This amazing program in the village of Mwandi supplies the most vulnerable in society with a safe place in which to raise their families. The majority of people in the village live in mud huts which are not built well enough to withstand the weather conditions. During the rainy season the homes deteriorate considerably and eventually the walls and grass roof give in and the hut collapses. Due to limited resources in the community and as most of the local people live on less than $1.00 per day they do not have the materials or financial resources to repair or rebuild their homes. Love Volunteers have partnered with an organisation in Zambia to provide housing to those in great need. There is a long list of families who desperately need a new home. Over 140 homes have already been completed which house over 800 orphans and their caregivers. However, there are many other families on the list, mainly people with disabilities, grandparents caring for their orphaned grandchildren, or those who are abandoned or neglected by their extended families. Volunteers are needed to support the efforts of the local organization and family members who also contribute their time to the construction of their house. The United Nations states that everyone has the right to adequate housing, and this project aims to deliver this fundamental right to impoverished Zambians.
Goals of this Project:
- Provide quality housing to impoverished and disadvantaged Zambians
- Provide safe, healthy homes to enable families to live happier, healthier lives
- Improve the future prospects of some of Zambia’s most impoverished people, and help them to break the poverty cycle
- Expose volunteers and locals to new cultures
Volunteers play an essential role in this program, supplying a willing workforce to help the benefiting family and program staff build the homes. Program staff are onsite to supervise the construction of each home. Volunteers will help construct homes in three basic sizes, determined by the size and needs of the family. At this time all the houses are traditional mud houses with metal sheet roofing. In the future there are plans to construct basic brick houses and prefab concrete houses which are much stronger and can last up to up to fifty years. Although some construction experience would be advantageous it is not a requirement for this program. Volunteers can help in many areas and will be assigned tasks based on their ability. Working outdoors can be hard so volunteers need to be physically fit, have a positive attitude and a genuine willingness to help. Volunteers will gain a huge amount from helping the disadvantaged into a safe and healthy home, from the pleasure of ‘doing good’, to construction experience and a wonderful cultural experience.
Volunteers will contribute in a number of ways and can expect to undertake the following tasks:
- Help the benefiting family build their home
- Assist with construction tasks
- Work under the direction of local program staff
- Liaise with local program staff and local families
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Upon arrival in Zambia, volunteers will be collected at Livingstone Airport by a representative of the local project team and driven to Mwandi (approximately 2 hours away). If your flight arrives after 3 pm volunteers will need to spend the night in Livingstone and then be collected in the morning where they are delivered safely to the Volunteer House. Here volunteers will receive a full orientation to help them settle in, find out about their volunteering placement, the local surroundings and meet their fellow volunteers. A representative from the local team will fill them in on local and regional customs, traveling, rules and recommendations, and of course, what to expect from their volunteering experience. This is a great opportunity to get to know the hosts, meet the other volunteers, and ask any last questions they may have.
- Program Arrival Day: SUNDAY
- Program Departure Day: SATURDAY
- Arrival/Departure Airport: Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport, Livingstone, Zambia (CODE: LVI)
Accommodation for this project is provided onsite, in purpose built dormitory- style shared chalets with en suites or within a large canvas safari-style tent.
The safari tents have wooden doors, mosquito netting on the windows, beds and electricity.
Western style bathrooms with flushing toilets and outdoor hot and cold showers are also available.
You will need to provide your own sleeping bag or sleeping bag liner only in the warmer months however mosquito nets and fans are provided. Wifi is not available, but you can purchase a local SIM card in the village, which is a short stroll away. As the local project manager is an American who has spent the last 20 years in Zambia, volunteers in this location have a ready–made source of local information and someone on hand at all times to show them around.
Three meals per day are provided by the onsite cook who generally prepares western food. Breakfast consists of cereals, bread and spreads, coffee and tea. Lunch is usually sandwiches and salads and dinner is usually a hot meal like cottage pie, curry, pot roast and vegetables.
As is common in developing countries, the standard of infrastructure is probably lower than in your home country. You may experience power cuts and interruptions to the water supply but this is part of the challenge and experience of volunteering in a developing country. With a little patience, and a flexible attitude, you will quickly get used to your new surroundings.
Registration Fee: The registration fee is USD 299 for those volunteering for the first time or USD 149 for any subsequent volunteer placements. The registration fee includes: lifetime Alumni Membership, fundraising support & advice, dedicated pre-departure support, certificate of completion (on request), and exclusive access to the Trip Planner.
Requirements: We welcomes all those 18 years and over who wish to have a tangible and lasting impact on the lives of families and communities facing extreme poverty in Zambia. This ‘hands-on’ project is ideally suited to those volunteers with some knowledge and experience in construction or any of the building trades, however the project is open to all and does not require participants to have specific education, qualifications or experience, as you will be shown everything you need to know by your local project leader. Importantly though, all applicants must first and foremost have a genuine willingness to help, be fit and active, show drive and initiative, and bring a positive ‘can-do’ attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!
Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:
- Emergency contact
Project Location: Mwandi is a very traditional Lozi village and was not part of Zambia until its independence in 1964. The residents have retained their customs and are very happy, gentle people. Mwandi is not a “tourist village” it is the real thing, therefore be prepared for a very cultural/traditional experience. They may not have much, but they always have a smile for you! You will be welcomed into the community on your first Sunday, at the United Church of Zambia service. The service is quite different from western church services; there is lots of great singing and past volunteers have found it to be very enjoyable.
Two hours away, the historic town of Livingstone is now becoming known as the ‘Adventure Centre’ of Southern Africa, with various adrenaline sports, unmatched scenery of breath-taking proportions, and many other leisure options for outdoor lovers.
Start Dates & Duration: This project is available year-round and programs start every SUNDAY. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks.
A volunteer’s work day on this project will generally last between 4 and 6 hours and while we ask all volunteers to be flexible in this regard, a typical daily schedule is likely to go something like this:
7:00am Breakfast at the volunteer house
7:30am Walk to your project site
8:00am Pre-start meeting with project supervisor
8:15am VOLUNTEERING DUTIES START
A tea break and lunch break will be taken around midday, but often the timing of breaks will change based on the needs of the local staff and number of volunteers on hand.
4:00pm VOLUNTEERING DUTIES END
Afternoons Volunteers are free to explore the local area, check out the local eateries, or simply relax with the other volunteers.
6:00pm Dinner at the guest house
Evenings Volunteers are asked not to leave the guest house compound at night, but are free to simply relax with the other volunteers.