Volunteer Maroon Project in Jamaica
- Placement location: St Elizabeth Parish
- Role: Assisting with a variety of tasks in the community, which may include teaching IT, gardening and cultural preservation projects
- Accommodation: Host family
- Price: From
- What’s included? Food, accommodation, transfers to and from our specified airport, transport to and from work where required, insurance, personal webpage, induction and orientation, 24/7 support
- What’s not included? Flights, visa costs, spending money
- Length of placement: From 3 weeks
- Start dates: Flexible
Whether you are volunteering on a gap year, summer placement or career break, if you want to get truly immersed in the traditional culture of Jamaica, our Community Project working with the Maroons could be the perfect volunteer placement for you.
The Jamaican Maroons were runaway slaves who fought the British during the 18th century, and the term is now used for their descendants. The Maroons in Jamaica remain to a large extent autonomous and separate from the rest of Jamaican culture and these vibrant communities are usually inaccessible other than by visiting on a day's tour. Some residents of the Maroon community are Rastafarians.
Volunteers on the Maroon Community Project live in the Accompong Community. It is located in the hills of St Elizabeth Parish and is one of the remaining traditional Maroon communities in Jamaica.
Volunteers joining the Maroon community in Accompong will get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Depending on when you join the project there may or may not be other volunteers in the community. Volunteers can assist with a wide variety of projects including the following types of work:
- Teaching computer lessons
- Joining cultural preservation projects
- Maintaining the herb garden
- Teaching at the primary school with children aged 6-12 years old
- Working in the library
- Working on a community literacy programme (teaching adults to read and write)
The Accompong Community has all the usual basic amenities and is home to 168 households and an estimated population of 576 people. As many as 50% of the households are home to three generations. The community has a kindergarten, primary school and a training centre.
Community Volunteering with Maroons in Jamaica
The main source of livelihood for Accompong is farming which is done by 90% of men. Women mainly stay at home while 10% are shopkeepers and 10% farmers. The main issues affecting the community are unemployment (16% of the community is unemployed), lack of trained teachers, poor parenting, illiteracy, insufficient cultural preservation, lack of a play area for the children, lack of access to adequate health care, lack of safety signs, poor road conditions and lack of water in some areas. The perception is that the Maroon communities are excluded from external state support as they do not benefit from social and infrastructure programmes.
The history of Accompong dates back over 200 years. There are oral historians and documents that tell the old intriguing story of Accompong Town. Jamaicans see Maroons as special people and they are viewed with respect because of their gallant fight for freedom. This gives them a unique place in the heart of many Jamaicans, particularly those with an academic knowledge of the historic events leading up to the freedom from the British. They are remembered each year on January 6th when there is a huge community celebration which gets national promotion and considerable media focus.
Volunteers live in Accompong with a Jamaican host family, who will ensure that you soon feel at home and integrated into community life. This project is in a remote location about three and a half hours from Mandeville, volunteers should therefore have a mature attitude and be able to work independently.