Volunteer with Children in Ethiopia
- Placement locations: Addis Ababa
- Types of care projects: Day care centres, kindergartens
- Age of children: 0 - 18
- Number of people cared for: 15+
- Role: Volunteers work on achieving the goals set out in the Care Management Plan, including running educational games and group activities, and providing emotional support.
- Requirements: None
- Accommodation: Host families
- Length of placement: From two weeks
- Start dates: Flexible
Ethiopia is a fascinating country in which to volunteer with disadvantaged children in Africa. Only two decades ago, Ethiopia was ravaged by massive famine and cruel conflicts that left many hundreds of thousands of children in disadvantages circumstances. Today, the onslaught of HIV/AIDS combined with endemic poverty means that many children are left to fend for themselves. The need for volunteers cannot be over-emphasized.
Despite the rapid growth of the capital, Addis Ababa, and the emergence of a small Ethiopian middle class, over three quarters of Ethiopians still live on less than $1 a day. A placement on one of our volunteer Care Projects is sure to be challenging but there will not be a single moment when you doubt that you are needed or valued.
Did you know? Traditionally, parents and children do not share a last name in Ethiopia. Most children take their father’s first name as their last name.
You can experience volunteer development work on a Care placement in Ethiopia as part of a gap year in your education, a college summer vacation, on a career break, as part of an extended holiday or during your retirement. You could be a trained professional or totally new to the field. All we ask is that you have a passion for and a commitment to the work and to the people you are there to help.
You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Ethiopia Care Management Plan.
Volunteering with Children in Ethiopia
Projects Abroad is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital. Located in the centre of the country at an altitude of 2400m, Addis Ababa is the third highest capital city in the world.
Care volunteers in Ethiopia work in day care centres and kindergartens in and around the capital. The centres provide care for children who live in disadvantaged circumstances, giving them friendship and support. The children who have made it to these centres will benefit from the emotional support that volunteers have the time and energy to give. This is where your help is most needed. Volunteers also organize occasional trips out from the centre and sometimes assist with fundraising events.
We also work with a local organization that arranges activities like games and sports for street children. These extra activities usually run a couple of times during the week and on Saturdays and all our volunteers in Ethiopia have the opportunity to be involved.
Volunteer Work in Ethiopia in Care Centres
Day care centres and kindergartens provide a safe haven where children can be free to play and learn away from the stresses of their home or street lives. Apart from fundamental childcare activities such as feeding and making sure all the children have suitable clothing and access to bathroom facilities, you will find yourself getting involved in other essential activities. Whether you are helping a child to learn to count, organizing a game of catch or letting a child braid your hair, volunteer work in Ethiopia will make a difference to the quality of their daily lives.
Many placements will appreciate you providing an extra dimension to the children’s’ education by giving them some informal English lessons. With Ethiopia increasingly becoming a tourist destination for visitors from the developed world, this will be a valuable skill for young people trying to find jobs.
Most importantly the work with the children was quite amazing. Being a private kindergarten, the school was well organized and the children studying here are really lucky. A big part of this successful teaching method was down to Ayantu, my supervisor. She is great, always having new, interesting ideas and inspiring me and the other teachers a lot Read more...
Volunteering in Orphanages in Ethiopia
Over the years, our volunteers have worked with children at orphanages and residential care homes in Ethiopia. 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 Ethiopia, 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.
This project 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 are a high school student and first-time traveller you may want to consider our High School Special programs in Ethiopia.