Projects Abroad Volunteer Programs in Jamaica

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Join a Projects Abroad volunteer program in Jamaica! This is a unique opportunity to experience a side of Jamaica rarely seen on the tourist trail and provide sustainable help to communities in need.

We offer a wide selection of volunteer opportunities, including Childcare, Teaching, Coaching, Music, Building, Farming and Culture with the Maroon Community. We also offer internships in Medicine and Dentistry, as well as Law & Human Rights, International Development, Veterinary Medicine and Journalism.

Thank you for your interest in volunteering Jamaica with Projects Abroad!

Questions & Answers


based on 11 reviews
  • Impact 9.2
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 8.9
  • Value 8.9
  • Safety 9
Showing 1 - 11 of 11
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Care Program- Volunteer Work in Jamaica

In January this year, I was blessed to be able to spend two short weeks of my time in Mandeville, Jamaica. This opportunity was very rewarding and if I could I would of stayed longer! I spent my time volunteering in a local orphanage and seeing the smiles on the children's faces every morning made me realize how truly fortunate I am here in Canada. Projects Abroad was very helpful throughout my whole trip and they were always a call or text away! I would do it all again in a heartbeat and hopefully I will have the opportunity again some day!

How can this program be improved?
Cost was very high.
Response from Projects Abroad

Dear Jacqueline
It's great to hear you had such a wonderful experience in Jamaica. Hopefully you can stay longer next time you join us!
Thanks for your feedback!

Yes, I recommend this program
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a life changing experience

My name is Emma. I recently spent time in Jamaica volunteering through projects abroad, doing their care project. I was placed in a vey loving host family, where i had 3 other volunteers staying with me. They were all very supportive and caring. I then was placed in my placement, an orphanage. There i got to meet and help amazing children who accepted me with open arms. I got to make a difference not only in their lives but in my own. I made lifelong friendships with other volunteers as well as being so deeply submerged into the wildly different culture. It made me grow so much as a person and i would greatly recommend doing it to anyone who has a passion to help others.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Volunteering in the Medical Program-Mandeville, Jamaica

This volunteer experience was unique because it was my first international experience. Projects Abroad made my travels and stay to/in Jamaica flawlessly smooth. I was impressed and grateful for the Projects Abroad staff that helped welcome and guide me through my stay in Mandeville. My volunteer term was from December 10-30th, so I had the privilege to experience the Jamaican Christmas holiday season.

I volunteered at the Mandeville Comprehensive Health Centre where I rotated between the curative, maternal and child health, and family planning units. I helped record heights, weights, blood pressures, blood sugars, patient interviews, and six week postpartum check ups including vaccinations. Because it was the Christmas holiday season, we had a Christmas week special where each day of the week, we went into the community and passed out gifts or spent time with the community members through other events. We went to the infirmary one day for a skin and hair care day where we gave manicures and pedicures and passed out health products like deodorant, combs, body wash, ect. Another day we passed out food baskets in a poverty suburb outside Mandeville to the elderly members who did not have much of their own. Another day we hosted a Christmas party at a local church and played games with the kids and did a gift grab. It was nice to help impact the community and spread cheer during this season.

This was my first international trip so Jamaica really prepared me for future travels as well as introducing me to a new culture. Jamaica was a good choice for first international travel because it was mostly Americanized while it still had its own cultural differences. I felt safe and comfortable in the city as I walked through the whole town each day to my work placement and the project office. Being proactive is definitely a good quality to have if you are interested in pursuing a project through this organization. I would highly recommend Projects Abroad for a seasoned or new international traveller!

How can this program be improved?
I was in Mandeville at a time where the big group of volunteers at the time were all at the end of their volunteer term. Right before I got there, there was close to ten volunteers in the city. On Monday when I started my project, there was three other volunteers left. By the time my term was over, there was only one volunteer left. Many left for the holidays and I arrived and stayed through the holidays. About four other volunteers left due to family conflicts back home so they left their programs early. This impacted my social aspect of the trip. I did travel one of my three weekends and it was fun. But I think I definitely missed the big group social feeling on my trip.

Hands on work in the clinic is limited but also depends on the placement. As the medical staff sees confidence and responsibility in you, the more hands on activities you will be able to participate in. Being proactive and asking questions will definitely help them open up to you more. Talking to your trip advisor before departure can also help make sure that you are receiving the proper amount of direct patient care experience that you are prepared for. Different placements have different amounts of work that can be done by volunteers. I also was there during the Christmas holiday season, so the Jamaican people came less and less each day to the clinic as they were getting more and more excited for the holidays. This also impacted the amount of activities that I was able to participate in. Overall, the experience was positive and most definitely worthwhile!
Yes, I recommend this program
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My volunteer trip to Jamaica with Projects Abroad

I volunteered in Jamaica, Mandeville with Projects Abroad for one month in the summer of 2013. I volunteered in a children's home for the first two weeks and in construction for the last two weeks of my trip. At the children's home, I assisted the staff with their daily care routines for 25-30 babies and young children. Working in construction, I assisted in a local building project by mixing cement, painting, and stacking bricks. My living accommodations were with a host family in the area and they were very nice welcoming. I learned about the Jamaican culture through the Projects Abroad office and often ate delicious, traditional Jamaican food in my host family's home. Two other girl volunteers lived with me in the same host family and I met other volunteers at lunchtime in the town or through the Projects Abroad office. On our weekends off, the volunteers and I often went away to visit other parts of Jamaica with permission of the Projects Abroad office. Overall, my experience with Projects Abroad was positive as the staff was always helpful, I made great friendships with other volunteers and I learned valuable lessons on my work placements.

How can this program be improved?
The program could have been improved by providing volunteers with weekend activities in the town if they did not want to go away on a weekend excursion but also did not want to be left with nothing to do all weekend.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Incredible time volunteering in Jamaica with Projects Abroad--Medical Clinic

The summer after graduating from college, I volunteered for three weeks with Projects Abroad--Medical Project in Jamaica. I thoroughly enjoyed my time working in the medical clinic, where I was able to observe nurses, midwives, doctors, and even a nutritionist work with the local people. "Hands-on" work is generally limited and depends on the location of placement, but I was able to have more direct patient contact experience the last week/week and a half I was there, due to becoming more familiar with the system and the medical staff being confident in my abilities. I really enjoyed observing the various doctor-patient interactions and going on house-call visits with the midwife.

I feel like this was definitely a worth-while experience, but those planning to eventually pursue a career in medicine and are hoping to gain a substantial amount of "hands-on work" should really talk through with their trip advisors and make sure they are being placed in a setting that best fits their requirements.

How can this program be improved?
Volunteers need to be made well aware of the extent of their capabilities at their medical placement, and hopefully that way not as many people will be "shocked" when they get there and realize their limitations. I was very happy with my placement, for the record.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Spring Break 2015- Jamaica

I applied to Projects Abroad as recommendations from friends who volunteered with the same program. I had an incredible experience in Jamaica! The people were so nice, the culture and food was amazing, I had a terrific host mother, and the volunteers and project were great! I was put on a building site at a primary school in rural Mandeville. We were on the site for a couple of days just doing the foundation of a bathroom for the school children. We mostly mixed cement and poured it into the holes for the bathrooms. On one of our work days, we redid a house (which was one room with no running water) for a man and his daughter. We redid his roof, painted his walls, and replaced the floor. The most rewarding part of this day was when all the volunteers bought the man a new mattress for his bed. The work was challenging because it was all hard labor and there weren't any tools or equipment we could use. We mixed the cement ourselves. However, it was a lot of fun and I would definitely do it again! I had the best spring break I'd ever had!

How can this program be improved?
The program was a little too pricy. Fortunately, I got my school to help me fund this trip, but for anyone who doesn't have the necessary funds, they might find it quite difficult to be able to do something like this. I believe that everyone should have the opportunity to volunteer abroad.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Projects Abroad is an amazing organization to work with! They are very organized and east to contact with any questions. I signed up for the trip very last minute, they were more than happy to rush the process of signing up and very welcoming. They provide more than enough information to help you with your planning concerning your flight and such. Not only is the organization great as a whole, but the staff in Jamaica was absolutely outstanding!

They provided me with a very nice host family with a gorgeous home. They set up transportation to and from my volunteer placement and planned many fun activities! They were personable and helped us to better understand the culture in Jamaica. They allowed appropriate free time and social life while visiting.

I was Part of the care project along with about 8 other girls. We volunteered at an orphanage for children with special needs in the morning then a school of arts institute in the afternoon.

The volunteer experiences was breath taking. I learned endless lessons and it was a trip of a life time! If i had the chanve to go back to Jamaica wit this organization again, i would take it in a heart beat! This was one of the best experiences of my life thus far! I highly recommend this organization as well as this specify location and care project!
Good Luck with your travels!

Yes, I recommend this program
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My Jamaica.

To be writing this is definitely two things for me… One of the biggest pleasures of my life to date, as I get to re live my Jamaican experience all over again and the other, one of the hardest things I have had to do .. as how do you possibly sum up the greatest and most life changing time of my life and put it into words?

I hope that the weight of my words appeal to your heart and that, if like so many people reading this, you have never had the opportunity nor probably will ever get the opportunity to experience Volunteering, allow my experience to be yours too. Please let me share what an experience like mine does for your soul and I hope in some way that you gain a little insight, a lot of understanding and a whole world of magic from my time spent with the most beautiful Orphaned children in Jamaica.

To Volunteer with the underprivileged had been a lifelong dream of mine since I was a young woman. I already know for a fact that I am not alone in this dream as the vast majority of people I have spoken with also share this dream, although a very small minority actually achieve it due to the complexities of every day life… Having a family, a mortgage, a Job, commitments, people who rely on you, a partner and then there is just that general day to day rat race that we exist within.

I can honestly say I do not think my smile had ever reached it's full potential until I came to Jamaica. It is truly incredible at just how at home and 'right' it felt for me to be in Jamaica and I hope that with each and every trip it never changes. I returned three times last year to visit the people that I now consider my 'Family' and I will forever return to my Jamaican home as often as I can in my lifetime.
I was placed at Hanbury Children's Home with the Salvation Army working in a special class of children with learning disabilities but its not as severe as it sounds, the children were either slower or mis behaving in other classes to have arrived into this class and there were also two gorgeous brothers with mild down syndrome.
There were 12 Kids in the class ranging from 7 years up to 15 years so it was a constant struggle to correctly address across all the range of ages and I often took the younger ones off for more one on one teaching so they did not lose their focus.

Children were placed into Hanbury for a range of reasons… Their families just could not afford to properly care for them, one or both parents had died, they had been taken out of their homes because of abuse and in all of these cases no other family members could afford or wanted to take them in. The youngest child at the Orphanage was nine months old and the children would remain at Hanbury until they are 18 years of age when their schooling is complete and they can attempt to get a job or enter the 'real world'.
Remember the sports cupboards when we were at School? They were packed in no uncertain terms with sports equipment, bibs, lost socks, shoes and various items of clothing… Well that is the extent of what these children have to their name.. and even then its not necessary their own, dependent on whether someone else decides on any certain day that they want to wear those particular shoes and so you will have to fight for another pair to wear.

These children wake up every day of their lives in a dormitory they share with about twelve other same sex children.. each child has a good eight stuffed animals or teddy Bears donated to them that live on their own individual bunk bed. This is seriously the only items in their little lives that truly belong to them or have any real ownership of.

Any child around the world will be entertained by little things when they are young.. but nothing compares to these kids. The smallest bitten off part of a rubber will keep them entertained for hours.. The contents of the classroom rubbish bin provides them with a plethora of items with which to amuse themselves with.

These children do not get woken in the mornings by the loving touch of a parents kiss or voice, they do not have the luxury of the loving guidance and discipline that accompanies a normal child and parent relationship, if they misbehave too badly they are sent to the major where the only form of discipline is found at the end of a ruler and contact with a part of the child's body dependent on the severity of the behavior.

What I had to remember with regard to a situation like this one is that these children do not have parents present with them, so the staff at the Orphanage automatically step into this role and the staff have a massive task with children out numbering the staff around thirteen to one.

A scattering of woman among 78 children are held with the responsibility of being in some form a sole parent figure to these wonderful little human beings. Their behavior naturally is going to escalate when you do not have the consistency of someone watching over you during your childhood as parents do.
To see children as young as two with black rotting teeth is deeply saddening as there are no mothers and fathers here to ensure daily hygiene is enforced and maintained.

To be able to volunteer the best you can and contribute the maximum possible I believe that you have to always remain strong and consistent with giving the Children as much of yourself as you can in the time you have to give it. If you focus on other areas you are not doing what you came to do, and that in my humble opinion is to give this children as much of me emotionally, mentally and physically as I can possibly give!
At first glance these children look like well kept, respectably dressed school children. Move in closer and you will see rips, tears, missing buttons, all sorts of stains and marks on their school uniforms of which they only have one. The washed bed linen hanging out to dry at the Orphanage looks like it should have been thrown away a good three years ago, some of the youngest children could fit through the holes evident.

The smell releasing itself from the boys outdoor toilet which houses four toilets is not possible to stand for more than the first acknowledging intake of breath,. It really is unlike anything I have ever smelt and completely unacceptable that young children are forced to live in such disgusting conditions.. for me hygiene is a basic human right that everyone deserves.

Ticks and fleas roam free at the Orphanage, they are visibly traveling around all outside ground areas and its more than a daily occurrence to check the children's hair and skin for evident infestations. The children have tick marks all over their bodies combined with cuts and grazes picked up from the fights that exist on a daily basis among all the children.

In the shower one morning before School I ran my hand down my back and felt what I thought was a big spot. when upon further inspection was a black tick happily feeding on my blood! Having never experienced a tick before I rapidly covered myself with a towel and ran rather alarmingly to my host brother to ask his assistance with appropriate removal techniques! Thinking it would involve an implement of some description I was surprised when Leon simply took it out between two fingers and then proceeded to kill it the same way! (Cue the bloody sucky noises!!)

Light coloured clothing is certainly not the colour to wear as a Volunteer as it more closely resembles brown by the time you reached home after school! Whenever we had breaks or Lunch the time was spent throwing the kids around, piggy backs, spinning them around so much I nearly fall over myself, running races (of which I Never won!) or teaching them new games such as British Bulldog or Musical Statues which they love!

These Children are just simply incredible with hearts as big as their heads! The welcome I receive when walking down the hill to School each morning is something I cold quite happily carry on doing for the rest of my life! Its just SO rewarding! The kids see me and come charging up the hill to meet me with cuddles, fighting for one or both of my hands or just simply any single part of me that is free to grab! I can honestly say that I have never felt so special in my life.
Despite seeing so much that is extremely hard to swallow and accept on a daily basis, I think it is important to always concentrate on the positives, otherwise it would not have been possible to continue doing the job I had set out to do.

The children are always so truly grateful for what little they have and feel blessed to be at the Orphanage.

It made me want to spend every cent I had on clothing them, feeding them and educating them but as this is a truly unrealistic goal for just one person such as myself, I gave them the second best thing that I could.. as much of my physical and emotional strength as was humanly possible for me to give!

I would stay on most school days an hour and half over what I am meant to be working as I could not leave those kids, they really were something else!! Time spent in their company just flew by.
I was frightened that with each and every day I would grow even more attached than I already was to these truly spectacular little Jamaicans and the more I would seriously not be able to leave them.
Jamaicans are such warm and friendly people and for me their hearts are surely laced with gold!! They truly live off the land and the children's home was no different with hundreds of pigs, Cows and chickens kept as well as fields of Vegetables growing. if I was bordering on being a Vegetarian before I arrived you should see me now!! OH MY!! I quite literally stumbled across two pigs being slaughtered one morning while waiting for school to commence, brutally hit over the head with a large stick, then stabbed in the throat with a knife, Blood and other parts where everywhere.. Quite an education I received that morning and the smell is something that will stay with me forever and truly makes my stomach turn whenever I think of it! Needless to say that I have not touched meat since and probably never will! But I found out that these two pigs were capable of feeding all 78 children plus staff for at least four meals.. which is quite simply incredible.

My Host family, the amazing Volunteers and friends I made in Jamaica were more wonderful than I could have ever expected and I could not believe how much I felt like part of the family from the moment I arrived.. These people are such a huge part of my life and that will never change.

The kids of Jamaica have lit and still continue to light up my life on a scale that I have never experienced before and I knew my biggest fear was that I would never feel as alive or worthwhile ever again and a year on I do not think I ever will. On the odd occasion you do not feel like getting out of bed in the morning, its the simple thought of their beaming smiling faces, launching hugs when they see you each day and amazing ability to laugh consistently, that makes the effort of getting out of bed, a moment that melts in a second.

You look at these amazing little people and wonder how on earth we allow ourselves the constant complaining, the misery, the minor and trivial issues and the general negative attitude and mind set of our western way of life, when we really do not deserve to express such emotions when we already have so much. These kids have nothing and they complain about nothing.

I know how life gets for most people… everything is relative to your own life and I am not saying that there is anything wrong without that, however how many times a day do you actually stop to appreciate everything that you have in your own life? The home you live in… the food you can afford to buy, cook and eat…. the family and friends in your life and the unconditional love and support that they give you… these are just the very basics.

So from Jamaica with so much love.. there is only one love in Jamaica and for me that was the children.. it was the absolute time of my life that has enriched my life more than the words here could ever speak.

Jamaica.. your the best thing that I have have ever done and have you have changed my life forever…

ONE LOVE Xxxxxxxx

If your considering Volunteering.. I could not recommend it more matter what age, walk or stage of life.. it will change your life forever.. I promise you that.

Love Zerin xxx

Yes, I recommend this program
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The wonderful experience of experiencing Jamaica with Projects Abroad!

Arriving in Jamaica I was apprehensive because of the somewhat dangerous reputation Jamaica has, especially as I was a female travelling by myself, but my fears quickly evaporated when I was greeted at the airport by a friendly Projects Abroad staff member (the natural beauty of the country didn't hurt either!).

Initially my placement was not working out 100% but the Projects Abroad staff were extremely relentless in making sure I was comfortable and felt I was contributing the best way that I could so I eventually ended up working for a government agency where I did more than I ever dreamed. I sat in on the children court proceedings, assisted the social worker with home visits and was even given my own task of individually counseling young girls that were living in a children's home. It was such a satisfying experience and I learnt so much about myself and the Jamaican culture.

While my weekends were filled with trips around the island (with fellow volunteers) where I was given the opportunity to take in what Jamaica had to offer, such as, the ability to swim with dolphins and climb Dunn's River Falls; my week days provided me with the opportunity to understand the Jamaican people and their way of life. Living with a Jamaican host family was definitely a highlight as it meant that I got to see what an ordinary day was like for a Jamaican family (plus I got to try all sorts of different Jamaican food).

Going to Jamaica with Projects Abroad also gave me the opportunity to try things I have never done before - such as painting a school and learning Jamaican dance moves. Volunteering with Projects Abroad provided me with a safety net so that I could experience the country in what I could trust to be a safe manner.

Yes, I recommend this program
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My Projects Abroad Experience in Jamaica

This program was an incredible experience! It was a great opportunity to meet other volunteers from around the world, and I really felt like I got the chance to experience the Jamaican culture, and make friends with the Jamaicans we were working and living with. During the week we worked on different building sites, and I really felt like we were making a difference in the lives of the people we worked with. On weekends we were free to travel and explore Jamaica, which was an incredible experience that I was so fortunate to have. This was an incredible trip and I encourage you to find out more about Projects Abroad.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Teaching and Care in Jamaica with Projects Abroad

I spent two months (January 2010-March 2010) volunteering with a preschool in Mandeville, Jamaica. My sister and I lived with a host family that was welcoming, warm, and willing to answer questions about the culture differences. It was the most life changing experience I have ever had. I met so many incredible people, not just among the volunteers but within the community as well. I felt like my presence was both needed and appreciated at the preschool. Projects Abroad also makes a point to do a "dirty day" every month. We painted classrooms and helped build gardens for an orphanage. I felt like I was able to touch the lives of many.

On the weekends I was able to explore the island with my fellow volunteers. We traveled all over. Projects Abroad took us to Lover's Leap. It was the most beautiful view of the ocean/horizon I have ever seen. We climbed waterfalls and relaxed on the beach.

My only complaint of the trip is that I gained weight while I was there. When at a person's home for a meal it is considered rude if you don't finish everything on the plate. Oftentimes the head of the household will fill up your plate for you. So, though the food was delicious, I ended up eating more than I normally would.

Overall, I would suggest this program to anyone I meet. I was so happy working with the children at Meadow Grey Basic School. They made every day sparkle. There were challenges. Discipline in American school systems is very different than Jamaican school systems. But, I found at the end of my two months that my heart would forever live on that exquisite island.

Yes, I recommend this program


About Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad is a global organization formed around the need for gap year programs abroad designed for students taking a break from studying. Since its inception, Projects Abroad has expanded to offer high school volunteer programs, and a vast...