OUTSIDE
THE BOX
EXPERIENCE

to become a Better Me

 

Volunteer with us

in Kenya

Volunteer Mission

We designed the Volunteer Experience for open-minded people who are ready to unlearn common ideologies and replace those with powerful knowledge, invaluable tools and real-life experience. We want to accelerate ones inner growth which has a ripple effect and improves not just one life, but countless touched by this one person. Thus, a better world starts with a better me.

Danielle Fahey
Student, United States

“Better Me is an amazing organization! Torsten is so helpful and the Korando Educational Center is incredible; extremely welcoming and caring people all around. This project changed my life and I cannot wait to go back!!!”

 Volunteer Location

Country: Kenya
Capital:  Nairobi
Population:  43.18 million
Official languages: Swahili and English
Currency: Kenyan Shilling (KES)
Time zone: UTC+03:00

Kenya enjoys a tropical climate. It is hot and humid at the coast, temperate inland and very dry in the north and northeast parts of the country.

The Better Me Volunteer Experience is situated at the Korando Educational Centre, just 20 km outside Kisumu. It is the third biggest city in Kenya and situated on the shores of lake Victoria, in the West of the country, close to the border with Uganda.

Volunteer Program

This is a great program for volunteers from all walks of life looking for a different challenge. Especially ones that are studying to become or already are a teacher, social worker, child psychologist, coach/ mentor or someone with work experience/ talents of any kind. If you have studied or are enthusiastic about any of the above, you can be an invaluable aid to the Learning Centre and our other Youth Mentorship Programs.

Even if you don’t fit into any of the above, don’t be put off. Education can be done through many different approaches, and as long as you are willing to follow the lead of local staff, you can always add value. Just make sure to bring all your commitment and enthusiasm. As it can take some time to settle in, take on board the cultural differences and learn about our programs. We recommend volunteering for at least 3 weeks.

We invite you also to consider how this experience can help you to improve yourself. The methodology of teaching and sharing through experiences and educating through arts and other non- formal methods, is a very powerful way to learn more about yourself. Working with the children in our programs won’t only lead to them growing and developing themselves, but will also let you challenge yourself to grow and expand.

 

Volunteer Activities

Physical Education/ Sports

Every class from 1st to 8th has two 35 minute modules of ‘Physical Education’ per week. The role of the volunteer interested in it, is to prepare and lead these sessions to make the best out of the time, adapted to the age and development of each group/ child.

Teamwork, initiative, cooperation, the understanding of games rules, sportsmanship, tolerance to frustration and self-confidence are just examples of all the skills that kids can easily develop through sport. The kids from Korando don’t have a lot of experience on playing new games, explained and lead by an adult. For this reason, you will have a lot of room to teach them new sports that will challenge them.
The Kenyan curriculum is extensive, therefore the children need many hours of study to learn the subjects covered and pass their exams. Physical Education can be perfect to relax from the pressure of standard classes and learn some out-of-school skills.

We recommend you to create a professional environment with a structure of activities and games. Starting with some easy games as warm ups, yoga exercises, simple songs with choreographies, introducing the children/group to team games while improving their motor skills with any material you can find available; ropes, balls, tires… This is one of the moments of the day the children enjoy the most and creativity is the key.

Creative Arts

Children at the Centre, from 1st to 8th class, also have two modules of 35 minutes per week dedicated to Creative Arts. Children always expect this lesson with a lot of enthusiasm. Sadly, when there isn’t a volunteer to organize something for the group, the lack of resources (material, but specially human) leaves them to spend that time doing homework for other subjects, or just chatting around the classroom.

At Better Me, we really believe that creativity is an essential skill to be developed in every human being. The ability to find new solutions relies more on creativity than just on a big amount of theoretical or technical knowledge. Specially here, where the lack of resources is an everyday concern, being able to think of new solutions can be a great advantage for our pupils in the future.

Art can also be a perfect way to develop self confidence, to learn how to express emotions, how to recognize them and deal with them. Art can educate tolerance, respect, multiculturality or equality. Through art, kids express their feelings and thoughts, and makes any conversation related much easier than a traditional approach of asking them to express themselves with words.

Keep in mind that with Creative Arts, you are not limited to plastic arts. You can teach them about music, theater, dance and corporal expression. During this lesson, you can share with the children any knowledge you have or introduce any subject you are interested in through a creative path. They are not used to have access to many materials, so a few stickers, colored papers, pencils, or almost any small material you can bring, will have a huge impact in their motivation to learn from you. Most materials can be easily found in Kisumu town, where we go at least once per week. However, we encourage you to be a creative and use recycled materials, to create as little waste as possible.

You will be provided with resources built by our previous volunteers, so you will have an idea of what to expect and how Korando reacted to different experiences in the past, and support and advice during the design and implementation of your project. This way, we want to guarantee that you make the best out of your volunteering experience, and we all learn something new from it.
We have had a theater group with classes 4th to 8th, which delighted both pupils and teachers. The kids that participated took the big step of putting themselves in front of the school, and brought up some really interesting topics. Theater is a great way to open up discussions about society , how to improve it and about what worries them. After a month of work, they started to prepare, almost on their own, a second play, this time involving a few more classmates.

Bring your ideas, try to involve the teachers in them, and help us to make Korando a more creative place.

Computer Literacy

One of the achievements of this year, has been the creation of a computer room in the Korando Educational Center. 10 computers are available for the use of pupils and teachers. Each laptop is equipped with an open source software to support learning, including an offline version of Wikipedia for schools, textbooks, typing software, an interactive world map, and many short courses organized by subject with mainly audiovisual content.

For most of the kids, including the older ones, this is their first contact with a computer. For that reason, you won’t need a big or professional knowledge about informatics to be able to teach them something new when it comes to using them. Learning how to use the touchpad, how to type or how to organize folders are really basic skills that will be essential in their future.
Some of the kids, specially the ones living at the center, are really motivated every time we come to the computer room. They are already learning how to type by writing letters to the volunteers who had to leave, and learning how to use the touchpad by drawing in paint or playing the games that some of the computers include.

Some of the older ones already started to learn how to make small presentations with Powerpoint, and we hope to teach them how to use Excel as well. The possibilities are endless, and for now, we can just imagine the potential of teaching them a bit of programming or graphic design!

Our teachers would also improve the quality of their lessons if someone could teach them how to introduce the use of laptops in the classroom, complementing the explanations and exercises in the traditional way with multimedia and interactive contents. We are working on the creation of a schedule on saturdays, break times, etc., to start teaching them the basics.

The computer lessons can be held during school hours, but you can expect to work on it mainly while the kids are having free time. For this reason, the attendance would be voluntary, which will let you appreciate their motivation and interest to learn. You will be able to structure the sessions the way you feel more comfortable with, and adapt it to the level of each kid or group.

Nursery Class

The volunteer interested in helping with our nursery pupils, will work in close partnership with the current teacher to educate the more or less 30 kids that attend her lessons.

The pupils from the Nursery Class are 3 to 6 years old. They divided in three levels, baby class, middle class and final class, depending on their age. This three groups need to share the classroom and the attention of the teacher until they are 6 years old, and start with their primary education.

We have to recognize the amazing job that Norah, the nursery teacher, is doing with the youngest kids of our center. The number of kids and their age differences are a big challenge when preparing them for their primary school classes. It makes the lessons a daily challenge for one person alone.
Therefore, the help of a volunteer willing to add value to the classes and innovate would make a huge impact on the learning process of the kids. To have the possibility of splitting the class, organizing different activities adapted to the different ages, working with smaller groups and spending some time doing outdoor activities would improve our nursery class.

We would really appreciate volunteers that come with songs, games and new creative ideas to implement in the class. Nursery class pupils are still learning English, but they understand pretty well and generally behave showing good manners. Your presence, speaking to them in english, will also have a positive effect on them and their adaptation to primary school in the future.

The class already has materials such as flashcards or posters, but they lack storybooks and other learning materials. As always, only your creativity to create the lessons is the limit, but bringing some extra materials would surely facilitate your labour.

Countless Ideas/ Your Own Project

Together with our students, our volunteers also participate in cooking lessons and in the environmental club. Furthermore they can spend time reading with the smaller ones or go with the children to the nearby hill or river.
We are very keen on any new idea that can improve the education of the children, the teachers and ourselves. Having in mind the length of your stay and the possibilities of others volunteers to continue with the activity, we invite you to propose anything innovative, educational and fun. Visit the Kisumu museum, work in the garden, a special lesson about nature or about your country, an art exhibition related to any subject of your interest, are mere examples.

Also experience in fundraising, building, environmental protection, health care, financial sustainability and more is needed. We are very keen to any idea that empowers the children in our programs and make them grow with love and curiosity.

Don’t hesitate, feel free to share your knowledge and your ideas. We can create a wonderful atmosphere and bring a world of opportunities to the Centre.

Madoma Korando Children’s Learning Centre

The Korando Children Faith Foundation was first established in 1997. Its beginnings were humble and it’s journey long. In 2006 the foundation established the Madoma Korando Children’s Learning Centre. Today it is responsible for the care and education of 300+ children who otherwise couldn’t afford basics in life. At present Korando houses a child care centre, a non-formal nursery and primary school and acts as a sponsor for high-school and university students. It is offering food, shelter, healthcare and education at no cost, thereby creating opportunities previously unattainable. Aside from education, the children are taught the ideals of respect, love, environmental awareness, social and economic empowerment. Uniforms and learning materials are provided whenever possible. The focus is only toward the best education with the means available. With no help from the government, the centre survives from agriculture, occasional donations and the strength of its creator: Mama Dolfine.

dates

There are no limitations for the length of stay.

To ensure your contribution’s greatest impact, we recommend a minimum stay of 3 weeks.

groups

Our volunteer dome home can comfortably accommodate up to 8 volunteers.

This means more people to socialize and travel with, to learn different cultures and countries, to share ideas, exchange points of view and create a unique loving community.

language

School in Kenya is taught in English, which is also widely spoken by the locals.

The local languages are Luo and Swahili and can be learned quickly!

skills

If you are interest and/or have experience in teaching or mentorship, this is the perfect place for you. But anyone with an open mind who is willing to help is welcome! 

Your home away from home

Volunteers all live on the premises of the Korando Educational Center in our comfortable volunteer dome home. The building has been constructed of local materials assembled by local craftsman. Two of the domes are split into two bedrooms and a shared bathroom each, while the central dome accommodates the living room and social area. The final dome acts as an open kitchen facing the living room, and the ablutions are in a tower with a rooftop balcony. Grey water from the kitchen and bathrooms is used to irrigate the surrounding food forest (bring organic soap!), water is solar-heated, and all of the home’s LED lights are highly efficient and energy-saving. Strategically placed large windows combined with skylights ensure optimum natural light and ventilation.

A lot of thought went into creating a design that would cultivate a community of conscious and open minded humans  who seek to widen their horizons and make an impact in this world, while living in harmony with the surrounding environment and local community.

We love good food

Three meals a day are provided in our Dome Home. The food, cooked mostly by a local helper with the advice of our team, is a fusion between local and western dishes. Breakfast tends to be based around fruits, toasts, honey, jam, eggs, coffee and tea. Kenyan food has many influences, including Indian and different African flavors. Expect to eat rice, pasta, chapati (flatbread) and ugali (a corn flour dough reminiscent of mashed potato). These tend to be served with lots of different veggies dishes as well as beans, tilapia (lake fish) or omena (local silver fish). As a rule, Kenyan food is tasty and flavorsome, but not spicy. Some meals will be more familiar but don’t be afraid to try the unfamiliar too, as you’ll be missing out.

Fruits are an important part of your diet. And they are bigger, fresher and sweeter in Kenya, making them a real treat, and there are always interesting fruits available as well as more familiar varieties, including mangos, passion fruits, bananas and pineapple.

If you are keen about cooking you can also prepare your favorite dishes and share with us tips and new recipes.

Our drinking water is filtered from collected rain water. The filter station is inside the volunteer house.

NOTE: If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know when you apply for the program so we can make arrangements.

Self-catering is also possible as the house is equipped with a kitchen and grocery shopping can be done easily in Kisumu.

Why a Dome Home

At first we intended to rebuild the temporary school structures and create a sustainable green school using locally available materials. But soon it became evident that the resources needed for such a project were far beyond our possibilities. We knew we needed help, but given the number of projects out there, the chance to get seen was small. As a solution we created the vision of our Sustainable Volunteer Dome Home.

It’s unique, attractive and sustainable architectural design, in combination with its powerful purpose, turned it quickly into a catalyst for change. A permanent structure that enabled us to captivate an international audience, like a lighthouse shining into the vast ocean. Our message was heard and here we are today, having received helping hands from all over the world!

Volunteer week

 
First Day: You will be welcomed by our volunteer coordinator and introduced to the children and local staff. If undertaking the teaching volunteering program, you will be introduced to the different classes and assigned according to both the needs and your preference.

A typical volunteer day from Monday to Friday:

07:15 – 07:45 AM Breakfast
08:00 – 04:00 PM Volunteers join their projects
01:00 – 02:00 PM Lunch break
04:00 – 07:00 PM Free time to relax, play and explore.
07:00 – 08.00 PM Dinner

Note: This schedule is flexible and varies on the need of the Learning Centre and the volunteers.

Volunteer weekends

 

During the weekends, you have free time to relax or take the opportunity to explore Kisumu, wider Kenya and Eastern Africa.

A Minivan is available for trips in the area. The Lake Victoria is at our door step, as well as the Impala Park where some of the big five can be seen. Also Kakamega Rainforest, Kenyas last remaining rainforest and Mt. Elgon National Park are within 2-3 hours drive.

Long weekends can be taken to travel further afield (i.e. Mombasa, Uganda or Tanzania), or to embark on a safari (i.e. Masai Mara, Lake Nakuru) with the tea farms on the way offering perfect cultural breaks.

You can also initialize workshops or excursions with the kids, the staff or the wider community, or just spend time with us and the children, play football, volleyball and so on.

Travel to Kenya

Kisumu has its own international airport, just 15 minutes from our project site.

For volunteers from Europe we are recommending a direct flight with KLM / Kenyan Airways from Amsterdam to Nairobi and a short connection flight with Kenyan Airways to Kisumu. Our team is happy to assist you in finding the best airfares from anywhere in the world.

Our program is transparent and all inclusive

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Accommodation in our sustainable Dome Home

INCLUDED
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Utilities like Wifi and electricity

INCLUDED
Z

Donation towards our Programs

INCLUDED
Z

Airport pick-up and drop off

INCLUDED
Z

Minivan to explore the area

INCLUDED
Z

Pre-departure and Visa support

INCLUDED
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Healthy homemade Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

INCLUDED
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Drinking Water, Coffee, Tea, Snacks & Fruits

INCLUDED
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In-country 24/7 volunteer support

INCLUDED

You choose your Volunteer Period

You can stay for as long as you wish!

Choose Your

Volunteer Period

Volunteer Fee

EUR per Week

Total

EUR

2 Weeks
249
498
3 Weeks
197
591
4 Weeks
186
744
5 Weeks
179
859
6 Weeks
175
1050
7 Weeks
171
1197
8 Weeks
167
1336
9-12 Weeks
+97 per extra week
13 Weeks +
+69 per extra week

Where does your money go?

~ 38%

goes directly to cover your upkeep and volunteer coordination

This includes food supplies, transport and all utility costs.

~ 59%

is pooled with other donations and directly contributes to our programs.

Some examples: School fees, school materials, social work, infrastructure, maintenance and so on.

~ 3%

is used for administrative purposes like paper work, money transfers and so on.

Why so low?

Well, our team is made of volunteers just like you 🙂

Get Started with your application right away

Read what former volunteers say

Davide Casavecchia

Builder, Italy

“Even when the day was wearisome, because there is always something to do, in the evening, when you sit around the table with everyone, you feel happy. And it’s amazing to share this experience with those other extraordinary volunteers, which don’t hold back on anything, even helping me with my English just like those 2 wonderful women, Tania and Georgia, are doing.”

Mareile Thies

Scientist, Germany

“I recommend everyone to try what I’ve been doing – it is fantastic! Teaching the Children in the Korando Educational Center is an experience that I will cherish forever.”

Martina Scuka

Finance, Italy

“Mama’s and the local team’s priority is to start a small business and generate some income to face the cost of school fees and the continuous improvement of infrastructure. By the way, the new boys dormitory is great ! There are some ideas and I know I want to help them. I simply feel part of the Korando family and I have experienced and share it’s values. Close to me I have my orange booklet with lots of notes. I’m sure I will start writing stories. I do not want to forget this great experience!”

Leticia Prada

Teacher, Spain

“Since the first day we arrived to Kisumu I have felt like home. Mama Dolphine, the extraordinary woman who runs this amazing educational center, the kids, the teachers, Torsten and the other volunteers welcomed us warmly with songs and dancing. It was one of the sweetest moments we have ever experienced. We were so excited and happy that we didn´t know what to do! I couldn´t believe we were already there. My dream had become true!”

Justin Cole

Student, United States

“While the first five months studying at the University of Cape town in South Africa were an entirely new and eye-opening experience on their own, my last month, which I had the privilege of spending at the small Korando Education Center located a few kilometers outside Kenya’s third largest city, Kisumu, profoundly affected me in ways I could never have foreseen.”

Angela Frial

Teacher, Spain

“Without any doubt, “Korando Educational Center” has changed my life forever. I will never be the same after my experience there. August 2015 has been and always will be a before and after in my life. I went to Kisumu with the idea of helping, teaching, and giving the children as much as I can, and I came back to Madrid with more things learnt than I taught. I have been a student of the subject of life. I would never have thought that someone can learn that much in only 4 weeks.”

Georgia Bagnell

Student, Australia

“At first I found it odd that Torsten and Simon only responded to Torsty or Simmy (haha). But looking past that, my 4 weeks at Korando was the best experience. From the moment you wake up your day is filled with love, happiness and of course a little bit of chaos (the good kind). The friendships and memories I have because of Cheap Trip are ones I’ll cherish forever.
If you’re tossing up your decision between Better Me and other projects, I’d definitely recommend Better Me! You will get a real insight into the ‘African culture’ and the friendships and relationships you build with Mama, the teachers, the children and other volunteers will inspire you in many ways. Missing you all, love Cho Cho.”

Celeste Botha

Team Manager, South Africa

“Had the most wonderful time here. I felt home immediately, and the love received felt unconditional. Mama Delphine is one amazing woman and I was inspired by her story and words of wisdom. So proud of Toto and the volunteers for helping her achieve her dream of helping the community. Would visit again in a heart beat!”

Nicky Gabriels

Student, Belgium

“Amazing project with great, inspiring people and unbelievably sweet and respectful children. It’s a small organisation, which means that your personal contribution will make a difference. Although the project is still young and you have to be flexible, you will sure have an unforgetable experience here!”

Freda WanSun

Student, China

“I feel that my soul and my heart grew a lot in Africa. They say it’s the experiences you had that define you, not your material possessions. The volunteer experience in Africa with Cheapimpact is one of those, and I really cherish it.”

Pablo Penin

Police officer, Spain

“I hadn’t gone and i was missing them already. I had one of the best experience in my life with the children, mamma Dolfine and my friend Toto who is doing an amazing labour there! Everyone was so nice with me that now i have a piece of Africa in my heart forever! Miss you all!”

Start your application as soon as possible

Space is limited to 8 volunteer at a time. We encourage you to book your placement at least 6 month prior, to ensure availability for your chosen dates.

Apply Now