Kaya Responsible Travel

About

The idea behind Kaya is to bring together the quality and impact of grass roots projects with the breadth of choice, quality of structure and organization and level of service that enables everyone the opportunity to contribute to positive action and enjoy traveling the world more responsibly.

Kaya offer a variety of volunteer placements in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Projects include working on wildlife conservation, community development, marine conservation, teaching, healthcare and many more options. Kaya also have various internships in Africa, Asia and Latin America in areas such as business, graphic design, journalism and medical work, enabling people to get hands-on work experience in specific fields.

Kaya are committed to matching the volunteer to the right project. We match your skills and interests with the needs of our projects to ensure that they are meaningful placements for all.

Founded
2008

Reviews

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Edel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had the most amazing time in Zimbabwe! I met the best people ( a lot of them local) and had an amazing experience! I worked with all kinds of animals from sheep and guinea pigs to lions and baboons! So the spectrum of animals you can work with is really wide and that was also a huge bonus! I learned a lot and I also had the opportunity to visit local schools and tell kids about some of the animals that I worked with on a daily basis! I was located in Bulawayo and it was completely different to anywhere I had traveled before! The local people I met were some of the friendliest, kindest and most humble people I have came across! They were also very family oriented and positive! And the food was also amazing! It really was an amazing month!

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Ben
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent 3 weeks in Cusco, Peru working as an intern at CEBE Don Jose San Martin, a school for kids with communication and intellectual disabilities. I worked in a classroom helping a teacher plan and create activities and lessons for the kids. It was an amazing experience and I am so happy to have done it. The Kaya team was so helpful and supportive throughout my entire experience and made it run very smoothly. The internship is now called a special needs internship probably because the job is more useful for people wanting to work with special needs children. Cusco is a magical city and I definitely wish I could've spent more time there. There's always an exciting tour waiting for you. The food is great, the people are friendly, it's a wonderful time. I strongly recommend it.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Have an open mind, be willing to go out of your comfort zone and take part in as many adventures as possible.
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Mo
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I'm a mature lady that for once had a little time to be able to visit South Africa and do voluntary work at SARDA riding school for disabled children in Cape Town. Despite my initial concerns whether I would be able to cope with the physical work in the stables and as a side walker to the riders, it was an extremely uplifting experience and a real joy to see the smiles of the children who all appeared to benefit from their lessons. The highlight was on my last morning when on two separate occasions my name was called out and I was waved at by children who had learning difficulties.
I was very spoilt and so well taken care of from being met at the airport, escorted to my homestay with my own en suite. I was taken on orientation and other trips, I made so many friends who were on the same or different projects.
If you're thinking of doing a voluntary project, just do it, it's a life changer.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Given the opportunity, I would spend more time on the project, I loved the horses, staff and of course the kids were amazing.
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Karen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Two amazing weeks volunteering for a local Turtle Hatchery, helping with conservation of 4 endangered turtle species. Hands on experience with many baby turtles, helping care for sick turtles, educating visitors to the site about the dangers facing this species, releasing turtles. The homestay on this project was superb!

Fantastic host family, really enjoyed my time with them learning about the Sinhalese Culture, Bhuddism and local foods. The meals provided were delicious and all Sri Lankan cuisine, they can cater for people who prefer less spice!

I visited Kandy (amazing cultural city), many Bhuddist Temples, Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage and Yala National Park. From hand feeding elephants, to spotting wild leopards, these activities were unforgettable.

I would highly recommend this project and Sri Lanka as a destination! The feeling you get after releasing a baby turtle is awesome! Sri Lankan people are extremely friendly and love to feed people!

Response from Kaya Responsible Travel

Hi Karen

Thank you so much for taking the time to review your time on our Turtle Conservation project in Sri Lanka and for sharing such wonderful photos!

At Kaya Responsible Travel we love working with projects that make a positive impact while allowing our participants to immerse themselves in the local culture and by the sounds of things that's exactly what you did.

We are so glad you enjoyed your time in Sri Lanka and hope you will think of us when looking for your next adventure!

The Kaya Team

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Jane
1/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Unfortunately I had an awful experience while on a volunteering project organised by Kaya Responsible Travel.

I was not picked up from the airport in India as was previously arranged with the company (which meant that I was left in a dangerous and scary situation as a lone traveller). Many of the other volunteers that I subsequently met who had also booked with Kaya had similar issues.

Additionally due to poor organisation and communication between the UK team and the team on the ground, I was only able to do my volunteering project for 5 days out of the 2 weeks that I had paid for (which was a substantial amount of money). I was promised that there would be English speaking members of staff once I was in India, however there were none. this meant that I was unable to understand anything that was said, which made the volunteering project pointless. When these issues were raised with the team (both in India and the UK), these concerns and complaints were dismissed with no apologies.

Very disappointing for a company that charge a substantial amount of money to arrange volunteering opportunities for those that want to help and provide for others. I had initially picked this company as they had promised to provide certain unique experiences for volunteers abroad, however they did not deliver on these promises. There are many other similar companies out there that provide a similar service to Kaya, and I would definitely suggest searching these out if you want to get more out of your money (rather than being let down and feeling quite helpless while in a foreign country on your own).

What would you improve about this program?
More transparency for volunteers, with the correct and up to date information given on the website as well as in correspondence to volunteers.
Response from Kaya Responsible Travel

Dear Senekha, we really value all the feedback we receive and, in the small number of cases when that feedback is negative, we work hard to act on it and try to correct any issues.

In this case, it was difficult to do that as you only raised these concerns after completing your program and returning home - despite us checking in with you after your arrival. To address your specific issues, we have reviewed your visit with the team and other participants to provide an honest response as follows.

Volunteer placement: As part of your 2-week program, the itinerary offered 7 days of working, due to orientation, training and travel days, but as a result of your personal travel plans, we accommodated you to take more time off the project, so this reduced time working was at your own request.

Pick up: The team are confused by your claim that you were not picked up from the airport. You were picked up from Delhi airport as arranged. Some other participants were picked up from Jaipur, as a result of new transfer plans, but in no way did this affect your pick up, nor that of the other participants, who have all confirmed that they were all picked up as planned.

Language barrier: Our ground team are all fluent or advanced English speakers. We understand that at your placement you experienced some communications issues and that when you shared these concerns with the ground team they immediately discussed another placement with you which you decided to take.

We are genuinely sorry that your experience on our program was not all that you had hoped, but we ask that you are fair in your evaluation of us. We take every piece of feedback we receive very seriously and ensure to address any concerns with great immediacy. This is important to us and our communities. If you would like to discuss this further with us please get in touch with us.

Jobs

Swaziland
Posted
2 months ago
Kaya Responsible Travel
Swaziland
Posted
2 months ago
Kaya Responsible Travel

Programs

Displaying 19 - 26 of 26

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Maria Fredriksson

Maria Fredriksson is from Stockholm, Sweden and has worked with logistics and purchasing for over 20 years. She loves cooking, nature, travels and adventures. She’s interested in learning more about the different threats to our environment and how we can make a change. She was almost 40 when she decided to try out something other than the typical tourist holiday, this was the start of a new point in her life.
article reef construction

Morning: Most mornings started with breakfast at the New Heaven Diving School where you enjoyed the low tide and each morning were amazed over how beautiful the island of Koh Tao is. You got your breakfast from the coffee shop across the street, went to the 7-Eleven or got a real thai breakfast from one of the motorbike stalls nearby.

That day’s work was decided and a schedule was made for that day. The schedule was based on the weather conditions and sometimes needed to be changed, but there was always things to do. Normally you started with a walk along the beach after breakfast and took the chance to clean it up at the same time.

Afternoon: There wasn’t a day like the other. Same days we were out cleaning beaches, or doing snorkeling cleaning in shallow waters (often from the beaches), other days we were making beach- and road signs, handed out battery bins, making EM composts. Other days we worked with the divers at one of the land slides or making structures for the artificial reefs, or tying together buoylines. One day we helped the local community with cleaning the roads. Some days we went out with the divers and snorkeled in the shallow waters checking for trash and doing coral inventory.

We also went to the garden where a special kind of grass, called the King’s grass; is grown. This grass is really strong and gets a very deep root system. When the grass has grown stronger they will be planted at the different land slide sites to help bind the earth and mud together to help prevent more slides.

Evening: The day normally ended with a fruit shake, juice or such at the local beach bar before going home for a shower and a change of clothes before dinner. There was always someone to meet up for dinner. A couple of times we went to the Babaloo Bar and watched the fire show, just relaxing. You were normally home pretty early and just relaxed at the Tropicana resort bungalow, before going to bed ready for a new morning to come.

Highlights: There were a lot of highlights on this trip. One was learning more about that what you do on land effects the ocean and vice versa, but also working with amazing people who had such a passion for the conservation of both land and ocean. Learning new things such as mixing concrete, EM composts etc.

thailand beach

Seeing how “save Koh Tao”-community works together with dive schools like New Heaven Diving School to really make a change for the better and ensure that this little island still will be paradise for future generations. Of course also being able to be outside from morning til evening was great.

And then we have the weather, the people, new friends and the whole experience. When volunteering you get to see all the wonderful things you’ll never see as a tourist and also experience things you normally don’t do as a regular tourist. You also get the opportunity to get involved in the culture and community, and get a greater understanding for the same.

This trip was the best 4 weeks holiday I’ve ever had, and it has made me want to do more of these kind of travels. I’ve already a new trip planned, this time for three months combining marine science studies with marine conservation work. This trip is also arranged with the help of Kaya Volunteer.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Cristian A.

Volunteers in Peru

How did you come to work for Kaya Volunteer in Peru?

I started working with Kaya last year. Heilwig Jones (the founder of Kaya) asked me to work with this project and I accepted because I think it is very important to show people the other side of Peru. I also enjoy working on these projects and believe social responsibility is something that is growing in Peru.

What needs are volunteers currently addressing in Peru?

We need a lot of different things in Peru, but education is definitely one of the bigest problems. We prefer our education volunteers to stay a minimun of six months to give the kids more time with the teachers. For other volunteer projects (improving infrastructure or building classrooms) time is not so important and volunteers can stay for 2-3 weeks and still have an impact. Health is another issue in Peru that volunteers help us address.

What can volunteers do after their time in Peru to continue making a difference?

This is probably one of the biggest questions we ask ourselves. We always want more volunteers to come to Peru and help us continue our projects. We help them stay involved after they have left through our alumni network.