Become a volunteer
in Vision for Africa
I am a former volunteer and today I write (February 2017) to report that my time in Imst and in Uganda has turned my life 180 degrees around, wherefore I am extremely thankful.
Mama Maria is not only changing the lives of people in Uganda but also of many people in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
It is wonderful what God has done through her. She is a wonderful testimony that God does miracles. Also her E-Mails and Newsletters are always very encouraging and speak directly to my heart!
Since I was 7 years old I knew that I want to go to Uganda for my future, to work and live there. And this dream is drawing closer!
Thank you for everything.
May God bless Mama Maria and the people around her richly.
Salome, Volunteer 2013/2014
"Africa – without even knowing anything about this continent, I loved it already before I came. God hat put it on my heart already when I was a still a little girl, that I should go to Africa for a year – and as I stepped out of the airplane and stepped on African ground and after some days there, I thought for a short moment that I am here now, so I can actually go back again. Too big and long seemed the time for me suddenly, that was ahead of me, too insecure, so far away from everything familiar, so far away from family and friends, totally alone and totally new.
But each morning, each day, every moment and every situation has showed me that I am right here - that God wants to use me here and that, even if I don't know what is expecting me, that He will still lead me on good paths.
Africa – Uganda: What is expecting you?
It will be beautiful and sad, easy and difficult. It will be breathtaking and breathless. It will cost you everything, this for sure! It will certainly be a way with God. A way, not matter if easy or difficult. And as long as you have a way before you, you also know where you have to go. God will lead you the right way, you are allowed to expect big things from Him!
Don't be afraid to get get rattled by God everyday, so that the steadfastness can remain in you. Do not be afraid to face challenges which will maybe cost you all, or to allow changes which concern your whole being. Do not be afraid to give everything for God so that He can give everything to you.
If I have learnt one thing, than that God is good! (Mukama mulungi!)
When I arrived here in the beginning I wanted to serve the people here, I wanted to be a blessing for them, to teach them good things and to bring good things. – Now I am going away from here and I realize that these people have served me so much, they have become such a blessing to me, they have taught me so many good things and have given me so many good things.
In this year I gave everything to realize that I had received so much more than I gave.
I don't know what is still to come in my life but so far this has been the best time of my life."
Annina, Volonteer 2015/2016
"Where shall I start? After 11 months Uganda it is not easy to summarize all my thoughts, experiences and feelings. But I will try to do it as good as possible...
How everything began: Already around 7 years before I arrived in Uganda, I got in touch with Vision for Africa through sermons, the Vision Choir and several other people, and soon the thought was stuck on my mind to go there as a Volunteer. When I eventually had sent my application, received the YES and God put many supporting friends around me, nothing was hindering me anymore from that adventure, and so I flew by the end of March 2015 with three words in my heart:
Longing – Adventure – Trust.
These three words made my year, which I can confirm looking back.
Longing – Inside something was always pulling me to Africa. Now I realize, that the fascination had remained all time through. The country has such a variety, the people are inspiring, the happenings surprising and the work in Vision for Africa is very rich in variety.
I was also longing to get know God much better and to experience great things with Him. This had definitely happened! I was allowed to experience Him in so many encounters, daring something new, grabbing deeper towards God with other volunteers, exploring His love in the children, winning new views and opinions through the other culture and the different life conditions. I absolutely gained so much!
Adventure - Yes, to live one year in Uganda is and remains an adventure. To leave everything you know from home behind and to step out of the save boat. A little bit scary maybe, but that is the only way to figure out that the water carries you, when Jesus is with you.
Every week in Vision for Africa I was getting new understanding, you could try out something new and with a big portion of curiosity you will discover something precious daily. The work with the children challenges you and shows you where your own limits are and even allows to extend them. The collaboration with the Africans has many surprises and new opportunities in stock. This makes you more easy going and also makes you to stand stronger. Sharing your life with around 25 other volunteers brings you out of your shell and at the same time it refills you with freshness and warmth.
Trust – From stepping into the airplane until saying goodbye to Uganda the time was drained with opportunities of trusting God. I was allowed to work in many different areas:
Daycare for the smallest ones, assisting in the Nursery school, giving English classes for the vocational students, making tours through the ministry with the Come&See-guests, sorting clothes in the store, preparing French lessons, making an Austria-Workshop with the kids, helping in the children homes, cleaning the Glory Church, working on the Prayer Mountain for 3,5 months, prison ministry, compassion ministry (sharing God's love with the children in the neighbouring villages), doing translations, giving devotions, organizing tours, playing football with the boys,… Again and again I was allowed to learn how faithful our God is!
Looking back I am overflowing with greatfullness and blessings, because this year in Uganda has enriched me so much! I would immediately do it again! I have learnt: "Don’t hold back!" and you will be pouring out of blessings from above."
AS A VOLUNTEER IN VISION FOR AFRICA
If you are interested to come to us as a volunteering helper for six to twelve months, you can get some further information here, in which areas of work you can help, how the life in Uganda looks like, what former volunteers report who have already been here, and last but not least you will get all informations about your application and who you can get into direct contact with us.
Also you can get more information about your practical training for preparation in Austria!
We are happy that you are interested in coming as a volunteer to Vision for Africa and hope to welcome you soon to Uganda!
KINDERGARTEN/ NURSERY SCHOOL
An African kindergarten is not what we know as kindergarten. Here there are three classes – baby, middle and top class. The children attend the class corresponding to their age and are taught primary school basics here. They learn reading, writing and maths. They have a proper timetable where sport, art, music and English are also taught.
The children have a very close relationship to each other and to the teachers and volunteers, as they also eat and sleep at kindergarten. Because of the large catchment area they only go home during the holidays and the kindergarten is thus home for them.
Each of the native teachers is assigned a volunteer. We help them during lessons, correcting books, preparing lessons and everything else that is necessary.
Lessons are held during the mornings only and the children are free to play during the afternoon, as we are used to from European kindergartens. The children spend the afternoons mainly outdoors, whether in the sandpit, on the swings and slides or playing football. But things like cleaning shoes, washing clothes and personal hygiene also take place out of doors during this time.
At the moment the primary school consists of 7 levels (P1 - P7) whereby several levels have more than one class.
As the classes are very large (40 to 50 children) the volunteers have the possibility of supporting the teacher during lessons. For example in sports lessons, where the sports teacher welcomes new ideas for games and sports activities. Creativity is in great demand here, as conditions are very basic (balls and grass :-)). It is also a great help for the teacher if the class can be divided into two groups for games.
Volunteers are also a great support during English lessons. Whilst the pupils are working on their own, the needs of children with difficulties can be attended to. The teacher is of course also glad to receive help in marking the many exercise books :-)
Or also in "Ressource Room". Every afternoon the youngest students come for one hour while the older students are in class. The volunteers are free to decide what they want to do with the children. It is possible to play games, do dramas, sing and dance, draw, coaching them or do some bible study. The aim of the Resource Room is not only to preoccupy the children while the others have lessons but to teach them in creative and various ways to think autonomous and make decisions, which is not so much taught in Ugandan schools, as well as telling them about Jesus and bringing Jesus closer to them.
OTHER AREAS OF WORK
Besides those 4 main working fields the volunteers have the opportunity to help a few hours a week in an area of their own talents, studies or interests: in the garden/farm, in the main kitchen (where 3 meals for 1000 pupils and staff members get prepared daily), in the clinic, with practical works (building, painting, carpentry, tailory, car repair, maintenance etc.), in verbal and written translations from German to English and vice versa, ...
The possibilities have no limits and especially when the volunteers group is big, there is much freedom to explore new fields and works and try out something completely different!
Apart from that, some works just have to be done on a regular basis, where the volunteers change tasks regularly: cleaning the own toilets and bathrooms, the volunteer's compound, the community room, the playground, the Glory Church, tidying up the toys and creative art works etc. These tasks do not belong to the favourites, but because they are being done in a group it is mostly more fun than expected! :-)
Daycare is the Baby- & small children playgroup for the 0–3-year olds, which takes place Monday to Friday mornings with the help of the volunteers who take care and play with the offspring.
Here you have the possibility to give your love to the very little ones. You can spend a full morning everyday with them, by playing with them in House Abaana the house of games, by drawing with them, masquerading with them, reading stories to them or do your own creative projects with them. Additionally there is always the possibility to make a walk through the ministry or visit the animal farm or the football field. Once a week swimming in the children-swimming pool at the hotel is on the program.
LIFE AS A VOLUNTEER
And what else do the Volunteers do apart from working?
Let's start in the morning: From Monday to Friday we meet in the mornings at seven o'clock in the Communty Hall for the morning devotion to start our day together with the students, teachers, mothers, staff members etc. with God. After the devotion is breakfast in the volunteers compound.
Until lunch we are all working each one is his/her place of work and also after the lunch break there is another working shift for three hours. When exactly the working shift ends in the afternoon/evening depends on the area of work.
At 6 pm, however, all the volunteers meet to end the day together with prayers and personal exchange. Thereafter is supper time.
After dinner each one is free to spend the evening however he/she wants. Sometimes we sit together in the kitchen and end the evening with a cup of tea or play a game together. Others skype with their families at home, read a book, sit and talk in the coffeehouse, or do whatever they want. From time to time we also have a movie-evening together, - on condition that power is there!
Once a week we also have cell group evening. There we read in the bible and exchange, each one can ask their questions and so we get to know God and also each other better.
Every Thursday we have a community evening, which of course is not obligatory. Every second week we invite a group of people from the ministry (e.g. all primary teachers, or house mothers) to spend an evening together with them full of fun, talking and exchanging to get to know us better.
The each other Thursdays we do something special as volunteers such as a girl's evening with facial masks, baking cookies, etc... ;-)
Saturday and Sunday are usually free. On Sunday morning we all go to the church service in our "Glory Church". Here and there some of us also drive to Kampala to attend one of many different church services, then after that you can visit the "African Village Hand craft market" for tourists or go to a shopping mall (which are also open on Sundays in Uganda) or simply spend some relaying hours in a nice coffee house and watching the African lifestyle. Of course you can also do excursions and travel through Uganda (better together than alone).
Once in a month we have our "Voli day". We think and plan what we would like to do together as a group. It can be a day at the pool of a hotel, a visit to the botanical garden and zoo in Entebbe, eating out in Kampala town, visiting the market in Jinja and the source of the river Nile, or simply cooking together in our volunteers kitchen.
All in all you will do a lot together as a group and so it will never be boring!
The Life as a volunteer is as wonderful as challenging and the time here will indubitably enrich you and your life very much.
Here you will get to know something more about life in Uganda.
What do they eat there, and how is it with medical care? What is the climate and weather like, and is there drinking water and electricity at all? Which vaccinations do I need? How is it with cash and credit card?
These and other questions we hope to be able to answer you here already.
Jördis, Volontärin 2014
"By now, almost 6 months of the life as a volunteer in the Land of Hope lay behind me. When I look back I don't know yet exactly how I arrived here: A little bit insecure towards everything new but at the same time ultimately curious of the time in Uganda which would lay before me. Today I can joyfully see how God has not only fulfilled my expectations but He even blessed me beyond! HE is the strength, the joy, the love and the enthusiasm in everything here!
We volunteers live together in our compound like a big family and Jesus is the centre. For me that alone is wonderful, because you just have to step out of your room and you are already in the middle of everything. Somebody is always there to chat with or also for serious talks. We strengthen, encourage and also advise each other for the work. If anyone has sorrows he or she can be sure to find someone to pray for him/her and to get support. For me it has never been so easy to get friends like here. You don't have to first find your place in the community but it is already prepared!
Also at work Jesus is tangibly there, no matter if you are only sorting beans or listening to preachings in children homes, whether you are singing worship songs while cleaning the toilets or simply cuddling children on the playground and showing them God's love.
I appreciate it here ver much that the day consists of many different tasks. In the beginning of my time I was a "jumper" and almost every morning I could help somewhere else e.g. with the mothers in the houses, cleaning the Glory Church, cutting vegetables in the main kitchen, helping with the daycare kids or translating. Then for one term (3 months) I was helping the teachers in the Nursery school with correcting, writing tasks in the notebooks or drawing posters.
Most of all I loved being in my Ressource room class P2 Gideon in the afternoons (a subject like Christian Religious Education). There I could act stories of the bible in a little drama with my team for the kids, do paper handy craft things with them, sing or play games. On the next day it is the biggest reward if the children still know what we did the day before! Even if it was really exhausting most times and very loud, it is still the greatest chance to bring God's love and care closer to the children.
If you come here for serving God, then He will give it to you back 100-fold. God doesn't allow to be served without blessing back and with Him we live in abudancy.
Especially here in a strange country far away from home Jesus can and will appear. Whom He blesses will become a blessing. This was what I was allowed to learn here."
„We are too blessed, to be stressed and too annointed to be disappointed.“
Request for the application form (application form and health form), fill them and send them back to us to Uganda. Please also add your curriculum vitae and your spiritual background (how you became a Christian, what it means to you).
We will ask you to give us names of two people who know you well (if possible not a family member); we will ask them to fill a reference sheet about you, so that we get to know you even better. One of them should be your pastor if possible.
Wait for us to reply
Visit our ministry "Leben in Jesus Christus" (Life in Christ Jesus) in Imst (Austria) for a 7 weeks preparation time.
!This time will be extended to 12 weeks including a bibleschool!
After this time wait for our confirmation, then get your injections and book your flight
Get your plane and be welcome in Uganda!
In our ministry in Imst/Austria you will spend some time of "practical discipleship". There you will get the opportunity to get to know yourself better and to already work as a volunteer and see if you will like it...
If this time confirms to you that you want to volunteer in Uganda, we will hopefully welcome you soon here in Kiyunga/Uganda!
God's blessing for the coming time!
Gerd and Regina Rumpf (Volunteers leaders) & the Uganda team
We would like to hear from you - get in touch!
What can you do, where will you work as a volunteer?
These questions we want to answer you here.
Generally every volunteer is working in various areas. The daily routine therefore usually consists of a combination of 2-3 areas of work, which we will explain here in detail:
If you are a creative person and simply love children - and you have strong nerves :-) and you would like to give your love and joy to the orphans, then you are absolutely right, here in our "orphanages" (we call them children homes).
There are two house mothers each who run the household and make sure that the children are cared for. Each house has an average of 10 children and around 90 children live in all eight homes. The ages range of young babies to teenagers, so you will be working with a variety of ages. However, the majority of these children are between the ages of 3 to six years old.
We as volunteers have the task to help the mothers in the mornings in the household to clean, cook, do laundry (by hand) etc. and support them where needed. In the afternoon we mainly spend time with the kids, meaning to be creative with them, play with them, do projects with them, it is about supporting them, helping them to find out what they love to do and are talented to do, and also to help raising/ disciplining them.
The children love to play around in the garden and sandbox and mostly they love to prove themselves in our fun&adventure playground. We can also go for walks with them inside the ministry, where they always discover new fascinating things. When the rain is falling they also like to play inside or in our "House Abaana" (games house for children).
As you can imagine, it can also sometimes be very challenging to be a kind of mother to ten or more kids. But whatever you invest in them with your nerves, you get it back quickly with cute cuddels and snuggels and just the fun that you have with them.
The house mothers are very thankful for all kinds of support because it is important for them to raise the children in faith from a young age on.
If you feel ready for this challenge and you want to please God with this ministry then everybody and especially the kids are very happy to welcome you here.
What is required of volunteers in children's homes?
A love for children, flexible attitude, and a serving heart. Your number one priority should be offering support for both the mothers and the children. The job has its blessings and frustrations.
What is frustrating is that when working with children, they of course do not always listen. It often requires both patience and understanding, as many of these little ones have come from hard backgrounds.
You must also try to communicate clearly with the mothers. Ugandan culture is not as straightforward as Western cultures, so some mothers are quite shy in telling volunteers what to do (even if assistance is needed). It is good to ask how you may help and be willing to assist in any needed area. Any kind of support given to the homes, be it cleaning or child care, is a true blessing to the house. Things in these households might be done differently then how you might do them at home. This is where the flexible attitude is needed.
While we should have caring and serving attitudes towards both mothers and children, perfection is not required. You often LEARN AS YOU WORK in these homes. Of course you will not be perfect at working with these children. It is a completely different culture. Of course you may not know how to peel sweet potatoes or wash clothes by hand, it may be something not ordinarily done at home. However, what is required is a willingness to learn and an open heart to these children homes. The mothers are very patient and very willing to teach you how to perform household duties.
However, the blessing is that each home is a unique family. We get to know both incredible women who raise up these children and we get to work with these wonderful children. As you would expect, these children are such a blessing and as you get to know them, you are so personally rewarded.
If you are considering volunteering in the homes, we want to thank you so much! May God bless you for wanting to assist our children homes!
We are looking forward to seeing you...
Mukono (it is a district and a town, and in the district Mukono is the Land Of Hope), about 40 kilometres east from the capital Kampala. The Land of Hope (the base of Vision for Africa) is situated in a small village, not far from the city Mukono. The village is called Kiyunga.
You can find more Information about Uganda on Wikipedia or at www.uganda.at bzw. www.visituganda.com and other pages. It is also recommendable to take a Uganda travel guide with you, in case you would like to travel around sometimes and also for prices and other basic cultural insights.
The climate in Mukono is tropical and yet the temperature is nice and moderate, because Uganda is on a high altitude even though being situated at the equator. The average temperature is between 17°C (at night) and 27°C (during the day), only in the dry season it can get up to 36°/ 38°C. The country is beautifully green and blooming. In our region we have rainfalls on a regular basis which explains the high humidity, being around 80%.
FOOD AND HEALTH
African food is very healthy, however the rule of "boil it, peel it, fry it or forget it" applies!
You can drink the water on our land with an easy mind. It comes from our own wells and is high quality drinking water. The volunteers are getting their food from our Main kitchen. It is also helpful to have a small supply of useful medicines. Ask your chemist for advice.
There are mosquitoes in Uganda which can transmit malaria. They are only active at dusk and at night. At "Vision for Africa" we have mosquito nets for the beds, which give optimal protection. Sprays such as Autan, NoBite or Antibrumm are recommendable, and long-armed shirts and long trousers will protect you from bites in the evenings. There are various types of malaria prophylaxis. Ask a doctor who is familiar with tropical medicine. Volunteers staying longer than 2 months do not usually take any prophylaxis, as it can cause strong side effects.
One prophylactic way of treatment that has become common among volunteers (and even shows very good results!) is the so called "Artimesia annua tea". This purely herbal tea is taken once a day and has no side effects. It makes sense to already buy a pack at home and start drinking it ahead of your coming.
If you do happen to contract malaria, you do not need to worry. Our clinic is right nearby the volunteers compound and always available and they know exactly how to treat you right. The medicine here works quickly and well. It is rare for a Malaria attack to last longer than three days. But also in case of emergency there are also very good hospitals and doctors in Kampala for major problems (snake bites, accidents etc.).
Please ask your doctor about recommended vaccinations before you come.
The following vaccinations are recommended:
Yellow fever (--> is a must! Might be checked at the airport.)
Tetanus, Diphterie, Poliommyelitis
Hepatitis A and B
Some doctors will advise you to have a vaccination against rabies (very expensive). But because we don't work in slums, neither we are stockmen, nor we are gamekeepers, you have to decide to "invest" in this vaccination.
Doctors’ fees are very low here, but you can also take out an overseas health cover. Please make enquiries – many credit cards (Mastercard, Visa, …) already include overseas health insurance. Sometimes your normal health insurance is also adequate.
Africans dress in a very orderly way. The women wear skirts and a T-shirt or blouse. Men wear (long) jeans or other trousers and a short-sleeved shirt. This is also desirable for volunteers, but not obligatory. You can of course dress in a comfortable way according to what work you are doing. Spaghetti straps and plunging necklines should be avoided. Skirts and trousers should cover the knee.
The Ugandan currency is Uganda Shilling (UGX/ UGSh). One Euro equals roughly 3.600 Uganda Shilling (October 2016).
For starting it is best to bring some cash in Euros (large banknotes) or US Dollars, which can be exchanged in the banks in Kampala. If you bring US dollars, please make sure you bring new banknotes (from 2006 onwards) and no banknotes for less than $50 (the exchange rate is bad for smaller notes!). For Safaris you mostly need US dollars. Vision for Africa can exchange money for you too.
Credit cards are accepted – but only for withdrawing money from a bank. Some banks in Europe offers so called prepaid credit cards.
Caution: After a credit card is frozen (for example after loosing it) you couldn't open the account again. Mostly european banks do not send any new cards to Uganda. So it can be useful to get a second card right from home.
With normal EC Cards that are fitted with Maestro, there will be no problems to get money at every ATM in Mukono or other towns. We do not recommend traveller-checks.
You can live here well for about 50€ a month, but you should calculate more if you are planning to take a lot of souvenirs home, want to go out to nice restaurants or buy things in the big shopping malls (european prices) or if you plan to travel around.
COMPUTER & INTERNET
For volunteers there is the possibility of bringing their own laptop. There is one LAN-access plug to the internet in each room, but no WIFI. For you as a volunteer it is for free. Meanwhile it is no more problem to skype, or write and receive Emails. In our Internet–Café there is WIFI available for some little money.
The mains voltage in Uganda has 220V, but the power sockets are different from those used in middle-Europe. They use the British sockets. It is helpful to bring a travellers’ adapter, although they can also be bought here fairly cheaply.
All Vision for Africa premises have an electricity supply. There are always days where there is a power cut, and here our solar light and your torch are helpful!
You will need a visa for Uganda. You have to apply for it online and receive it via post before you start your journey. The visa costs currently 50 US dollars (you should have the appropriate amount in your hand luggage) and is valid for 3 months. For the additional months you will need a work permit which costs 250 US Dollars. You will receive more detailed information about all necessary documents once your application is confirmed.
The most important airlines which fly to Uganda (Entebbe airport) from central Europe are: Turkish Airlines, Egypt Air, Emirates, British Airways, KLM, Ethiopian Airlines, SN Brussels Airlines.
Ticket prices vary (according to airline and departure airport) from between €550 and €900 for shorter stays and from between €800 and €1,200 for tickets that are valid for a year. Make enquiries about youth tickets if appropriate.
Vision for Africa has beautiful grounds with a lot of vegetation.
Almost all the volunteers live in the same house, or at least near each other. Two to four people usually share a room. There are showers with warm water and European toilets. You pay €200,-- per month for board and lodging. This includes transport to and from the airport at the beginning and end of your stay.
We volunteers have no washing machine, but we manage with "Omo" (washing powder) and bleach… Nothing is impossible ;-)
The nearest "shops" are in Kiyunga, about 10 minutes walk from here, but there you can only buy snacks, phone airtime, fruits/vegetables and sodas. The nearest supermarket is in Mukono (15 minutes by taxi) if you want to buy chocolate, biscuits, joghurt... These things can be a little more expensive, however.
In Kampala is also the African Craft Village which volunteers love so much, because there you can buy wonderful African souvenirs, and shopping is great fun. But of course you will also find big modern shopping centres in Kampala for everything that your European/American/... heart desires. Even delicious international restaurants of all kinds and good coffee houses are there in case you gonna miss your Italian Pizza too much after all...
We begin the day together with worship and devotions, then we have breakfast together.
After this we start work. The times of work can vary according to the area of work, and on average we work about 6-8 hours a day. It is possible to work in 2 fields of work e.g. in the mornings with the children and afternoons in the garden.
Lunch is at 1.00 pm. Supper is at 6.30 pm.
Saturdays and Sundays are free. Church services are held on Sunday morning at 9.00 am.
Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions or wishes. We will be glad to support and help you in your preparations for your stay.
Testimonies, experiences & stories from a few former Volunteers in Vision for Africa
If you would like to join us in Uganda for a while, the procedure is as follows: