Are you yearning to experience a Childcare & Orphanage internship that is both challenging and rewarding? Do you dream about finding opportunities to give love, affection and care to children who can be found in nurseries, kindergarten, orphanages and child safety centers? If you have, then Jamaica Volunteer Programs has a project placement for you.
Over one million Jamaicans with children live below the poverty line and more than half of these parents struggle to survive and put basic food on the table. With these staggering statistics from a population of 2.7 Million people, greater demands are being placed on government and Non-Profit organizations to offer social services to the many children who roam the streets or go hungry every day.
When these childcare & Orphanage organizations reach out to the desperate children crying for help, they are often unable to pay for all the services they need, so they turn to volunteers and interns to fill the gap.
In these orphanage & child safety centers, you’ll find yourself organizing games, drama, dance lessons and helping with homework. You will be asked to communicate with the children by listening to them and encouraging them to speak. Many of these children have had an incredibly tough start in life and do not understand the value of education and how it can give them opportunities of a better life. This is your chance to make a difference.
Many struggling families who live in poor communities send their young children to nurseries and kindergarten where classes are overcrowded and the teacher burnt-out. Interns and volunteers can provide much needed help by working alongside the staff to give the one-to-one attention which is incredibly important.
Most childcare & orphanage projects in Jamaica are popular for ages 3 – 14 and can be for short term or long term. Short term is considered 1 – 4 weeks and long term over 4 weeks. In the short period, your greatest impact will be allowing the staff to get rest and bring fresh ideas to the projects.
Internships for longer periods are able to make a greater impact on the project and bring much needed help to the staff.
If you enjoy working in childcare & orphanage and love the thrill of making a difference in the lives of young people, come to Jamaica and volunteer as an intern. It is a truly fulfilling and enriching experience
We match our Interns skills and aspirations to childcare & orphanage centers in the city of Kingston and the parish of St. Andrew and other areas of Jamaica. We work with interns on an individual basis and try to place each person based on the requested position. Sometimes this is not always possible but we try very hard. If you have a special request for placement we will be happy to discuss this.
Age Requirement: We welcome students and interns but at the start of the program you must be at least 18years of age.
Required experience: No prior experience is necessary but you should have a good attitude, be flexible, creative and quick to adapt to changing situations.
What are the duration of your Projects?
Our minimum internships is 2 weeks but the duration of project varies and depends on your placements the budget you have to work with ,and what you are looking to gain from the internship. We are flexible and will help you come up with a budget that will work for your placement.
When should I Apply?
We accept interns year round and will work with you to find a placement that will work with the date you selected.
What we offer our Interns?
Project placements: The first service we offer you is a project placement. Once you have completed the application form and paid your program fee of $200.00 one of our project coordinators will do a phone or Skype interview. During this interview we answer your questions and try to understand what you want to get from your internship. In this way we will know how to find the best placement for you.
Airport Pick Up:
One of our representatives will welcome you to Jamaica and pick you up at the airport. We will be your support as you settle in your new surroundings.
We offer accommodation in our volunteer house called Smokey Manor. When this is full, we offer Home Stay accommodation. Rates quoted are for Dorms but if you require double occupancy you may request this at an extra charge. Staying in volunteer facilities and Home Stays allow you to touch, feel and see up close the Jamaican culture.
Food & Drink
Daily breakfast and dinner are included in your package. You are responsible for buying lunch at your project placement.
Transportation: You have three choices: Private tour bus, Route taxi, and private taxi .You pay the cost of your local transportation.
Insurance: It is a requirement that all interns be covered by a travel insurance policy. We work with insurance providers or you can buy your own.
Pre Departure Assistance:
Once you complete your application and payment our dedicated team of coordinators will start working with you. Our team is responsible for helping you to prepare for your trip before you arrive in Jamaica you may have questions or need to make special arrangements. We are here to give you help and support. A Pre Departure Information document will be emailed to you that will provide details about Jamaica, project information, Accommodations, Contact Information, and other useful tips.
On your arrival and the following day before the start of your project you’ll be given your orientation. You’ll get a good insight into Jamaica, the culture, things to do and see, and what to do in case of an emergency. And much more!
Our first job is providing you with in- country support. We will meet you at the airport, welcome you and transfer you to your accommodation.
Weekly – Start every Monday – Project is available all year
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A program fee of $200 is charged in addition to accommodation costs
Here are all the items included in your package
- Airport pick up and transfer to accommodation
- Shared accommodation
- Daily breakfast and dinner
- Orientation on arrival
- Internet access
- Pre -Arrival Assistance
- In country support
Items NOT included in Package Costs
- Airfare & Airport taxes
- Any cost associated with visas
- Transportation to/from all volunteer scheduled activities
- Personal expenses
- Return transfer to airport (Airport return transfer can be arranged for US$45.00)
- On your departure-house keeper Tip of US$10 minimum ( This is a one time payment)
- Optional Tours
Do I need a Passport to Travel to Jamaica?
Yes – You need a valid passport to enter Jamaica
What kind of short or vaccines do I need before entering Jamaica?
Travelers to Jamaica do not require shots or vaccines before entering the island
Is it necessary to convert money to Jamaican Dollars?
It is a good idea to change some of your money to Jamaican dollars as soon as you arrive in the island. The exchange rates fluctuate from place to place and some shops would not be able to give change in your currency. It is also be cheaper to buy products/services in Jamaican dollars
How can we exchange money to Jamaica Dollars?
Cambios, banks and some shops are available for money exchange. We’ll assist you by either converting your currency or during your transfers, stop at any of the money exchange places
Is the water safe to drink?
Jamaica’s water is safe to drink. Many ships stop here just for refilling their water supplies. If you do not want to drink our water, there is an abundant supply of bottled water for purchase
Will my cell phone work in Jamaica?
Yes, if you have roaming service connected to our phone. You can also buy an inexpensive pre-paid phone or SIM card
Do I need to buy travel insurance?
Yes, we strongly urge you to buy Travel Insurance. It is a requirement that all travellers are covered by a travel insurance policy. We work with insurance providers who can cover travellers
We hear a lot about crime in Jamaica, is it safe to move around?
Yes, we have crime in Jamaica as you have in your country. Jamaica is a small island and often times the news is very sensational. As you would do in your country, you should be careful and use precaution and common sense. In your orientation we give tips to assist and help keep you safe
Is Ganja (marijuana) smoking legal in Jamaica?
No, smoking Ganja is liable to imprisonment or fines. We urge you to avoid the use of this drug
Is there phone and internet available on projects?
In all accommodations there will be phone and internet service available. We strongly recommend having your personal cell phone
Accommodation Specific Frequently Asked Questions
Where will I stay?
There are two types of accommodation offered. Home stays with shared rooms of double/triple occupancy. This is a chance for you to touch, feel and see up close the Jamaican culture.
Also available are shared dorms with sitting room. All the accommodations are in attractive Jamaican communities with elegant living. They are clean and offer the best of Jamaica life
Do you offer single occupancy and air-conditioned rooms?
On specific requests we can offer single occupancy and air-conditioned rooms if they are available
Is tipping customary and how much should we bring?
Yes, Jamaica is a tourist destination and workers are expecting to be tipped.
We recommend that you give a minimum of US$10.00 and the maximum is at your discretion
What kind of food can I expect?
We serve authentic Jamaican foods but can provide substitutes for volunteers who have special dietary considerations
Volunteer Programs Specifics
What should I expect when I first arrive in Jamaica?
You will be met at the airport by one of our representative and transferred to your accommodation. After your welcome and the following day before your project starts you’ll be given your orientation. Get a good insight into Jamaica, the culture, things to do and see what to do in case of an emergency and much more
Can couples or families join the volunteer program?
Yes, we welcome couples and families who want to volunteer and try to make special arrangements so they can be together
Are there additional payments to be made after arriving in Jamaica?
Program fees cover accommodation, daily breakfast & dinner, airport pick up and transfer to accommodation, orientation, pre-departure information and in-country support. You will need funds to cover personal expenses such as daily lunch, telephone, house-keeper tip at the end of your stay, local transportation which includes airport departure, tours or any other purchase. For personal expenses we recommend a minimum US$30 – $50. Per week
You have the option to volunteer in Orphanages and work with children ages 3 – 18 years. Do art & craft, teach computer skills, play games, or just talk to them and show them you care
What kind of gifts can I bring for schools and the orphanage?
bring things like, crayons or anything for art & craft. Why? Many of these schools are very poor so although they should provide tools, you might not have things to work with if you do not bring some.
Do you have any new or used toys?
Gadgets like iPod, cameras or anything first world that you can bring to show kids to use? They will be fascinated by these and you can use them to break the ice and win confidence
Do you have small sports equipment?
Do you have balls or any equipment to use with the sport of your choice? – In Jamaica, children love to play Sports. We are big on track & field; cricket, football, basketball, netball. There are many others, but these are most popular.
Can I bring Clothes?
If you are interested in bringing a piece of luggage with some personal items of clothing, then this would be welcomed. Many of the children both girls and boys ages 3- 14 need simple things like socks, underwear, sneakers, etc. They can be new and used.
Would the orphanage accept linen?:
Beds at the orphanages are urgently in need of sheets and blankets. Popular choices are twin & flat
Can I bring sweets?
Bring a gift no matter how small: If you do not have big items, you may buy or ask others to donate sweets, nuts or candies.
How many hours will I volunteer per day? -Your hours of volunteer work will be determined by a number of factors. Example: The volunteer activity you chose, number of days you requested to volunteer, and the flexibility of the program with which you are working with.
How should I dress?
Every country has its customs and traditions and this includes Jamaica.
Dress for schools: In the schools you are expected to wear clothes that cover your body and not reveal intimate parts. Do not wear shorts to volunteer in schools. At the orphanage you can wear shorts for sports and relaxing with the kids.
How do I dress for church?
Jamaicans dress more formal to church. Do not wear short pants and cover the intimate parts of your body.
Where will I volunteer? – You will volunteer in schools, orphanages and community based organizations.
What kind of things can I talk about when volunteering?
Tell about your country, the weather, clothes people wear for the different seasons; things they do, eat etc. Things you take for granted will interest them. Carry pictures, samples of clothes or anything that will help you demonstrate. These will make your work interesting
As a volunteer teacher what will I do?
You can work with a class teacher to help individual students. This means you would move around the class and help the students one by one with reading, spelling, math and other basic subjects.