Our base is located in Silana, a small fishing village in the Dawasamu District of Tailevu Province, located approximately 6 hours from Nadi, home of Fiji's international airport. Tailevu is one of 14 provinces in Fiji and is located in the east of the mainland Viti Levu. The villages of Dawasamu are traditional Fijian settlements with limited sources of income, remaining relatively untouched by the tourist industry.
Our local partners, the community and local council have specifically requested our assistance with English language teaching, mathematics, sports education and arts. As local teachers are under-resourced, there is an immediate need to provide them with assistance and additional English language resources. In assisting teachers with lessons, you will help improve the education of disadvantaged Fijian children. Depending on the community's needs and project direction, volunteer involvement in a range of activities might include:
Planning structured learning for children under 5 years of age through play activities that support the development of skills in key developmental areas (cognitive, emotional, social and physical) and delivering these sessions in rural villages
Supporting children to develop and practice skills in readiness for school
Delivering short courses to caregivers communicating the importance of early childhood development and how children can be supported in their development at home
During school breaks volunteers will conduct kids clubs in the villages of Dawasamu and assist with other projects necessary at that time. This includes lesson planning, resource making, workshops, gardening or other community programs or improvements and renovations to schools.
Our aim is to improve literacy levels through a structured program focusing on phonics, comprehension and imagination as well as facilitating creative and physical development.
Through small group and individualized teaching and the development of engaging and interactive educational resources, we aim to improve the abilities and confidence of the students in Dawasamu while promoting a love of learning. As a volunteer you will plan and deliver small group lessons, providing individualized tutoring to a similar ability level. You will be supported by Education Leaders to plan lessons that support children learning to read, whilst encouraging them to understand what they are reading with the use of carefully chosen comprehension questions and fun activities.
Volunteers may also teach some children individually, depending on the needs of the school and the class teacher at the time. In Fiji, children with special needs do not receive any extra support from the government, and class teachers are stretched often teaching composite classes. For this reason, volunteers provide support for some students to benefit their development. This support may manifest itself as classroom assistance, a slower paced one-to-one literacy lesson or alternative learning lessons, e.g. art therapy or social groups. We always look to our volunteers for new initiatives to keep our project dynamic. If you can assist us in any of these areas, please let us know.
Education volunteers are also responsible for teaching whole class PEMAC lessons (PE, Music and Arts & Crafts). We follow the Fijian curriculum, which is clearly broken down into objectives which are taught by volunteers throughout the school year. All volunteers are given an objective booklet which they complete so that taught objectives can be kept track of and lesson plans recorded. Our project has no requirement for previous teaching experience, and as such all support with lesson planning and classroom management will be provided by Education Leaders on project. All we ask is that you come willing to learn and do your best!
As a volunteer, you will influence the lives of young children and even if you have never worked with children before, your knowledge, skills and experience can make a major impact.
As well as assisting with academic and creative subjects, volunteers also work alongside the community to facilitate and deliver initiatives and programs to improve the lives of the pupils.
Welcome & Cultural Orientation in Suva. Followed by a health & safety briefing on arrival, you travel round to Dawasamu. On arrival you will be given a base tour before settling into your new home. In the evening you will experience a traditional Sevusevu (welcome ceremony) and meet the members of the village and your family who will help you settle into Fijian lifestyle.
On Sunday you will go to church as part of your introduction to the village way of life. It is a fantastic opportunity to experience another culture and integrate yourself into the village. After church, you will have time to eat lunch and spend the afternoon getting to know your Fijian family.
This is your first day on project. You will be given a school tour and introduced to the school at morning assembly. After assembly, your training including theory, context and appropriate techniques will continue to prepare you to plan and confidently deliver good-quality lessons. You will be given the opportunity to observe and assist with other lessons as well. The first day is just for settling in, so there is no need to worry.
In the morning you will have your last training session and will be assigned a class and a timetable. Education Project Leaders will work with you for the rest of the week to help you plan your first lessons and deliver them alongside you if you wish.
Rest of the Week:
Morning assembly usually marks the beginning of the day followed by a teachers' meeting to discuss the plan for the day. Following your timetable, you will continue to plan and deliver lessons for groups and classes in school. There is time during the day to plan your lessons and prepare resources. In the evenings, you can socialize with the rest of the team and the community, as well as assisting with cooking and household duties. There are also opportunities to volunteer to participate in various community workshops and training sessions that occur in the evenings.
Free time! You can visit the capital city of Suva, visit island resorts, snorkel, hike, go dolphin watching or just relax on the beach.
During your final week you will complete handover and feedback documents with your Education Project Leader in order to make the transition to the next volunteer as smooth as possible for the children.
On your final Friday night, you will have a Tatau (leaving ceremony). On the Saturday morning you will depart back to Suva at around 10:00. Please make sure that you book flights from Suva to Nadi after noon (12:00) on Saturday departure date, to allow time to be able to check in and catch your flight. If using other transport options to get to Nadi, we will be able to drop you off at Pisces Hostel.
Minimum age of 18
Basic level of competency in English
Police Clearance Certificate (Not older than 6 months)
Medical form, to be signed by a doctor if volunteer has illnesses to declare
Copy of your passport’s bio-metric page
Copy of your departure flight ticket from Fiji
Work Permit Visa paid locally in cash (Ask your travel advisor for more information)
Acceptance subject to availability
Pick-up at Suva Airport (specific pick-up times apply)
Transfer to base
Safe and basic shared accommodation
Meals while on project
All necessary project training by experienced long-term staff
All necessary project equipment and materials
24-hour in-country support
24-hour emergency phone
Access to alumni services and discounts
Volunteers need to be flexible and keep an open mind concerning their placements as situations can arise beyond our control which could require you to be placed at a different project than the one you have initially chosen. We will of course always do our utmost to fulfill your initial wishes but do remember that where you are going is quite different from where you are coming and as such one should be prepared for things not always going according to plan.
Volunteering and intercultural travel share a common trait: the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. This program is designed for proactive individuals and groups that are prepared to adapt to the local environment and its current needs. Naturally, the scheduling and activities of our program are subject to change. Alterations in activities are mainly due to changes in local conditions, which we believe is part of what makes overseas programs the interesting adventure and incredible learning experience that they are.
Our projects range from 1 week up to approx. 30 weeks. Projects have a specified minimum stay, then it’s up to you how long you can commit. In our experience the longer you stay the more you will gain, as your understanding of the project broadens and you take on more responsibilities. Every volunteer will be given a certificate of appreciation at the end of their stay as a symbol of volunteering stay.
In the villages, women must cover their shoulders and knees at all times. Sarongs and t-shirts or collared shirts are fine. Men should bring a sarong for some occasions, but it is a bit more flexible and they may not need to wear it all the time. Men should bring a short sleeved collared shirt to wear when in schools or at village functions. Most of the time it is acceptable for men to wear trousers or shorts and t-shirts, however, men will need to purchase a formal sulus for school and official functions plus will need to wear it all day on a Sunday when in village. As we live in the village, the dress code needs to be complied to all times. During any optional weekend trips to resorts and towns, both male and female volunteers are free to wear what they wish.