Who are Kaya?

Kaya was set up in 2008 by our Director, Heilwig Jones, after her own volunteering experiences and many years’ involvement with community projects. The idea behind Kaya is to bring together the quality and impact of grass roots projects with the breadth of choice, quality of structure and organization and level of service that enables everyone the opportunity to contribute to positive action and enjoy traveling the world more responsibly.

Kaya is a word which means a lot in a number of the communities we work with. In the Filipino Waray language, it means “I can do it!”, in Zulu “my spiritual home” and in Buddhism  “the enlightened one”.


What is Responsible Travel?

Responsible travel is about seeing the world in a manner that most respects and benefits local people, culture and the environment – it’s travel in the real world, not tourism.


The Kaya Mission

Kaya’s mission is to promote sustainable social, environmental and economic development, empower communities and cultivate educated, compassionate global citizens through responsible travel.


Why volunteer?

Every year thousands of people travel the globe looking to explore new environment and experience different cultures, with a spirit of adventure and a desire to learn more about the world.

As global travel becomes more accessible, and we look to visit further and more exotic locations, we often discover that the real world is not always easy to uncover, and often visitors don’t get a chance to see beyond the window that tourism can offer.

As a volunteer, you have the opportunity to become a real part of the environments, lives and communities of the world’s developing nations. And whether you chose to work on projects that benefit the wildlife, the environment or the people, you come away knowing that your being there has positively impacted those you have visited.

Our volunteers tell us that working on genuine, meaningful and sustainable projects and their time spent living with and getting to know an area and its locals is the most exciting, fulfilling and fun traveling they have experienced.

So we think the real question should be - why not volunteer?


Why volunteer with Kaya?

At Kaya, we pride ourselves on delivering only what is best for our volunteers and best for the communities which we are working with. You will find many volunteer organizations to choose between today, and many of these are also offering great placements around the world. But we believe that no-one works closer with their volunteers and with the receiving communities on the ground to make sure everyone can achieve the greatest benefits that volunteering has to offer.


The projects

Our project model means that we only commit to projects where there is a genuine need for the physical aid of a volunteer, not just financial assistance, so every volunteer is welcomed and is useful. We help to shape these initiatives to ensure in the long run they do not encourage dependence on aid, but instead establish foundations upon which the people of that country can build and develop themselves. And we ensure that the members of those communities are open and eager to learn and discover our culture as we become a part of theirs.


The volunteer

We know that a volunteer is not a tool! In order for the project to benefit from your participation, it needs you to arrive prepared and committed to the work at hand. You can only do this if you know enough about the place you are visiting, the project you are working on and the task you are expected to undertake. Every Kaya volunteer is provided with extensive information about their trip before they set off and we provide you with in-country support to ensure you have someone who can help you through your placement and living in a new environment. All our placement advisors have travelled extensively and have themselves been volunteers, so who better to understand your converns, macth your skills and interstds to the right project and help you prepare


The life-changing experience

We believe that volunteering with Kaya can guarantee you a life-changing experience – and that the key to providing that lays very simply in these 7 golden rules

Feel safe in our hands – with every new adventure comes the excitement of facing the new and unknown, and while in the real world we cannot remove all the risks, we can make sure you are never put in harm's way with us.

Know you will be appreciated – We ensure that all Kaya projects are genuinely in need of help provided by volunteers , not just destinations set up for the purposes of receiving more people. So your participation and hard work will always be welcomed and appreciated.

Do work that is Meaningful – Often the part a volunteer can play in a project , especially on a short stay basis, will be a small part of a much bigger initiative, but we will ensure you are shown the full picture so you can see how the role you play in that is genuine and vital.

Know the work is Achievable – All Kaya projects have set aims and strategic plans with set goals along its way, so we know how we are doing at every stage to keep the projects on track and the work achievable.

Sustainable work - Kaya ensure that all our projects contribute to long-term benefits which enable our host communities to improve their futures, not just benefit whilst volunteers are there.

Everybody learns a little – In every volunteer encounter, the volunteer and the local people should always learn something from each other - and we develop an environment that maximizes those opportunities.

We insist on having fun - Because laughter is a global language