Big Beyond - Volunteer with the Hamar Tribe in Ethiopia

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from Big Beyond.

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About

Be privileged to break boundaries and immerse in an inspiring tribe in Ethiopia’s Omo Valley. Probably one of the most cutting-edge volunteer programs on the planet. This is real Africa. This is innovative development work. This is a unique volunteer and travel experience. This is the chance to live in, support and be inspired by an ancient tribe which intrepid travellers dream of. When you volunteer with Big Beyond it is made easy.

Projects in the Hamar Tribe include health, education, conservation, research, business and community tourism. Sustainability is at the heart. All our programs are 100% bespoke to ensure we reflect your skills, abilities and personality. You don’t need specific experience to get involved. There are a range of roles available within these areas and your volunteer program will depend on you as an individual and the needs of the projects at the time. Amaze yourself.

What we're not so good at... huge groups, rigid volunteer programs and cold weather.

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Questions & Answers

Reviews

97%
based on 7 reviews
  • Impact 8.7
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.7
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 1 - 7 of 7
Brandon
10/10

Experience real Africa

From the moment I arrived in Ethiopia, I knew that I was in good hands. I volunteered for 10 weeks and I loved every minute of my time living and working with the Hamar tribe. The food, the people, the weather, and the culture are incredible... The staff will create projects for you based on your skills and preferences, so that you can help in the accomplishment of exciting and massive goals. There is also plenty of free time, and the pace of life is pretty relaxed. If you are thinking about volunteering then go to Ethiopia with Big Beyond, it was a fantastic experience for me and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

Yes, I recommend
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Sarah
10/10

One of the best experiences of my life

This trip was a first for many things for me, my first time traveling alone, my first visit to Africa and my first experience volunteering. Going, I wasn't fully prepared for what I was about to experience (I packed a hair straightener!..there was no electricity) but I don't mean that to sound negative, this was without doubt one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, I can honestly say I've never felt more welcome and at home in any other country that I've visited.

How can this program be improved?
More transport around..will be fine once the camp is set up fully
Yes, I recommend
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Daisuke
10/10

No journey, No life

There are so many amazing experiences in the activity, so I believe that you will be able to enjoy them very much. Sometimes, you might be struggling with difficulties such as the inconvenience of access to the water or unfamiliar taste of foods though, it will definitely be great memory. Also African scenery is spectacular and wonderful. Beautiful sunset, strong sunshine, and uncountable shooting stars, those moments can release you from stress that you have in hometown.

In addition, you can enjoy working with BigBeyond staff and Hamar in Shele. They are very kind and nice guys! They teach you how to survive and to enjoy there.
When it comes to the activity, BigBeyond does not push you to do something. They gave us insight of local situations and it is totally up to you what to do. You can maximize your experience as much as possible.
I know it is a little bit (??) far from your home, but it is worth to visit. Hamar people will accept you as long as you have open mind.

Yes, I recommend
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Joanne
10/10

Truly a once in a lifetime experience

I loved the time I spent in the South Omo Valley. The Hamar people are so genuine and lovely it does not matter if you can't understand what they are saying. I felt very welcome and included in the lives of the people I met. The village of Shele is a great place to sit and relax in the evening. The only thing I would change about my stay in Ethiopia is that I would make it a lot longer, I did not want to leave at the end of my 3 week trip!

Yes, I recommend
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Jeroen
9/10

Stay in the village or go exploring? Stay.

In a very short op period of time, one might not expect to get a connection with people you can't even understand. But this is Hamar, a place where they go beyond expectations at every turn. In a matter of weeks people shout out your name everywhere, you get invited for grilled corn or an extensive second lunch before they even made it. & this goes accompanied by a hospitality I somehow keep encountering in non-western countries...: they have "nothing" (yeah right, they have more than we could ever imagine) but nothing by western standards, yet share everything. Share your wealth (yes they are so incredibly rich, rich in culture), share your joy, share life... a so non-selfish way of life it smacks every materialistic society in the face.
The whole experience is something else which helps you discover a new way to look at life & how you might just want to change your own.
Do you also wish to wake up & experience trueth, a true reality, rather than post selfies before a poster at a holiday convention, drop by.

How can this program be improved?
I'd build my own satellite rather than use the governments one ^^ No really, I think I'd prefer the so called "black hole tourism" over having a constant connection with back home or the momentarily too popular social networks.
They're working on a stronghold at the edge of the village they're working with, so once that's completed it would be a tremendous improvement.
Hamar teacher would be a great help as well, for those that wish to integrate fully, but this is incredibly difficult due to "non-written-language"
Somehow find (a) sponsor(s) to cut the outrageous costs thanks to the "gov*rnm*nt". The Hamar deserve support from anyone with the right skillset, not just the ones with a big enough wallet.
Yes, I recommend
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Fiona
10/10

A totally unique and amazing experience!

I completely loved my time with Big Beyond in Ethiopia. You are totally immersed into the fascinating and amazing Hamar culture. I was living, working and hanging out with the Hamar tribe every day. They are totally untouched by tourists or cultural changes and it is a completely unique experience. I cannot describe how inspiring they are and how much I enjoyed spending time with them. Big Beyond created a project for me based around my passion and skills, mainly teaching, and supported me to create an impact in this amazing community.
I am so grateful to them for this opportunity and I would recommend anyone who is thinking about volunteering with this program to 100% go for it, you will not be disappointed.

Yes, I recommend
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Simon
9/10

Real relation

The Hamar tribe is used to tourists arriving to witness bull jumping, the ritual where a boy becomes a man who can marry. Tourists pay a neat sum and stand around during the bull jumping and at other occasions you can pay to take their picture. The whole situation seems somewhat bizarre, almost like a human zoo. As a Big Beyond volunteer however, things are different. You work with the Hamar tribe and you get to know each other. After a while you may be able to socialize and document their life as their friend, not as a tourist who will just pay and disappear. This a chance to get to know a traditional African tribe and that is a rare opportunity. Sit down on what could very well be the world's smallest chair and have a chat.

How can this program be improved?
Several things, but it has just started and it is fast improving. The camp will now be closer to the work site and the cooking is becoming more organized.
Yes, I recommend

About Big Beyond

Big Beyond offer bespoke high-impact volunteer opportunities taking you to incredible East African destinations many dream of. You’ll discover how it's easy to integrate right into the heart of the communities Big Beyond work and you’ll be astounded...