The age range of the students you will work with will vary from pre-schoolers right through to adult students who are returning to school to make the most of their opportunity for education. All teaching is done in English.
Early childhood program: These programs are attached to each village kindergarten and focuses on children from 3.5 years to 5 years old. The aim is to encourage parents to be our partners in developing an understanding and appreciation of the value of their children attending school.
One on one reading program: This valuable program is established at both Naviti District School and Yasawa High School. The aim is to improve learning outcomes for students who are significantly below the national average in literacy.
Vocational programs: Yasawa High School, together with Vinaka Fiji, have established two areas of vocational studies and work together to plan, implement and assess the programs. Each program is a one year course: agriculture and marine studies.Additional education programs: As opportunities to extend and expand on the three main programs above arise, we also often provide additional programs such as,
- School holidays program
- Development learning environments
- Professional learning
- Education for adults/mature students
- Alternative wet weather programs
Our volunteer base is located at Barefoot Island Lodge in the Yasawa Islands. This is accessible on the Yasawa Flyer, which departs from Denarau Marina. More information and tickets will be issued when you book your Vinaka Fiji Volunteer program.
DRESS: The villages you'll be working in are very traditional and the dress code is important to respect. Please pack a sulu as you will need to wear this below the knee any time you are in a village. This applies to both men and women. Also pack loose-fitting shirts or tops that cover your shoulders for wear in the villages
POLICE CLEARANCE CHECK: Volunteers wanting to participate in the education programs must provide a Police Clearance check or ‘Working with Children’ check from their country of residence. We must receive copies of this along with your completed Registration Form at least two weeks prior to your commencement on the program.
WHERE YOU STAY: Our volunteering programs are based in the remote Yasawa Island group, consisting of a chain of 20 ancient volcanic islands. Crystal clear lagoons surround the pristine white sandy beaches and the northern islands are home to the famous Blue Lagoon. Barefoot Island Lodge is the Base for our volunteers. The resort is situated between two beaches on spectacular Drawaqa Island. One of the beaches overlooks a breathtaking coral lagoon, home to a large channel of coral gardens where majestic manta rays come to feed. Set amongst mature trees, just a few steps from the beach, are the Standard Double/Twin Bures and Dorms with shared bathrooms and facilities. Safari-tent-style Deluxe Bures with ensuite bathrooms are also available as an upgrade. All rooms are serviced daily. Bed linen is provided however you will need to bring all towels and toiletries. There is a basic laundry service available for a small fee.
MEALS: Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in your program cost. Meals are a social scene, with both volunteers and resort guests dining in a communal setting.
WEEKENDS AT YOUR LEASURE: Saturday and Sunday are enjoyed at your leisure. Relaxation is big in Fiji, but if you’re in the mood there are incredible activities available throughout the Yasawas including some of the world’s best snorkelling and diving, hiking, local villages to visit, cultural activities, hand-line fishing, visits to caves… even swimming with manta rays depending on the season! Sunday is typically a ‘day of rest’ in Fiji so supervised activities are limited, but volunteers are always welcome to attend the traditional Village Church Service - generally a very moving experience.
Our programs run from a Saturday morning through to the following Saturday morning and are a total of 7 nights in duration – 5 days of volunteering and two days of relaxation on a tropical island! You may book any number of weeks you wish from 1 to 26, however the program can only be purchased in multiples of one week. The program duration does not include any international travel, the night prior to commencement or nights following completion. We can however assist with all pre and post accommodation bookings required in Fiji.
Programs are open to people aged 16 years and older.
The daily journey from the basecamp to the schools and villages where you’ll be working is a 30 to 60 minute longboat transfer. On the rare occasion of rough sea conditions, we will not be able to run transfers due to safety reasons and volunteers will have to remain at Basecamp for the day.
You shouldn’t be reaching for your wallet while in the islands as the cost of your accommodation, transfers and meals are covered in your program fee. You’ll just need a bit of cash if you wish to purchase any additional drinking water throughout the day (or alcoholic drinks at night), snacks or partake in weekend activities. Please be aware that there are no banks or ATM machines in the Yasawa Islands. Cash machines are available at Nadi Airport and Denarau Marina. Barefoot Island Lodge (the Base) accepts major credit cards.
It is the responsibility of all volunteers travelling with Vinaka Fiji to check and adhere to Fiji’s Visa requirements. As most volunteers choose to stay and travel around Fiji before or after volunteering, they should enter the country on a ‘Visitor/Tourist Visa’, which can be obtained for a period of up to 3 months. There is currently no specific Visa for Volunteers in Fiji and volunteering is not considered work under the Immigration requirements, so you do not need a work visa.
It is an essential condition of travelling with Vinaka Fiji that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of any emergency medical treatment or accident and to protect your holiday payments in the event of cancellation. Vinaka Fiji has insurance cover available with a leading insurer of adventure style travel, which can be taken out at time of booking if required.
Twin/Double Bure and Deluxe Twin/Double Bure prices are per person, based on two people sharing. If you wish to stay in twin/double accommodation by yourself, an additional single supplement fee applies. Twin/Double Bure accommodation has shared bathroom facilities.
The Donation to VF Projects is not included in the cost of your package. This is the amount that we request you donate to the Vinaka Fiji program in addition to your accommodation, transfers, meals and program costs. Donations are used for purchasing and sourcing materials to support the Trust. These include tools and equipment, agriculture supplies like seedlings and chicks, materials for construction, water tanks and installation fittings, school books and learning aids.