All about the volunteer opportunities at Team College!
We have put together this list of frequently asked questions about the volunteer opportunities here at Team College. Get in touch if there's anything else you need to know!
What's the set up?
Team College was established by a local headmaster in Ruhanga village who was concerned that children of ability weren't accessing even supposedly free secondary education because of the fees and charges schools make.
Team College essentially provides "at cost" education with no element of profit and its admission criteria is that students have ability but without the financial resources to maximise their educational opportunities.
When you volunteer for us it will be a real hand-on experience getting fully involved in school life rather than acting as a "voluntourist" whereby you fill your days keeping busy in between tourist type activities! We only cater for a few volunteers at a time so you will be part of a small family set up for the duration of your stay, and, as such, can make a meaningful impact and difference. We're sure you will put down roots, develop friendships and return before long!
Where is it?
Team College is a few minutes walk from the main Mbarara to Kabale Road some 230 miles south of Kampala in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa! Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo are within easy travelling distance and we are an ideal base for gorilla trekking at Bwindi Impenetrable National Park or for safaris at nearby Queen Elizabeth National Park.
What will I be doing?
Most of the work is school based working directly with the young people in both formal and informal settings at the school. But its also creative and flexible so you don't have to start school in the morning and work through until the end of the day. You may want to run after school workshops or weekend projects only or get other initiatives off the ground. We can explore how best to deploy you during the easy signing up process. Oh, and you don't need to be a qualified teacher, but we do ask that you are fluent in English and are reliable.
What are the costs?
The volunteering cost is £5.00 a day with additional costs for your accommodation depending on where you choose to stay ~ so effectively you are looking at between £10-£15 a day fully inclusive. This £5.00 is broken down into £3.00 a day for improvements to Team College that directly benefit the students; £1.50 a day into a development pot and 50p into a volunteer fund so that we don't ask you to dip into your pocket to buy materials such as pens and paper etc when you are working with the students. Please note that absolutely none of the volunteering fees goes towards admin or anything else; 100% of it always goes directly to services and resources for the students.
There is no need to pay in advance, simply pay when you arrive!
Where will I be staying?
There are a few different accommodation options with the main two ones being staying at our own homestay accommodation (right) next to the school or staying at nearby Ruhanga Resource Centre where other volunteers operating locally base themselves. Our homestay is traditional African accommodation with outside toilets, no electricity nor running water, but an authentic experience. You can find out more by visiting our homestay website here. For details about the Ruhanga Resource Centre and other accommodation options please visit here. In terms of costs full board at our homestay works out at £5 a day and at the Resource Centre £10 a day. We only have room for two volunteers at the homestay so book early! (Other Team College volunteers stay at the Resource Centre when we are full.)
How do I get there?
We can provide you with all your travelling details when you book or alternatively we can arrange for you to be picked up from Entebbe airport and brought down to the project. Essentially all you have to do is book your flight to Entebbe Airport and we can take it from there. (You will, of course, have to pay for these travelling costs ~ its normally around £55 for pick up at the airport day or night, transport to "our" guest house in Kampala for an overnight stay for those arriving late evening, transport into Kampala the following morning, "put" on the correct bus along with your ticket and drop off close to Team College. And, in the event that your baggage gets lost en route, this cost even includes having it forwarded when its located.) Best of all your family and friends know that from the moment you arrive, you're in safe hands!
When does the school operate?
Given that we are a school project it makes sense that volunteers come during term times! For 2016 the term dates are as follows:
Term one 22.02.2016 to 13.05.2016
Term two 06.06.2016 to 02.09.2016
Term three 26.09.2016 to 09.12.2016.
The school is open Monday to Friday although we have a few boarders who are also around at weekends. You can buy in as much as you like and, of course, when school is on holiday there's so much to see and do in Uganda.
What about leisure time?
You will have plenty of time during your stay to explore the multitude of leisure opportunities in this unspoilt part of Africa. You can check some of them out at our "sister" homestay website here.
Is it safe?
Yes! Whilst all travellers are advised to check their own country's advice website regarding foreign travel, we are located in a sleepy rural village far from anything remotely dangerous. You are closer to Ebola in the UK than you are here in Uganda and probably the biggest concern you will have is how to meet the expectations of so many smiling children who are eager to get to know you!
What else do I need to know?
You will need a visa to enter Uganda which is available when you arrive at Entebbe Airport for £30 and takes a few moments to process. As we are in a rural village community there is no opportunity to purchase anything with a credit or debit card although you can withdraw cash at an ATM in nearby Ntungamo. You should also bring anti-malaria medication with you and are strongly advise only to drink purchased, bottled water. Please also note that our village is very conservative in nature and women/girls in particular (sorry!) should dress accordingly. Finally, make sure you have adequate travel insurance!
Is there any other way to help?
Facilities at Team College are basic. Because we admit students from poorer backgrounds, we can't charge anything above the basic costs of providing teachers and food so there is nothing left for school improvements. None of the classrooms have windows to prevent rain coming in, one of the classrooms has only three walls after the fourth collapsed and we can't afford to repair it and boarders sleep on mattresses on the floor as actual beds are beyond our means. So if you are a builder who can stay with us and help repair our facilities you would be most welcome; if you are a school, or other project who wants to partner with us to develop our basic provision, we extend the hand of friendship or if you simply want to make a small donation to help the children here, please do so. Every little really does help! Get in touch here.
What if I have further questions?
We're always happy to answer any questions you may have. Simply contact us here and we'll get back to you as soon as we can, normally within 24 hrs but bear with us as internet speeds aren't all that fast where we are!