"I have fallen in love with Ecuador. It was so different a place than I expected and it was great timing to go there and great to do two volunteer projects. Everything was so great and it was lovely to feel the Ecuadorian happy people and culture, I learned so many beautiful things in Quito!
The things I have learned in a developing country are totally different to home in California. My Quito experience changed me to think about life's ordinary things and their importantness. Now I feel I can be happy just being with people who love me as I am, and I can give love to others.
I still don't know what I will do with my future, but I will be happy becuase I have found what is important in my life. I definitely want to go back to Quito soon, it was the best vacation I ever had!" —Ryoko Sakai (Ecuador)
Who is Kaya?
Kaya was set up in 2008 by its 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.
Kaya’s mission is to promote sustainable social, environmental and economic development, empower communities and cultivate educated, compassionate global citizens through responsible travel.
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 Kaya looks 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.
Kaya volunteers tell them 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, the REAL question should be—why not volunteer?
Learn more about Kaya Volunteer Group.
Why not make a change, discover a different world from your own and see life from a new perspective?
Volunteer in Latin America: Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru
Volunteer in Africa: Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Swaziland, Botswana
Volunteer in Asia: India, Nepal, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Borneo
Read more about Volunteer Destinations.
Volunteer Project Categories
See more Volunteer Projects.
(These are just three examples of the hundreds of projects Kaya provides)
A Kaya gap year route is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Explore Asia, Africa, South America and Central America or the world route. With Kaya you can travel independently, help the communities that you travel through and really get to know the country and the people. In addition, you can tailor your gap route placements if your interests are in wildlife and conservation, community development, working with children, building projects or sports.
Challenge yourself to be a different gapper and get the most from your travels.
For more information on spending a gap year abroad, click here.
Project dates and prices vary due to type and location. Project dates and prices can be found on the volunteer abroad section of the website.
For more information, visit Kaya's Volunteer website, join their community, or contact them at anytime.
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Monday, April 9, 2012.
Sidebar Content, Page Navigation
More Ways to Search
Explore the world with Kaya!
Work hard with Kaya!
Serve the world with Kaya!
Donate to Support This Program and the Ongoing Work of the UUA
From UUA International
From Interdependent Web
From Beacon Broadside
More UUA Blogs
Read or subscribe to UUA.org Updates for the latest additions to our site.
Learn more about the Beliefs & Principles of Unitarian Universalism, or read our online magazine, UU World, for features on today's Unitarian Universalists. Visit an online UU church, or find a congregation near you.