Volunteer with indigenous communities in Belize

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10 months
1.000 reasons

Volunteer with Communities in Belize - 10 Months Study & Volunteer Program
With this 10-month program, we join hands with activists all over the world to fight for sustainable development and the eradication of poverty in some of the poorest regions of the world. We believe that this kind of activism is needed more than ever, and we invite you to join a team of likeminded people for an action-based and fast-paced program, learning and creating positive change through humanitarian work.

Program Structure
Period 1 – 3 months: Training at Richmond Vale Academy in St. Vincent
Period 2 – 6 months: Project period in Belize
Period 3 – 1 month: Conclusion and information period in St. Vincent

1. Field Work Certification from Humana People to People
2. Certification of Completion from Richmond Vale Academy

The program starts in April and October

  • Learn to implement projects bottom up by mobilizing and teaching people
  • Learn to grow food in Climate Smart Agriculture with permaculture and much more
  • Live and thrive in a community with people from all over the world
  • Improve your social and practical skills
  • Hike in the wonders of St. Vincent and dive down to see coral reefs

Questions & Answers


based on 10 reviews
  • Impact 8.7
  • Support 8.4
  • Fun 9
  • Value 8.8
  • Safety 8.7
Showing 1 - 10 of 10

A program for the truly dedicated

I recently completed the 18 month program at Richmond Vale Academy and I recommend it highly with certain caveats. To begin it is important to know that RVA is not a school in any sense that you may be acquainted with, although there are certain classes involved for the most part what they offer is a framework within which you can learn. This means that the learning that takes place is for the most part of YOUR OWN INITIATIVE. I have seen a student spend a year and a half in the project and never learn how to plant a seed or make a compost so if you need someone looking over your shoulder or holding your hand then this is not the place for you. I would also point out that you will encounter any number of problems and setbacks be they simply the difficulties of living in the developing world or interpersonal issues with the people that you work with and if you are just there to find out what you want to do with your life you will most likely end up as a burden to those who are there to make a difference and not have what it takes to overcome the difficulties that you will inevitably face as an activist. That being said I would advise examining your reasons for participating very well before joining the 18 month program. There are other options that are less intense and better suited for those who are still "figuring things out". I would also like to point out that all development instructors are also ambassadors in a sense and need to be good examples of strong moral and ethical values and failing this will make it harder for everyone that has to follow in your footsteps and rebuild relationships with the people you have interacted with. Many students do not complete this course so making the decision to finish what you started and sticking with that is important.
Caveats aside I will restate that I highly recommend this program, I made the best of my time and learned about as much as could be learned from the experiences that I had. I have fallen in love with St Vincent and Ecuador where I worked as a development instructor and will be returning to Ecuador to teach agroforestry and permaculture and I intend to return to St Vincent periodically to see my friends on the mountain. By the time I left RVA I had been in charge of the fruit forest, ran the garden, started a fitness club, built biosand filters for a remote village in Ecuador, built a model garden in the school where I taught English, translated an Korean natural farming manual into Spanish for the staff of Humana, became a godfather, left behind a vermicompost, started a zero till patch of corn which evolved into the staple production area that is currently being designed, operated the bio-gas plant, did some amazing dirt biking in the Andes to reach remote farmers, made friends that I will keep for life and so, so much more. From my experience and from what I know of the experiences of many other students I can tell you that this program will defy your expectations. Go with no expectations for anything or anyone but yourself and you will succeed. My experience was one of growth and happiness, whether yours will be the same is up to you.

How can this program be improved?
Prepare students better for the high standards that they should be representative of and establish better accountability so that no one can skate by on the hard work and achievements of others.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Life changing experience

Participating in the fighting with the poor program, was one of the best decisions in my life. It's a program of getting to know new perspectives, learning about different important topics, getting to know yourself and all of this in very nice peaceful set up surrounded by people who all strive for one common thing, make the world a more equal, better place. The first six months in St. Vincent I learned so much about all kind of different topic: permaculture, organic gardening, history and most of all who the world actually works today. You get as much as you put in to yourself, it's really a open environment that pushes you to step out of your comfort zone to get to know the real you. Its based on another kind of learning, where the general divisions of teacher - student is build up totally different, in a equal way. My other six months in Ecuador is truly the most beautiful period of my life. It's not easy but like the program says, you really get to life shoulder to shoulder with the poor what means in every aspect. It demands a lot of yourself but you get so much more back. I had the opportunity to work in a little community in the south of Ecuador where i met beautiful people and got a lot of support of the local government. With every idea i came with they would try to help me as much as possible. I gave English classes, nutrition classes , built family gardens and community gardens and as individual project I developed together with the local government a community library.

Yes, I recommend this program
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I enrolled the programme 8 years ago and I love it. At the first moment I thought the training would be predominantly as the normal system, but for my good surprises the overall programme isn´t based by old structures as the challenge that you wanna do/work for.... this it means that you will stretch your mind in the intellectual and spiritual sides.

You can and wanna get what you are looking, just need to be determinate and work hard for that. To live in SVG change my life, because you are out of your comfort zone and so.. you learn A LOT. You will live so many intensive feelings and the goal is to manage well! at the scale for grown yourself and the team with who you are working.

Also the food is very special once Richmond has its own organic production! sounds amazing right? imagine how you will change eating healthy, having the opportunity to know SO many people, cultures, colours, flavours and more in a perfect Caribbean sunset scenery! Never saw a better sunset sky show while my 8 years travelling around the world.

SVG is magic! and Richmond it will be always a home <3

Yes, I recommend this program
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From SVG to South Africa - my stint at the Richmond Vale Academy!

The journey began in March 2009, when I enrolled myself in the Richmond Vale Academy's development instructor program. I joined a team with 18 other persons from all across the world including Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, the United States and Japan. The first 6 months was spent doing community work including recycling bids, hiv/aids awareness campaigns and teaching in schools within the region. We were also involved in Gardening, fundraising, cultural nights and morning courses. The courses covered the history of St.Vincent & the Grenadines, current affairs, and health education. A lot of the work which was covered was done through the "learning by doing" method which meant that everyone benefited from each other's knowledge, which proved quite beneficial when I started in my project in South Africa in November the same year.
Journey to south Africa
Total Control of the Epidemic in South Africa was an HIV/ AIDS awareness program that was aimed at stemming the rampant spread of the HIV/ AIDS epidemic through empowerment of local people. As a development instructor the community outreach and cultural events conducted during the prior 6 months at the Richmond Vale Academy proved quite useful when having to adapt to the Africans who were of a totally different background, and had different beliefs, concepts and understandings. I partnered with local government ministries to assist in getting the locals certified to perform pre and post HIV 'test counselling, as well as conducted classes on health, as well as exchanged lessons about culture during lessons. I assisted in setting up gardens that were used to feed persons who were already infected, as well as organized events for persons who were of vulnerable groups to receive information.
I returned to the Richmond Vale Academy for 2 months which was used to share my experiences. This was done through classes with other students who were enrolled to take part in similar programs, radio, television and newspaper interviews. After having time to reflect, the program proved to be quite educational and was a great eye opener and aided a lot in my personal development.

How can this program be improved?
The classes, courses and events can be better structured and/or strategic so the persons going into the projects may have better insight as to what their expected roles would be.
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience

The biggest experience in my life! Make grow and think much more about my actions as human being. Thanks so much for the experience.
The environment into the school helps to understand other kind of cultures, languages and behaviours. The collective efforts is always a base to construct, mantain, discuss and live.
The program offer to each participant a unique opportunity to diggin into third sector and streghten politically to stick on it.

How can this program be improved?
Yes, I recommend this program
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Do you dare to challenge yourself?

Richmond Vale Academy is a very special place, running different programmes at the same time. As the participant you will be fully immersed in the running of the international community of activists which aims to be self-sustainable. You will also spend 6 months in Latin America, living the lives of the local people and trying to improve them - or rather, to help the people improve their own lives. This is what first drew me to this programme and to me still remains one of its bigger values: you don't go to some exotic place with an idea how to change it and just do it; instead you must always get the community's support with the projects you are running. That way you are sure that the projects are important, otherwise nobody would voluntarily spend their free time helping you!

18 months is a long time to spend away from home, and work hard. You can learn a lot about yourself and the world, and make wonderful new friends from all over the world - provided you keep an open mind. This programme will give so much to anyone willing to take charge of their own learning experience. This is a place where you learn by doing, and the more you're willing to do, the more you will learn in the end. You can have an amazing time - but don't think it's a tropical vacation. You will be "on" the whole time and there's always something to do. It's a hard and challenging programme, but it's also an experience of a lifetime. I don't think there is anyone who's finished this programme and hasn't had their lives change directions completely.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Great Experience!

Going to RVA was a smart choise. Nice human & enviromental experience.
I learned to be more conscious and being involved with our planet and also realise of the potential damage we can cause with a simple action.
Sharing with people from all over the world was amazing and I learned from them too.
St. Vincent is a beautiful place and it is nice to know they still doing well for the local communities.
I would chose the same certainly!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Richmond Vale Academy Experience

Richmond Vale Academy is an amazing place, beautiful caribbean views, amazing jungle around. this academy is working 100% with solar energy, they have an organic vegetables garden and a fruit forest, chickens too, so the eggs always are fresh, to relax and enjoy the time is amazing, for the development programs are really good, but very strong, is an activist academy, not a ¨normal school¨ so if you want to relax go in a tourist way but if you want to impact and help people you will have a lot of work because you have to develop yourself before to develop the world.

so go enjoy your time, i recommend it but be focus first in what you want to do...

How can this program be improved?
i think they are going in the correct way.
Yes, I recommend this program

Another Kind of School

Richmond Vale Academy is defiantly another kind of school. Here you have a lot of different opportunities to learn, not just about the subjects we study but also about yourself and the world around you. For me it has been one of the most vigorous learning experiences I have had. The program Fighting with the poor offers a great way to discover you own capability to do somethings that makes a difference for others, especially those who needs it the most. Besides this the life at the school have many things to offer, you will live and work together with people from all over the world sharing experiences, ideas and make them come true. To those who interested in this program I also have to say that sometimes it is not easy, it can be very challenging, there might be things that are not always perfect but personally i think this just makes the experience so much more awesome.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Jocelyn Flores

The program FWP is for people want to do something for the people, if it's your interest come and do it, but if not, don't take, you will be in other place really quick.
For you, if still you are reading this, I will say, the experience you will have is unique in your life, combine the experience to live with different persons in the world and help, grow in the timing you work with the communities and living different challenges

Yes, I recommend this program


Meet the Staff

About Richmond Vale Academy

By educating people from St. Vincent and the rest of the world, Richmond Vale Academy aims to build the capacity, knowledge and confidence in its’ students. By achieving personal growth and development, future leaders of St. Vincent and of the world...