We need volunteers to help build homes for poor persons and renovate schools in the Caribbean.
There are many poor and vulnerable persons in the Caribbean who are in need of a basic necessity – a home. A place where they can rest at nights and be free from the dangers that they encounter on the streets or in the deplorable structures they now live. These persons are displaced by natural disasters, unable to take care of themselves, have experienced hardships through loss of property or job, terminal illness, have no family or have met hard times and are in need of support.
Everyone is entitled to a safe, clean and secure place to call home no matter their socio-economic condition. It is a basic right. Many schools in the Caribbean are also in urgent need of repairs and the funding is not available. These situations are often inhumane, unsafe and unsanitary.
About the Program
Volunteers will get to assess the living conditions of persons in need, design a plan of action to assist and help in the actual repairs or building of a self-contained home for persons in need. This relates to persons displaced by man-made or natural disaster, living on the streets or living in unacceptable housing solutions. You will also help to do repairs in schools and other places of need. These facilities urgently need repairs to bathrooms, desks, chairs, kitchen, staff room and play areas. They lack the resources where physical or human to do these repairs.
The work generally includes clearing land, mixing concrete, making steel posts, laying blocks, repairing furniture and painting among other things. Volunteers will have good support working with a local skilled person who will guide you through your daily tasks.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Volunteers can note any special dietary requirement and this will be accommodated.