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!). LTVs 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:
We run two pre-schools: Kyabirwa Children’s Centre and Buwenda Pre School. Both pre-schools have three classes of 30 children each (top, middle and baby class). Both pre-schools operate every morning from 8:30am – 12:30pm Soft Power Education employs three permanent teachers for each of the classes who all work to a specific curriculum. Volunteers are encouraged to assist the teachers with the lesson plans in the morning and spend the afternoons planning activity sessions for the next day. Due to several reasons, SPE doesn’t encourage volunteers to take on teaching roles within the classrooms, however, we do strongly encourage individuals to plan small group activities relating to the topics the children are learning in the classroom – this is a great chance for the children to have some interactive learning time. We will send you the curriculum in advance of your arrival here so that you can begin planning out activities you would like to do and be fully prepared.
Amagezi Education Centre
The Amagezi Education Centre is a fantastic SPE hub in the centre of Kyabirwa Village. Each year over 2000 Primary 6 pupils, from our partner primary schools, spend two days at the centre involving themselves in an interactive learning programme covering lessons in Art, Drama, ICT, Science, Library and Agriculture. Volunteers are welcome to assist the AEC teachers in their lessons. If you are interested in doing this then it is very important to speak with the teacher beforehand about the lesson you would like to assist with so that you can be fully prepared. Outside of term time the AEC becomes a community hub running holiday programmes for community members.
Special Educational Needs (SEN)
The SEN Project has a number of different aspects. We run outreach clinics in four locations, support two residential units at local primary schools and organise afterschool clubs as well as partnering with other organisations to offer our skills and expertise. A physiotherapist, occupational therapist and SEN teacher work at the outreach clinics using an adapted SEN curriculum. The children who are part of the SEN Project have a wide range of physical and mental disabilities. You don’t need specific SEN experience to volunteer with this project (although of course this is not discouraged). Volunteers are welcome to assist with the adapted lesson plans. With each child having different requirements our staff are very grateful of extra hands in the classroom. Of course it is important to spend some time planning for the programme and speaking with our staff about the children’s requirements and the curriculum they’re following.
School Infrastructure Project
Our School Infrastructure Project operates throughout the year and is not linked to term times. Volunteers involved in this programme will head out on our truck to our current partner school, and spend the day painting, renovating or building classrooms. The aim of this programme is to create an inspiring learning environment for pupils and staff with a specific focus on reducing the pupil:classroom ratios. At certain times throughout the year – generally in the summer months, but also when there is a large enough group of people interested – it is possible to spend some time living “on-site” at the school. We drop you at the school on a Monday and collect you on a Friday in time for the weekend break. During the week you live and sleep in an allocated classroom. We would provide everything you need for living on-site, including a mattress for the floor, all your cooking equipment, a cook to help with meal times. You’ll just need to pay for the food on site, bring a mosquito net to prevent the bugs getting you at night and a sleeping bag to keep you cosy!
Things to note
- Please be aware that we are a small organisation, this means that we like (and encourage) our volunteers to get really stuck-in. We understand that people often come with an interest in a particular programme and of course encourage individuals to spend time where their interests and skills lie, but please be aware that your week volunteering will generally involve a timetable of all the SPE programmes and it’s important that you are aware of this beforehand. -
- Many of our programmes are linked to school term dates, if you are planning to come outside of term time then please be aware that not all programmes will be running to full capacity and it is important to check what will be going on, this is especially important if you are interested in a specific programme.
The official dates for the 2014 academic year are:
- Term 1:- 3rd February to 25th April
- Term 2:- 19th May to 8th August
- Term 3:- 8th September to 5th December
- Planning is super 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.
Our volunteers are self-funded bringing with them their own living expenses for accommodation, food and travel. By keeping the donation separate to the living costs we are able to assure our volunteers that every penny fundraised will be spent on the projects right here in Uganda. It also allows you greater flexibility to tailor the experience to suit your taste – you decide where you want to stay, what you want to eat and thereby how much you spend on those costs. Take a look at our Food and Drink Costs and Accommodation guide to give you an idea of the costs involved.
We ask our volunteers to make a minimum donation to Soft Power Education of £90 per week of volunteering. This donation is very important for SPE as it ensures that our programmes can continue to function long after you have returned home. It’s important to note that we encourage our volunteers to fundraise this money so this should not necessarily be a cost incurred solely by you. By fundraising for SPE you also make people aware of SPE and the work you are coming to do. Take a look at our Great Fundraising page for some fundraising inspiration!
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 your volunteering. Uganda has some of the most stunning and varied natural scenery in the world, from the snow covered mountains of the Rwenzoris, through the rolling savannahs of Murchison to the mighty River Nile providing the beating heart of the country. Whether you want to take a safari to Murchison Falls National Park, visit the mountain Gorillas in Bwindi, or raft the white water of the Nile, there is something for everyone. In Jinja alone there’s loads of activities to keep you occupied on your days off from volunteering. With SPE being located right on the banks of the River Nile there’s no end of fun activities to keep you entertained. 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 to build that perfect trip.