Most of the people working with Strong Hearts were amazing, and I mean their kindness and generosity goes unparalleled in my experience. As soon as I arrived, I was immediately welcomed into a ready and waiting family who couldn't do more to accommodate me, and that became the hardest bit about leaving three weeks later. I found my participation appropriately flexible, another volunteer and I were permitted a couple of days off around a weekend to get out to other parts of the country which really added to our understanding of Ethiopia. The children were adorable, excitable, engaged, enthusiastic about learning, absolutely fabulous company - and this comes from someone that generally avoids spending time with children in the UK. Overall, I had a wonderful time, I would recommend both Ethiopia and Love Volunteers to anybody, and I fully intend on applying to volunteer through you again.
Through our partner NGO in Ethiopia, we at Love Volunteers are seeking volunteers right now. Opportunities in a variety of fields constantly arise, each aimed at making a palpable difference to people’s lives in a country which suffered decades of famine, war and other disasters. Volunteering in Ethiopian projects includes working with children in orphanages, schools and in medical programs. Ethiopia volunteers live with local Ethiopian host families for the duration of their placement.
Taking the step of volunteering overseas, especially in such a challenging environment, is something you will look back on with pride and with a greater understanding of humanity and its problems. Volunteers in Ethiopia come from many walks of life and are all ages. You may be considering volunteering in Ethopia during a gap-year before studies, as a new graduate or while between jobs. What you will gain is a firsthand experience of being with and helping people in a country ravaged by poverty and in need of urgent assistance.
Ethiopia is an awe-inspiring country with a dramatic history. The efforts of volunteers are never wasted and indeed have a measurable impact on those individuals and families most affected by poverty. In Ethiopia, you could be engaged on projects helping children in orphanages, working in schools or on medical programs.
Past volunteers in Ethiopia have broadened their outlook on life. Inevitably, there will be a re-assessment of your values as a result of your time spent as a volunteer. The experience is bound to leave you better equipped to face future challenges in your life. While there, you may well feel frustrated at times, and possibly overwhelmed by the challenges, but you can rest assured that you are making a difference.
Lying in the east of Africa, Ethiopia’s vistas and landscapes are immensely dramatic. Here, you will find the Simien Mountains and the Bale Mountains, both of which have wildlife that can be viewed nowhere else in the world. In contrast, there is the Danakil Depression to the north, where the hostile terrain offers that chance for extreme adventure. For more info about traveling in Ethiopia get a copy of Lonely Planet and Wikitravel.
Start & Duration
Volunteers in Ethiopia can choose from short term or long term stays, and can start on any day of the year. Programs are flexible; however, two weeks is the recommended minimum stay, and is also the minimum in terms of the program fees that will be charged.
Food and Accommodation
You will stay in a volunteer guest house during your placement in Ethiopia. Some locals who work on the programs will live there, along with coordinators and other volunteers. This is a great way to be immersed in the local culture, and is an opportunity to meet people who may become lifelong friends. There is a house mother who will provide you with breakfast and dinner during the week and three meals per day if you remain at your accommodation during weekends.The traditional bread – Injera – resembles a sourdough pancake. The main dish is often a spicy stew – known as wat – containing meat and vegetables. No pork is consumed, as most Ethiopians, being Ethiopian Orthodox Christians, Muslims or Jews, are forbidden from eating pork. An ingredient known as enset, sometimes called the ‘false banana plant’ is used in Gurage dishes where it is often ground up and made into another type of bread. Volunteers in Ethiopia have the privilege of savouring these and other local specialities in the homes of ordinary local people.Lunch can be taken at small cafes or restaurants near your volunteer project where you can sample more local food at an affordable price.
A typical week
The structure of the week varies for different projects, but we aim to be flexible. Provided some notice is given, we will try to accommodate your plans. That said, a typical week volunteering in Ethiopia looks something like this:
Weekdays: At about 7.30am you'll have breakfast which is provided by the 'house mother'. At 8-8.30am you will make your way to the project to start at about 9am. Here you'll meet local staff who will explain your tasks for the day. Breaks throughout the day vary, as do finish times which are generally between 3pm and 5pm.
In the afternoon you are free to socialize or perhaps take a trip to the shops or visit a cafe or restaurant. Alternatively, if you like you can continue helping out on your project.
Weekends: Volunteering in Ethiopia during the weekends is possible, you may like to visit orphanages where the children will be delighted to be entertained. Otherwise, this is your time to relax, perhaps just chilling at home or you could arrange to explore the local town or travel further afield. Extended weekends can be arranged to allow for safari trips, but remember our local team need plenty of notice.
About the Country
With a population of around 77 million, Ethiopia in East Africa is bordered by Somalia, Eritrea and Djibouti to the east and Kenya and Sudan to the west. Enjoying a mild climate, only the lowland areas to the far western, eastern and southern parts of the country experience temperatures much above 30°C.Ethiopia has a fascinating history. Recent wars and famines have taken their toll, but much of Ethiopia’s historic legacy remains intact, parts of the country seeming unchanged since medieval times. This includes the World Heritage site of Lalibela, a remote and ancient town with eleven churches carved from rock, mysterious grottoes and hidden passageways. Here Christian ceremonies take place exactly as they did 1000 years ago. Visitors often travel to the rural town of Aksum, believed by Ethiopians to be the home of the Ark of the Covenant. The country’s south-west corner is worth exploring; dwelling here are several of the most intriguing tribes in Africa.Travelling in Ethiopia, a poor and partly war-damaged country, is demanding, both physically and mentally. However, if you are willing to take the rough with the smooth, then the experience can be highly rewarding.
The minimum age requirement is 18. Volunteers should be able to speak English to at least an intermediate level. In some cases, younger volunteers accompanied by an adult may be accepted.The Ethiopia volunteer programs are open to volunteers from all walks of life; those who are retired are welcome, as well as students, those on a career break, or at a crossroads in terms of career decisions. Apply Now!
The format of the orientation depends on your arrival time. Most volunteers tend to arrive in the evening. In this case, the orientation begins the following day with a talk at the volunteer house or local restaurant about the country, security, transport, the project and local health issues.You will be taken to the local town and shown around places of interest such as supermarkets, internet cafes and restaurants. You are also given time to change money, buy bottled water, snacks and so on. If time allows, you will be taken to the project and have your project orientation the same day.If you arrive in the morning, you may have orientation later that day, if you are not too tired.
The experience was amazing! The country itself is fantastic and when I say just about everyone is friendly, it isn't an exaggeration. The local partner organization is run by amazing people. Everyone is respectful and its very easy to adapt and feel home at the guest house. I extended my trip and most of the volunteers I've met there either extended or returned. It's easy to care about everyone there. I didn't do any of the hospice care but that seems to be the more popular volunteer option of the two choices of either that or the education. The school is amazing! The children are so lovable. The teachers there are very warm and welcoming. The nursery teacher I worked with mostly was incredibly helpful and friendly. I liked her alot and feel lucky I had this opportunity. There's also a pretty great after school program.
My only qualm is I wish i had a little bit more information beforehand on anything students needed so I could have brought more stuff. I think little things like maybe pencils or notebooks or markers for the teachers would be helpful. Overall, the experience was really amazing! I look forward to my next adventure through love volunteers! And I'm happy i chose this organization especially as a first timer abroad.
I had an absolutely wonderful experience volunteering for 10 weeks in Ethiopia. It was the most amazing experience of my life, and I came back home with a different outlook on what is important to me. My time there has re-shaped me and inspired me to an extent that I never expected, and I am truly thankful for it. After volunteering, I changed my career path, and now want to become a nurse so I can work in third world communities, helping those most in need. Ethiopia is a beautiful country, and everyone I met helped me adjust with ease and quickness to the very different culture I was immersed in. Love volunteers was incredibly organized, and responded to all my questions with promptness and care. I absolutely loved Love Volunteers and could not imagine choosing any other organization to volunteer with.
I absolutely loved Ethiopia and am so thankful I decided to use LV for my trip! It was so easy and organized. I honestly was not thrilled about coming home from Ethiopia so soon, but I was excited to see my family and share stories. The most heartwarming memories come from the beautiful kids. It's not easy to describe my experience in words, but here is a blurb I wrote:Some may view my time volunteering as monotonous days full of patty-cake, hairstyling, hand holding & teeth cleaning. However, for me it has been 15 amazing days that have fulfilled a childhood dream. I have spent 3 unforgettable weeks doing dental hygiene volunteer work. I spent most of my time at the preschool, but also visited the primary school & hospice.Who knew that tucked away behind 2 unassuming, metal doors were 100 inspiring, joyful children. The amount of interaction that can come from a simple smile, laughter, & a few Amharic words is overwhelming. The kids are absolutely beautiful & have certainly taught me more than I could ever teach them. While they may have a new toothbrush & know to brush twice a day... that seems insignificant when compared to the depth in which they have touched me. Their genuine, innocent smiles are heartwarming. I didn't come with the motive of changing lives, but rather simply wanting to spread smiles. I am truly blessed to have had the opportunity to volunteer with such a wonderful organization. The staff are amazing & their work is selfless. I will carry the memories (and hundreds of "photos") with me forever. Please know that you helped me fulfill a childhood dream and I could not be happier! I have attached a few of my favorite pictures. Chelsey
Hello Volunteers, just wanted to share with you some pictures from my volunteering experience in Ethiopia. This has certainly been a life changing experience that has taught me a very good lesson in hopitality, courage, and above all, appreciation. It has deffinitely change the way I will look at things from now own. There is definitely something really special about the people from Ethiopia and cant wait to be back to this charming land.
Teaching and working with Children
There is considerable variety in the range of subjects taught by volunteers, which include English, sports, information technology and life skills for people who have disabilities, as well as many others.You will typically work with children aged 3 - 10 years. Outside of the classroom you will be providing companionship as well as devising and leading fun activities for the children.A formal teaching qualification or TEFL certificate is not a requirement to participate in the volunteer teaching projects. In fact, after orientation you may well be teaching on your own with the guidance of a qualified teacher. Alternatively, your role will be to assist local teachers. Certainly your presence on the program will make a significant contribution to the improvement of the pupils’ conversational English.In many instances, the local teachers themselves gain from contact with English speaking volunteers. You will provide increased exposure to spoken English and hence boost their confidence. Both the school's pupils and its teachers, by advancing their language skills, improve their chances of a brighter future.
Medical volunteers in Ethiopia are placed in clinics and hospitals. The programs accept individuals with a wide range of experience, including qualified medical personnel, medical students, pre-med students and anyone with a true desire to help in the health sector.Attendance on a medical volunteer project is itself helpful preparation for a medical career. Wherever possible, the volunteer placement is tailored to your level of experience and interests, as well as the size and type of hospital or clinic that best suits you.Volunteers in Ethiopia inevitably note a great contrast between medical practices carried out in developed countries and that found in developing countries.Hospital volunteers in Ethiopia observe as well as directly assisting doctors and nurses. Volunteers in Ethiopia accompany doctors on rounds, giving assistance in various ways.Branches of medicine for which volunteers in Ethiopia are required include: Nursing, Midwifery, Dentistry, Traditional Medicine, and Physiotherapy.
Indicative costs per program
|Volunteer period [weeks]||1||2||3||4||6|
|Teaching and working with children||-||US$400||US$500||US$600||US$800|
|Volunteer period [weeks]||8||12||16||20||24|
|Teaching and working with children||US$1000||US$1400||US$1800||US$2200||US$2600|
Other volunteers periods available. Please, contact LoveVolunteers for pricing of other periods.
A Love Volunteers registration fee of US$235 is charged in addition to the program fees and covers any placements you undertake for twelve months from the start of your first placement. The fee is refundable if you cancel more than three months prior to the start of your initial placement. This fee ensures 24/7 pre- and post-placement support from Love Volunteers, checking and vetting of local organisations, a comprehensive information pack, as well as administration and marketing costs. All transaction costs pertaining to online, bank or wire transfers are additional to the program fee and must be covered by the volunteer.