Does Kids Inspiring Kids accept Volunteers?
Yes, KIK accepts volunteers on a short-time basis (up to 3 months). Longer time must be approved and additional visa arrangements made. We accept volunteers after an application has been made. If you are under 18 years old you must have written parental consent in addition to the application. We welcome volunteers from all over the world. Previous volunteers have been from USA, Russia, Austria, Italy, Venezuela and more.
What would I be doing at KIK?
KIK has purchased land for Place of Refuge Village so Phase I building projects are starting. Various other projects are also available (i.e. feeding, medical outreach, etc.) during volunteering with KIK. You will be given a detailed itinerary based on, but not limited to, your skill sets, group size, length of stay, current projects, etc. before you arrive. During the week KIK may go into individual homes in the slum to counsel, administer minor medical and assist with individual and family needs. KIK’s primary goal is to teach character.
How do I get to KIK? What is the nearest airport? What documents do I need?
The main airport in Uganda is Entebbe airport. It is about 45 kilometers from the KIK headquarters in Muyenga/Bukasa, Uganda (just outside of the capital city of Kampala). We will pick you directly from the airport and return you upon your departure. The cost of this is $40.00 each way (this fee may be included in your volunteer package, inquire specifically). You may acquire a tourist visa at the airport upon arrival. The cost is $50.00 USD. You will need a valid passport with at least 6 months remaining time before expiring on it. You must carry your inoculation card that shows your vaccine records and have it available if asked.
Immunizations and other health questions including HIV/Aids?
Contact your personal doctor, or find a local travel clinic, to obtain proper immunizations for travel to Uganda. Yellow fever is currently the only required vaccine for entering Uganda, but it is recommended that you are current on several others.
Malaria is a concern here, and caution should be taken to avoid mosquito bites by using a deet-based repellent and sleeping under a mosquito net. Mosquito nets are provided at KIK. Short-term volunteers can consider malaria preventatives like Doxycycline (cheap) or Malarone (expensive). Please note that Doxycycline can make you sun sensitive and Uganda is on the equator. Most doctors no longer recommend Larium (Mefloquine) because of the side effects. Most long-termers don’t take anti-malarials because there is treatment here and it is effective. Consult your doctor for further questions.
Consult the CDC website (www.cdc.gov/travel) for Ugandan recommendations and for a “Travel Health Clinic” in the US.
This is Africa, there is HIV. The only way it can be transmitted is blood to blood contact, and we are careful about that. Many of the women in the women’s group and several kids are HIV+ many are on ARVs.
Regardless of how careful you are about what and where you eat and drink, you might have some minor problems with your health while here. The most common incidents relate to gastrointestinal problems and parasites. These are easily and inexpensively treated. People here get the normal cold, flu, infections, etc, as they do in other countries.
The cost of volunteering and where will I stay?
Depending on the group size you will most likely be staying at KIK headquarters, family style. We are in a gated compound and very safe. You will be sleeping under a mosquito net. Any other foods, travel, crafts, etc not outlined in your itinerary will be at your own expense. Our volunteer packages include room, most meals, drinking water (bottled or boiled), toilet paper, and transportation to projects. Showers are provided and in the event of no running water (this sometimes happens) water will be brought in for bathing and laundry. You will be responsible for washing your own clothes but water, basins, and laundry soap is provided.
Large Groups and groups wanting to put together packages with other requirements (i.e. additional travel, safari’s, bungee jumping, ATVing, etc) need to contact KIK for rates and availability.
Other expenses and money?
There are also some hot spots around the area and in town where you can also use a laptop. Some places charge, others, like restaurants, won’t charge if you are eating there. There is a weekly craft market in which to buy souvenirs or gifts at reasonable prices.
You can exchange American dollars, Canadian dollars, Euros or British Pounds at the Forex Exchange Bureaus. You need to have 50’s or 100’s for the denominations to exchange. The American dollars especially need to be series 2006 or higher, new bills preferably with no marks, tears or creases in them. You can use a Visa, not a Mastercard (if it has the plus symbol), in several ATM machines that will dispense Ugandan Shillings. You need to check with your local bank for the exchange rates and fees to use them. Credit Cards are not commonly used in Uganda and only a few places take them. Traveler’s checks are also very difficult to cash. Bring cash to exchange or plan on using your visa card in the ATM machines.
There are many sights and things to see while you are in Uganda. If you want to take an excursion trip to Jinja and see the Source of the Nile or go Whitewater rafting arrangements can be made for you. Also, there are land and water safaris in Queen Elizabeth and Murchison Falls if you want to see animals. All trips vary in price depending on the type of accommodations you may desire.
What should I bring with me?
A checklist of recommended items to pack will be sent with your final itinerary.
Anything electrical must be on 240 current. If you have something that is on 110v you must also have a converter. You might also consider an adapter for Africa (3 prong) to use for your electrical items that may not need a converter (i.e. laptops, iPods, some phones, and cameras). Sunscreen and bug spray are also recommended. Your personal toiletries (shampoo, washcloth (micro-fiber works well), towel), a pillow, and comfortable clothing/shoes. Dry-fit clothing works well. All pants need to be knee length as well as skirts/dresses for women. No tube or mid-drift tops. Bathing suits need to be modest. No see-through clothing. Shoes should be comfortable and sturdy. Tennis shoes can be a bit hot for your feet and washing socks are sometimes difficult. Shoes like Tevas or Crocks are recommended. Do not bring expensive jewelry. Uganda has lots of orange dirt, light colored clothing tends to get stained very quickly. Wash and wear clothing is the best, especially dry-fit and clothing with lycra in them. Earplugs are also recommended, especially if you are a light sleeper.
Is Uganda safe?
As far as risks in traveling, Uganda is very visitor friendly. The people here are mostly very peaceful and non-violent. The Bradt Travel guide states that Uganda is one of the safest places for tourists. We have had many volunteers come and go without any incident. It is important to take precautions, as you would anywhere, by not being alone at night.
What languages Are spoken in Uganda?
English is common and Luganda is spoken in the city and outlying areas. Luo is spoken and used in the slums as the people we work with are the Acholi people that were displaced during the war in Nothern-Uganda. If needed, you will have an interpreter otherwise, you can get by in most places with English.
You can place international calls for about 30 cents per minute. You can buy a mobile phone here for under $50.00 and then load airtime on a sim card to make calls. Texting is about 10 cents per international text. You can also use an international phone that is either tri or quad band. It must be unlocked. Just buy a local sim card and load airtime. You can use your laptop to skype from an internet cafe and send messages from a cafe or hotspot. Many cell phone providers now have international plans. Please check with your local carrier before you travel to avoid unexpected costs.
If you wish to receive mail while you are here you can do so. KIK has a post office box, but mail service is slow and mail usually takes 2-4 weeks depending on the country of origination.