Special Needs Boarding School Assistant

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founded in 2006
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Coordinator | sallie
Coordinator | sallie
Volunteer in a school dedicated to giving physically and mentally challenged children a chance in life. Help them demonstrate that 'disability is not inability'. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+

About the Program

This program supports a children's special needs school in Kenya.  The principal and staff of the school would welcome volunteers with the following areas of expertise:

  • physiotherapists
  • speech therapists
  • special needs educators, especially those experienced in autistic spectrum disorders including Aspergers Syndrome
  • play therapists
  • education and clinical psychologists; counsellors
  • family and occupational therapists
  • teachers - remedial English and maths, particularly practical
  • life-skills practitioners and youth workers
  • capacity assistance in education management and IT

About the School

Gede Special School is a special needs boarding school for approximately 130 physically and/or mentally challenged children from the ages of 5 to 19, most of whom have either hearing impairment or cerebral palsy, limb dysfunction and a range of other disabilities – spina bifida, effects of polio, visual impairment, Downs’ Syndrome, autism, epilepsy, for example.

Why this is important

Children with disabilities in Kenya face even more struggle than the average Kenyan or the average disabled person in a developed country.  The children supported by Gede are often shunned by society and sometimes even their own parents. Some children have been abandoned, abused, hidden or simply ignored because of their disabilities. It is estimated that at least 800,000 Kenyan children under 17 have a disability – however the figure is probably much higher because of the stigma attached to disability.  

Gede House Kenya is a government school and funds are very short. The school has to fundraise for nearly all its supplies and facilities because it does not receive sufficient funding from government – special needs facilities, medical intervention, school supplies, medical equipment and even staff salaries are all under-funded.

Despite this Gede is a happy school where children feel accepted and supported. Their main aim is that children feel that they are cared for and accepted by the community. Many children achieve highly in the nurturing atmosphere the school provides - particularly those who have no disability at all other than deafness.

The school is keen to develop the family clinic outreach programme to educate families and communities to assist with family support and early diagnosis.

Your Role as a Volunteer

Volunteers support staff in whichever area of the school best suits their skills.  

Anyone with an aptitude for drama is welcomed by the teachers of the deaf, as so much of their teaching takes place using sign language and mime and they are quick to pick up the nuances of drama.  

Volunteers with therapy skills of any kind tend to work with teachers of the more physically challenged children.  

Anyone with special needs healthcare experience would be so useful!  Each volunteer will have a tailor-made placement outline, matching their skills and experience to local needs, to ensure their volunteering experience is useful and satisfying both for them and for the staff at the school. 

Typical day

Lessons begin at 8.00 and end at 15.10.  

There are two breaks during the morning and a lunch break between 12.10 and 14.00.  From 15.10 until 16.10 games and other activities are organised, including arts and crafts, singing and drama.  

Volunteers' working hours will vary according to the program organised for them.  They are likely to be attached to one or two teachers and will follow their timetables, going with them from class to class to share ideas and skills by team-teaching with them.  

They may be involved in meetings at lunchtime or after school, or they may use this time to get to know the staff and children better.  Volunteers often join in the after school activities.  A detailed timetable will be issued on the volunteer's first day at Gede.

Free-time activities

Volunteers stay at Turtle Bay Beach Club, just 200 metres from the beach. There are many water sports activities on offer here - just ask at the hotel for specific details.  

The hotel is right on the edge of Watamu National Marine Park, with plenty of opportunities to get involved in wildlife experiences - one of the best is the turtle rehabilitation program - our local partners will be pleased to give you details of how to take part in these activities.

Water Sports


In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Criminal Background Check
Education Requirements
at High school level
Required Documents
Life story and references
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 08:00 - 16:00

What's Included

Services by people and places


  • very comfortable accommodation at an award winning hotel on the beachfront
  • all meals and most drinks
  • airport transfers
  • local orientation, briefing and preparation
  • post placement support
  • project and placement liaison
  • contribution to project, which will be used to help fund the work of Gede

Airport Pickup at Malindi Airport

Volunteers can either be picked up at Mombasa or Malindi airport, depending on travel arrangements.  

In either case, our local partner will be there to meet volunteers as they come out of the arrivals hall and they will be taken by car to their accommodation.  

The journey time from Mombasa is just over two hours, and from Malindi it is about 30 minutes.


Volunteers will stay in an all-inclusive resort just 200 metres from the beach at Watamu. The hotel is located at the edge of Watamu National Marine Park and is surrounded by 10 acres of tropical landscaped gardens. 

Accommodation is in a single room with en suite facilities.  All rooms have a terrace or patio, air conditioning, fans, fridges and tea and coffee making facilities.

The hotel has three pools, three restaurants and bars.  

Food & Beverages

All meals and most drinks are included in the cost of the accommodation. There are three restaurants, offering a choice of buffet-style food, snacks or a la carte menu, and special dietary requirements can be catered for. A substantial packed lunch is provided on work days, as is water


Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Malindi Airport (MYD) in Malindi. We assist you to find cheap flights to Kenya.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Kenya provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Kenya you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Kenya.

Dates & Fees


Details on arrival

Volunteers may join the program at any time during the year, avoiding school holidays. Precise dates will be discussed during the application process.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
4 - 12 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
4 weeks (min. stay)
$ 2,226
5 weeks
$ 2,899
6 weeks
$ 3,571
7 weeks
$ 4,244
8 weeks
$ 4,916
9 weeks
$ 5,589
12 weeks (max. stay)
$ 7,606
Average fees
$ 595 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. people and places will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with people and places during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

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  Africa Eastern Africa Kenya  Watamu, PO Box 10

Special Needs Boarding School Assistant

Volunteer in a school dedicated to giving physically and mentally challenged children a chance in life. Help them demonstrate that 'disability is not inability'.


from $ 2,226
see price table
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

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