Volunteer at the Flying Kites Children's Home and School, Kenya

The ambassadorship offers a diverse learning experience through advocacy, fundraising, and time living in Kenya. Participants are given the opportunity to help others, practice professionalism, cultivate an understanding of hardships Flying Kites and related organizations encounter, and play an important role in the groundbreaking process that provides care for impoverished children and increases the well-being of a community in Kenya.
In addition to fundraising and in-field experience, the Ambassador Program encourages continued advocacy and interaction with Flying Kites and issues facing Kenyans. Advocacy campaigns can range from speeches and presentations to auctions and film screenings all to support the work of Flying Kites and spread the word.

Program Info

Location: 
  • Kenya
Volunteer Types: 
Community Development
Education
Orphan Care
Teaching
Program Length: 
3-6 months
6-12 months
Cost: 
See site for details.
See Additional Information
Age Group: 
50+
Cost Description: 

Flying Kites' staff helps ambassadors to reach fundraising goals before, during and after their program in Kenya. The fundraising goals may be high but are still manageable when the right motivation is applied.

Part of the money raised will cover the costs of hosting each ambassador during their stay in Kenya, including three meals per day, accommodation, and transportation from the airport. Volunteers are responsible for their own flights and travel expenses.

Languages: 
Spanish
Application: 
Online Application

Videos

Program Reviews (3)

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  • volunteeroften
    Age: 25-30
    Female
    Boston, MA
    Boston College
    Real impact, real family
    09/18/2012

    Volunteering with Flying Kites gave me an opportunity to work and live alongside an extraordinary team of people absolutely dedicated to their work. They made me feel as I were a part of their family, and they made it clear to me how I impacted the children in their care, as well as the the overall organization.

    I was able to work in their school, assisting their full time teachers, working with other volunteers to teach gym and art, and tutoring some of the hardest working kids I've ever met.

    Though fundraising was hard for me, I loved being at FK and knowing I'd help fund nearly a full month of operating costs.

    And I liked that they didn't hide the struggles from the volunteers; we saw the financial difficulty, the infrastructure breakdowns, and the outbursts of the kids (few and far between) and because of that inclusion, I walked away with a much deeper, and more real, understanding the of the difficulties of working in resource/infrastructure poor settings.

    Do it. Join their team.

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  • FKLOVE!
    Age: 25-30
    Female
    Boston, MA
    Read to be apart of an amazing, love-filled family?
    01/25/2012

    Flying Kites expects a great deal from its ambassadors; They ask for hard work, endless compassion, high levels of energy, a deep & lasting commitment, but they do so for very, very good reason.

    As an ambassador, you spend at least three months (they may let you get away with just under 3) living & working at Flying Kites Leadership Academy, a home for 26 orphaned children and a school for about double that. During that time, you become part of a part a vibrant, love & laughter-filled home and more importantly, you live as a part of their family. You will come to know and love the children so very well that it is only fair they ask for your deep commitment on all fronts.

    I found the fundraising challenging but once I really dove into it, I learned a huge amount about my own skills and was blown away by what I accomplished when I appealed to my networks with genuine passion & creativity.

    I found this experience amazing because not only was I able to create real impact in the area of my great passion- in my case education- but I ended my long days with a bedtime stories and goodnight hugs from the very kids who's futures we worked relentlessly each day, all day to brighten.

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  • Sam Horn
    Age: 25-30
    Male
    Seattle, WA
    Life changing experience
    01/23/2012

    I will never forget my time, experience and the family I was welcomed in to at Flying Kites. My daily routines involved tutoring children at the school for a couple hours, working on private projects for the kids, organization and home that I was passionate about and hanging out around the house, playing and taking in the heartwarming experience of being a part of such a special family. I also received tons of assistance when I ventured out into the surrounding regions of Kenya. The staff always went out of their way to make me feel safe and a part of their family. The relationships I forged with staff, children and volunteers will be with me forever and it's a place I hope to volunteer at regularly for the rest of my life.

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Alumni Interviews

  • Why did you decide to volunteer with Flying Kites in Kenya?

    Chase: The reason I decided to go abroad and volunteer at Flying Kites was because I knew there was a chance for me to give back. I have been so blessed my entire life and I knew that if I had the opportunity to impact a child's life who had grown up with less than me, I had to take it!

    children blowing bubbles
    Volunteer with children in Kenya

    Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

    Chase: My day to day activities consisted of waking up at about eight am, heading to the school and tutoring for three hours (9:00-12:00). During these three hours I would tutor three different children in math, science, or English. These were some of my favorite memories because you really get to know your students. After school I would play soccer or jump rope with the children and then after dinner I would help them study. I could also never forget helping cook with auntie Rebeccs! You must do that if you go!

    Lastly, the nice thing about Flying Kites is that you CAN explore! You aren't forced to stay at the orphanage so you can go check out places like Nairobi, Mombasa etc. if you need a break. I highly suggest exploring around but make sure you spend time at the orphanage getting to know the children. That's always priority number one!

    What made this experience unique and special?

    Chase: The reason Flying Kites was such a special experience was because its not an orphanage at all. Within the first 24 hours of being there, you aren't a stranger from America. You are just another fun loving member of this incredibly humble family!

    How has this experience impacted your future?

    Chase: Personally, this experience taught me the meaning of love. Yes, this sounds cliche but it is true. I of course knew what love was beforehand, but it was astonishing to see children who never knew their parents and yet they still acted like they lived the lives of rock stars! This family showed me that having material goods can't give you the ultimate happiness, only expressing and sharing in genuine love can.

  • City skyline in Kenya
    City skyline in Kenya

    Why did you decide to volunteer with Flying Kites in Kenya?

    Abby: I chose to work with Flying Kites because I wanted to work with a organization that I knew is making a true and positive sustainable change, and that's exactly what Flying Kites is doing.

    What made this experience unique and special?

    Giraffes in Kenya
    See giraffes in Kenya!

    Abby: Unlike many other organizations that are purely based around volunteers coming to take care of the children, Flying kites is home, and to go there you become part of the family. Flying Kites is extremely well organized and the children they take care of there will not only become important people in Kenya, they will become important people of the world. I knew I wanted to work with Flying Kites because I knew and still know they are making a true difference.

    How has this experience impacted your future?

    Abby: Since working at Flying Kites I feel as though I am a more well-rounded person. Working there has made more globally aware, and more self aware. I feel like I now better know who I am and that I have purpose. In classes at school I am able to make connections to my trip and understand concepts better than anyone else because of my experience.


    Morning: A typical morning at Flying Kites started with an early wake up and breakfast. If it was Friday we would hold a staff meeting around 8 am, if not then mornings were usually time to get ready for your day and do your own work. For me, doing my own work consisted of planning lessons for the day at school, and doing my own research and organization on personal projects I was starting at the house.

    kenya volunteers
    Abby and her new friends in Kenya.

    Afternoon: During a typical afternoon in Njabini I would eat lunch and then head off to school. The walk to school was about an hour each way, give or take 30 minutes depending on which route you took. I would arrive at FK's school with the other Education Ambassadors around the time the kids were eating their lunch. When classes got started again, I would help the kids with Reading in English, or what they called "Daily Five". After Daily 5 I would teach the elective course in either health, art, PE, or music. After school we would all head home together, kids and volunteers. When we got home the kids would do their chores and the volunteers would do their chores around the house as well, until dinner time.

    Evening: After chores we would have family dinner. Dinner was usually a mix between traditional Kenyan food and ingredients with an American twist for the volunteers. After Dinner we would have family meeting. During family meeting we would read a book, talk about our day, pull questions from the question box to discuss, and do gratitude. After family meeting I would help with tutoring the kids with their homework. After homework time the kids would go to bed and the volunteers would either hang out or go to bed themselves.

    Highlights: The highlight of my trip would have to be learning all that I did from the amazing kids at flying kites. The kids living at flying kites are some of the most resilient, smart, funny, and well rounded kids I have ever met. Spending time with them was never dull, if we were not playing a game outside we would be talking about life and and I would be answering some of the questions that were always on their minds.

    I also loved learning about Kenyan culture. Kenya has such and amazing culture and I am so glad I got to experience that first hand this summer.

Staff Interviews

  • Flying Kites staff member with a child in Kenya

    Tell us a little about Flying Kites and your role at the company.

    Julianna: Flying Kites was started when a little boy living in an overcrowded orphanage in the slums of Nairobi challenged a small group of volunteers to see him as a child, and not as an orphan.

    Orphans need bowls of rice. Children need families, people to invest in the quality of their education and the possibility of their dreams. They need nourishment and inspiration and adventure and security; they need to be shown that the world cares about who they are and who they will become.

    At Flying Kites, we believe in children.

    And so, in the Aberdares Mountains of Kenya, we have built a Home and Leadership Academy for orphaned children who would otherwise have nowhere to turn. Through our emphasis on exemplary care, education, and compassion, children who have suffered the devastating effects of poverty are being empowered to change the world.

    Believe with us.

    How did you get involved in the volunteer industry?

    Julianna: Three years ago, I began working in the field of international volunteering as the Volunteer Coordinator for Flying Kites. Since then, we have transformed the volunteer program from one of short term engagement and limited impact, to one defined by the deep, long lasting dedication of participants and community- altering impact. Our ambassadors literally drive the organization forward and upward and it is a privilege to work with them.

    What makes Flying Kites unique?

    Julianna: Flying Kites is unique in its acheivement of creating a home- in every sense of the word- for children who had no where else to turn. The children at Flying Kites are loved, nurtured, and educated to the same degree you'd want for your own children. They are given the opportunity to be unique, to adventure, to be curious and active and compassionate. Flying Kites may care for orphan children, but it does not run an orphanage in any typical sense of that word.

    Julianna with a child from Flying Kites in Kenya
    Julianna with a child from Flying Kites in Kenya

    In your experience, what characteristics make a good international volunteer?

    Julianna: First and foremost, humility. Alongside humility, you must possess a vast openness and eagerness to learn. International volunteers absolutely must be ready to serve others- to truly put others' needs before their own and do so with a sensitivity to the limitations of their knowledge. Someone I respect greatly recently reminded me to be a learner and always listen when told you don't know anything. I think that is an incredibly important attitude to maintain when volunteering, and especially when volunteering abroad.

    What does the future hold for Flying Kites?

    Julianna: The future of Flying Kites is as bright as the smiles of the children we care for. I believe that Flying Kites will continue to strengthen it's ability to deliver family style care and high quality education to orphaned children, and within the next few years, be able to expand its reach to more children in desperate need of a home, support and opportunity.

    I also hope Flying Kites can continue to strengthen its Oasis network through which many childcare institutions in Nairobi, Kenya have begun to share their best practices, explore new funding resources, and work to a higher standard of care in partnership with each other.

About the provider

Flying Kites works to improve childcare standards and accessibility of opportunity for the poorest children in the world. As a non-profit organization, Flying Kites aims to provide the children opportunities to succeed in a fast-paced world and contribute to society through education, imagination, and resolution. They will be able to give back to their community by focusing on compassion, advocacy, and leadership.

Flying Kites emphasizes assisting children in need globally through the Ambassadors Program at the Flying Kites Leadership Academy, a home and school for neglected, abused, and orphaned children in Kenya. Located at the foot of the Aberdares Mountains, the academy has become a safe home for many vulnerable children.