Teaching in an orphanage school

Kenya (K20) | View map
£187 p.w.

Price is based on 3 months
1 month

Volunteer overseas teaching in an orphanage in Kenya

  • Volunteer to teach and provide invaluable teaching capacity to this orphanage school
  • Make an impact in the lives of some of the poorest children in Nairobi
  • A humble, challenging and rewarding project that is the essence of overseas volunteering
  • Volunteer in Kenya as part of an African adventure
  • teaching in a orphanage school 1
  • teaching in a orphanage school 12
  • teaching in a orphanage school 3
  • teaching in a orphanage school 4
  • teaching in a orphanage school 5
  • teaching in a orphanage school 6
  • teaching in a orphanage school 7
  • teaching in a orphanage school 8
  • teaching in a orphanage school 9
  • teaching in a orphanage school 10
  • teaching in a orphanage school 11
  • teaching in a orphanage school 12
  • teaching in a orphanage school 13
  • teaching in a orphanage school 14
  • teaching in a orphanage school 15
  • teaching in a orphanage school 16
  • teaching in a orphanage school 17
  • teaching in a orphanage school 18

Project summary

This is an urban orphanage offering the most basic care and schooling to orphans, street kids and children from the local area. The mission is “to support, encourage and give skills to orphans and vulnerable children in the community, to be of value to themselves and society”.

The project started in 2005, when a local church group worked together to provide some care to orphans from the slum. They started with a handful of children and now teach 125 children and offer full time care/accommodation for 75.

The orphanage is led by Jacinta and Pastor Joseph (although there is no strong Christian mission) and Moses is a kindly head teacher who has been there five years.

There are 12 classes, from primary school age to secondary school. They have only 2 full time members of staff and 6 local volunteer staff, meaning there is always a gap in teaching resources. The volunteers do not get any meaningful salary, and inevitably move on when/if they can get a paid teaching job elsewhere.

The conditions are clean and basic, but challenging. The orphanage and classes are all crammed into a small location in a very poor area. Classes are in dark, cramped spaces and the children’s sleeping area is a tightly packed set of bunks. Nevertheless, the children are being offered education. They are positive, very courteous and engaged, and welcome the schooling and interest of international volunteers who help fill the gap in teaching resources.

Any student volunteer who has passed through a good education could help lead lessons in this school. It will suit gap year volunteers or teachers who have a mature approach and a reasonable level of independence.

Volunteer roles and responsibilities

teaching in a orphanage school 19

The volunteer will teach to primary and/or secondary school children. Volunteers lead lessons, particularly in English and maths, but also in other subjects. The programme for each volunteer will be agreed locally with Moses and Jacinta, based on their experience and confidence levels, and volunteers will be accompanied in lessons to start with.

Lessons are to small class sizes in 30-45 minute sessions, typically delivered from a text book. The head teacher shares what exercise they are focusing on and the volunteer is able to lead the class through this.

Few people have discretionary time to give these children – creating games, activities and playing sports in the available break time and after school will quickly bring a smile to the faces of children who have a lot of challenges in their lives.

Volunteers with relevant experience can also offer ideas to the staff to develop the school.

How you can make a difference

Volunteers directly support and enhance the children’s learning by leading classes and giving 121 coaching.  You add capacity to the teaching staff helping all the classes have lessons and giving the children more time to learn and develop. Volunteers give the children confidence through their engagement and encouragement and importantly you can make their lives (and yours) more fun through recreational activities.

What is distinctive about this project:

There is no doubting the very real need of this project. The school survives at current staffing levels and volunteers provide the capacity to give all the children the required lessons.

It is a very real insight into poverty in urban Kenya, but this offers volunteers a greater reward. You make a real difference to the lives of children in the most difficult conditions and this is a huge source of motivation and personal development.

Blue Tiger Features:

This is a tough but rewarding project, as the poverty and basic conditions for the children confront volunteers on a daily basis, which requires a certain resilience. The atmosphere is cheerful and positive, however, managed within a loving and supportive environment.

There may be other volunteers at the same time as you, but this is not to be assumed and volunteers should recognise that they are there to do a very real job, providing education to the children and gaining invaluable experience themselves.


The requirement for volunteers changes during the school holiday period, to be advised upon application.


English is prevalent, but learning basic Swahili will be a help and a courtesy.

Experience required:

Experience working with or supporting younger children in any capacity is helpful. Volunteers need to be confident and assertive with the children in order to lead classes.

Teaching experience is desirable, but volunteers are able to learn basic teaching structures as part of their preparation to their placement.

Good to know:

The school location is in a poor area of town and this should heighten a general awareness for personal security. Volunteers will live in the family home of Beatrice, our local Outreach International coordinator who lives in the affluent Karen district of Nairobi.

Price table

4 weeks8 weeks12 weeks16 weeks20 weeks6 months

Includes: Comprehensive travel insurance (supplements may apply to older travellers). Accommodation, food, airport transfer, travel to projects, in-country support
Excludes: Flights, visas, vaccinations
NOTE: Lessons in Swahili can be arranged at an extra cost.

Things to see and do

  • Go safari
  • Mount Kenya
  • Elephant Orphanage
  • Giraffe Sanctuary
Beatrice Waweru

Country co-ordinator

Beatrice Waweru

Beatrice has a BA in Library and Information Science from Makerere University in Kenya. She has spent much of her career setting up libraries and information centres for various institutes. She is currently studying Counselling and Psychology at Amani University and has been involved in the welfare of children at several orphanages in Nairobi. Beatrice joined our team in 2011. She lives in Nairobi with her husband and three children and uses her family homes to accommodate volunteers in Nairobi.

About Kenya