Education lies at the core of our development objectives, because knowledge builds individual capacity, understanding, and ultimately, greater choice.
About the Program
Not everyone living in this community has been privileged enough to attend school or have access to other forms of vocational education (the elders and also many youth today have not had a formal education). The economy is shifting; there are now many jobs outside of the realm of agriculture. To benefit from new opportunities, people need basic skills in a range of areas. Values have also shifted towards parents (or siblings) prioritizing an education for their children or siblings' school fees. Outside of schools, young and old, there is also a real determination to learn, which is great to see!
We work on a number of educational initiatives with both adults and children, both inside and outside of the traditional school environment. We aim to offer learning opportunities to a wide proportion of the community - both academic, vocational or social. Big Beyond supports a number of schools in rural villages bordering the National Park, with kids from all age groups. Our role in schools is to help teachers design and deliver a more engaging and productive program for their students, as well as helping to offer a range of extra curricular activities.
Big Beyond Uganda volunteers live within the Great Rift Valley on the edge of a mountain rainforest called Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, in the far south west of the country. It's a breathtaking little corner of the world, home to one of the world's most endangered primates - the incredible Mountain Gorilla.
Green, lush, mountainous and remote, it's not dry dusty Africa some may know and you'll be travelling away from the masses, to a very friendly community we know you'll enjoy living in. We're nestled in a beautiful small village right on the southern borders of one of Africa's most impressive national parks, surrounded by rolling hills, majestic lakes, tropical rainforest, extinct volcanoes - it's an awesome landscape with immense biodiversity.
Projects are based in and around the "town" (or big village) which will sometimes involve walking to reach the people you're working with, particularly if it's the Batwa tribe who live right on the edges of the forest where there's no road. It's a place where you'll keep fit (if you like that sort of thing), but for those that don't, nothing is very far away. In your free time the hiking is brilliant, the wildlife surreal, you're surrounded by nature and you get to live and work with fun, inspiring local people. This unique opportunity offers you authentic immersion in rural Africa where you'll feel totally safe, relaxed and inspired every day.
There are a lot of varied and exciting roles which you can fill, depending on your specific knowledge.
You're well placed to explore one of the most beautiful regions of Africa! We can help organise incredible adventures, from cultural explorations to wildlife and wellness experiences. The local area is perfect for trail running, hiking, gentle strolls, bakiga dancing and learning new skills from the local people. Of course one thing you shouldn't miss when you come to this part of the world is gorilla trekking. You need a permit to track gorillas in Bwindi and only 12 permits are issued per day per gorilla group, in order to limit human to animal contact. We can help organise your permit. Day or weekend trips could also include climbing the Virunga Volcanoes, relaxing at Lakes Bunyoni or Mutanda, or perhaps safari at Queen Elizabeth National Park Activities are not included in the programme, fee but we will help make arrangements for you in advance of your trip so you can sit back, relax and enjoy the excitement of what’s to come. If you’d prefer to decide once you’re out there - that’s no problem either, just speak to our expert team in Uganda and they’ll organise everything for you.
You’ll be escorted by one of the Big Beyond team from Kigali, across the border to your new home in Uganda. The journey is a combination of private vehicle and public transport. The journey takes about 5 hours door to door and goes past some beautiful scenery, so get a window seat and start getting excited!
Our cosy and rural retreat has bed space for ten people. Depending on how many volunteers are around, you may have your own room, although it’s more likely that you’ll be sharing. Some rooms have bunk beds, others singles and there’s a double bed for any resident couples. Bedding and mosquito nets are provided. We harvest water from rain and heat it over a fire, so you'll be able to indulge in hot showers. There's also a cosy, communal living and dining area, both inside and out.
We will provide three vegetarian, nutritious and locally-sourced meals a day, sometimes traditionally Ugandan (chapatti, sweet potato and rice) and sometimes a little more international (pizza, homemade bread and lentil curry). There's not refrigeration and there's also not a wide range of food available here, as you may be used to, but we try to be creative at mealtimes.