: Nanyuki
- TYPES OF CARE PROJECTS: Day care centers, kindergartens, centers for street children, centers for children with special needs
- AGE OF CHILDREN: 0 - 14
- NUMBER OF PEOPLE CARED FOR: 15 – 60+
- ROLE: Volunteers work on achieving the goals set out in the Care Management Plan, including running educational games and group activities, providing emotional support, and helping improve general hygiene
- Requirements: None
- ACCOMMODATION: Host families
- LENGTH OF PLACEMENT: From 2 weeks
- START DATES: Flexible
Volunteering on a Care project in Kenya with Projects Abroad is a great way to help improve conditions and levels of education for disadvantaged children abroad. You can contribute towards this on-going development work during a gap year, career break, or summer vacation. We welcome volunteers with qualifications and experience but you do not need to have either to volunteer on a Care program. All you need is energy, passion, and a commitment to help the children that we work with.
While Kenya is the most industrially developed country in East Africa, the inequalities between different communities continues to widen. Poverty has a severe and long-term detrimental effect on the local population, often leading to an increase in drug use, mental and physical abuse, as well as disease.
We have a variety of options for Care volunteers in Kenya. Our volunteers work in care centers, kindergartens, and special needs centers. At these placements, volunteers help support children from babies to about 14 years old. We also have some placements in smaller care centers and day care centers that look after children from single parent families or street children.
Our Care placements are located in and around the town of Nanyuki, 200km north-east of Nairobi. Nanyuki is home to two slums and a large number of street children, so there are numerous opportunities for volunteers to make an impact on these children’s lives.
Volunteering at a Care Center in Kenya
We work closely with care centers in and around Nanyuki helping to provide the children with the best start in life. Some placements are smaller care centers that are in need of the support of volunteers to help look after children from single parent families or street children. As a volunteer, you will play a vital role when it comes to introducing new educational activities and helping the local teachers with their daily work.
In many of the care centers they have limited toys for the children and so the local staff carry out basic lessons with children as young as three in order to keep them occupied and stimulated. Education is vital for the younger generation in Kenya and allows them to have more opportunities and choices when they are older. Almost all the care placements we work with have a classroom where the young children are expected to attend basic lessons. We encourage volunteers to get involved with these lessons and carry out simple educational activities with the children, including arts and crafts, coloring, and basic math games.
If you ever wanted to experience the joys and simplicity of being a kid again – this placement was it! I got to spend my days with almost 30 kids aged between 7 months and 13 years old trying to keep them occupied with different activities, especially the bigger kids who were on school vacation. I was forced to be creative engaging in arts and crafts, cutting things and sticking things together, showing them how to color in between the lines and attempting to draw some of the local African animals. Read more...
Volunteering at a Kindergarten in Kenya
As a Care volunteer in Kenya, you can choose to work in a kindergarten. These kindergartens play an essential role in disadvantaged communities and provide local children with meals and a safe environment to learn in. Without these kindergartens, children are often forced to scavenge on the streets for food. As a volunteer, you will assist local staff with caring for the children and give them individual attention. You will also help by teaching basic lessons, including numbers, the alphabet, colors, shapes, and more. Volunteers also play a vital role when it comes to introducing new educational activities and helping the local kindergarten teachers with their day-to-day work, ensuring that the children have the best start in life.
Volunteering at a Care Placement in Kenya with Projects Abroad
Whichever volunteer Care Project you join in Kenya, you need to be ready for a challenge. Many of the children are not used to having a routine and look forward to having planned activities, educational games, and help with their homework and daily chores. At some placements there are children who have psychological or physical health problems and who need a great deal of special attention and help with their day-to-day activities.
You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Kenya Care Management Plan.
The Projects Abroad team in Kenya often organize workshops for Care volunteers. These workshops may focus on cultural differences in placements, learning key vocabulary in Swahili, reflection and feedback sessions between volunteers, or practical ideas for care activities. The workshops will provide you with a useful insight into the care system in Kenya and the background of the placement where you’re working.
Whether you are feeding and bathing babies and toddlers, helping the teacher with the younger children in the classroom, helping older children with English school homework, or playing a game with the younger ones, you will help provide emotional support, educational opportunities, and improve the quality of life for the children in Kenya. Please let us know about any extra interests or skills that you have which could be used at your placement.
Did you know? Boys who are part of the Maasai tribe, go through a ceremony called Eunoto to "graduate" from their carefree lifestyle to that of a warrior. Beginning life as a warrior means a young man can now settle down and start a family, acquire cattle and become a responsible elder.
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 traveller you may want to consider our High School Special programs in Kenya.
While you’re in Kenya, you might also consider joining a 1 week Conservation & Environment Project. For more information, please visit our African Savannah Conservation & Environment Project in Kenya page. Our Combinations Page explains how you can combine not only projects, but also destinations.