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Volunteering at New Hope Children’s Home and Community School, Mombasa

Volunteering in Africa has been something we have felt strongly about for a long time. Elissa particularly wanted to help out with orphaned children and in a school and Pete wanted to help with wildlife.

The first of our two volunteering placements was with New Hope Children’s Home and Community School, Mombasa.

New Hope Orphanage and Childrens School was located in busy little village about 30 minutes from the centre of town

New Hope Children's Home and Community School was located in busy little village about 30 minutes from the centre of town

In order to do this volunteer work in Kenya we researched several organizations who offer the opportunity. The one we found that had experience and appeared be the right one was through I-to-I. Although the program was run efficiently, we would not recommend that anyone volunteer through this organization, for the simple fact that not one dollar of the money you spend to participate in the program actually goes towards the cause. Additionally as the programs know that we have paid to volunteer, the Directors at the actual program don’t like to ask you to ‘do anything’. So in terms of helping, it’s completely up to you to use initiative.

We paid £600 each for one week volunteering at New Hope. This amount paid for:

:: Accommodation at the Volunteer House

We shared this house with 6 other volunteers

We shared this house with 6 other volunteers

:: Our Volunteer Guide Lucy who showed us around Mombasa on our arrival and was then our main contact throughout the week

:: Breakfast and Dinner

:: Allocation of our preferred program

With that important issue aside in terms of the work we did, the experience was terrific and one that we hope to do again in the future. The children are beautiful and have such an amazing outlook on life even if their future is uncertain. We learnt just as much from them as they did from us.

Some seriously cute kids...

Some seriously cute kids...

Each day we arrived at the school around 9:30am (the kids were required to get there at 7am and their school day finishes in early evening with games – Mon to Sat). We then decided if we wanted to assist in a classroom, paint the school buildings, help out in the orphange or help with the cleanup of a construction site where new classrooms were being built. Over the course of the week we tried to do a bit of everything.

We corrected Grade 2 English while Madame Beatrice taught Swahili

We corrected Grade 2 English while Madame Beatrice taught Swahili

Preparing lunch at the orphanage

Preparing lunch at the orphanage - the orphanage is home to about 30 children, the youngest was 18 months old and the oldest was 17.

Busted! Pete taking Time Out in the Computer Room

Busted! Pete taking Time Out in the Computer Room.

Most of our work however was spent on the construction site. Our choice to do the hard manual labour in 40 degree heat was because we felt that this was the way we could be most helpful.

Clearing the rubble

Clearing the rubble

These older students would help us out in their lunch break

These older students would help us out in their lunch break

Team Cleanup - Pete, Sarah and Elissa

Team Cleanup - Pete, Sarah and Elissa

Dirty and Exhausted...

Dirty and Exhausted... Rubble was removed by using empty cement bags. This construction site had no wheel barrows and no lifts to transport rubbish from the second floor to the ground floor. We carried bags and bags down 2 flights of stairs to clear these rooms

At recess and lunch we played games with the children. They seemed to love having us there  and would get so excited whenever we bought out our camera to take pictures of them. Once the photo is taken, all the kids grab at you so they can see themselves in the screen. Soccer was a popular game as was Hopscotch and ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf‘.

Playing ball with the boys of New Hope

Playing ball with the boys of New Hope

The wolf catches the kids at 'dinner time'

The wolf catches the kids at 'dinner time'

Half way through the week, one of the grade 5 students told us that her class was without a teacher that afternoon for English and Creative Arts. With permission from staff, we both taught Grade 5. We were politely called Mr Peter and Madame Elissa.

The very enthusiastic Grade 5 class

The very enthusiastic Grade 5 class

We have to say that these kids are extremely well behaved. As we arrived at class, they all stood and welcomed us to their classroom. They were all extremely eager to participate and would yell out ‘Cher Cher’ (pronounced ‘CHA’, short for teaCHER) to answer our questions. We did ask the kids who would teach them if we weren’t there, and they are so disciplined that they actually allow the ‘Class Monitor’ (so one of the students) to take the class.

Mr Peter with Grade 5

Mr Peter with Grade 5

Creative Arts was an interesting subject. When we asked the kids what they usually do in this class, they said they draw – ANYTHING. So we decided to teach them about Australian Animals. Our attempts on the blackboard are pretty pitiful but they shared paper and  coloured pencils with each other and eagerly copied down the images.

Pete felt more qualified to take Creative Arts...

Pete felt more qualified to take Creative Arts...

A school and orphanage such as New Hope requires constant funding and support. We now have the details of the School Director so if anyone was ever interested in volunteering, we would happily put you in contact with the right people.

The entire New Hope School - a total 450 students

Elissa and Sarah with the entire New Hope School - a total 450 students

Check out more photos of our experience with the children in our gallery:

  • Rhino

    Hey guys,

    so you finally have made your way to Africa 🙂
    Good to see!

    Enjoy your way to Cape Town and, of course, Madagascar!
    Watch out!

    Cheers,
    Marlene + Rhino

  • Bridgee1

    Wow! That's all that really comes to mind when I read this… WOW WOW WOW!

    Good on you guys. Awesome work.

    Love, Bridg

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