Zambia - Livingstone
Applications are ongoing and will close November 26th, 2023!
This is a word which the PIECES volunteers heard many times during their stay in Zambia. It means «Thank you» in the local language Chichewa.
The thankfulness, happiness and joy which the students from the Nekacheya School showed towards the volunteers was overwhelming. They had so much fun together during the classes in which the volunteers taught them English. The African pupils always wanted to know more about this far country called Switzerland and their thirst for knowledge seemed to be endless. That is because the students see education as a chance. In Zambia over 60% of the population lives below the poverty line. Education is their opportunity to escape it and have a better life in the future. PIECES plays a special role in this process by teaching them essential English skills. Along the way the kids really sneak into the volunteer’s hearts.
When was the last time, you received a truly meant one from one of your peers? We are used to say it all the time, but do we really mean it?
The «Zikomo» from the students in Zambia, is a truly meant one. The PIECES volunteers were very warmly welcomed by the students and teachers. Teaching in Zambia is really a one-of-a-kind experience. It was a pleasure to see all the students making process and participating eagerly during the lesson. Of course, sometimes it can get a little messy and a little loud during the class. But in the end the exchange between the «mzungu» - as the foreigners are being called and what actually means «traveller» - and the children is a very valuable experience for both sides. The volunteers influence the lives of the kids in a very meaningful way by broadening their horizon and helping them personally as well as academically. The volunteers on the other hand experience and learn to appreciate the pleasure of a simple life. And most importantly: They learn to be thankful, even for the little things. One volunteer said that during his stay in Zambia, he never heard anyone complain – even if the sun was stiflingly hot burning down on their heads or the children were hungry as they have not received any breakfast.
So now, here is the opportunity for you to join in and feel the love from the beautiful country of Zambia. Your donation will be very much appreciated and deserves hundreds of truly meant Zikomo’s! It provides education for the children far from our homes and makes the world a little bit fairer. Furthermore, doing something good by donating money gives us so much back. Sometimes this seems like a paradox: Because the smiles, the thankfulness and the love of the children from the Nekacheya school really is priceless.
A practical approach to making a difference
By participating you are actually filling a need in the local community. You are not taking away opportunities from local teachers but enriching the local education environment by offering your time and your resources!
Volunteering for students
We adapted our volunteering offering to fit the busy schedule of students at the University of St. Gallen. Volunteering will take place during the semester break and will not extend further than one week into the next term. All projects have a duration of 3-4 weeks.
Additonally, Pieces covers the volunteers lodging and food costs for the duration of their stay.
As opposed to other volunteering platforms we are completely run by students on a voluntary basis. All funds we collect goes directly to our partner schools and to finance our organization. We DON'T give money to third parties but are directly in contact with our partnerschools.
Experience a new culture
Experience new food, new customs and meet new people. This is an incredible opportunity to leave your comfort zone and to truly commit to something you have never experienced before.
You will also be dealing with different important problems you might not have been confronted with before.
Before leaving for your project you will receive pedagogical training during our mandatory two day long bootcamp during which you will receive the tools required to communicate and teach in an effective manner.
Application Period for Volunteers
Please upload your CV and a motivation letter, both in English, in a single PDF document named 'firstname.surname' (for example, 'frida.kahlo.pdf'), to the application form. Introduce yourself in the motivation letter (1 page A4), and mention one or two preferences regarding the project destination, as well as why you are interested in going to these countries.
First application period: November 6th, 2023 - November 19th, 2023
Second application period: November 20th 2023 - November 26th, 2023
The two application periods help us to organize the interviews so we can ensure that you will have the best possible experience with PIECES and receive all necessary information on time.
Interviews of Volunteer Candidates
Your English level will be tested while we get get to know you. We will also assess if you are fit for teaching at one of our projects. The interviews will take place on a weekly basis. If you meet our internal application standards we will send you a selection of possible interview time slots from which you will be able to freely choose. The later you apply the less choices you will have so keep this in mind when applying at the end of our applicaiton period. The interviews will take place online (Zoom) or at the University of St. Gallen.
Selection of the Volunteers
Volunteers will receive a confirmation e-mail with the final Board decision and respective details (including volunteering contract and further travel details).
The Volunteer Bootcamp will take place in person at the University of St. Gallen. During the duration of the bootcamp you will receive the tools required to effectively teach and communicate in a foreign environment. Former volunteers will also give you insights and personal advice for your specific project destination. You will also get the opportunity to meet your new volunteering team members. Attending the Bootcamp is mandatory for all prospective volunteers!
Dates of volunteering: to be determined
Warning: Exact dates will be subject to change but will fall within the lecture-free period after the exams. We highly recommend that applicants keep the dates around the ones advertised open.
Questions and Answers
Q: Will I still be considered if I apply in the second application period? Should I apply before the first or second deadline?
This highly depends on the applicants of the first period. If we already were able to recruit our volunteers for our summer projects, we will not consider applicants in the second period. However, if we still need motivated volunteers, applications in the second period period will be considered. In any case, your chances to become a PIECES volunteer are higher if you apply during the first application period.
Q: Which expenses are covered by PIECES?
The organisation covers all expenses on-site, e.g. accommodation and food. Volunteers are expected to pay for their travel costs, i.e. airplane tickets, visa, etc.
What Our former Volunteers say
Marco Müller (Winter 2022)
"A great way to have an impact and definitely an experience for life!"
PIECES does not engage in “voluntourism” but real volunteering, which requires volunteers to adapt to extremely precarious living conditions, discomfort, and enter foreign and sometimes hostile social environments dealing with serious issues. This is a risk of volunteering abroad and PIECES cannot issue any explicit safety guarantee or accept any kinds of liability. We are also not liable for organizing your trip and travel documentation – we are, of course, here to help, but you remain responsible.
While applying to one of our projects, you should keep in mind that you will be giving up many conveniences we are used to in Switzerland. While on the project site, you are likely to have limited access to hygiene appliances, medical help, electricity, and transportation. You will also work long teaching hours. Make sure you are able and willing to deal with these kind of problems if you apply for volunteering.