Providing assistance with the day-to-day needs of children in orphanages, day care centres and government run facilities that address the care and protection of children.
About the Program
Our organization ensures that all projects address real needs and that the communities in which we operate benefit. There are many social situations that affect children in Jamaica.This includes, but is not limited to, abandonment, neglect, abuse, trafficking and general lack of care. Different organizations that seek to help in addressing these issues need extra support staff to carry out their daily activities. The current social workers have hundreds of cases, which makes it difficult for them to do the necessary investigations, provide support and follow up – that’s why your help is needed. The aim of the Child Care and Protection Programme is to provide assistance to children from difficult backgrounds. Many of them do not receive the type of care, affection and education they deserve so volunteers play an important role in helping in these areas.
As a volunteer you will have the opportunity to work with children in orphanages, child care facilities, children’s homes, homes for persons with disabilities and government agencies. Some of these children are abused, neglected or have no one to care for them. Volunteers provide that added support to the facilities and they are able to help in the daily care and stimulation for the children, provide individual or group interventions that support their emotional, psychological and physical growth and development as some children require special attention. With some partner entities the children live at the facilities while at others they do not. Government agencies provide support to children in need of care and protection. However, the system is overburdened with cases to be investigated, constant follow-up is required and there is a great need to provide counselling and psychological support for children and families. Volunteers can provide much needed support in these areas.
Volunteering on the child care project allows you to make a real difference. If you are a student or have experience in social work, psychology, sociology or any related field, then this is the project for you. You can work with children who have been neglected and abused emotionally, psychologically, verbally and physically. You will work with at an orphanage, day care center or with a government agency that focuses on child care and protection alongside social workers and case managers. Your role will be to assist with case management, investigations, reporting, court observations, assisting with individual and group therapy sessions and conducting research.
Your role as the volunteer is to assist with early childhood development for children by helping to assess their development levels with simple evaluation tools. This information is then used to develop programmes designed to improve their abilities and stimulate their sensory, cognitive and motor skills through dance, music, art and craft, games and role play. It includes basic education and interactive activities that promote growth and development. Volunteers also keep a record for each child. The general day to day care (bathing, feeding, laundry, cleaning) of the children and the environment is important to ensure that children practice proper hygiene and sanitation.
Volunteering on the child care project allows you to make a real difference. If you are a student or have experience in social work, psychology, sociology or any related field, then this is the project for you.
Volunteers will also be involved in monthly outreach activities providing services and support to children in need.
Volunteering with Special Needs Children
For some partners the children being cared for have mild to severe disabilities. Based on their disabilities volunteers will assist in activities that improve their emotional, social, intellectual and physical development. Volunteers with lots of energy and a desire to work with special needs children are welcome to join this project. Volunteers work at schools or centres that have children with various disabilities such as cerebral palsy, autism, dyslexia, down syndrome and others. These partners offer volunteers the opportunity to work alongside local staff to help in the classroom and with day to day activities, providing care and attention for the children. Some schools are divided into sections focusing on visually impaired, hearing impaired and physically disabled children; and volunteers are assigned to help in one of these specific areas.
The project is located in poor rural communities in Manchester -Jamaica, normally 30-45 minutes away from the town centre. These communities typically lack the resources to assist persons in need and also government assistance is lacking.
Safety and Support
Traveling in and around the Caribbean is safe, but like anywhere in the world, there are just some basic travel and safety tips you should follow.
Your safety is our number one priority. We ensure that programmes, projects, accommodations and communities are safe for our volunteers to work and live by conducting risk assessments and preparing risk management and safety plans. We provide a detailed orientation the day after arrival which includes the necessary safety tips. Background and reference checks of staff, host families and volunteers are completed. We have first aid qualified staff and proper emergency response planning.
As a responsible provider of volunteer placement opportunities, we ensure that we provide information and support about safety and security to our volunteers. With our risk management and safety plans across programmes and countries, we take a comprehensive approach and provide volunteers with the relevant knowledge needed for them to keep safe, secure and healthy while volunteering on our programmes.
Before leaving home our staff will provide safety tips and information to volunteers. On arrival there is a comprehensive one day orientation that further helps to prepare volunteers for their experience. It covers a wide range of topics that allows the volunteer to understand the local culture, programme objectives, expectations, health and safety and other key elements. All host families and programme partners are required to adhere to the risk management and safety plans. The plan guides the identification, assessment, analysis, mitigation of all risks associated with each programme and procedure of our organization.
Our team is available 24-hours each day to provide support to volunteers if the need arises.
Volunteers will travel by taxi to and from their projects. On orientation day a staff member will travel with you on a taxi and show you the route and how to find your taxi area. While traveling around we advise that you take only the registered taxis which are clearly marked. We also recommend that you:
Orphanage (Birth to 2 years)
Orphanage and Day Care Centre (3-6 years)
Working at a Government Agency
These working schedules are only a rough guideline and can be changed.Volunteers will also be involved in monthly outreach activities providing services and support to children in need.
It is not only about work, although that is
important. Once per week we coordinate a social and cultural event for you. You
get to learn more about the culture of the island by learning patois (the local
language), dancing to the sweet reggae and dancehall music, cooking delicious
meals and exploring other aspects of the truly unique Jamaican culture.
Volunteer fees cover the following:
Two weeks before arrival the volunteer will receive by email the name and picture of the driver who will be picking them up at the airport. The driver will have a sign and special instructions will be in email sent. The volunteer will be picked up after exiting the airport, just outside the arrival area. The volunteer can arrive either at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston or the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. The travel time from Kingston is 2 hours and from Montego Bay 3 hours.
Staying with a Caribbean family allows you to experience the true hospitality and warmth of islanders. Think about how nice it will be to live with a Caribbean family, eat home cooked meals, listen to the accents and become a part of the family and the community. This will be a priceless part of the experience; authentic cultural immersion. You will feel the vibe and connection to the family and the community – join us, Respond...Discover...Change Lives.
Each host family is carefully selected. A staff member visits the home and completes an assessment survey which takes into consideration safety, basic amenities (running water, electricity), proper sanitation, sufficient ventilation, adequate storage and a family-friendly atmosphere. Once the standards are met, a background check is done of all persons in the household and if everything is satisfactory the host family is provided with an orientation, a host family manual and then begins hosting volunteers. There is a quarterly visit to the host family to ensure standards are being maintained.
Living with a Caribbean family is your home away from home. You will become a member of your family, experiencing the camaraderie, humor, support and social activities that define Caribbean family life. Volunteers are encouraged to participate in family activities such as going to the beach, visiting other family members, playing games.
A month before your arrival your host family is provided with details about you so they can fully prepare for your visit. Host families are usually located within 15-45 minutes of your programme or project. Your host family will prepare your breakfast and dinner but you are responsible for doing your laundry and keeping your room and bathroom clean.
You may not want to leave after you have met your Caribbean family – so Respond…and come to the Caribbean to Discover and Change Lives.
individual volunteers you will live with a host family. Groups can live with a
host family or at hostel/hotel. Note that the price quoted is for host family
and hostel/hotel request is done on a case by case basis.
Breakfast options include typical Caribbean breakfast dishes such as fried fritters, fried dumplings, breadfruit, bread, callaloo, ackee and saltfish, steamed vegetables, porridge or light options such as fruit, cereal, toast, coffee and tea. Vegetarian and vegan options are also available.
Dinner options include chicken (fried, baked, stew, curried, jerk), fish, mutton, beef, pork along with plain rice, rice and peas, yam, boiled banana, potatoes, steamed or raw vegetables and a drink. Vegetarian and vegan options are also available.
Volunteers can note any special dietary requirement and this will be accommodated.