Volunteering in Rwanda

Dance Contest at FAV-Rwanda

Volunteering allows both expats and travellers an opportunity to get involved in a cause, meet locals with big hearts and big ideas, learn a lot about the country you find yourself in and maybe even have a little bit of a positive impact in some people’s lives. A perfect combo! Of course it doesn’t really work if you’re lazy or money-hungry… but if you’re a kind soul with something to give, some spare time and a desire to get involved in your community then we’re here to help you find a place to volunteer in Rwanda.

People searching for volunteering opportunities online before arriving will often be led to pay-to-volunteer programs that charge crazy amounts of money that go way beyond living expenses. Maybe this sort of thing is for you if you have lots of money in the bank and want your hand held through the process, but I’m assuming most people reading this will want to organise something where they’re able to help without having their cash go off into some middleman volunteer vacation company’s pocket.

All of these organisations listed below are the real deal and willing to take volunteers without crazy high mysterious fees (although in most cases you will have to cover your own living costs). I’ve had personal contact with someone at each organisation and have volunteered at some myself so I’m willing to vouch that the work they’re doing is amazing and that they’d be pretty interesting and rewarding places to spend your time.

Generation Rwanda

Generation Rwanda is a Kigali-based NGO which aims to help orphans and other socially vulnerable young people in Rwanda to pursue a university education by offering scholarships. They have four full time volunteer positions (English Language Instructors, Career Development Associate, and Technology Associate) that are filled on a yearly basis and they can also always use help with specific projects and trainings throughout the year. One of their biggest projects is their student selection process which requires as many hands as possible.

They’re also always interested in making career connections through professional mentors and internship opportunities with businesses in Rwanda so if you think you can help in this way, get in touch.

Website: http://www.generationrwanda.org
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/GenerationRwanda
Twitter: @GenerationRW
Contact: Michelle at [email protected]

The Kinamba Project

Teachers and Students at the Kinamba ProjectThe Kinamba Project is a school in Kigali that was initially started by the local community to help the most vulnerable children get an opportunity to go to school and is now supported by Meg, a former head teacher in the UK. I stayed at this school on my arrival to Kigali with a friend who was interning there, so I saw the great work they do first-hand.

They’re in need of volunteer teachers to work in the classes alongside Rwandan colleagues and provide training for the teachers and assistants in participatory teaching and learning, particularly in science and mathematics. English teachers are in demand (especially those prepared to work in the evenings to teach the parents at their request) as are artists to work with the children and the adults and anyone willing to help with sports and games for people of all ages. They’re willing to welcome any enthusiastic people and are very open to new ideas.

Website: http://www.kinambaproject.org.uk
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/kinambaproject
Contact: [email protected]

Red Rocks Initiatives for Sustainable Development (Musanze)

Red Rocks InitiativeIf you’d rather escape Kigali while doing some good work, check out the wonderful things happening out in Musanze that are tied in with Red Rocks Backpackers and their related non-profit. They have a variety of programmes suited to different interests including conservation, hygiene and sanitation, and teaching English to local youth and women involved in the handicrafts business (and you can learn Kinyarwanda in return!) It’s a a great way to meet Rwandans from various backgrounds, get to know their lives and the challenges they face, as well build synergies and networks that could benefit your future endeavors. Volunteers receive camping accommodation at Red Rocks in beautiful Musanze and three meals per day.

Website: https://www.redrocksrwanda.com
Contact: Greg at 0784 685 285 or [email protected]
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/redrocksrwanda

Rwandan Orphans Project

These guys are an orphanage and a center for street children located just past the airport who provide housing, clothing, food, health care, education and many other needs to nearly 100 vulnerable children from around the country. I met someone who works here while I was out for aka benz one night and it sounds like a really great organisation, similar, I think, to what FAV-Rwanda (listed above) does.

I tried to email them and got no response but their website says they accept volunteers, preferably for a minimum of two weeks upwards. Previous volunteers brought their music, art, computing, social work and therapy skills to the boys and staff but they’ll welcome any self-motivated person who wants to come along and just help out generally around the Center. Anything from playing football with the kids, holding drawing classes or teaching them English or about money management, hygiene and gender equality.

Website: http://www.rwandanorphansproject.org or http://www.ropstories.org
Contact: Jenny at 0782 023 254 or [email protected] or [email protected]
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rwandan-Orphans-Project/109466929118504

Solid’Africa

One of my friends volunteers with Solid’Africa and it seems like a really fun gang of people with a lot of energy, dedicated to a great cause. Solid’Africa is focused on helping vulnerable patients in hospitals by providing them meals and also friendly visits. I’m not sure if there are clearly defined volunteer roles or if they’ll accept anyone with an idea. In the past, one volunteer helped with their budget and built a website while another gave courses on project management and helped establish the organisation’s structure. I know they currently have a need for more admin help and are very open to volunteers in any capacity.

Website: http://solidafrica.net
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/SolidAfrica.NGO
Twitter: @SolidAfrica

Team Rwanda (Musanze)

Team Rwanda CyclistsThis sounds like a really great way to get connected to the amazing work that’s being done with Rwanda’s cycling team. There are opportunities in Musanze (Ruhengeri) about two hours from Kigali to teach English to the riders of Team Rwanda four nights a week for 1-2 hours during their regularly scheduled training camps.

Team Rwanda offers room and board for the week for anyone traveling to Musanze to teach. A schedule of training camp dates can be provided for 2012. The primary goal is to teach general every day phrases, bike parts and body parts. Currently the levels of the riders are widely varied from fairly good English speaking and comprehension to almost none. None of the riders are currently up to speed with written English. There are also opportunities to help out with English tutoring for riders who live in Kigali.

If English teaching isn’t your thing then maybe leading lead yoga/stretching classes is. The team’s riders have recently been exposed to yoga and love it and they’d eventually like to expand the program and begin training the riders to lead classes as well.  Team Rwanda would offer room and board for the week’s training camp for anyone traveling to Musanze.

Get in touch with them for a list of the training camps for 2012.

Website: http://www.teamrwandacycling.org
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Team-Rwanda#!/pages/Team-Rwanda/27990066134
Contact: Kimberly at [email protected]
Twitter: @TRwandaCycling

Tubahumurize

Traditional Dancing ClassTubahumerize serve women living in Rwanda, regardless of their age, ethnicity, nationality, or religion. In particular: genocide survivors; victims of gender-based violence and oppression; women living with HIV/AIDS and other critical illnesses; single mothers, grandmothers and orphan girls heading up households; and widows. They currently serve over 300 women with regular trauma counselling, micro-financing, skills training – including a very active sewing, embroidery and quilting program – and other educational programming.

They’re located out in Kabeza (not too far from the airport) and have two rooms on-site to house volunteers. They only accept female volunteers over 25 and prefer self-motivated individuals who will arrive with their own ideas on how they can help.

Website: http://www.rwandanwomencan.org
Volunteering Info: http://www.workaway.info/4478647474ab-en.html
Contact: Simone at [email protected]

Ubushobozi (Musanze)

Ubushobozi focuses on helping orphaned and/or head-of-household teenage girls in the Musanze (Ruhengeri) area who are no longer enrolled in traditional schools due to lack of fees and the need to support the daily needs of their families. The girls are enrolled in their (free) vocational skills training program (sewing, weaving, crochet) and participate in English, mathematics, business, women’s health/family planning, traditional dance and yoga classes.

They’re very eager to receive volunteer English and math teachers, health educators, yoga instructors and seamstresses and crafters. Volunteers can come for as little as a day or for much longer and they’re willing to work with volunteers to craft a mutually beneficial experience.

Website: http://www.ubushobozi.org
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/UbushoboziProject
Contact: [email protected]

Find Your Own Opportunities

If you’ve got any useful skills to teach or help out with then why not try reaching out to an organisation you like who might not have a formal volunteering program? I’m a web design nerd and this skill is in huge demand as websites can be expensive (or if know a lot about Facebook or Twitter then maybe helping out with social media is a good way to get involved in an organisation that you relate with) so I’ve been able to reach out to a few groups to help in this area. Teaching English or playing with kids isn’t really my thing so it’s pretty cool to be able to still get involved and help out doing something I like to do.

If you’re a farmer type then why not try to find somewhere to help set up a garden? Or if you’ve got a teachable skill then see where you can help out – anything from sewing to Excel to yoga to drawing to how to make vodka jello shooters. Or if you’re a master marketer or fundraiser I’m sure there are lots of places who’d want to pick your brain. If you’re passionate about what you do and eager to get involved then I’m sure some group doing good things in Rwanda out there would love to have you share your knowledge with them.

If you know of any other volunteering opportunities that I haven’t listed here, anywhere in Rwanda, please leave a comment with the details and I’ll get in touch and add them to this list.

About the Author

Related Posts

83 thoughts on “Volunteering in Rwanda”

  1. Hey Kirsty,

    Love the website, its so good and very inspiring! If you ever hear of any voluntary hospital work, radiography or nursing I would be very interested. Keep up the good work 🙂

    Suz xx

  2. Hey Kirsty,

    Thanks for this useful information. You are doing a really great job. Thumbs-up!:)

    Is it possible to get your e-mail? I would like to talk to you, as I’m a volunteer myself.

    Thanks!

      1. This is great Kirsty…I enjoyed reading your website very informative and great too. I am new in Kigali arrived a week ago and will be here for a while, we are an ex-patriate family and I am a full time housewife in need of something to do with my spare time and my skills as an HIV/AIDS Ppeadiatric psychologist/play therapist and child development expert……

        I am still trying to find my bearings, language wise, geographically, voluntary and socially

        1. Hi Susan, would be great to meet you and talk more about your experience. I am a Clinical Psychologist from the UK and have been working here in Rwanda for two years now. Hope you’re settling in now!

          1. Dear Jemma,

            This is probably a long shot, but are you still in Rwanda?
            I’m a recently graduated clinical psychologist and I’m coming to Rwanda Kigali in February for a month.

            I’m still looking for any volunteer job for this month and I was wondering, as a fellow psychologist, if you have any ideas or advice in this area?

            Hope to hear from you.

            Kind regards,

            Pauline

  3. I’m Kenyan citizen and would like to volunteer in Rwanda. I’m a specialist in Biochemistry and would like to offer my services especially in the pharmaceutical or any food industry. please help

  4. I’m a Rwandan working outside of Kigali. There are many people in need of a help where I work (patients, street children, poor, etc) but there are no volunteering organizations. It will be good to come and help them and I will be a first volunteer to intervene.

    1. Five years later, are you still there?

      I’m looking to teach ESL as a volunteer in Rwanda. Ideally to school teachers who must teach English or teach IN English.

      Welcome any ideas you may have or places/groups you care to suggest.

      Thank you.

      Carole

      1. hello carole ,
        are you still interested to teach esl? i have a language centre in rwanda and i am looking for foreigner esl teacher and i also work with schools in rwanda , if you are still interested or if you know anybody who might be interested we can deal though it is not volunteer i need a real teacher who can get paid . if you are still interested contact me via this email: [email protected]

    2. Hi Dan, I am a public Health graduate, and I am looking for a place where my time, skills and energy will be useful. Can you recommend me a place I can volunteer?

  5. i am a Tanzanian living in kigali,would like to volunteer i helping the community in any way.anyone with a place please recommend or connect me.

  6. mireille kaneza

    Hi I am from Burundi and actually living here in kigali. I would like to volunteer too. I have a degree in social sciences. Please you can help please get in touch with me. Thank you

  7. Looking for new members: association working in volunteerism in Rwanda

    Every year there are many volunteers from abroad coming to Rwanda- why is it not the other way around?
    We are a young Rwandan association, called “Akanyoni kaguruka” which is a partner of “Zugvögel e.V.” in Germany (http://en.zugvoegel.org/about-us). This association is sending young Rwandan volunteers to Germany, now four people are there, working in Kindergartens, with disabled and with the youth in the fields of culture and sports.

    At the moment “Akanyoni kaguruka” is looking for support in Rwanda- financially, but especially we are looking for new members who like to work in their free-time in the field of volunteerism in Rwanda, contribute and learn something at the same time (please note that we are NOT looking for volunteers to go to Germany!).
    For more information contact [email protected], contact us on Facebook or come to our presentation:

    At 21st September, 3 pm
    At “football for hope centre”/ Maison des Jeunes in Kimisagara (next to Kimisagara Primay School)
    Hope to see you there!

    We really appreciate if you spread this message among young Rwandans- Murakoze!

    1. Are you still looking for volunteers for Rwanda?

      If so, I’m an ESL volunteer and am available part of January, February, March 2018. Happy to work with your schedule and needs.

      Thank you.

      Carole

  8. hey dear friends.. its v nice and informative link.. can you please help me to guide that how much is the Avg. food cost a month in Kigali? (like a normal self cooked food)

  9. interpreter ssenyomo yusufu

    hello dear friends i am a professional sign language interpreter currently working with Kyambogo University in Uganda and i wish to work with the vso rwanda or the rwanda union for the Deaf in case of any need of me or any opportunity please contact me on 0773728191
    email [email protected]
    thanks God bless you all

  10. Hi all,

    I have found this website a very good channel to inform anybody who would like to volonteer his/her knowledge to create more jobs in Rwanda to contact us at [email protected] or visit our website http://www.growmovement.org.

    We are a charity organization that empower small business owners through business management skills so they can run their companies better,increase profitability and eventually create more jobs.We have had an amazing success in Rwanda,Malawi and Uganda impacting more than 3000 people over the last four years.
    If you want to learn more about us,do not hesitate to contact me directly on above mentioned email.You can either be looking for a volonteer opportunity or you are an entrepreneur willing to join our program.

    I look forward to hear from many of you!

    Thank you,

  11. i live in london and i would love to come down and help build a school or work as a handerman in any project.can someone contact me how to go about doing that

  12. Hello everyone!

    I just finished my Masters in Public Health, and am looking for a volunteer/internship here in Kigali.
    Can someone please provide information on how to go about doing so.
    Thank you!

  13. Am an experienced IT employee looking for volunteer opp in kigali. I develop web sites and databases and business application.

    am a huge fun of animals too! anything related to animals is welcome!

  14. Hello. Am a diploma music graduate from Kenya currently taking a BTech music programme and in my 3rd year.
    Am passionate about children and would love to have an opportunity to volunteer my services in Rwanda. Thank you.

  15. Nikubwayo Clemence

    Hello dear friends! this site is great and informative! thanks for the good job! I am a rwandan living outside of Kigali ; i hold a bachelor ‘s degree in agro-forestry and want to volunteer /internship .thank you

  16. Your website is the right way for the current Rwanda’s vision. I m now feeling free to volunteer because its my interest to do something to my country at this right time, thanks for your nice job.

  17. my level of education is bachelor degree in counselling psychology attained from the university of iringa (Tanzania) in 2015.

  18. Pingback: Volunteer Spotlight: Kirstie in Kigali, Rwanda

  19. Kristy
    I’m traveling in Rwanda with my 8 year old daughter. I’d love to have her visit an orphanage and “help out” / play with the kids there for a few hours ( or a couple of days). Would you have any recommendations in Musanze or Kigali?
    Regards
    Reuben

  20. immaculate kantengwa

    Kristy,
    thanks for the great job, i leave in Rwanda i have been working for 8 year in logistics, i specialized in finance and banking but i love knowing so many other things if have any recommendations in Kigali please contact me.

  21. I am a young graduate in engineering and would love to find any kind of volunteering activities which I can dedicate to my weekends, if you could help guide me I would appreciate it.

  22. hi, Kirsty

    my name is neidy Tinga i am mozambican, 40 years old,
    I’m in Rwanda following my husband, who came here to work, we will be here until the end of April
    I looking for something to do here, more time ia alone, wish I could help with something
    may you help please…

  23. I’m crop scientists holding bachelor’s degree in crop science with honour. I’m willing to volunteer any time.

    Kind regards!

  24. Has anyone had experience with the volunteer work permit process? I’m looking at applying, and am a little confused about the requirements. Thanks!

  25. i hereby apply join your project tasks and as swahili teacher as well he translator in english/swahili /kinyarwanda apart rom this am a well enterpreter of tripple languages; thanks mr emmanuel gakuba

  26. i am a director of gisimba afterschool program.a program that was designed to help vulnerable children to have access to different development programmes.it is being implemented by young and motivated volunteers ,currently serving 150 kids.we are looking for volunteers anyone interest is always welcome.

    1. Hello Pascal, i am interested to volonteer in your organisation. Your email please so that i can contact you.lee

  27. Hello, anyone wants to volunteer in our children and family center is welcome! we have an upcoming events that we invite you to join. christmas holiday camp :November-December. You can contact us via email denzafamilyclub16 (at) gmail com. Thank you!

    1. Hello Dede,

      I will be getting to Kigali in January and would love to volunteer some of time to work with young children. I’m a teacher and have worked with young children for years. Looking forward to hearing from you!

  28. I greatly appreciate your job, the information provided are very interesting.
    I’m a young Rwandan living in Kigali and I have a bachelor degree in Biology, especially zoology and conservation option. Additionally, I have an experience in tourism management and environmental conservation as well as computer skills.
    I’m ready to make volunteer too.
    Thank you for making me in contact with interested Company, NGO, etc,.
    Regards

  29. Hey all,
    Kristy you did a great work, Keep up. I am Mary from Rwanda Huye, I would like to volunteer in your projects
    I have some skills in accounting, Please feel free to contact me where you have a gap

  30. Hello every one, I’m very much interested in your comments and commitment to volunteer, I’am an experienced advocate in human rights protection and a member of ARDHO(Association Rwandaise de droit d’lhomme).I”m ready to volunteer and contribute if any organization is in needy of it.

  31. Hi Kirsty,
    I am looking to visit Rwanda in late October-November. I have been having a heard time finding volunteer opportunities and would really appreciate any help you could give me in finding something. I am a registered nurse of 8 years so I would prefer healthcare but really would do anything. The organizations you listed sounded great and I will definitely check them out, but wanted to see if you knew of any medical programs that could use a nurse for a few weeks. Thanks

    1. Hi! I’m afraid I don’t know much about medical opportunities, sorry! I have lived with people who have worked with CHUK, but for longer than two weeks. It might be worth getting in touch with them somehow, though I have no idea how. You could also ask over on the Facebook groups ‘Expats in Rwanda’ or ‘Living in Kigali’. Best of luck!

  32. I really love it

    If can provide any help to any organisation, here in Kigali , I am available now plz call +250784344369

    God bless Africa.

  33. Iradukunda liliane

    Hello, am a student at Mount Kenya in second year, and am passionate about volunteering and serving kids. Any one with a link please inform me. Thx

  34. Hello,
    My name is Nadine and i am a Rwandan citizen and i am looking for any volunteer opportunities that might be available preferably in the country sides

  35. Hello
    I am a Rwanda living in Rwanda. I am currently working on cancer advocacy in Rwanda through my upcoming book titled “My name is life”. Any one know about an NGO where i can get involved in this kind of area of “Illness advocacy” in order to learn more about this field. looking for a vonlutering opportunity.

    Thank you

  36. Cynthia IRADUKUNDA

    Hello every one,
    I’m graduate in computer science and I’m looking for volunteering activities.If you could help guide me I would appreciate it.

  37. Nzahumunuyrwa Eric

    I am Nzahumunuyrwa Eric,teacher in accountancy in KIgali.i am really interested in volunteering but I am not aware of where to pass through.hence your intervention is crucial

  38. Hello!!! Am from Tanzania and i would like to volunteer in Rwanda is it possible? I have degree in Education and business administration

  39. Farai Chigumadzi

    Hi, I am a medical student from South Africa in my final year of study. I have to Kigali for the month of January 2018 with 2 of my colleagues and if there is anyone with information on volunteering at any clinics or hospitals please get in contact with me: +27 (78) 0661903 or my email : [email protected]

  40. Hi there,

    My wife and I just happened to face huge issues with immigration as we came here to volunteer for three years. Instead, we are kicking out of the country and I thought a little info about what happened could be useful to avoid other people getting in the same three weeks hell than us at the immigration office.

    Basically, it seems that Rwanda has became very strict concerning the workers they allow here in the country (unless you open your own business), as they are afraid of foreigners stealing job of locals (which is understandable to a certain extend, but the way they implemented it is, at least, curious). From now on, it looks like people who want to apply for a volunteer visa P1, or the skilled worker ones (H1 and H2) need to have a degree that figures on their famous OLD list, that can be found on the immigration visa, although it isn’t necessary mention for the P1 and H2 visas. On this list you will find beautician, divers, teachers (some, not all), etc. but not sociologist or economist. If you are not on this list, then you basically gonna get an exit visa, without any chance to defend your case.

    We also heard that many visas for foreign NGO workers were recently not renewed. So if you come here to help and not make money, be aware that immigration may just send you back home (if you still have one, which isn’t our case), even if local organisations definitely welcome that help, as the so-called Rwandan economic miracle seems to be more a fake window for the rest of the world that happens to leave many people in deep poverty.

    1. I’m sorry this happened to you but thanks for the information! Yes, things got a bit more tricky for volunteers and NGO workers awhile back.

    2. Hi Gaetan/Kirsty

      I just read you message and I am in exactly the same situation as you. I came with my wife and 4 children for a 2-year volunteering mission at a street children project and we struggled with immigration for about 4 months. Upon immigration’s request, we even did a labor market test (required for H2 visa, after our H1 request was denied) , but the test was also rejected, without good reasons.
      It doesn’t help you, but at least, you’re not on your own 😉

  41. Hello,
    I am looking for a volunteering opportunity in Rwanda. I have a vbachelor degree in arts and creative industry.
    Any help or guide on how to get one will be appreciated.
    Thank you

  42. I am janvier NZANYWAYIMANA, I am founder of National Non-Governmental organization
    (NGO) named: HOPE FOR A GOOD LIFE” we would like to request a partner of our organization.
    The organization has the mission to support the human being, especially youth and children for fighting against bad conditions of life and their consequences for brighter future.

    It has objectives:

    – Provide counseling to hopeless youth towards bright future.

    – Fight against poverty in youth through small development groups.

    – Help/support orphans, street children, children from poor families and children whose parents are refugees to invest themselves for body and soul to restore their dignity that they can expect a bright future.

    Thank you

  43. Hi I am Eman Amin
    I live in Kigali , I am looking for volunteering activity, I have masters in business administration and diploma in community development from Ireland
    I get it while I was volunteering in Asylum seekers camp.
    I also worked as kindergarten manger

  44. Am happy to enter this line of concern and conversations about how one can volunteer in Rwanda.currently I work in Uganda with CARITAS, but I feel I could explore more of what I am doing now here in Uganda those ends of the Earth. So how do I get there? I need your guide and assistance, so that people of Got can see the loving hand of the creator.
    Regards

  45. Hi Kirtsy,

    First of all thank you so much for your post.
    I am a designer by trade and am coming to Rwanda for a couple of months around May.
    Do you know of any non-profit in social development who could use some help with their websites, social media, video content, or any other kind of creative / marketing material?

    Thanks,
    Laura

  46. Hi there,

    I posted something here last year about my issues with volunteer visa. I am now looking at most recent information on that matter, as my organisation is still looking to send volunteer in Rwanda. Does someone have any news regarding the volunteer visa? Is it still hard to get or some clarification have been provided? I would love to have a contact person that could update me on that one.

    regards

    Gaetan

  47. hey there my name is Yvette I’m Rwandan. i was finished in computer science and I’m looking for volunteering activities. this only opportunity i get cause this my dreams If you could help guide me I would appreciate it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *