Talita is a university student from Rotterdam studying Management of International Social Challenges.

She joined the Nasio Trust to volunteer at projects that are putting the principals she is learning about into practice every single day.

Listening to her story is an inspiring example of how the real life experience of seeing Nasio’s work is helping her to bring a new perspective to her studies.

Watch now below – and if you are inspired to come and see the amazing work we’re doing, check out our packages here.


Esme Thomas (18) was inspired to write a wonderful poem after visiting our projects in Kenya. It has since been published to critical acclaim and compared to the work of WH Auden.

Esme is now going to University to study English with Song-writing.

Esme says: This poem is inspired by my time with The Nasio Trust Charity who help break the cycle of poverty in Kenya. When there I found myself looking for similarities between my life and the community in Musanda. I was able to meet a girl my age named Judith, I saw her strong relationship with music and thought of mine, saw her life and tried to improve it, the best I could. But I felt guilty, my impact was a tiny drop in the ocean, our lives were far from being anything near “In Common”. I hope this poem will raise awareness, help people acknowledge their advantages and encourage them to use that to help others.

You can read her full poem here.

My fundraising started in early 2019 with the Abingdon YOCO group. We did various group fundraisers such as concerts, running 5km and car parking at a local village festival. This was a good way to become familiar with others in my group and created a strong team mentality.

We landed at Kisumu airport and were greeted by our designated Nasio drivers and they were very helpful and friendly all through our drive to the compound, pointing out local traditions and explaining some of them to us. They also pointed out local landmarks.

Upon arrival to the guest house we were greeted with singing, dancing and music. The atmosphere was so welcoming and friendly which instantly made us all feel at home.

The first thing that I noticed about Kenya was how efficient and resourceful everybody was

The first thing that I noticed about Kenya was how efficient and resourceful everybody was, hardly anything went to waste. This was a big eye-opener for me and made me really appreciate my resources back in England.

One of our groups biggest contributions to the community was building a house for two different local families. I was amazed at the teamwork of the locals and how willing they were to get involved even though it would bring them no personal benefit. Building the houses was hard work but also fun to learn a new way of construction. The families were so grateful for their new homes as it gave them a dry and safe place to sleep and keep their belongings.

The staff at the guesthouse were all so friendly and accommodating, the rooms were cozy and very comfortable. The staff worked so well to help us feel well accommodated. Three meals were prepared for us daily and the food was amazing with a great mixture of Kenyan and English foods. I tried a lot of new flavours throughout the trip and the local food is something I highly recommend.

One of my favorite memories of the trip was visiting Kakamega rainforest as we saw such a variety of wildlife that many of us had never encountered before. The Kenyan landscape was beautiful and it’s something I will never forget.

I am so grateful that I was offered this opportunity at such a young age, not many people can say they went to Kenya and contributed so much to the local community, for that reason I encourage anybody especially young people to get involved. It was an experience of a lifetime and I made a great group of friends along the way.

Tabitha & Jacob have been on a Medical Volunteering trip with us, working at our medical centre.

They’ve been a joy to work with and have been involved in a wide range of activities; from helping with the birth of babies, to researching the Malaria vaccine that is offered for free to children in Kenya.

Sadly they have had to cut their trip short, having been summoned back to the UK to support efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you’d like to know more about their amazing adventure, we’d strongly encourage you to visit their blog here.

Here’s a flavour of what you can expect – reproduced by kind permission.

“Whilst working in the medical centre in Musanda we have been working on a number of research projects with a view to tackling some of the major issues in the area. In particular we have been collecting data on the malaria vaccine. This was introduced last year and is first given to children at 6 months. Whilst the vaccine is free, it is still relatively novel and therefore parents are sometimes reluctant for their children to have it. As well as working to understand why this is we were also hoping to discover more about the efficacy of the vaccination. We do not yet know for certain how good the vaccine is at preventing malaria and have therefore been gethering data on how often vaccinated children are in fact contracting malaria. So far the results look incredibly promising, however the study will need to run for another few months to gather enough data in order to make reliable conclusions. In the meantime, the main challenge has and will be promoting the vaccine and ensuring that families are aware of its existence and potential benefits – the vaccine may well be an important step towards preventing the hundreds of malaria cases we have seen in the last three weeks alone.

On the evenings where we have not been faced with torrential rains, we have been running through the countryside surrounding Musanda. This has been an ideal opportunity to see the beautiful area but we won’t be breaking any records whilst trying to adjust to the heat and altitude. We have become quite a spectacle amongst the locals, who either stare on in bewilderment or openly laugh at the running Mzungus! We are going to miss our entourage of small children who like to run every step we take with us.”

Here at the Nasio Trust we are keeping a close eye on the government’s travel advice regards coronavirus (COVID-19):

As of 10th March 2020 neither Kenya or Tanzania are on the list of countries for which the UK Government has given specific advice but of course this changes almost daily. We recommend anyone planning to travel to Kenya to visit our projects, or to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro, also keeps up to date with the Government’s guidelines.

The gov.uk website references this link to the Association of British Insurers (ABI) for specific Q&As around insurance impacts which may be useful.

Reading recommendations in the media it seems wise to ensure you have your travel insurance in place at the same time as your flight bookings are made. Here is one article which advises to get your insurance as soon as you book your flights to make sure you’re covered in an ever-changing environment.

If you end up having to reschedule your trip to Kenya, which we hope won’t be the case but obviously we understand may be, we at Nasio will work with you to reschedule your visit regards your accommodation, food and local airport pick-ups as required but you will of course be responsible for handling changes for your flights.

Please do contact us if you have any questions or if we can be of any further help.

Everyone worries about how they’ll raise sufficient funds for their charity adventure. You’ll be amazed at how generous people can be when they find out about the amazing cause you have chosen to support.

Your employer may also be able to help through ‘fund-matching’ and ‘give as you earn’ schemes so do reach out and let them know what you’re doing.

Here are a few great fundraising ideas if you’re looking for inspiration.

  • Cake or Biscuit sale
    Get your bake on and sell at work or an event.
  • Car wash
    Ask everyone in your street if you can wash their car
  • Sponsored walk
    /run/bike ride/silence/swim/head-shave/slim
  • Sponsored give up
  • Babysitting or odd jobs
    Ask friends and family if you can do their odd jobs
  • Auction of Promises
    Try to get people to donate a gift, the promise of their time or use of their belongings. You can even ask people to donate themselves as butlers or personal assistants for the day!
  • Aerobics/Fitness
    If you enjoy keeping fit – or want to start – why not get people to sponsor you over a certain time?
  • Bring a Pound into Work
    Simply ask your colleagues to each bring a pound into work in aid of the charity you are raising money for.
  • Barbecue
    Hold a charity barbecue and charge people to come to your party.
  • Book Sale
    Dig out all those old books and have a book sale at home or at work.
  • Car Boot Sale
    Get all those unwanted items stashed in the back of cupboards or in your loft, and sell them at a car boot sale.
  • Coffee Morning
    Get all friends together and have a coffee morning, it’s a great way to catch up on all the gossip!
  • Dinner Dance
    Have a band, good food, organise a raffl e and/or an auction
  • Disco
    Organise a disco or 70’s night – with fancy dress!
  • Dress Down Day
    Ideal if you work in an offi ce environment where your colleagues might be keen for an opportunity to work in jeans.
  • Golf Match
    Organise a charity golf day.
  • Football Tournament
    5-a-side or full teams.
  • Karaoke Evening
    Ask a local pub to host a Karaoke night for you and charge people to get in or take part.
  • Murder Mystery Evening
    Loads of great info on planning these is available online.
  • Masked Ball
    Everyone wears a mask of his or her choice – wine, dine & fundraise.
  • Open Day
    If you have a colourful garden, let all those garden lovers come and admire in return for a donation.
  • Publicity
    Send a press release to all your local papers asking for sponsorship from companies and individuals.
  • Quiz Nights
    Always a favourite whether it is at home, at work, in a club or in your local. Charge people to take part.
  • Race Night
    Hold a race night and get guests to support their favourites with a donation.
  • Shocking Sock/Tie Day
    Those who take part are asked to donate £1, those who don’t pay a forfeit of £2.
  • Treasure Hunt
    A challenge event for people, and a fun way to raise big money.
  • Theme days/nights
    Jazz up the winter months and hold a themed event/dinner/dance.
  • Tombola or Raffle
    Get some raffle tickets and persuade your friends etc to donate prizes.
  • Variety Show
    Round up your talented friends and tread the boards, charging for admission.
  • Lucky square
    Charge people £1 a square on a sheet of 50/100 then get a prize for one lucky person to win a prize.
  • Onesie day
    Everybody loves a onesie and you can even do it at work.
  • Pennies in a bottle
    Give your supporters a bottle or sweet tube to fill with pennies. So simple.
  • Bingo event
    Everyone loves a game of bingo!

Contact us for fundraising support at any time.

Our fundraising was fun – we held dinner nights at local restaurants, sold items at car boot sales as well as eBay and ran tombola stalls.

We received the warm Kenyan welcome at the guest house and felt immediately at home. That day we had a tour of the compound and surrounding area including the Day Centre, Medical Centre, Spirulina greenhouse and Moses’ tree. We were welcomed by the children with a joyful song and played with them for a while.

Our main project was to build a cowshed and water tank for our sponsored child and her family. This alongside other home visits were amazingly humbling experiences, the perfect way to see our funds spent and feel part of the local community.

Another way we made a difference was to provide mattresses, mosquito nets and school supplies.

One of us ran a music project with the vulnerable children that visited the Day Centres for the feeding project. Each child took home a home-made instrument and a head full of songs. It was an emotional experience and we felt that each child went home with something to remember.

The trip to Kakamega Forest was fantastic. We walked 12kms and saw many monkeys and birds as well as learning about the flora.

It was lovely to walk to church with the children. We had arranged and practiced a song, which we enjoyed performing and it was very well received. We were so pleased that our son, who has autism, felt comfortable enough to make a few tiny friends. He gained much from the trip.

We were really impressed with the delicious food ranging from Kenya classics to popcorn and pancakes. The beds were very comfortable and we felt safe and secure. The toilets and showers were better than expected.

We added a Safari experience to the end of our trip. It was awesome. We saw 50 different animals & birds. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable and skilled at spotting.

We all gained a lot both individually and as a family.

We definitely recommend The Nasio family experience. We all gained a lot both individually and as a family. We will continue to support the charity. As we write this we are at a car boot sale raising money to build a house for our family’s sponsored child.

Harriet, Andy, Aaron & Esme Thomas

It is a week since we returned home from the adventure that had been in the planning for 18 months. It is a week that has gone past in a bit of a blur, but I am beginning to feel like we’re coming back down to earth. I am still thinking about the trip a lot and parts of it seem very surreal.

Having never been to Africa before, never climbed a mountain before and never volunteered before; the whole journey had an impact on me that will never go away. Such a lot to take in and do in just over 2 weeks.

I knew I was in good shape but nothing prepares you for the altitude

The climb was tough, we knew it would be, having trained quite hard for the climb I knew I was in good shape but nothing prepares you for the altitude. It’s a leveller. I think as a group of 16 I don’t think there was one person that was not affected in some way by it, some more than others, some for longer than others.

I cannot fault the team we had with us – the porters, cooks and guides were amazing. Honest and the team were fantastic “16 of you started this – 16 will finish it” and no matter how tough it got we believed them, and we did it.

Nothing can prepare you for the experience, the amazing scenery, the atmosphere, the camaraderie, I will never forget the sky at night and the stars, I am quite sure I will never see nighttime sky so beautiful as the one above the clouds on Kilimanjaro.

The end of climb and tipping ceremony was great, a fun affair with all the team, climbers, guides, porters, cooks all coming together to celebrate our summit and collect their well-deserved tips. We loved the openness and fairness of it, dealt with beautifully by Castro. It was JOYOUS!

The next part of our trip was to The Nasio Centre, Western Kenya. After seeing pictures from Joey on his previous visits it was so nice to be there and meet the Nasio Team. We saw and did a lot in the few days we were there. I think every single one of our group was so glad that we added on the volunteering part. To see where the money that you raise goes and meet the people that the Nasio has a huge positive impact on was brilliant. The warmth and care we were treated with by the Nasio team, the families we visited, the children we met, the medical centre & the spirulina staff was overwhelming.

For us as a family, Spencer, myself and Joey were so, so happy to be part of building Flora and her family a new home, meeting her and also meeting Dancan, who we also sponsor. Our time at the guesthouse was special, emotional and I left feeling like I was part of The Nasio family and community of Musanda.

We left Musanda to travel to safari, an altogether different experience, the hotel was very serene and beautiful and it was amazing to see the animals wild and free and the beauty of the ever-changing African Countryside, but I must admit it is the part of the trip that I think of the least (that is testament to how amazing the first two parts of the adventure were.)

I keep reflecting back on the amazing experience we’ve had and I can now fully appreciate why the volunteering had such an impact on Joey the first time he visited when he was 15.

I am so pleased we made the decision to do this challenge

I am so pleased we made the decision to do this challenge – I have come away feeling proud of myself and proud of our group. As adults, we can get stuck in our lives, cocooned in the everyday and this trip shows it is good to push yourselves not just physically but mentally and emotionally. This has been an experience I will never forget and I thank The Nasio Trust for giving me the opportunity to have done it.

One of the most popular activities we off as part of our Volunteering packages, house-builds are incredibly satisfying.

Check out the movie below to see for yourself and check out our packages now if you would like to get involved.

The people we met and worked with whilst out in Kenya were some of the most amazing people I think I will ever meet. Most of the volunteers working at Nasio Trust were originally orphans who the trust supported from an early age and they are now only slightly older than we are.

One of the volunteers, Eunice, is 19 and she works incredibly hard, working for the charity and looking after her 16-year-old sister. Every day she wakes up at 4 in the morning, she cooks food for her sister and washes the clothes, and then walks for an hour to get to Nasio. After work, she has another hour-long walk home, she cleans the house, washes the clothes and cooks dinner.

they are the happiest people, always smiling, singing and being incredibly welcoming

These volunteers are not privileged in any way in terms of material goods, yet they are the happiest people, always smiling, singing and being incredibly welcoming. They have taught me to make the most of what I have and even when I feel like I’ve got too much to do or think that life’s not fair, to remember to think of and support the people around me because caring for and contributing to the happiness of others is so rewarding and more satisfying than the temporary ‘buzz’ you might get from material possessions.

However, I’d say the best thing we have all taken away from the trip is the wonderful and unique friendships we have made – despite the cultural differences and language barriers – making a connection with people who live in such a different world to the one we live in.

Before going out to Kenya I was apprehensive about the work the Charity would be doing.

Often western Charity groups are accused of injecting money into poor areas which only makes them reliant on aid and unable to meet their future needs. They don’t always see the true needs of the locals or work with them and their deep root cultures.

However, the Nasio was completely not like this. The head of the Charity, Nancy, was from the area the charity supports and therefore she knows first-hand what it needs which allows the Nasio Trust to make a real difference. They work with the people and the culture using sustainable approaches. Their core concept of sustainability stretches across all aspect of the Charity, in education, healthcare, infrastructure and the supporting the locals financially.

They work with the people and the culture using sustainable approaches.

Rather than just giving out money to people in poverty they work with them helping them gain a job which will provide them with a stable income to support their family in the future. All of the projects we undertook were completely sustainable and will continue to benefit the area for years after we completed them. By using bottom-up aid that’s appropriate for the skills and abilities of the people it means the Charity has made a real difference to hundreds of lives and generation of families.

One of the things that had the most impact on me in Kenya was my visits to St Mary’s hospital.

On my first visit I was with the whole group and we handed out bread and milk to all the mothers and their newborn babies. We did this because if we hadn’t, no one else would have and they might have gone hungry that day, even though they had just given birth.

We all knew seeing the hospital would be an upsetting activity, but it actually seemed to be a more frustrating than anything else. Frustrating that the amazing staff had to work with such poor facilities. I spoke to a midwife who worked there, Sister Irene, who was one of the most inspirational women I have ever met. She was telling me about how her faith in God helped her with her challenging job, which is so exhausting with such little pay. However the severity of the situation only truly hit me when we were handing out underwear to the mothers (as they do not own any themselves) and all the staff were helping us. Irene turned to me at one point and asked “Would you mind if I had a pair?”. This just demonstrated to me how you can have so little yet give so much, which is what Irene was doing every day.

Sister Irene was one of the most inspirational women I have ever met

I went back to the hospital twice as I am hoping to have a career as a midwife, so the Nasio Trust gave me the opportunity to experience two afternoons in the labour ward. Although this was tough at points as I had to see women in pain on rusty hospital beds it was the most rewarding activity I did on the trip. Not only for my future career but for my life experience as I learnt so much from the mothers. While you could see they were in pain, they didn’t complain or make a fuss they just got on with it, with no drugs and barely any support as men (who aren’t doctors or nurses) are not allowed into the labour ward.

So I was humbled by Irene’s simple request and amazed at the mother’s bravery.

In recent years much criticism has been directed at the phenomenon of voluntourism whereby individuals mix foreign holidays with voluntary work for NGOs.

The concern is that projects can become more about the volunteers and their experience than about meeting community needs. Volunteers can displace locals from work, and prevent local skills development, which in turn prevents projects leaving sustainable legacies, without locals possessing the expertise to maintain them when volunteers go.

In particular, volunteerism in orphanages has been harshly criticised. There is consensus amongst experts (such as the Better Care Network, UNICEF and Save the Children) that the orphanage model of child care for vulnerable children, can actually cause more harm than good, with institutionalisation undermining the development of social skills, and failing to prepare children for adulthood. Children in orphanages lack the individual attention and miss out on invaluable experiences that are part and parcel of living with a family. By coming and going, as batches of tour groups, volunteers potentially exacerbate issues with feelings of abandonment.

The Nasio Trust is intentionally set up in a way that avoids these issues. We work in partnership with the communities of Mumias and Musanda, to ensure our projects meet their needs and are sustainable. As an organisation focussed on care for vulnerable children, we recognise the important role families play in the upbringing of the child, and so aim to place orphans within loving families, and provide support to keep vulnerable families together. Support for guardian families is provided in the form of food, education and healthcare, as well as assistance in developing income-generating projects. We match volunteers’ skills in line with these project needs, to ensure that they are able to make a meaningful contribution, first and foremost serving the community.

Compiled from content kindly provided by Oxford University interns:

Alexander Bridge
Ludi Wang
Maya Tikly-Young
Annalise Halsall
Joseph MacConnell
Ella Duffy
Emma Carter
Marta Grabowska

We are delighted that 23 Scouts will travel to Kenya to take part in a Nasio volunteer community project and Safari in July 2017.

The 14 day trip will be a mix of volunteering and safari, as well as an opportunity to meet Kenyan scouts in order to exchange skills and knowledge.

The trip will be overseen by a group of experienced scout leaders who have been specially chosen for their knowledge, experience and enthusiasm for international scouting.

Kenya has a rich scouting heritage, in fact not many people know that the scout’s founder Lord Baden Powell is buried in a simple grave at Nyeri within sight of Mount Kenya.

We’ll keep you updated as to how they get on!

Find out more at https://oxonscouting.org.uk/

At the Nasio Trust, we believe passionately that volunteering can make a difference to the lives of people in desperate need, however with so many “voluntourism” options available, how do you know you’re choosing the right one?

We don’t have all the answers – but here are 10 essential considerations you should have front-of-mind before you make your choice.

  1. Balance what you want to get against the real needs of your chosen cause
    Volunteering can be a life changing experience that allows incredible cultural insight. However it’s necessary to ensure that volunteering addresses real needs and is done through a responsible organisation.
  2. Make sure you are needed
    A community should agree to the need for volunteers and should define project aims in accord with their real-life needs.
  3. Teachers should be aware…
    Teaching volunteering is perhaps the most popular form of “voluntourism”, but risks displacing local teachers and can be an ineffective means of education due to language barriers. Responsible programmes should use volunteers as assistants to local teachers, aiming to work with and empower them.
  4. Beware of creating a culture of reliance
    A reliance on aid can be dangerous. UNICEF 2011 research highlights increasing numbers of orphanages in Cambodia, despite decreasing numbers of orphans. Poor parents are sending their children to orphanages in the hope they will have more prosperous lives there, but research shows it is typically more beneficial for children to remain with their community/ family. Be sure that your chosen operator is working to break the cycle of poverty that is the root cause of the need for volunteers.
  5. Ensure building projects are viable
    Building projects that leave a tangible legacy can change lives. But there are documented examples where schools have been built in areas that do not have sufficient teachers to staff them. Make sure the operators you support have genuine local knowledge and have done the background work. Keep an eye out for notable involvement of the local community too. Responsible operators will always seek to retain as many local people as possible.
  6. Medical volunteers should work to transfer knowledge & skills
    Healthcare volunteering can be particularly beneficial. The skills and expertise necessary to tackle health issues are often in scarce supply in the developing world. It is important that volunteering health workers go with the mind-set of improving local provision and passing on their skills, to avoid creating dependency.
  7. Are you really skilled enough to assist on a project?
    A good question to ask – would you perform the role on your volunteering project in your own country? This helps to clarify whether you will actually be able to deliver a meaningful service. Contact us for advice at any time.
  8. Follow the money
    Volunteers should always be aware of how much money actually goes to helping people, and seek out projects where more money reaches the people who need it. Seek out transparency in financial matters. Remember all charities must publish their finances publicly every financial year.
  9. Will you be properly supported during your trip?
    Responsible volunteering organisations should provide you with clear information and training for what you will be doing. Ideally some teaching of local languages will take place. Volunteers should also aim to research the culture of the area they will be working in – respect for cultural values will aid integration and help projects make a positive. Prior understanding of development issues will also prevent a superficial view of poverty being taken away from the experience.
  10. What’s the long term plan?
    Ideally organisations should have in place plans for sustainability when volunteers leave.
    The best charities will always be seeking to make the aid they provide redundant in the areas they work by creating sustainable income streams, and renewable resources.

For more information about volunteering opportunities with the Nasio Trust, contact us now.

Compiled from content kindly provided by Oxford University interns:

Alexander Bridge
Ludi Wang
Maya Tikly-Young
Annalise Halsall
Joseph MacConnell
Ella Duffy
Emma Carter
Marta Grabowska