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    Low-Cost-Volunteer Program in Uganda

    Low-Cost-Volunteer Program in Uganda


    • Listing Type: Gap Year Programs
    • Program Delivery: Residential
    • Destinations: Uganda
    • Credit Awarded: None
    • Program Length: Two Weeks, Six Weeks, Four Weeks, Two Months, Three Weeks, Five Weeks
    • Start Month: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
    • Category: Community Service
    • Selective: No
    • Gender: Coed
    • Ages: 18, 19+, 19
    • Housing: Dorm, Homestay, Hotel
    • Financial Aid: Not Available
    • Minimum Cost: < $1,000
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    Ssamba Foundation, a community based development organization in Mukono district, Uganda, offers low cost volunteer programs for students 18+. Ssamba Foundation recruits and places foreign students as volunteers with small community based projects and schools around Uganda. The preferred commitment is 4+ weeks but volunteers are accepted for a minimum of two weeks. Participants are responsible for airfare and (nominal) living expenses.

    Through our volunteer abroad programs students, we aim to build the capacities of local projects and raise awareness around the world about the successes and challenges of life in Uganda. 

    Isaac Ssamba is a Ugandan who came up with an idea to build an organization that puts money and skills into the grassroots and underprivileged communities of Mukono, Uganda. We have been placing and hosting high school students as volunteers since 2007 (a cool 14 years’ experience).

    The Projects: 

    Many local community development projects lack the money and skills to grow themselves. We hope that with our free volunteer abroad programs for high school students in place, our projects will overcome some of the more serious challenges they face.

    These include: lack of money for operations (wages, office space, transport, training courses), lack of skills (book keeping, marketing, strategy, grant writing), and lack of up to date knowledge (Counseling/mentoring skills, English language, HIV/AIDS and life skills information).

    Our Program: 

    Ssamba Foundation offers a safe and family-like environment in which to come to Uganda and give your time. We offer pre-arrival support by answering your questions about Uganda and by finding a project that best fits your skills and interests. We can also connect you to former and current volunteers working with us through our “Mission Uganda” WhatsApp group.

    We offer in-country assistance by collecting you from the airport, getting you to your placement, and unravelling some of the more complicated cultural issues you face when entering Uganda for the first time.

    It is not easy to come to a completely foreign culture on your own. We want to be there to give you encouragement, advice, and support in order for you to be most effective while you are here.

    Volunteering Life: 

    While working with us, volunteers learn about the real situation at the grassroots level in Uganda. Life in Uganda is tough for everyone, not just HIV/AIDS patients, orphans and refugees.

    Wages are low, corruption is rampant, and education is not universal. In spite of this, Ugandans are some of the most welcoming, friendly, and open people in Africa.

    Volunteers become part of the family, learning about the local culture: how to cook, how to speak the language, how to sit peacefully with their neighbors and talk about life in general.

    We hope that volunteers take that knowledge home with them, spreading the word about Ugandan development issues and culture around the world.

    Humanitarian Service: 

    If you can spare a month, we will find you volunteer work with projects based in Mukono and other districts around the country. Our organization provides primary and secondary education to needy children, youth mentoring, community outreach and counseling.

    Please read ahead about the various types of the free volunteer abroad programs for high school students you can join. All of our projects need young volunteers who can bring new ideas, work with minimal supervision, and have a positive, self-starting attitude.

    The organization does not need just young volunteers, but older people with business skills and experience. They need those who can sort out bookwork and apply for grants. Just as these projects try to help all members of society, they need all ages of volunteers to help them function.

    Mukono Projects: 

    There are many private schools in Uganda that educate, house and feed needy children and orphans. You can teach primary classes, including academic subjects and life skills, and organize sport and art activities for the children.

    Let us know what you’re interested in teaching and we’ll get you into the best school for you. School terms vary annually but are likely to be: Feb 1 to April 15, May 20 to August 20, Sept 20 to November 30. We also work with village-based boarding schools. So, don’t feel limited to Mukono!

    Teaching Projects: 

    Teaching needy and orphaned kids has serious challenges and needs volunteers who are open to local teaching methods but still able to bring creativity and fun into the classroom. You are the outside world to these kids. Schools have a basic curriculum, but you’ll be planning your own lessons daily.

    Know that traditional education in Uganda is based on memorization and passing exams. While there is a language barrier, by volunteering you can introduce creative writing, drawing, debate, and life skills into the classroom.

    However, if you’re into something a little less structured that includes camping out and mentoring youth around the campfire, perhaps you’d like to work with a youth group. We have a project that promotes the voluntary spirit in Uganda. You would work alongside Ugandan volunteers (youth aged 17 – 22) in programs directly benefiting local communities all over the Mukono district.

    Outreaches Projects: 

    Expect to take part in an ever changing schedule made up of public speaking and working with youth leaders fighting HIV/AIDS, public health/hygiene, family planning, condom use/distribution, and creativity workshops promoting small business generation, the importance of basic education, and women’s rights and empowerment. Bring camping gear to get the most of this program.

    Mukono Accommodation: 

    All volunteers based in Mukono (up to 7 at one time) will live together in family home (Ssamba Homestay) run by Ssamba Foundation. Sandra is there to take care of you. The home is within a locked compound, with an outside showers and toilets (with running water). 3 meals are provided each day, which consists of local foods, such as matooke (mashed plantain), posho (cornmeal), potatoes and rice or noodles. They are generally served with beef, fish, peas, beans or groundnut sauce.  Bread, eggs and fruits are available for breakfast, vegetarians are also accommodated.

    Village Projects: 

    Ssamba Foundation also places volunteers with a number of small community based projects that provide counseling, care, and education for rural people and orphaned and underprivileged children. Each of these placements is located in a village setting within Mukono District and other districts around the country.

    Each village placement provides a totally different experience, but main activities involve working with local children, youth, women and elderly. You can decide if you want to teach nursery, primary, secondary, and vocational education or if you want to be involved in a more free form work arrangement placed with an organization that provides community outreach services.

    Community Outreaches: 

    Since teaching placements have been described above we won’t dwell on them here. But you should know that you’ll be living at your school or host family. You’ll have the opportunity to really get to know your kids as many of them also live at your school.

    As far as community outreach activities are concerned you’ll have to decide just what you’re into. We have projects that provide health care, HIV/AIDS prevention and AIDS care, counseling, youth mentoring, women’s rights education, and small business development. Let us know and we’ll figure out a good placement for your skills and interests.

    A village placement is appropriate for you if you have great ideas and a seriously flexible nature. Expect your schedule to change daily with no notice. Expect to have time to relax. Expect to become a part of the village forever.

    Village Life: 

    Each village based project will house you and feed you. They will fetch your water and wash your clothes. They will love you and take you places. Your village home will be secure enough for your stuff, but won’t have running water or very much electricity. Your toilet and (bucket) shower will be outside (but fully enclosed).

    Food is local Ugandan food, but will be served at weird times. You are welcome to come and stay in the Mukono at our home with the other volunteers on the weekends. You will need to spend time with those like you.