We welcome interest from people wanting to volunteer for us in Australia (we are based in Melbourne). We are especially interested in people with fundraising and social media backgrounds. But if you’d like to help out in an administrative capacity or at an event, we’d love to hear from you too.
If you are interested in volunteering overseas with our partner organisations (in Zambia and Sri Lanka), see below for information. RoundTrip links volunteers with these organisations – we do not run volunteer programs overseas ourselves. However, we can give you plenty of information about the experience, what to expect and how you can make a difference. We can then put you in touch with the right people on the ground for more info and to make the necessary arrangements.
Volunteering in Zambia
Tikondane in Zambia welcome volunteers from around the world to share their expertise, or to generally lend a hand whilst living in and learning about life in an active grassroots community development project. You’ll need to be self-motivated, positive, open-minded and have a sense of humour. To get the most from the experience they ask volunteers to stay from two weeks to three months or more.
There are many ways in which you can make a contribution. Get involved in income-generating activities, for example, from bread making to weaving, knitting, sewing and carpentry. There are also opportunities in early childhood care and education, adult literacy classes, training interns in management practices, and agricultural projects in the villages.
Volunteer packages at Tikondane, Zambia
Tikondane is a vibrant grassroots community centre run for and by the people of Katete. Their mission is to fight poverty in Katete through better education, health and entrepreneurship; helping people to help themselves while maintaining their traditional values.
Currently we are particularly interested in volunteers who can make a contribution in the following areas:
- Early childhood playgroups, primary education in the lively community school, and literacy, English lessons, and GCE upgrade courses for parents and adults.
- Promoting better health through HIV/Aids testing and counselling, health workshops and training, education on a balanced diet, prevention of infections, farming, and home-based carers.
- Income generating activities (IGAs) for Tikondane staff to learn practical skills whilst developing an independent source of income for themselves and Tiko.
Tikondane promote traditional culture of caring for your neighbours and family, generosity and the vibrant drumming, singing and dancing of Zambia.
Duration: 2 weeks minimum
Cost: ZK 2000/week (equivalent to approx US$200/week, depending on exchange rates)
Includes 3 meals a day and accommodation at Tikondane.
The standard package includes all meals, but if volunteers stay longer and decide they prefer to self-cater, the price will be reduced for accommodation only.
NOT INCLUDED: Drinks, transfers, accommodation in Lusaka, and tourist activities
The longer you stay, the more you will get out of your volunteering experience as you get to know people and make more of an impact on projects.
Options for getting involved via volunteering at Tikondane
- Become a classroom assistant
- Support learning with smaller groups in English, Maths or Science
- Reading and story club
- Organise an art, music, drama or sports club workshop
- Help with adult education and English language learning
- Teach computer skills
- Work with the drama group
- Visit home-based carers to learn what they do
- Attend a positive livers’ (AIDs patients) workshop
- Attend and assist with home-based care seminar or workshop
- Create new educational tools for school, home-based carers, HIV/AIDS centre
- Organise a workshop on nutrition or hygiene at Tikondane or in the village
3. Agriculture and permaculture activities:
- Learn to make (and then teach others) a:
- bag garden
- compost heap
- pigeon kraal
- mud stove
- Make a demo leaflet about permaculture for the Tiko crew and villagers
- Keep a volunteer garden patch as a permaculture model challenge. This could be passed onto future volunteers with a garden log to follow up from.
- Deliver a workshop or demonstration on permaculture as refresher training.
4. Lend a hand passing on the following skills to Tikondane’s income generating activities:
- Soap making
- Making peanut butter
- Weaving/Mat making
- Animal husbandry
- Mud stoves
- African drumming
- New dishes for the restaurant
- Computer training to interns
5. Marketing & Digital
- Maintainingtheir Facebook page
- Updating their website
- Exploring tourism marketing and advertising opportunities
- Researching CBO funding opportunities
- Applying for funding opportunities
6. Projects for volunteers to run independently (involving Tiko’s interns as much as possible):
- Plan and make a radio show with Tiko children
- Design and carry out research on a chosen topic or something that would help Tikondane to develop and better understand our community (such as malnutrition in young Katete children)
- Health/living conditions/attitudes to farming/permaculture/family planning
- Make some short films about Tiko life.
Stuff to do in your free time to relax and gain a deeper understanding of rural Africa and local culture
You will experience life in a small, quiet rural town, similar as to how many people in Zambia live. You’ll get to spend time living and working with Zambians – an opportunity you probably won’t find in a city or typical gap year package. And there are activities and places to visit nearby and in the surrounding area!
- Katete market for local food
- Cultural safari to Kachipu village US$26 – walk round a Zambian village with a guide, have a vegetarian feast, and watch a traditional girls’ initiation dancing ceremony, Chinamwali.
- Depending on availability Gule wamkulu, the Nyau ghost dance is sometimes also performed in nearby villages. When dancing, the men are believed to be spirits with magical powers and no longer mortals. It’s an intriguing and invigorating insight into local culture and tradition.
- Bike ride with Tiko bikes
- Visit St Francis Hospital or Hike up Mphangwe mountain
- Walk to Chimbalu
- Katete nightclub – maybe not for everyone or every week but worth a visit for the experience!
- Film afternoon on Saturday and Sunday
- Trip to Msoro cathedral – worst road ever but an adventure to a cathedral built by the first missionaries in Zambia.
- South Luangwa National Park: Zambia’s premier wildlife park and one of the most scenic parks in Africa
Where will I stay?
Accommodation is in the lodge at the community centre. Rooms are simple twin or double rooms, most with ensuite bucket bath and toilet. Volunteers will have their own room unless they prefer to share. You can also go to a nearby village and spent the night with a family in a traditional hut.
Making calls & getting online
Telephone: Consider buying a Zambian SIM card for your mobile if you’re here longer than a couple of weeks. They are very cheap, just remember to get your phone unlocked before you leave!
Internet: Tikondane helps you stay in touch with home by offering 2 hours a week free internet access to vounteers. There is a computer centre onsite where you can buy additional access. Remember this is Africa; it works, but sometimes it’s a bit wobbly!
For more information, including arrival and transfer info (with recommended accommodation in Lusaka) contact us.
Volunteering in Sri Lanka
Our partner organisation Volunteer Sri Lanka (VSL) offer many opportunities for people interested in a volunteering experience on the island. Generally, VSL are flexible in the kind of volunteer assignments they offer depending on an applicants skills, experience and area of interest. It’s best to discuss this with them before sending in an application.
Examples of what they need are: doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, engineers, teachers or student teachers, people good at DIY, artists, handicraft makers, and people willing to teach sports.
The following are examples of volunteer assignments, and are typical of what is needed within the community:
- Nurses and doctors are required at the Teaching Hospital at Karapatiya. While the hospital does not have Western standards, some of the conditions are surprisingly good – but they need all the help they can get as demand is heavy. There are also opportunities here for medical teaching at the hospital.
- Training nurses at a local nurse’s school
- Teaching at a local primary school – mainly English conversation, reading, writing, mathematics, science, art, crafts and sports
- Teaching and interacting with children at a local nursery school
- Working with kids at the Tsunami Memorial Library
- Teaching and playing with deaf girls at Sacred Heart School
- Teaching and playing with children with intellectual handicaps (mainly Down’s Syndrome)
- Working at a home for the elderly. Duties include playing cards with them, interacting with them – generally showing that someone cares. Being kind enough to make up a work party once a fortnight to clean the living quarters at the elderly men’s home which includes washing their sheets.
- Teaching skills such as electrics, carpentry and building skills at the Tsunami Memorial Library.
- Building and renovation work.
- Many other skills come in useful, including photography as local people will be able use them to earn a living, or supplement an existing income
What qualifications do I need to volunteer?
Volunteers should have teaching experience, if they are wanting to volunteer in schools in Sr Lanka. However, those without formal teaching qualifications may assist local teachers in school and teach sports, music, arts and crafts, if they possess those particular skills.
For helping children with homework, reading, writing, and English language conversation at the Tsunami Memorial Library no formal qualifications are required.
If you are volunteering in the medical sector need to have a formal nursing or doctor qualification (or a minimum of 3 years training to become a doctor (but a formal qualification is preferred). Medical students will work under qualified supervision.
The main thing for any volunteer to keep in mind is that a desire to help, a good heart, patience and a willingness to understand and accept cultural differences are highly valued when we are placing volunteers.
Costs and what they include
Duration: A minimum period of 3 weeks is required to ensure that you have a worthwhile placement, and the maximum period of a volunteer assignment is 3 months.
Cost in US$ $200 per week (plus 12% VAT and 4% other government taxes)
**Ensuite accommodation; 3 meals per day; use of a common computer and free Wifi are included in this fee.
This is inexpensive compared to other volunteer projects (even without taking into consideration the high quality of the living arrangements). In addition our project includes a high level of personal support from Janaka who is dedicated to ensuring that volunteer assignments run smoothly.
For more information on how to get the most out of your time in Sri Lanka and on your volunteer assignment, contact us.
Contact us today to learn more about volunteer opportunities.