International Volunteer Program (IVP)
H.E.L.P.’s International Volunteer Program continues to grow and evolve around the students’ needs at Nanthomba Primary School in Malawi, yet our goals and mission stay the same: to provide quality education to children in rural Malawi with the added assistance of fluent English speakers.
Our volunteers come from all over the world, from countries such as the Netherlands, Austria, Canada, Australia, the United States, Chile, Germany and Great Britain. These volunteers come to Malawi to encourage learners to be confident in their English and help prepare them for the national exam into secondary school.
There are two ways that international volunteers assist with English-language learning: acting as a Teacher’s Aide in the classroom during the day and also preparing and hosting the English Activity Class after school. Currently, only students in Standards 4, 5, and 6 participate in the after school class. These standards were chosen because according to Malawi’s Ministry of Education, all classes in Standards 1 – 4 are to be taught in Chichewa, the local language, while all classes in Standards 5 – 8 are taught in English. The English Activity Class lessens the stress and uncertainty of having to learn and understand English so quickly.
Below is a brief overview of volunteers’ roles at Nanthomba:
Teacher’s Aide – Volunteers are paired up with a Malawian teacher in one of the higher standards (5 – 8) throughout the day, providing clarification of English terms, addressing one-on-one needs with the students, suggesting different methods for learning a lesson, and more.
English Activity Class (EAC) – Volunteers are responsible for creating games and lessons for students involved in this class. Each standard spends one afternoon with the volunteers per week to enhance their English, but also to have fun! The standard is split into 6 groups of around 15 children per group and then sent off to one of four stations. These 20-minute stations include:
184.108.40.206.1. Running Dictation – A vocabulary list of English words is posted onto the front of a desk and students must run to and from the list to copy the words into their exercise books, which are located at a desk further away.
220.127.116.11.2. Vocab Practice – The words from the Running Dictation station are now being reviewed and said aloud so that the learners know how to say the words.
18.104.22.168.3. Writing Exercises – This is typically the grammar station, often going over verbs, pronouns, adjectives, sentence structure, etc.
22.214.171.124.4. Outdoor Activity – This station lets the kids play games and expend some energy, all while learning some English, such as body parts, directions, time, greetings, and more.
The EAC is held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and each lesson begins with a meal of porridge and tea or water. Most students don’t have the opportunity for breakfast or lunch during the day, so we provide them with this snack to ensure healthy bodies and minds during the activities.
Partnering with the Peace Corps
Peace Corps volunteers have been present in the community for over five years, assisting primarily with education, healthcare, and the environment. Peace Corps has assisted with the completion of the guardian shelter at the nearest health center, Nandumbo. This shelter will provide a space for visiting families of patients to sleep, eat, and wash clothes. Environmental education is another important contribution made in part by these volunteers. With many of our students living near the Liwonde National Park, it is crucial they understand how to conserve what’s inside the park while also protecting their land and families.
Partnering with the Korean National Commission for UNESCO BRIDGE Program (KNCU)
HELP and the KNCU BRIDGE program are now in their 3rd year of partnership. This program allows volunteers from South Korea to come into our community and typically assist with the setup of community programs and aiding the teachers in our schools. Past programs set up by BRIDGE volunteers have been an adult literacy club, book club, and a soap making enterprise.
‘Being in Malawi helped me realize that education is a right and not something that is mandatory, as it is in Western countries. Students are here because they want to be.’
– Shifra Bouter, Volunteer, the Netherlands
‘I’ve gained more from this than from anything in my life…I love them [the students] and they’ve changed the way I see the world. I feel like I’ve given an amount of teaching, but nothing compared to what they have given me.’
– Elizabeth Meyer, Volunteer Teacher and Teacher Trainer
‘The volunteer program is beneficial because learners are exposed to Western culture. There is a hope of improving English as well as helping teachers advance their teaching knowledge and methods. Personally, the volunteers have enhanced my management skills by providing different ideas and for the betterment of the school.’
– Abel Taonani, Nanthomba Headteacher
The international volunteers collaborate with Malawian teachers and HELP Malawi staff to create a superior learning environment for primary school students. They improve our student’s lives, learn a new culture, contribute directly to international development, and undergo transformative personal growth. Volunteers are responsible for teaching, evaluating and mentoring primary school students. They are also expected to integrate into the local culture and become community role models. Upon arrival, volunteers will undergo an orientation and receive continued guidance and support by the International Teacher Trainer. The volunteer will report to the International Volunteer Coordinator, and will live and work at our core primary school, Nanthomba. Successful applicants must have excellent communication skills, an adaptable personality, at least two years of college education and a great sense of humor! A commitment of three months minimum is required.
- Teach English Secondary Language and other selected courses to primary school students
- Participation in instructional tutorials by Ministry of Education and HELP Malawi staff
- Initiate secondary development projects for the school and the community
- Act as a positive, culturally-sensitive, responsible role model for the students
- Create and teach lessons for the after school English Activity class
- Minimum of two years college experience, university diploma encouraged
- Cross-cultural experience
- Teaching or tutoring experience
- Exceptional public speaking skills
- Minimum of three months cumulative volunteer/public service experience
- Experience working in a team
- What is your motivation for taking part in this volunteer program? What do you hope to gain from this experience?
- What do you find most difficult about living with others or living/working in another culture? What coping skills have you used? (Include specific examples)
- Elaborate on an experience of transition you’ve endured. How did you handle/respond to the situation and what did you learn from the experience?
The IVT will have a shared bedroom in the International Volunteer House at HELP Malawi’s main primary school. The house provides running water, shower and electricity (solar). The lavatory is a private outhouse solely for the use of HELP Malawi volunteers. IVTs must be self insured for emergency medical coverage.
Please submit a cover letter, your resume, and essays. References will be requested of shortlisted candidates.