Volunteers Heart For Africa

Volunteers heart For Africa needs people like you to donate your time to serve the needy communities. There are opportunities in all aspects of our operations. Anyone with a heart to reach out and serve orphans and widows in Africa will find exciting projects to bring God's love to these deserving people. "Please be part of this life changing project"

 

Frequently asked Questions (FAQ)
Is there any fee to be paid for my participation in the VHFA volunteer programs?
Yes, the fee will depend on the period of your stay at the VHFA. This fee must be paid a day after your arrival. Please see the Program Fee section for more information concerning project costs.

Will accommodation be provided?
Yes, the VHFA will provide you with accommodation in a furnished room to yourself depending on the number of volunteers during your stay. You will most likely live in a volunteer compound with other volunteers in Mafubira- Jinja.

What is the accommodation like?
You will be assigned your own or shared bedroom with a lock (depending on availability). There are always other people in the house who will provide you with all the necessary assistance that you require. In your room there will be a bed with mattress and in some cases a table and chair. It is advisable to bring along a mosquito net and a spare bed sheet, however you can purchase these items upon your arrival. Most houses have inconsistent or no running water and in this case you will have to make do with a bucket shower and pit toilet. The house where most volunteers will stay has electricity however when power goes off, gas lanterns will be provided to volunteers.

Can I choose the type of accommodation I prefer?
Unfortunately not, but the VHFA will always provide you a decent and secure place to stay according to Ugandan standards as set out above.

Who pays for accommodation during placement?
Your participation fee covers your furnished room and other facilities.

Will meals be provided?
Yes, you will be provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. A typical breakfast would consist of tea/coffee/cocoa, oats/porridge, bread with jam/butter or an egg omelet. At lunchtime you will be provided with meals consisting mainly of rice, beans, fried potatoes and other vegetables. A typical dinner would consist of red beans, chapatis (similar to naan bread), posho(made from corn/maize flour), matoke (cooked green bananas), various kinds of red and white meats and a wide variety of vegetables such as eggplants, carrots, potatoes, cassava (tree roots) and peas. The food is always freshly prepared and appropriately handled to minimize the chance of volunteers falling ill due to upset stomachs during their placement. The food is very tasty and always served in large quantities- so you don’t need to worry that you will get hungry!

Who pays for my meals during my placement?
The VHFA will provide all meals from the funds paid (participation fee) by the volunteer. Volunteers will not have to pay any extra money for their meals during the course of their placement, unless they choose to eat outside the house or buy additional snacks. However, volunteers will be expected to purchase their own bottled water which is readily available and relatively inexpensive.

What do I need to know about living in Uganda?
Language:
Most Ugandans speak English (as it is now their official language) which makes it easy to teach, counsel and communicate to the local community. However volunteers are encouraged to learn some of the local language ‘Luganda’ before and during their volunteer placement as this will enhance their volunteer experience, especially in Mafubira - Nakabango villages.

Food:
The Ugandan diet consists mainly of rice, red beans, chapatis (like naan bread), eggs, bread, Posho (made from maize/Corn flour), matoke (cooked green bananas), various kinds of red and white meats and a wide variety of vegetables and fruits.

Transport:
Getting around usually involves being driven in cars, taxi buses and motorbike/bicycle taxis. Airport pick up and drop off is included in your participation fee.

Clothes:
Ugandans take great pride in their appearance and personal hygiene. Volunteers are encouraged to dress in smart casual modest attire. Male and female volunteers should wear long/knee length shorts/shirts, long pants and sleeved shirts/tops (e.g. t-shirts, not small strapped singlets). It is advisable that female volunteers bring at least 3 long skirts and male volunteers bring a few shirts to teach in or for attending formal functions such as church, parties, wedding…

Washing:
Volunteers will have the opportunity to hand wash their own clothes and bed sheets when they wish using several buckets of water and washing soap/detergent.

Spare time/Security:
Uganda is generally secure and stable. However we do not advise volunteers to venture outside the compound alone or at night time. If volunteers want to go to Mafubira or Jinja for shopping or to use the internet, usually one of the VHFA staff member will accompany you. You will have the opportunity to access the internet and shops/supermarket about once a week. Volunteers can also travel around Uganda or other countries during weekends and/or before or after their placement.

Communication:
Mobile phone reception is generally good and reliable. You can purchase a local Ugandan SIM card for about US$1 and airtime (phone credit) is readily available. There are a lot of internet cafes around Jinja which costs around US$2 per hour. However, if you have a laptop you can purchase your internet modem at $50 and monthly average rate of $25.

Money:
You can withdraw a maximum of about US$400 in the currency of Ugandan Shillings at one time at a ATM machine using a Visa debit card or Visa card around Jinja Town. MasterCards are not as widely accepted as Visa cards in Uganda. There are also currency exchange facilities in Jinja. You will get the best exchange rates if you are using $100 notes of US currency. However, to be able to exchange money, the currency needs to be from at least the year 2000, as any older currency will not be accepted.

Power
You will need a British power/electricity adaptor to charge any electrical items that you bring with you.

Do many volunteers get very sick while on placement?
Generally no. No volunteers have had any serious illness during their placement (including malaria). Usually the only illness that volunteers have during their placement is stomach upsets and the occasional cold. We advise that volunteers only drink bottled or boiled water and eat in the house or at restaurants recommended by the VHFA staff and not at road side food carts- this is the quickest way to get sick! Volunteers must consult a doctor and receive adequate medical advice, medications and vaccines before their arrival in Uganda. No volunteer has ever contracted malaria during their placement however it is still advisable that volunteers take malaria pills and consistently use tropical strength insect repellant during their time in Uganda. It is also recommended that volunteers take multi-vitamins during their stay to boost their immune system.

I want to fundraise money to during my placement with VHFA, what can I do?
Donating funds to VHFA is very much appreciated, but of course your time and commitment are more than enough. Before or during your volunteer placement or when you return home you may wish to donate extra funds to help VHFA’s work. You can choose where you want to donate your money, or Alfred Charles the CEO/Founder can suggest where your money will be most effectively utilized. As VHFA is a non-profit organization, donations are vital to continue the community development projects that VHFA run.

Do I have to be a professional to participate?
You do not need any formal qualifications for any of our placements. You can teach many subjects in our Kindergarten school and participate in other areas of our program activities without any professional qualifications. However it is preferred if volunteers have some prior knowledge or skills relevant to their placement, e.g. knowledge concerning HIV/AIDS if you are part of the HIV/AIDS program.

Do I get to choose the town in which to serve?
No currently it is only within the Jinja area
Can I come at any time of year?
Yes, however for those coming specifically for teaching we can only place you within the following periods (terms) in the Ugandan school calendar: February to April, May to August and September to December. However, due to the unpredictability of the Ugandan School system, school term dates may change without any prior notice. Therefore in case of any changes we ask the participating volunteer to be flexible. In between these periods you can still keep your room if you are staying beyond one school term but you may be expected to bear your other living expenses. During the school holidays you may like to volunteer in another VHFA program.

Is training and orientation provided for volunteers?
Training, orientation and preparation are provided by VHFA and the school authorities prior to and during your service (for those in the teaching program). For all other volunteers there will be an orientation session when you arrive.

What about teaching materials?
The school authorities will provide textbooks, course material and syllabi. Sometimes the schools may not be in a position to supply the textbooks. If you would like to provide any extra materials, you can either wait until you arrive to purchase these items in Uganda or ask VHFA what they need before your arrival.

What is the difference between a town and a village?
Towns usually have pipe-borne water and bottled water can also be easily bought in stores. Many medical facilities are available in bigger towns. Electricity is quite reliable as well as telephones and some internet cafes. The opposite is true of a village in Uganda.
For any other questions, please feel free to contact our volunteer project coordinator by email: vhfa.ug@hotmil.com

Program Fees are in US Dollars
Even though you are generously giving up your time to volunteer with our organization, there is a participation fee that you have to pay. This is to cover your living expenses during your stay in Uganda. As the VHFA is a non-profit organization some of your program costs also help us to continue our work with less fortunate people in the community and continue expanding our community development projects.
This fee must be paid a day after your arrival. Volunteers must stay for a minimum of two weeks, and can stay for an indefinite period of time. For those intending to stay for more than six months special arrangements will be made for your stay and upkeep.

The program costs for individuals are as follows:
USD$105 per week per person

Our program fees include the following services:
• Prompt customer service answering your call and emails.
• Pre-departure Orientation Guide. Includes detailed travel, safety & cultural information and many tips that will make your trip planning easier.
• Detailed Fundraising Guide that will help you raise the funds needed to travel, as well as provide donations to the project.
• Accommodations: Home stay, shared volunteer residence, guesthouses. Safe, clean, comfortable local housing, inspected by the CEO.
• Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Special meals at request. Vegetarians are catered for too.
• Airport meet and greet by our VHFA CEO (At any time, any day!)
• Guidance and support of a local project coordinator, 24/7 in case of emergency
• Orientation/city briefing on arrival by our VHFA CEO coordinator.
• Placement in a quality project, allowing you to maximize your time and efforts in a good cause.
• Transportation to project site with our VHFA project coordinator. Includes introduction to local staff and community members with whom you will be working.
As for your accommodation, the majority of our volunteers live with a local host family. These families have a working relationship with the VHFA and are deemed suitable by the CEO based on sanitation, security and comfort. A home-stay provides firsthand insight into the local culture and helps with learning the local language. It also acts as an additional in-country support network. In some locations, a local guesthouse or shared volunteer accommodations are provided. Although you should not expect western standards, the accommodation are good by local standards, clean and secure. Although we cannot guarantee to meet all requests, we will do our best to meet your requests.
Airport Pick Up: Upon arrival, our volunteer program coordinator and a staff will be at the Airport to pick you up. Please do not forget to send us your flight information as we would be waiting to pick you up. We guarantee you will never miss us at the airport.
Participation Fee does not include:
• Airfares getting to Uganda, travel insurance, vaccines and other medicines
• Visa, which can be obtained from the Ugandan embassy in your home country before arrival, or upon arrival at Entebbe International airport. Visas cost US$50 for a maximum of 3 months. If you are planning to stay for longer than 3 months, you can renew your visa in Kampala before the date of expiry
• Extra In-country transport costs for volunteer’s leisure tours especially on weekend.
• Drinking water, which will cost approximately US$7 per week which will buy 2 litres of water per day. Shortly after your arrival you will be taken to Jinja to buy water and any other supplies that you need
• Any additional snacks or gifts that you may wish to buy

 

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