Volunteer Abroad Programs – UJS1
Volunteer with local children at a preschool, help refurbish or build new schools, assist with teaching, provide physical therapy, do outreach work or share skills at the community education centre on Volunteer Abroad Programs. Health volunteers can provide therapy, nursing or outreach. Stay in a village where you will meet villagers and experience a bit of local life. Ultimately, our efforts will be rewarded with memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.
You decide where and what type of work you wish to do and we will do the rest. Jinja is a small city at the north end of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake. It is known as the sporting capital of East Africa. In the Jinja area there are several projects. You will be picked up at the airport upon arrival and delivered safely to your accommodations. From there, you will meet with representatives who will give you an orientation of Volunteer Abroad Programs, accommodations and tips about the area.
- Painting and building – help refurbish or build new classrooms or dorms
- Teaching – Help teach at preschools, or assist with literacy training, sewing lessons or computer skills training
- Nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy – work as therapists or assistants in outreach clinics for children with disabilities
Uganda School Terms (approximate):
- 6 February – 5 May
- 29 May – 25 Aug
- 18 Sept – 11 December
Overview and pricing
Itinerary Volunteer Abroad Programs
Arrive today at Entebbe International Airport. Once in the immigration hall, you will be able to purchase a Ugandan tourist visa. Please have US, GBP or Euro cash available for this. Once you have retrieved your luggage, you will exit the immigration hall where your driver will be waiting. There are ATM machines at the airport, just as you exit the immigration hall to your right, and at Barclay’s Bank, Standard Chartered Banks and some petrol stations. 500,000 Uganda shillings is approximately $135 US.
Your drive is about 3 – 5 hours so you may wish to ask the driver to stop on route for some water or snacks. Lunch and dinner will be on your own each day, except for 1 evening, when you will be invited to the home of a local family, to share a meal and get to know a bit about local life. (If you are staying at a homestay, dinner is provided each night)
Days 2 – 6
A representative from the charity will come to meet you and discuss Volunteer Abroad Programs tasks and explain about the area. If you are teaching or working at the education center, you may be able to walk to your worksite. Other job sites will require transport; you may need to take a taxi or catch a ride with the charity to building and painting sites. The time you finish work varies.
The preschool operates from 8 am – 12 noon. Be aware that you are not expected to be there at 8 am as it will take you until later to have breakfast and get ready to go. You will have a short tour of Jinja town on your first day with a BenefacTours representative. Hours of work are variable and normally Monday through Friday.
Weekends are yours to relax as do as you like. Saturdays are good days to shop in Jinja, and you can arrange optional sports in the area anytime, like horseback safaris, ATVing, rafting, kayaking or even a boat ride on Lake Victoria. BenefacTours has staff in Jinja area who can assist you.
Today you will be returned to Entebbe International Airport or Kampala. Your pickup time can be arranged with the driver to depart 5 – 8 hours before departure of your flight. You can save time by checking in on-line ahead of time. There are showers, a restaurant and shops at Entebbe airport.
Jinja is at an altitude of 3,800 feet and daytime temperatures do not fluctuate much, at mid – high twenties Celsius. Saturdays are good days to go into Jinja town to shop for snacks, water or souvenirs. Biasara Supermarket on Main street is a good place to stock up on water or snacks. There are a number of internet cafes in town as well.
Other things to see are the market where you can buy almost anything, have pizza at Friends restaurant, or Leos for fabulous Indian food, or visit the Source of The Nile, where Lake Victoria flows into the White Nile as it begins its journey north. If you go down to see the Source of The Nile, from the Jinja side, you can usually hire a guy there to take you on a quick half hour boat ride. Taxis can always be found outside the market and you need to negotiate.
There are a few banks in town where you can use your debit card at the ATM – Standard Chartered or Barclays Bank; both are on Main street.
Some volunteer jobs are close enough so that you can walk and others will require you to take a taxi or ride with the rest of the volunteers in a vehicle from the charity. For transport between Jinja town and Bujagali, you’ll need to get a motorcycle taxi (boda boda) to drive you, about 3000 shillings ($1.50 US) each direction. A taxi is about 20,000 shillings ($8 US).
Nile River birding tour – Mornings or late afternoons are the best times to see the wildlife on the river. The boat service can also be used as a river taxi to get across to the horse riding business.
Nile Horse Safari – a 2 hour river and village ride with calm natured thoroughbred horses, all well schooled and very experienced for horseback trekking. Call 0774-101196 or 0701-101196 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quad biking – 2 hour safari, plus training, along the River Nile, through farms, villages and forest of this beautiful part of Uganda. Check it out at ATV in Bujagali village.
Rafting – Nalubale offer all day joy rides down the Nile’s grade 5 rapids for $125 to thrill you and spill you as well as family float trips with calmer rafting where you can enjoy watching birds etc. Ask at The Nile Porch/ Black Lantern Restaurant in Bujagali.
Kayaking – Rent a kayak for some relaxed gliding or thrilling rides through the rapids. Ask at Nile River Explorers in Bujagali.
Lake Victoria Boat Ride from Kingfisher Resort- View local fishermen, monkeys, and some of the many species of birds that Uganda is famous for, on Africa’s largest lake. Your boat will glide through the source of The Nile as it begins it’s almost 7000 km journey north. You can hire a private boat to take you or go to Kingfisher Resort and join one of their boat tours.
Weekends are yours to relax, although if you’d like to participate in some activities or venture out and explore other parts of Uganda, a variety or excursions can be arranged. Pick up The Eye magazine, possibly found at restaurants, bars or hotels for info on absolutely everything. There are a few swimming pools around so if your hotel does not have one, ask someone where you can go.
Sipi Falls – near the Kenyan border providing great views of Mt. Elgon and the falls themselves. Guided walks take you to the bottom of the main waterfalls, and to the top of the plateau, passing 3 other waterfalls in the Sipi area.
Private Island getaway – The Hairy Lemon Island is very quiet and lovely. You can swim or fish or do nothing. The meals are vegetarian and very yummy. They have dorms or private bandas. You would need to arrange a taxi to take you there and back. You usually spend about 24 hours at The Hairy Lemon and have 3 meals included.
Ngamba Island – Chimp Sanctuary
Ngamba Island is a sanctuary for rescued chimpanzees in Lake Victoria and is accessible from Entebbe. A one hour boat journey takes you to the island where you are invited to spend the day, or half day, in the company of these unique primates. Note that you will view the chimps feeding, from the visitor’s platform area along the edge of the sanctuary fence. It is even possible to stay overnight at the sanctuary and other programs are available to get closer to the animals, although this is quite expensive. Price is normally around $100, depending on number of passengers.