5 Free Volunteer Opportunities in Livingstone, Zambia

If you would like to volunteer for free in Livingstone, Zambia, see one of these great projects.

It has come to the point where googling “volunteering in (fill in the country)” only produces a list of expensive programs, costing up to $2000 USD a week. We have heard many travelers complain about having to pay to volunteer, especially when the large sums of money don’t appear to go to the cause. It’s our hope that this guide to Zambian volunteer opportunities will be used by those who wish to give of time and talents, without depleating the Zambian kwatcha in their wallets.

Children at Nakatindi School.

1. Nakatindi Primary School:

A growing community with over 5,000 impoverished people sends their children to the free gradeschool nearby. Pre-school through seventh grade attend The Nakatindi Primary School and teachers are always looking for assistance since class sizes reach up to 45 children per teacher. If you plan on teaching, bring extra pencils, sharpeners, paper and any other teaching aids you wish to use, as materials and supplies are limited. Even if you just wish to read to the students for an hour a day, you may arrange brief visits with the school, too. Remember, some of the students still can not read, so reading to them is key. The school currently has an extensive amount of English books from which to choose, or you can bring some of your own to donate to their collection. Are you looking for a building project? Nakatindi School is currently in need of help building their kitchen and bathroom facilities.

Contact: Rosie Kopakopa, Administration, Phone: 0968092751

OR Choongo Lewis, Headmaster, Phone: 0977344710

Location: 12 km outside of Livingstone, accessible by taxi.

2. Youth Community Training Center:

This organization was formed to provide underprivileged youth with a trade skill to equip them for success. The vulnerable students are aged 15-25 and come from the streets, the sex trade industry, cross-border trading, and other unpleasant ways of life. Carpentry, masonry, welding, tailoring, catering and computers are a few areas that are taught at the YCTC. Not sure how to help? Check out this list to find your niche.

  • Will you be going back to the USA after your trip? Offer to take a package of pre-sold items back, and post mark them from your homestate, saving the YCTC money on shipping. If there is nothing pre-sold, you may wish to take orders from family and friends back home, making your own craft sale to raise money for the YCTC.
  • Are you able to teach a trade? You may wish to volunteer as a guest teacher if you have something to teach these students!
  • Are you planning on buying crafts or furniture in Africa? Let the center make these special items for you. 100% of proceeds go to the YCTC.
  • Hosting an event in Livingstone? Let the YCTC cater it, giving the culinary students real-life experience.
  • Want to donate money? Sponsor a youth for one year by setting up a scholarship through the office. Costs per student are K736,000 or $150 USD. Some youths can not afford this schooling fee and end up back on the streets.
  • Ask where they could use your talents when you visit the center or stop into Olga’s Restaurant to learn more about their NGO, which helps the YCTC.

Contact: Ms. Bwalya, Phone: 0977884568 or 0977143943

Location: 5 km  from the city center. Libuyu, next to Maria Assumpter Basic School.

3. Sports Volunteering:

Build confidence and teach communications skills by playing sports with children and teenagers at a community center. Whether its soccer, netball or volleyball, the ports fans will love to have you participate. Weekly games are played around 5 pm, weather permitting.

Contact: Amit, the owner of Café Zambezi hosts weekly games at Bharat Sports Camp. Phone: +260 978978578

Location: About 4 km from the city center, accessible by taxi or ride share from Amit.

4. Orphanage Help:

Visit the Lubasi Children’s Home to play with the orphans of Livingstone. Jollyboy’s, the main backpacker of Livingstone, has a free shuttle departing at 3 pm on Sundays. Sign up at the front desk ahead of time. Want to volunteer on another day? Just call Jollyboy’s and they will help arrange your stay, give you directions, and answer any questions you may have.

Contact: JollyBoys Hostel, 34 Kanyata Rd. Phone: +260 213 (32 4229), Email: jollybs@zamnet.zm, Skype: backpackzambia, Located in Livingstone City Center, across from Spar Grocery Store, behind the museum, off of Mosi-O-Tunya Rd.

Location: Shuttle leaves from JollyBoys Hostel.

5. Crocodile Farm:

The Gwembe Crocodile Farm may have opening for animal volunteers when you are in town. Visit their site to see more info on this!

Contact: Email- safari@afrizim.com

Location: Only a few km. from Victoria Falls!

Okavango River Delta Sustainable Tourism

The grounds are kept by local members of the Polers' Trust and are peacefully located on the river.

The Okavango Polers Trust runs MbiRoBa, a community-based camp in northern Botswana.

Part of traveling responsibly is gaining insight into how the community is affected by visitors. The townspeople of a remote region in Botswana have created a significant organization to support over 500 of their inhabitants. The Okavango Polers Trust creates jobs for villagers and teaches them about tourism. By guiding boat trips, selling crafts and maintaining the grounds, the members of this organization are able to share in the proceeds of their camp.  Continue reading “Okavango River Delta Sustainable Tourism”

Orange Ladder Project: A Shopping Spree for a Cause

The Youth Community Training Center of Livingstone, Zambia was created to empower less-fortunate youths and teach them skills to enable them to contribute to their communities. The group is associated  with “The District and Vulnerable Children Committee” and has been recruiting young sex workers, illegal border traders and other poor youths to help them develop to their full potential. The slogan of the group is, “Do not give me a fish, but teach me how to fish.”

The front wall of the center for underprivileged youths.

Continue reading “Orange Ladder Project: A Shopping Spree for a Cause”

Update! Nepal Notebook Campaign

Over $2700 has been raised to aid school children in Nepal, donated by our generous friends and family. Thank you! We felt it was time to update you on the progress of our OnlyABuck Project.

As of this moment, the president of Nepal Volunteers Council Keshab Acharya, is applying for a passport in order to receive the funds for the Nepali children from our bank. Due to exorbitant fees from the local bank in Nepal, we elected to open a joint account in the USA to eliminate transaction fees and make sure the students receive what you’ve donated. Keshab has accepted hundreds of scholarship forms and will choose 20 students to receive supplies, uniforms, and a fully funded school year from you!

President Acharya at his desk in Nepal

As promised, if you donated $140 or more to support a student for the year, you will receive a letter and photo from your sponsored child when they receive their items. Thank you for your patience, as we finalize these international transactions.

If you would like to learn more about this project, please visit our Nepal Notebook Campaign site!

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Going Batty in Australia

Missing Halloween in The USA was a glum moment for us. No one does costumes, candy and haunted houses the way we do in America, so we decided to get our fix by getting chummy with a Halloween icon that we could find: the bat.

Although tradition shows bats flying around horror scenes and sucking blood from humans, they are actually very helpful, non-obtrusive creatures.

Melbourne's Botanical Gardens

The Micro Bats living in Melbourne, Australia’s Botanical Gardens are being studied by a group of scientists to determine what effect urbanization has on this species. By capturing the nocturnal critters, the scientists also hope to find answers to many unknown aspects of their life and assist in medical breakthroughs for humans. For example, bats may hold clues for skin grafting, since the wings repair very quickly when ripped even though they have no source of blood to this paper-thin membrane.  Continue reading “Going Batty in Australia”

Caring for Elephants

Chitwan National Park is one of Nepal’s treasures. We had heard about the jungle walks, native dance shows and elephant rides from the moment we entered the country. After our Annapurna hike and yoga ashram, it was our turn to see this jungle reserve for ourselves.

All three of us bathed in the river.

The day before we boarded our bus from the lakeside town of Pokhara, we had dinner with a couple from Bath, England who told us of their recent encounters in Chitwan. Walking on a narrow dirt path through tall, jungle grasses, their four-person group was surprised by a sloth bear. This animal, known for its long claws, was just as shocked by the tourists, who were hidden by the greenery, and lashed out at the guide with a growl. The entire group turned and sprinted as quickly as possible, but then realized that the guide was not with them. They heard his screams for help and returned to find his leg badly gashed, so the English couple wrapped him in their shirts and lifted him out of the jungle track and into a vehicle, rushing him to the hospital.  After skin grafting and a few surgeries, the guide will be back to work in three months. On our arrival we heard the story from this guide’s brother, confirming the tale. This whole episode was followed by other crazy stories and we learned that the guides in Chitwan earn “bragging rights” when they survive wild beasts, and love to mention that they “saved tourists from the animals!”  Continue reading “Caring for Elephants”

Update to OnlyABuck: Nepal Notebook Campaign

Education is the Answer in Nepal

A quick update on our OnlyABuck™: Nepal Notebook Campaign.  We’re just over 44% to our goal of $4,200!  This money will enable 30 students in Nepal who have applied for need-based scholarships to attend school for one year.  We are working together with the Nepal Volunteers Council to create a sustainable platform to ensure that those students selected will never miss a day of school again; not this year, not ever.  We are not alone in believing that education is the answer for Nepal as it is the only way to break the cycle that currently exists.

Continue reading “Update to OnlyABuck: Nepal Notebook Campaign”

Healthcare in Nepal: Volunteering at Bageshwari Hospital in Kathmandu

Bageshwari Hospital

While Erin was teaching during the morning hours I would hop on the packed local bus everyday to shortly arrive at Bageshwari Hospital for four to seven hours of volunteering. The hospital is a two-story “L” shaped brick building on the dusty, heavily-used road leading to central Kathmandu, serving a predominantly poor community and emergencies that needed immediate attention. It contains a ward with three beds, an out-patient room, a pharmacy located street-side, an ER, and an x-ray lab. It was eerily reminiscent of the very hospital I stayed in 3.5 years ago in India but much, much (much) cleaner.To be honest, once there, I mostly chatted with the doctors, comparing and contrasting the multitude of differences between our respective healthcare systems, and having them answer my questions about physiology and diagnoses.  While I believe every healthcare system is riddled with problems, this experience strengthened my convictions that healthcare in the U.S., despite all of its alleged flaws, is in really, really good shape.  I’m proud to say, “Hey USA, we’ve got it gooooooood!” Continue reading “Healthcare in Nepal: Volunteering at Bageshwari Hospital in Kathmandu”

Only A Buck: Nepal Notebook Campaign

Reports from my friends state that summer back home is officially over and that school is back in session. After volunteering in Nepali schools and a boys’ shelter last week, I can’t help comparing the education system here with the one I know from home.

A school girl in Nepal studies during recess.

I am envisioning my hometown with enormous back-to-school signage in primary colors hanging in many store entrances. An exciting buzz surrounds shopping for cooler weather clothes and collecting supplies, checking them off a list. When my brother and I were younger, we would excitedly hunt through the JCPenney catalog for a few new outfits and a pair of shoes. Later, at the store with Mom, we’d choose fancy lunch boxes, Lisa Frank and cartoon folders, and maybe a Trapper Keeper or Kaboodle to hold our new gel pens, mechanical pencils and glue sticks. Three-subject notebooks, neon-colored rulers, protractors and compasses were tossed into the cart to aid our education.

In stark comparison, Nepali children need three basic supplies for school. These include notebooks where they transcribe what the teacher writes on the board, pencils for writing and a full school uniform, which is mandatory apparel. Some schools require their students to buy workbooks, but most do not even offer this luxury for learning.

Continue reading “Only A Buck: Nepal Notebook Campaign”

Learning from the Hill Tribes of Laos

The raggedly-dressed children were scared of us and the adults stared somberly as we passed. Mangy dogs barked at our muddy sneakers, our English commands doing nothing to quiet them.

We were delighted.

Jason and I had hired a guide for a trek, who had promised to bring us in contact with the hill tribe people of Laos, but we had initially feared we would get a Disney World experience. As we have noticed throughout our travels, it is often difficult to experience the real culture of a place because locals cater to tourists.

The main village road at dusk

Ask any backpacker and they will probably have one of these fairy tale experiences to share. For example, many towns along the backpacker route turn into a show of locals selling cheap souvenirs and enticing tired travelers to frequent their air conditioned restaurants with the promise of free wifi and Western food. While sometimes it’s a joy to stumble across a familiar meal, the traditions and culture of a place can be quickly swept away by foreign-run businesses and English-speaking touts.

The fact that the natives were not calling out to us to buy their goods or pestering us to book a sightseeing tour was a sign that they were just living their normal lives in a place where we could carefully observe and learn. Continue reading “Learning from the Hill Tribes of Laos”