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Volunteering in Jamaica offers visitors the opportunity to integrate into local communities and develop relationships with residents. Thrilling adventures and life-changing experiences are there for the taking, while you’ll also be lending a helping hand to those in need on the island. If you truly want to make a difference while spending time in Jamaica, here are 10 organisations that you can volunteer for.
The Jamaica Red Cross is part of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; the world’s largest humanitarian organization. There are Red Cross branches located in every parish on the island (two branches in Kingston) and assist in the areas of Health, Education, Disaster response, Advocacy and many other areas. Volunteers can participate in youth clubs, community outreach projects, health clinics and fairs, community cleanups and relief services.
The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management operates out of the Office of the Prime Minister with a management board overseeing its activities. The agency has the unique role of being the only government agency to provide disaster management functions in Jamaica. Disasters such as floods, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and road and air accidents are all covered by the ODPEM team. Volunteers with the agency are trained in various emergency techniques and equipped with skills to act as first responders in the event of any disaster or accidents in their various communities.
Jamaica Impact Inc. or “Jampact” is a non-profit organisation consisting of young Jamaican professionals, students and friends or visitors to Jamaica. The main objective of Jampact is to make positive contributions towards the improvement of social and economic conditions in Jamaica. All programs of the organisations are rooted in the development of youth, community and education.
The Abilities Foundation is a registered voluntary organization that works in collaboration with the Ministry of Labor, Social Security and the HEART Trust/National Training Agency. The Abilities Foundation provides quality vocational education and skills training to people with disabilities, to enable them to function as creative and productive citizens. Volunteers at the foundation can offer job coaching, mentoring and assistance in professional development seminars. Interested volunteers can call +876 969 5720 or email: email@example.com.
Angels of Love Jamaica is a non-profit organisation with the main objective of providing life-saving treatment, health care, education and support services to children in need; specifically disadvantaged, underprivileged and vulnerable children. The team often works with children who are critically ill from birth to 12 years old at the Bustamante Hospital for Children and the May Pen Paediatric Ward. They help to alleviate the burden of medical expenses and transportation costs to and from the hospital for their treatment. Around Christmastime, volunteers at Angels of Love also organise Christmas Treats at specific hospitals across Jamaica, that include tree lighting, gifts for the children, live entertainment and a special Christmas play.
Read Across Jamaica is an international literacy program formed to encourage and foster love of reading for children in Jamaica. The organisation collects and distributes books to schools across the island, as well as organise literary activities and competitions. There are many opportunities to volunteer with Read Across Jamaica including helping out at a local literary event, packing books to be shipped across Jamaica, assisting with fundraising, or even joining as a literacy ambassador to develop initiatives and assist with fundraising efforts.
The Jamaica Society for the Blind is an Organisational Member of the Caribbean Council for the Blind. The organisation focuses on helping blind people to adjust to their condition, lead productive lives and encourage, through public education, better eye-care for everyone. JSB programmes and services include Vision Testing, Rehabilitation, Instruction, Library, Links and Public Education. Interested people can lend a hand through any of the programs offered by JSB.
The Montego Bay Marine Park Trust was established to oversee Jamaica’s first marine park through the sustainable management of marine and coastal resources. The Trust engages in wetlands replenishment and international coastal cleanups, as well as conducting environmental education programs in schools across the island through the ‘Care and Protect Jamaica’ outreach program.
The Sickle Cell Unit (SCU) is a voluntary organisation at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. Its main objectives are to provide support for sickle cell patients as well as raise awareness of sickle cell disorders. People can get involved by attending support meetings for patients, assisting with medical expenses and volunteering at public education programs.
Mustard Seed Communities is an international organisation that focuses on providing for children and adults with disabilities who have been abandoned. In Jamaica, Mustard Seed provides assistance to vulnerable children and young adults with disabilities, children affected by HIV/AIDS, and teen mothers, along with their babies. The organisation also manages a number of community outreach programs to combat poverty and provide education to the local population.