Volunteer Abroad

Volunteer Trips

img_0091Many visitors who come to Uganda desire to do more than just experience the wildlife. Our volunteer opportunities are as flexible as our safaris. They range from an individual spending a week or two working in schools, children’s homes, babies’ homes, hospitals and street kids’ home to larger groups going out to work in villages to build homes and help develop self-sustainability for families there. We encourage making volunteering a part of your trip because it gives you a richer experience with the people and the culture as well as allowing you to have a more tangible impact on the community in Uganda.

You would be able to work directly with Ugandans in the various community outreach projects. We get volunteers throughout the course of the year from all over America, UK, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Your life and heart will be impacted no matter how short or long your trip. Not only that, you will also be making a positive impact on every Ugandan that you encounter.

We allow you to design the dates of your trip whether you are called to take a semester off from school, a year off before you go to school or enter the workforce, or you are being called to a different career path. Our volunteers have found their time to be a life changing experience. The trip would end with a three-day safari in one of Uganda’s national parks.

By going on a volunteer trip, you will be able to assist in accomplishing the long-term goals of our partner ministries and projects in Uganda. You will have plenty of time to enjoy the pristine surroundings and participate in fun activities. Weekly adventures combined with cultural immersion and volunteer work creates an unforgettable life experience!

Mission Trips

Rafiki Africa Ministries is a non-profit Christian organization based in East Africa, Uganda .We are registered in the US as a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. We focus on supporting and caring for orphaned, abused, and abandoned children. Rafiki Africa Ministries provides resources for children to excel academically.

Church and youth groups can partner with us for a mission trip that can have a big impact on the community in Uganda. Short-term missionaries will join our weekly outreach programs. Rafiki Africa Ministries offer various short-term mission trips to Uganda throughout the year. These trips can range from two weeks to three months.

By coming on a mission trip, you have the time to discover your God-given gifts, talents, and passions; which can be used to impact the children and communities we work with. There are many opportunities for work in community development, leading worship, preaching, and leading children’s programs. The trip would end with a three-day safari in one of Uganda’s National Parks.

 

Mission teams usually spend one to two weeks in Uganda participating in some of the following activities:

  • Medical missions
  • Construction
  • Children and youth ministry
  • Church leadership training
  • Men’s and women’s discipleship
  • Teaching
  • Business training and development
  • Vocational training, such as agriculture

Checkout Rafiki Africa Ministries website for more information about how to apply to come on a mission trip!

Bring Your Skills
Teaching or Tutoring: Our programs center on projects to enhance the lives of children and their families. You can help by teaching in the classroom or help teach English language skills.
Children in Uganda: Their struggles are many… poverty, disabilities, and even homelessness. You can make a lasting difference in these young lives. You can care for abandoned, physically, and mentally disabled children. You can help out at different orphanages. Volunteers are needed to listen, play, and read with the children. Many of our host projects are short-staffed and your attention will give the children the extra love they need.
Construction Work and Building: Can you hammer a nail, swing a paintbrush, or plant a flower? Men and women who enjoy working outdoors or with their hands can assist with building, repairing and painting facilities such as community centers, orphanages, classrooms, libraries, medical clinics, and houses. You can also help clear parkland, plant community gardens, dig wells, construct clean water systems, install playground equipment and more. No specific construction skills are needed. Anyone who is in good physical condition can assist with these projects, as there usually are both light and heavy labour options at most work sites. For instance, you can help repair roofs, and windows, paint classrooms, and construct desks and chairs. Or at an orphanage, you can help sweep, scrape, or landscape around the facility. Carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and other trades people can be very helpful at the work site to improve the infrastructure of the facility.

Medical volunteers: Can you spare two weeks to help out in a medical clinic or local hospital? Because access to medical services in Ugandan communities is often limited, health-care volunteers are needed to provide basic services such as: Diabetes screenings, tooth extractions and pre-natal exams in local clinics, village dispensaries, and in homes. Dentists, nurses, physicians and medical students are needed to perform physical check-ups, test eyesight, and examine newborns. While the needs and the working conditions are very basic, your “hands-on” contribution can be life changing. Our host communities often lack modern medical facilities, so volunteers should plan to bring their own instruments and medical supplies.

Work with the Elderly: Men and women of advanced age in Uganda hold a community’s history and wisdom, forming a precious social and economic network. They help indigenous societies retain their cultural roots, passing along traditions to younger generations. There is no welfare system in places where we work so often elders live on a limited income, and lose their access to basic services at the same time that they lose their prominent place in society. They can become easily cut off and isolated. Various community initiatives and organizations reach out to provide basic nutrition, health care, and social interaction. Your help can be an important link between social services and the elderly recipients. You can help build and repair safe housing for the elderly, engage elders in activities such as singing, dancing, playing games, developing arts and crafts projects, and assisting them on recreational outings.

Sharing Professional Skills: Many specialized work projects focus on the needs of adults of all ages. This can include conducting professional discussions in the areas of business, law and medicine, or teaching English in informal group sessions. We match especially skilled volunteers with local people so that pressing community needs can be met together. This might involve organizing library shelves, assisting with administrative or clerical projects, providing computer training, or consulting on business development.

Work with Young People: Our partner projects in Uganda center on life-enhancing work projects for children and their families. If you have a specific interest in working with teens and adults, you can select from a variety of projects in many locations around Uganda. Sports Volunteers: If you are interested in teaching and coaching sports, we have a number of sports projects in Uganda for you to take part in.
Social Welfare Development: You can work in facilities that help the poorer communities. You can help provide support to at-risk and at-need women and children to learn life skills to become self-sufficient and obtain a higher level of education. Possible projects range from tutoring, cleaning, carpentry, program development, sewing, cooking, childcare, business skills training, administrative, data entering and HIV/AIDS education.
Street Children Project: Hundreds of children in Uganda are living on the streets with no stable home. This kind of project involves various aspects of community work and development. You will be helping to support a number of different community development initiatives. You will have a diverse experience and gain valuable insights into the lives of underprivileged individuals in Uganda. Your influence will help positively shape lives of young children and teens.

Planning Your Trip

So the time has come where you must start preparing for your trip. Below you will find helpful information about planning your trip, what you should expect, and what to bring.

Searching for Flights: There are many major airlines that fly into Uganda including KLM, Brussels Airlines, Delta, Emirates, and Kenya Airways. If you are going to Uganda then you will fly into Entebbe International Airport (EBB). Be sure to send your flight information to the in country representative you are working with as soon as you purchase your ticket. We will pick you up from the airport and drive you to your accommodation.

Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is something that you should consider whenever you are going on an international trip. If you have good health insurance at home they will sometimes cover you for emergencies overseas. You will need to call your insurance company to see exactly what they will cover, who their preferred providers are in Uganda, and if you need any documents from them before you travel. You can also choose to use a travel insurance company.

Vaccinations & Malaria Medication: Getting vaccinations are essential before travelling to Uganda. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has detailed information on their website about immunizations recommended for traveling. Yellow fever is the only shot required to enter East Africa.

The other following immunizations will usually be recommended:

  • Hepatitis B (series of 3 injections over several months, plan ahead)
  • Hepatitis A (series of 2 injections)
  • Adult polio booster (once in lifetime)
  • MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella – make sure it is up to date)
  • Typhoid (oral dosages are easier to tolerate. You need a repeat immunization every 5 years)
  • Tetanus (renew immunization every 10 years)

To avoid malaria, you will need an adequate supply of anti-malaria tablets. Please consult your doctor as to which tablet to take as they know your medical history best and some tablets have side effects.

Your physician, a local health clinic, or a travel clinic is usually set up to handle travel immunizations and medications. We recommend that you ask them if they are equipped to do so when you call to make an appointment. Another thing you need to consider is that insurance does not always cover all of the vaccinations. Travel clinics also generally do not accept medical insurance. Sometimes you can submit insurance claims afterwards, but that does not mean you are guaranteed a refund.

Spending Money: Depending on how long you are going to be in Uganda, we recommend that you bring between $200 – $500 to use as extra spending money. It is better to bring spending money as cash in large bills: $50 and $100 bills dated after the year 2009. Exchange bureaus do not accept bills dated before the year 2009. The bills have to be like new with no tears and markings or they will not be accepted for exchange. Having extra cash will be very important for any tourist activities you would like to participate in such as swimming, snacks, and meals outside the guesthouse. Having meals outside the guesthouse will be important if you begin to crave more westernized meals. You will want to consider purchasing handmade African crafts for yourself and as gifts and souvenirs for friends and family.

Packing: Packing can be a challenging process if you have never traveled out of your home country. We have a suggested packing list that we can sent you, however we have found that everyone person is different. It is important to dress conservatively while you are volunteering in Uganda as it is important to the culture.

Bringing Gifts: Most volunteers enjoy bringing items for the children and people of Uganda. The children will love anything that you bring. A few suggestions are crafts, pencils, pens, paper, small toys, stuffed animals, novelty jewelry, coloring books, clothes, etc.

Safety: Safety is always one of our biggest concerns. We take extra precautions to ensure that our volunteers and staff are safe. The premises where the volunteers stay is fenced. Like any other large city, be conscious of your surroundings and do not flash any valuables around. All volunteers should be sensible with their decisions and maintain a buddy system at all times.

Uganda Village Trips: During village trips, accommodation may range from simple guesthouses to mattresses on the floor of the church to camping in tents. Be prepared to have no electricity, to shower with a bucket of water or baby wipes, and to use a squatty potty (hole-in-the-ground toilet).

Food: Breakfast usually consists of toast and tea. During the weekdays lunches are prepared for the entire team. The normal lunches are beans and rice or posho. The typical Ugandan meal is meat or beans mixed and fried with vegetables, rice, matooke (boiled plantains), posho (cornmeal), and potatoes. Fruits such as pineapple and bananas are typically around the guesthouse as a snack. We advise you to bring some spending money for westernized meals outside the guesthouse. You can usually find burgers, pizza, fries/chips, and other foods in restaurants around Kampala. You can bring snacks from home: beef jerky, trail mix, granola bars, and power bars. Uganda is a third world country and does not have the wide variety of snacks that you may be used to.

Water: Drinking water from the tap is not recommended. The guesthouse boils water to kill any germs and bacteria. You may purchase your own bottled water (at your own expense) if you choose not to drink the water provided by the guesthouse.

Showering: There is running water in the guesthouse. As long as showers are spaced apart long enough, you can have hot showers. On occasion the water can be shut off. In these times you will have to shower with a basin of water for a few days. When staying in the village there is no running water and you will be using a cup and basin of water to shower. Shower stalls are usually outside and made up of a brick wall enclosure that may or may not have a roof. Warm water may not be available.

Washing Clothes: There are a few options for washing clothes such as hand washing them yourself. A washing machine might be available. Laundry soap can be bought at a supermarket close to the guesthouse.

Connecting to Wi-Fi: At the guesthouse in Uganda, you will have wireless Internet access, although it may be much slower than what you are used to. This will allow you to stay in touch with loved ones at home. There is no access to Wi-Fi when going out to the villages.

Cell Phones: You can certainly bring a cell phone if it takes a SIM card and is unlocked. Once you get to your destination you can buy a SIM card with a Ugandan number for about $5. There is the option of buying a phone in Uganda for $40-$80.

Accommodations & Costs

All volunteers and teams will stay at our guesthouses in Kampala. All living quarters are secure, westernized houses. Even though the houses are westernized, Kampala is still an African city, which may mean that there may be no electricity in the house 2-3 nights a week and on occasion, no running water. The atmosphere at the guesthouses is very community-oriented. You will be living with other international volunteers and a few Ugandan staff members, giving you a chance to get to know the team very well. You will likely be sharing a room with other volunteers of the same sex.

Costs: We try to make the cost of our trips as reasonable as possible.

Length of Trip                                 Mission Fee
1 week                                               $1,100
2 weeks                                             $1,600
3 weeks +                                          Contact us to discuss

Each volunteer trip includes:
– Project costs
– Pre-departure support and information
– Airport pick-up on arrival and drop-off
– Two meals per day (breakfast and dinner)
– Transportation
– Accommodation

Volunteer trip costs do not include:
– Airfare
– Individual spending money
– Visas
– Personal insurance
– Souvenirs
– Vaccinations