Volunteer with us

The Happy House: Information for Prospective Volunteers

Thank you for your interest in volunteering with the Children of Watamu Charity at the Happy House, we really appreciate your interest in our work and look forward to receiving your completed application form. This information sheet is designed to help you decide whether or not volunteering with us is for you and, if so, to plan your trip and to get the most from your volunteer experience.

Please read all the information here and in the pdfvolunteer_guidelines_july_2013.pdf74.64 KB Please print the guidelines and bring it with you. If you wish to apply please  complete the two application forms and email to sue@childrenofwatamu.net

Natasha and our junior cooksThank-you for caring.

Local Background

The Happy House is situated a 10 minute walk from the centre of Watamu, a small fishing village, located on the coast, approximately 60 kms. north of Mombasa. The Happy House, purpose built, is a home for up to 100 children from many different backgrounds of need - from being orphaned or abandoned to being in temporary need during family crisis.

Happy House life is always changing to adapt and meet the needs of the Happy House family. It is their home and we are all privaledged to part of it.

We also have over 200 local children attending our schools from Monday to Friday.

As a volunteer for this very special place, you will support he development of the Happy House and its family. We particularly need volunteers who can help with music lessons. Before your arrival,Velma, our volunteer co-ordinator and headteacher

volunteerswill look at your application form to see where you will be the most beneficial to the needs of our children.

It will be necessary to adopt a flexible approach whilst a routine is established for you and which best suits all concerned.

Your duties may involve working directly with the children, in the gardens or carrying out any of the multitude of tasks that will need to be done on a daily basis. We opened a Nursery School at the Happy House in January 2011,a Primary School in 2012 and in 2016 our secondary school was completed.  The days will be varied, interesting and purposeful, building on your skills and experience so please tell us what they are!

Applying to us:

Please note that in order to volunteer with us, you must be at least 18 years of age at time of arrival. You will also need to provide us with satisfactory police clearance.

We can arrange a pick up service to and from Mombasa or Malindi airports plus accommodation near the Happy House, the costs to be paid by the volunteer. Lunch can be taken at the Happy House.

anna leavesWe do ask volunteers to do some fundraising  prior to their visit to show commitment towards our ongoing work with the children. £500 er person is, we feel ,an achievable amount. This money must be paid into Just Giving or the Happy House Account prior to travelling. Sue can give you further details when required.  Monies must NOT be used for personal expenses.

Getting There:

Flights: The nearest airports are Malindi and Moi International, Mombasa. You should not book your flight until your application to volunteer has been accepted. Please do not book flights that arrive in Mombassa during the night or before 6am. Please check with Sue before confirming your flights. Pick-ups to and from airport should be arranged by volunteers themselves.  If Happy House transport is required and available it will be at an additional charge.

Passport: You should ensure that your passport will remain valid for at least six months beyond the end of your projected stay in Kenya.

Visa: This can be obtained online from the Kenyan Embassy or High Commission. From September 1, 2015, all travellers from the UK must have a visa before travel. 


Fabiola from MexicoInsurance: It  is your personal responsibility to ensure that you have adequate insurance cover for theft, loss, illness or injury.

Currency: The local currency is Kenyan shillings (Ksh). Watamu has ATM cash machines and facilities to exchange cash. Although money will be needed for travelling and paying for the taxi, we would advise to exchange just enough money for your immediate needs as the exchange rate is always higher in Watamu.


volunteerIt is important that we are aware of any medical conditions or health issues that may affect you during your stay. Please complete the medical section of the application form if you decide to volunteer.
It is strongly recommended that you seek medical advice from your G.P. as part of preparing for your trip. You may want to consider having a dental check-up and any necessary dental treatment prior to departure.
N.B. It is your responsibility to bring with you sufficient supplies of any prescribed or other medicines that you may need during your stay.

Inoculations: You should check with your GP Practice which inoculations it is necessary to have, for example tetanus, polio, typhoid, Hepatitis A and B and yellow fever. An International Certificate for Yellow Fever may be required if you are entering Kenya overland and/or intending to travel outside of Kenya in other African countries. You should plan ahead and organise your jabs at least six weeks in advance of your departure.

Heat: Given the strength of the sun, you are strongly advised to wear a hat and sunglasses and to use high factor sun screen. It is essential to drink plenty of fluids (excluding alcohol and caffeine) to prevent dehydration. It is also advisable to bring re-hydration sachets to replace fluids should you suffer with diarrhoea.
N.B. You are strongly advised to stick to bottled water and to avoid drinking the local tap water.

Malaria: Malaria is endemic to Kenya. Your G.P. will advise on anti-malarial tablets. When taking these, it is important to maintaiAlly at work with our kidsn a careful routine and to cover the period before and after your trip with doses, as prescribed. It is also important to avoid being bitten by keeping arms, legs and feet covered as much as possible after dusk and covering exposed parts with a strong repellent. Always ensure that you sleep under the mosquito net provided.

HIV/Aids and other sexually transmitted diseases: These are widespread in Kenya. You are strongly advised not to enter into any sexual relationships during your stay.

The following website has further relevant medical information www.mdtravelhealth.com/destinations/africa/kenya.php


You will need to give us emergency contact details as part of your application. Should it be necessary for us to contact your next of kin, this will be arranged by the Director of the Happy House.


As Kenya is in the tropics, light clothing is suitable throughout the year. You will be expected to respect local ways and feelings by dressing appropriately at all times, avoiding, for example, vest tops and shorts/short skirts which expose body parts, especially during your time at the Happy House. These may both offend and attract unwanted attention. In Watamu, it is only on rare occasions that you may need a sweater or fleece. A waterproof is advisable during the rainy season i.e. mainly, April – June (long rains) and November/December (short rains).


You may want to spend some time travelling within Kenya or more widely in East Africa. This should be arranged either before your volunteer period or after it.


Whilst we want to ensure you that all reasonable precautions will be taken to ensure that your period with us is as pleasurable and safe as possible, Kenya is a developing country and the Children of Watamu Charity cannot accept legal responsibility for any harm that may befall you whilst there. If you decide to volunteer with us, you will need to confirm your acceptance of our disclaimer conditions on the Volunteer Disclaimer which is part of the Application Form.

docVolunteer_Application_Form.doc68.04 KB

docVolunteer_Disclaimer_Information.doc31 KB31 KB

pdfvolunteer_guidelines_july_2013.pdf74.64 KB

pdfVolunteer letter from Sue - please read53.79 KB

 Once we have accepted your application, we will send you a confirmation e-mail together with some further information. Meanwhile, if you have any questions or need to clarify anything, please contact sue@childrenofwatamu.net

We look forward to receiving your application.