Volunteer Care Work with Children and Adults in Jamaica
- Placement locations: Mandeville
- Types of care projects: Childcare centres, child welfare agencies, homes for the elderly, centres for people with severe disabilities
- Ages: Working with babies, children or the elderly
- Number of people cared for: 10+
- Role: Assisting with local staff including playing with children, cleaning, counselling, feeding basic teaching and giving general help
- Requirements: None
- Accommodation: Host families
- Length of placement: From one week
- Start dates: Flexible
As a volunteer on a Care project in Jamaica you have an important role to play, whether you are a trained professional offering us the benefit of your experience, on a gap year, or on a career break looking for some experience in development work. Everybody is welcome, provided they are willing to work hard and committed to their role, their work-colleagues, and the ones they are there to help.
At Projects Abroad Jamaica we work with childcare centres, an infirmary, and social service organizations in and around the town of Mandeville or in Montego Bay. Though we don't pretend that we can solve all the social problems affecting modern day Jamaica, we can work to make a difference to the prospects of a large number of underprivileged children and adults. But, we cannot do this without the help of our volunteers.
You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Jamaica Care Management Plan.
International Volunteering with Care Centres for Children and the Elderly
In whichever volunteer Care project you find yourself, you need to be ready for a challenge. Many of the children have had very difficult lives and may require special care and attention. Some children have special needs and require special diets, physiotherapy, special education plans, and/or social development intervention plans. Your job is to help improve their lives in whatever way possible. This may involve playing games and sports with the children, helping with their homework, or attending to their daily needs such as bathing, feeding, and laundry. You may even want to take a group out on a trip. Projects Abroad will support you in any way that we can.
Helping with basic education is also important as many of the children have received no formal education. Volunteers also teach in pre-school or special needs schools for children with mental, physical, and learning disabilities. Volunteers at these placements assist with interactive activities that enhance the growth and development of the children. Volunteers also help to provide vital information about nutrition and some of the centres we work with have their own small farms on site.
My tasks usually consisted of playing with the children, helping to feed them, and helping with their laundry. The staff were really nice, the children were so playful and fun and it was rewarding to learn more about caring for children. Read more...
Working at a care placement in Jamaica offers you the opportunity to help in the emotional, social, educational, and physical development of children. Please be aware that you will be asked to do more than just play with the children and a flexible attitude is always appreciated. All the care work in Jamaica focuses on providing worthwhile services to produce real results and also expand the skills of the volunteer.
The elderly need your attention as well. By working with the elderly you provide assistance to individuals who have been neglected or abandoned by their families or who are in need of support at this stage in their lives. The objective is to provide efficient needs-based care to these individuals. Volunteers can assist on this project by helping to feed the residents as well as reading to them, taking them for walks around the compound, and engaging them in wholesome activities that will stimulate them mentally, physically, and socially. This is a chance to really get creative and help to touch the lives of people in a meaningful way. Volunteers who have experience working with the elderly are encouraged to help develop new programs.
Volunteer Social Work Abroad in Jamaica
Care volunteers in Jamaica can also sign up for our Child Rights Initiative project. This project is particularly good for volunteers with experience in social work, psychology, sociology, family life education, or counseling.
The Child Rights Initiative (CRI) is a Care project that combines the four broad categories of children’s rights based on UNICEF’s Convention of the Rights of the Child. These are Participation Rights, Survival Rights, Developmental Rights, and Protection Rights. The project directly addresses the social needs of children in Jamaica while utilizing the skills of volunteers in related fields. Volunteers work alongside social workers, psychologists, counsellors, therapists, psychiatrists, nurses, doctors, and child protection officers on a wide variety of tasks in diverse care delivery settings.
Did you know? Almost ¼ of births in Jamaica are by mothers under the age of 18.
As a CRI volunteer you will work directly with clients and take on a wide variety of work. Tasks may include the following areas: investigations; adoptions; foster care; trauma and career counseling; family support; family reintegration and case management; case studies; visiting care centres; interviewing; conducting investigations; preparing reports; going to court; teaching remedial classes, dance, drama, and art; and conducting psychological and educational evaluations.
Volunteers need to be computer literate and have excellent communication skills in order to prepare reports, participate in seminars and conferences, and develop plans and programs. Your knowledge and skills will determine the extent to which you are involved in some highly technical and clinical components such as psychological evaluations and counseling. All volunteers requesting to work on the CRI project must be fluent in English.
Volunteering in Orphanages in Jamaica
Over the years, our volunteers have worked with children at orphanages and residential care homes in Jamaica. They have done incredible work at these placements, improving living conditions there and creating opportunities for children by supporting their education and care. However, we have decided to move our focus away from orphanages and homes toward community and family-based care. This is because we believe stable family environments are best for the children we work with. Read more about orphanage volunteering and our position on it.
This means that instead of volunteering in orphanages in Jamaica, volunteers will work in placements like day care centres, kindergartens and schools, or support groups for the elderly and mothers and babies. This will help Projects Abroad build stronger relationships with local communities and – most importantly – help families stay together and flourish.
The Care Project in Jamaica is available for less than a month if you don't have time to join us for a month or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for shorter durations for both the host community and the volunteer. Although you will gain valuable cultural insight and work intensely within the local community please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone participating for a longer period.
If you have qualifications or experience in this field then we can make use of your skills volunteering abroad as a professional in Jamaica. If you are a high school student and first-time traveller you may want to consider our High School Special programs in Jamaica.