In 2007, I travelled to Kenya for the first time to volunteer with an amateur football team in the Rift Valley region.
The team comprised primarily young men who lived in a slum community on the perimeter of the town’s huge dumpsite. The smell was foul but most residents lived there simply because they had nowhere else to go. Some women would race daily to the entrance of the dumpsite to collect ‘fresh’ recyclables when the tipping trucks arrived, in the hope some could be exchanged for enough money to feed their families.
Before football training each day, I volunteered at a community project, set up by Alex and Patricia Maina, called The Walk Centre. The project provided a free nursery education and lunchtime meal to approximately 60 children aged 3-6 who, like the football team, were born at, and lived on, the nearby dumpsite.
Most players from the football team had not been to high school, so their chances of securing any form of regular employment were low. Alcoholism, substance abuse, HIV, lack of food security and poor health were just some of the problems faced by an inspiringly resilient community that couldn’t help but make a fresh-faced 18-year-old like me understand real life challenges.
I also visited similar community projects in the same town, meeting some inspirational leaders in the process. They had the motivation, compassion and knowledge in abundance to grow their respective projects; what they lacked was financial support.
I was only in Kenya for six weeks but I knew immediately I would be back.
The whole experience helped me realise that I wanted to spend my professional life providing community projects like The Walk Centre with the humanitarian and financial support they need to grow whilst offering people from the UK the same life-changing opportunity I had.
Two years later, African Adventures was born. Fast-forward to the present day and we are now partnered with over 25 community projects across developing areas of Ghana, Kenya and Zanzibar and support just over 20,000 children.
You can help us to make a lasting and tangible difference.
There is a lot more to achieve and I am delighted that you are considering embarking on your own journey with us. We promise it will be worth it…
– Dan Mew, Director and Founder of African Adventures
What we do
African Adventures provides humanitarian and financial support to a number of educational projects and schools with which we are partnered in Africa. All projects were set up by, and are run by, local people and do not rely on us to survive; only for developmental support. We recruit volunteers to travel with us and further this development through teaching assistance and vital building work. Crucial to us is the fact that we are guided by the project staff on how we can best support them and that we do everything in partnership and consultation with community leaders. Our trips not only greatly benefit the projects but the volunteers as well – our trips provide a learning experience like no other. We really care about making a difference at our partner projects and we really care about responsible volunteering.
We make no grand claims that we are going to change the world but we absolutely do believe in doing our bit. We are all about doing things the right way, which is why we work according to our Community Development Pledge. Our hope is that our trips will educate people in a way that other experiences can’t; we are encouraging people to open their minds, learn about other cultures and take responsibility for making small changes that may lead to something greater. We don’t want to make sensational claims but we do want people to see the beauty of Africa and understand that the experiences during our volunteering programmes really can transform views and lives.
Where We Work
African Adventures started working in Ghana in 2013, after a clear need for support was identified. Although government-run, the schools we work with do not receive enough government funding to allow them to maintain their facilities, so this is where we focus our support. Where we work, in the Volta region, many children do not go to school at an early age; instead they help their parents with agricultural duties to help provide for the family. Our aim is to assist with enhancing what the schools have to offer, particularly in terms of their facilities and number of classrooms, in order to encourage more children to attend school earlier and get the education that they deserve.
African Adventures started working in Kenya in 2009. A great deal has been achieved in the communities we support but there is still so much to do. There is extreme poverty in Nakuru and many families live on the perimeter of the town in slum areas. Many families cannot afford the costs that come with an education in government schools which is why our partner projects offer children a free education. Malnutrition is commonplace so our work is not only focused on the provision of an education but also on providing a daily meal, which is achieved through the projects’ feeding programmes. Our partner projects are a daily safe haven for the children that attend.
African Adventures started working in Zanzibar in 2014, when the educational issues in this area came to our attention. The Island is densely populated, leading to extreme overcrowding in schools, to such an extent that access to an education is halved, with many children only able to attend school for half a day. In a similar situation to Ghana, the schools we work with do not receive enough government funding to maintain and enhance their facilities, which is where we can help. In addition, physical education is not a part of the curriculum, bringing health implications for many – we are looking to address this with the provision of sports volunteers to assist with sessions and encourage physical activity.
The African Adventures Team
Our staff members have a great deal of experience when it comes to travelling, working and volunteering in Africa. Perhaps more importantly, they have a real passion to improve lives in both Africa and the UK through our work. We are always on hand should you need any support or guidance so please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Our in-country staff are Ghanaian, Kenyan and Zanzibari – they live and work in the communities you will visit and know the areas we work in better than we do, which means you always benefit from local knowledge and experience. When you decide to travel with us, please be assured that you are in very good hands!