VOLUNTEER PROJECT, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls is best known for being one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World – this enormous mass of water, constantly flowing and falling over 110m (twice the height of North America’s Niagara falls), has attracted millions of travellers since its discovery in 1855. These falls, located on the border between Zambia to the north and Zimbabwe to the south, are known to locals as Mosi-oa-Tunya (“The Smoke That Thunders”) – they have since given rise to Victoria Falls town (Zimbabwe). With a population of approx. 36 000, the town’s economy is heavily dependent on the tourism industry.
While a few people have benefited enormously from the tourism boom in the town centre (hotels, lodges, tours, etc.), people living in the surrounding rural areas and local communities, often face economic hardship and poverty. Many of these locals survive through subsistence farming and in most cases, do not have access to basic amenities like electricity or running water. The massive contrast between the developed town centre and it’s rural surroundings, makes this an ideal volunteering destination. Volunteers have the opportunity to live in a house in town, while working in areas where their help is much-needed.
VOLUNTEER PROJECT OPTIONS
Name: Rose of Charity Home
Principal: Ms Sima Moyo
Location: Chinotimba (5kms from house)
This orphanage is located in the low-income local community of Victoria Falls, called Chinotimba. It is a permanent home for 23 children (ages 3 – 18) who have been orphaned, mostly through losing their parents to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In addition to these 23 permanent residents, the home also provides meals and after-school care for approximately 55 additional children, on a daily basis – this number is, sadly, constantly increasing. With very little funding from the local government, the existence and operation of this home is largely dependent on sponsors and donations. With only 3 permanent staff members, including the principal, the home also relies heavily on volunteer help, both local and international.
- Assist children with homework in the afternoons
- Assist with cooking and serving meals
- Cleaning and overall maintenance of the home
- Assist with fundraising initiatives and events
- Monitor children during free and playtime
- Accompany and walk with the young children to/from school
- Saturday feeding optional
08:00 – 16:00 (Monday – Friday) – The children get home at around 12pm so working hours are flexible.
*Transport to/from project included
Rural Village Childcare Option
Name: Sizinda Kindergarten
Principal: Ms Blessed Ndlovu
Location: Sizinda Village (17kms from house)
Sizinda Kindergarten was established in 2014 as part of an internationally sponsored community development initiative. Until then, the children of Sizinda village had no access to formal education or daytime care – a few of the local adults would conduct informal classes under trees in the village, but these were often poorly attended. The facility currently educates 26 children between the ages of 3 – 5yrs. At the moment, the kindergarten is dependent on volunteer teachers from the community who are paid a small fee by the parents, if and when extra money is available. A feeding programme is also run at here, but only when resources allow.
The local teachers often do not have any formal education, themselves, so international volunteers play an important role in not only assisting with the kids, but also empowering the teachers.
TOWN CHILDCARE OPTION:
Name: Angels Pre-School
Principal: Ms Patience / Ms Sally
Location: Vic Falls (800m from house)
Angels Pre-School is situated in the town of Vic Falls – it currently has approx. 65 children between the ages of 3 – 5yrs. Most of these children live in the local surrounding area and are fortunate enough to attend school here. The biggest challenge facing this pre-school, is the teacher-child ratio. With only a handful of teachers, giving individual attention to children struggling in class in not an option. Because of teacher-shortages, only basic language and numeracy classes can be conducted. Volunteer help enables the school to offer a far more comprehensive education including aspects such as art, sport and music.
- Assist local teacher in the classroom with lessons
- Assist with food preparation and serving
- Run/conduct art, music, sport activities and educational games
- Cleaning and Admin duties
- Monitor children during free playtime
- Assist with school functions and fundraising initiatives
08:00 – 13:00 (Monday – Friday)
*Transport to/from project included
PRIMARY SCHOOL / EDUCATION:
Rural Village Primary School Option
Name: Monde Primary School
Principal: Mr Chuma
Location: Monde Village (12kms from house)
Monde Primary School is located in the rural village of Monde – even though the school has been in operation since the early 90s, the current building was only built in 2012. Until then, students were taught under trees and under informal shelters in smaller sections of the village. Through international sponsors and volunteer help, the school now has solid structures in place, providing a safe learning environment for its 301 students. However, the school still faces many challenges including the lack of funding, no running water or electricity, teacher shortages and a lack of resources (books, stationery, educational equipment, etc.). Volunteers placed at this school, not only lessen the workload of the teachers, but more importantly get to teach the children about the outside world – many of them have never ventured very far outside this village.
TOWN PRIMARY SCHOOL OPTION:
Name: Shalom Primary School
Principal: Ms Sibanda
Location: Mkhosana (5kms from house)
Shalom Primary School in located in Mkhosana, a high-density lower-income community just outside the Vic Falls Town centre. The school was built by a local couple who saw the need for an additional primary school in Mkhosana, due to the high number of young children in the community. The school currently has just over 100 students, aged between 5 – 13yrs, and is currently being expanded to accommodate 2 more classrooms. Due to private funding, the school has a limited number of teachers, with an ever-growing number of students – because of this, the school’s focus is purely on the academic side of things. Volunteers at the school allow for greater individual attention to be given to the students, as well as the opportunity to offer extra-mural activities such as sport, music and art – these do not exist when there are no volunteers at the school.
- Assist main teacher with classroom lessons
- One-on-One sessions with students who are struggling with certain subjects/lessons
- Admin duties
- Coordinate extra-mural activities such as sport, music and art
- Assist with school events and fundraising initiatives
- Monitor students during free time (lunch breaks)
08:00 – 14:00 (Monday – Friday)
*Transport to/from the school is included
All our volunteers will be accommodated at our volunteer house in Victoria Falls Town. The house can accommodate 20 volunteers and has the following features:
- Located approx. 3.5kms from main town centre – 20 – 25mins walk.
- 4 bedrooms available (one large with 4 bunk beds plus en-suite bathroom, perfect for a small group)
- 2 full bathrooms (1 with bath tub; en-suite with shower) plus additional single toilet
- Air-conditioning in all bedrooms
- Large open-plan lounge and dining area (with cable tv)
- Kitchen with stove, microwave, fridge, etc.
- Wi-Fi available but capped at 35GB per month so only for social media, emails, etc.
- Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner provided daily
- Very safe and quiet neighbourhood
- 7-eleven convenience store approx. 5mins walk
- Transport to/from projects included
- Laundry service is provided at the volunteer house and charged at 5USD per bag
Volunteers need to get a 30-day Business Visa Stamp upon arrival, not Tourist… Advise volunteers to get a double-entry as they will more than likely take a day trip or overnight in Chobe (Botswana safari tour) at some point. Single-entry costs approx. 38USD while double-entry costs approx. 45USD.
*Please consult your country’s visa regulations and requirements prior to travel
Volunteers need to arrive in Vic Falls on a Sunday as Orientation Days are on held on Mondays
Local SIM cards cost aprox 1USD and WhatsApp Data bundle is about 4USD per month (Zimbabwe has different data packages depending on what you want to use it for). Airtime/Talktime can also be purchased for calls – this is bought in USD amounts as per normal.
Due to the collapse of the local Zimbabwean currency, all goods and services in Vic Falls are priced in US Dollars – this is therefore the cash currency that is used here. Grocery items purchased at supermarkets and convenience stores are averagely-priced, however, eating out at one of the many western restaurants and bars, can become pretty expensive (Burger & Fries, Pizza, Steak meal, etc. are priced between 15 – 25USD), so good budgeting can be important for younger travelers – because we provide 3 meals per day at the volunteer house, 7 days a week, these outings do not need to be frequent.
Free-Time Activities available in Vic Falls
- Zambezi River Sunset Cruise – US$55.00
- Victoria Falls Unguided Tour – US$30.00 (additional US$20.00 for guide)
- Elephant Encounter (no rides) – US$75.00
- Zip-Line Canopy Tour – US$53.00
- Bungee jump – US$160.00
- Vic Falls Gorge Swing – US$95.00
- Abseiling – US$65.00
- Boma Dinner with African dance show – US$65.00
- Devils Pool swim – US$140.00
- Helicopter flight over falls – US$150.00
- Zambezi Canoe tour – US$150.00
- White-water rafting – US$120.00
- * Please note national park fees may apply – please confirm final price at time of booking
- * All prices include transport to/from volunteer house