What is Long Term Volunteering
Long Term Volunteering (LTV) is a bit of a deceptive term, because of our One Day Volunteering programme, this simply means anyone who is volunteering for more than a day or two!
Long Term Volunteers (LTVs) volunteer with us for anything from a week through to twelve months (or more!). They are based in and around Bujugali and work on our programmes in Jinja. Within the LTV programme you will assist with a variety of projects:
Soft Power Education run two pre-schools which operate from 8.30am – 12.30pm, Mon – Fri during term time. Each pre-school has three classes of 30 children (baby, middle and top class) and each is taught by a one of our permanent pre-school teachers who follow a specific curriculum.
For several reasons, we don’t allow volunteers to take on teaching roles within the classroom itself, but strongly encourage volunteers to plan and facilitate small group sessions related to the topics the children are learning. It’s a fantastic chance for them to experience fun, creative and interactive learning. It also assists our teachers by reducing the number of children in the classroom at one time, allowing them more time to focus on each individual child.
We will send you a copy of the school curriculum in advance of your arrival so that you can begin planning out activities, can gather any resources and be fully prepared.
Our Special Educational Needs (SEN) programme works with over 140 families in the Jinja district, providing quality education and therapy services for children with a range of special needs, free of charge. The programme consists of a number of different projects including a residential unit, social communication disorder group, education services, outreach therapy clinics and partnerships with other organisations to offer our skills and expertise. Our physiotherapist, occupational therapist and SEN teacher work at the outreach clinics using an adapted SEN curriculum with children with a wide range of physical and mental disabilities.
You don’t need specific SEN experience to volunteer with the SEN team although this, of course, is not discouraged. LTVs are welcome to assist our SEN teacher with adapted lesson plans at Kyabirwa Children’s Centre which runs from 8.30am – 12.30pm, Mon – Fri. As each of our children has different requirements, we are always very grateful for extra hands in the classroom. Before you enter the classroom, it’s important to spend some time speaking with our staff about each child’s requirements and the specific curriculum they’re following.
We’re always looking for volunteers with specific SEN experience. Contact us to discuss where your skills can be best put to use.
Our School Infrastructure programme operates throughout the year and is not linked to academic term times. Each day, LTVs will head out to our current partner school and spend the day painting, renovating or building classroom blocks. The aim of this programme is to create an safe, creative and inspiring learning environment for pupils and staff alike, with a specific focus on reducing the pupil:classroom ratios.
See One Day Volunteering for more information about the day.
Things to note
- Soft Power Education are a small organisation, operating at a grassroots level. We like (and encourage) all of our volunteers to get really stuck-in. We understand that volunteers often come to Uganda with an interest in a particular programme, and of course encourage individuals to spend time where their interests and skills lie. However, please be aware that an average LTV week will involved a timetable of all the programmes.
- Many of our programmes are linked to school term dates. If you are planning to volunteer with us outside of term time, it’s important to be aware that not all of our programmes will be running to full capacity. It’s very important to check what will be going on whilst you are here, especially if you are interested in a specific programme.
The official dates for the 2018 academic year in Uganda are:
- Term 1:- 5th February to 4th May
- Term 2:- 28th May to 24th August
- Term 3:- 17th September to 7th December
- Planning is very important! The more you plan and think about what you are going to do before you get here, the more you will get from your time volunteering.
We have been able to achieve so much through the continued support of visiting tourists, independent LTVs, hardworking groups of students and inspired donors. Volunteers get to see that it’s not only local communities and their children who benefit from Soft Power Education’s work at their schools, but that we are able to employ trained and skilled builders and foremen to assist us in our venture. Without these dedicated individuals we would not have completed half the work we had set out to do in such a short time frame. We offer the chance of having a real impact on the lives of the Ugandan people, and the opportunity to leave behind much more than just dusty footprints.
If you are interested in volunteering please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
All of our volunteers are self-funded, bringing with them enough funds to cover their own expenses for accommodation, food and travel. By keeping your donation completely separate from any personal costs, we allow for exceptional transparency in terms of where your money is being spent and are able to assure our volunteers that every penny fundraised will be spent on projects right here in Uganda.
It also allows each volunteer greater flexibility to tailor the experience to suit your taste and budget as you decide where you want to stay, what you want to eat and thereby how much you spend. Once you’ve signed up to the LTV programme, you’ll be sent our detailed pre-departure pack which outlines each option. In the meantime, take a look at our Food and Drink Costs and Accommodation Guide to give you an idea of current prices.
We kindly ask all LTVs to make a minimum donation of £90 per week of volunteering which helps to ensure that our programmes can continue to run long after volunteers have returned home. It is important to note that we encourage all volunteers to fundraise this money so it should not necessarily be a cost incurred solely by you. Fundraising is a great way for you to raise awareness of our work here in Uganda (you will need to understand our programmes and speak clearly and passionately about why you are volunteering with us), develop your transferable skills, and hopefully have some fun!
Head over to our Fundraising page for more information.
Uganda is not only home to Soft Power Education, there are hundreds of things to keep yourself occupied over the weekends and to experience both before and after volunteering…
“Ugandans as a whole – both those working within the tourist industry and the ordinary man or woman on the street – genuinely do come across as the most warm, friendly and relaxed hosts imaginable.”
What other country can match Uganda for sheer variety? With a compact area of 241,000 square km, you’ll find an unparalleled array of wildlife, scenery and cultures. For Uganda is where east meets west Africa. East African savannahs roamed by big game favourites merge with Congo-style rainforests bristling with primates (including mountain gorilla, golden monkey and chimpanzee) and birds (many associated with the Congo forests and found nowhere else in East Africa). To these broad themes we can add local detail – wetlands, woodlands, mountains, and lakes of all sizes – to produce a mosaic of natural habitats that suport 342 mammal species and 1,008 of bird.
Whatever your area of interest, Uganda abounds in unforgettable activities and encounters. You can track chimpanzees and mountain gorillas in the depths of tropical forests; search for tree-climbing lions on the open Ishasha plains; descend into the hot depths of the Western Rift Valley in search of rare birdlife; fish for a record Nile Perch on the island-studded expanse of Lake Victoria; raft the turbulent headwaters of the Nile and marvel at the great river’s eruption through a 6m canyon at Murchison Falls; visit a traditional homestead on the remote plains of Karamoja; and feel the chill of equatorial snow on the 5,100m Rwenzori Mountains – Bradt travel guides.
In Jinja alone, there are endless activities to keep you occupied out-of-volunteering-hours. Let us help you plan your trip. Our inside knowledge can point you in the direction of the best deals, the little known highlights and the absolute must do’s. Having extensive travel experience in Uganda and East Africa we can advise you on how to build a perfect trip.