Monday, 21 September 2015

It's been a busy summer at our projects overseas

Over the summer our Quest volunteers have been working hard at our different projects in Africa and South America. All the teams got stuck in with a range of activities, with the aim of making a difference to the local communities (and animals!) we work with. Read on to find out what they got up to!


The Malawi team's project phase started off with a bang with 1,000 people turning up to welcome them to the village. The group’s main goal was to help improve the  Chilaweni Primary School building and to give its pupils better access to educational resources. Our volunteers’ first task was to help enlarge the windows of four classrooms – not an easy job!

Working with the local builders, the team removed the old window frame, produced new breeze blocks and plastered and painted the larger windows. All together the process took nine days to complete. The large window will be benefit the 1,100 students who attend the school. By having more light in the classroom, the children in the last rows will be able to read what is on the chalkboard without walking to the front.

The team also helped convert an outdoor wall into a world map to help the children learn. To turn this idea into a reality, the team plastered the wall, covered it with an undercoat and then carried out the difficult task of painting all the different countries! Within three days the project was complete.

This simple idea will be a great help for teachers; the primary school does not have any atlases therefore it was very difficult to teach geography to the students. From now on the teachers can use the world map wall as a visual aid for teaching global geography.

When they were not busy painting and plastering, the team had the opportunity to  watch the school’s graduation ceremony.  It was an unforgettable moment for our volunteers: “It was really special to see all the children’s faces light up, they were all so proud and happy to get their results”.


Our volunteer had the challenging task of building a kitchen for Ubaka U Rwanda’s new youth centre. Working with Mapengu, the engineer who oversaw and designed the kitchen, and just two other local builders, the team completed the build in just 11 days.

Altogether it took 90 hours to build and 300 bricks were laid to complete the kitchen. The boys will now have a new and efficient stove to learn how to safely cook and prepare their meals.  Our volunteer also had the opportunity to have some fun and join in with the boys’ football and basketball sessions.

Villa Maria

We had our dedicated volunteer, Ali, join our Villa Maria team and help with the local community projects. Ali got involved straight away and assisted the local building team in preparing materials and constructing two brand new houses. The houses will provide new homes for families in desperate need of shelter and care.  

When not busy building, Ali got stuck in with all the fun activities organised for the children in the local community! From playing games with the children, to even getting dressed up in a super hero costume, he was a great hit with all the kids. With Ali’s help, the team were able to provide more smiles and fun to the local children.


Our Quest team were really pushed to their limits when they were set the challenging task of helping construct a new enclosure for one of the male jaguars, Ru.

The group worked tirelessly for three weeks in tough conditions to complete the first phase of the construction. The team had to begin by clearing the ground, digging the holes and cementing the poles in place. All the materials required for the construction, such as sand and stones, had to be carried by hand from the camp to the enclosure’s location deep in the jungle – very gruelling work!

Time really is of the essence with this construction project as Ru’s current enclosure is no longer secure. There is a high risk that a tree may fall into it; because of this Ru is put in his management cage every night to keep him safe.

The volunteers' work has helped shorten the construction process and will allow Ru to have access to his new home sooner. Additionally once the new enclosure is complete, the pumas Wara and Yassi will be relocated into Ru’s old enclosure. This will vastly improve their quality of life since their current enclosure floods and is wet for approximately six months of the year.

We are very impressed with all the hard work our Quest teams put in over the summer and can’t thank them enough for all their support. A huge congratulations to all our volunteers for the amount they have achieved – clearly all your hard work paid off! If you would like to volunteer at one of our projects next year please visit:

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

What impact have we been having?

If you haven’t delved into our latest Impact Report yet, now is the perfect time. Learn about what has been happening at all our different projects: from the new houses we have constructed in Villa Maria, to the numerous animals we have helped in Bolivia – it’s all in there.  For us, monitoring and evaluation is key to our work and we want to share with you the impact we are having. Scroll down to check out the full report.

2014 was a busy and exciting year for us. With the help of our volunteers we were able to run free cinema screenings in Villa Maria, build a new classroom and library in Malawi and reinforce animal enclosures in Bolivia - and that’s just mentioning a few things! As well as all this, together our volunteers raised over £24,000 for Quest4Change.

2014 was also a year in which we celebrated a milestone for our project partner Asociación Civil Quest Overseas Perú, who we have been working with over the past 17 years. They gained formal recognition as a nationally registered Association and are in the process of becoming a recognised NGO. We are so proud to see how far they have developed.

None of these achievements however would have been possible without our brilliant supporters. We would like to say a huge thank you to our partners and teams of volunteers on the ground, fundraisers, individual donors, sponsors and the charitable trusts who continue to help us.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Mi Nueva Casa – Let’s Build a Merry Christmas

Last November, thanks to a grant awarded by the Evan Cornish Foundation, we embarked on a project called ‘Mi Nueva Casa – Let’s Build a Merry Christmas’, which aimed to build seven new houses for vulnerable families living in Villa Maria del Triunfo (Lima, Peru).

Housing in Villa Maria
Access to adequate housing is a big issue in many of the communities we work with in Villa Maria. Many families have been forced (due to a lack of space) to set up home in the most exposed areas, often cutting precarious platforms into the hillsides to erect their homes. A typical ‘house’ will be made from scraps of corrugated iron, wood and plastic patched together to form some kind of basic shelter.

On top of the psychological impact of living in such a makeshift dwelling, these families are also jeopardising their health by living in poorly insulated, draughty and damp conditions. This combination of inadequate housing and cold, wet weather during the winter months leaves children and the elderly particularly susceptible to respiratory illnesses and infections.

Let's Build a Merry Christmas
The seven families benefiting from this project were all in desperate need of a new home; already struggling to make ends meet, they simply did not have the economic resources to be able to improve their living conditions without assistance.

The new houses we build are single-storey wooden constructions that can be put together in a matter of days. Although they are still relatively basic, these solid homes are warm, stay dry and offer protection from the wind. Another great advantage is that they cost relatively little to buy and make.

Construction of the houses was led by our experienced Project Manager, Alejandro Menendez, and Head Builder, Luis Beltran, who assessed each family’s housing situation to understand exactly what they needed. Different members of the community also got involved to help build the seven houses, including a group of teenagers from San Miguel and a local athletics group. In less than a month all the houses were built; just in time for the families to spend their first Christmas in their new home.

Videos of all 7 houses  Have  a look at our YouTube videos to see the construction of each house.

Meet the beneficiaries
Find out the stories behind two of the families we helped during this project.

1. Señora Jacqueline Chahuayo
Señora Jacqueline Chahuayo is a single mother with a three year old child, and another one on the way. Her old house, made of bits of broken plywood patched together, was falling apart; there were also holes in the roof, which meant that rain water got in. Due to the damp living condition her daughter would often get ill.

Since the rebuild the house is much more secure and stays dry which Señora Chahuayo feels will vastly improve her daughter’s health. She is very grateful and never thought that she would receive this kind of help. 
“I’d like to thank the project and these young boys. I can now spend Christmas in my new house with my daughter, a house that’s insulated and won’t let the cold in. I'm very happy with my new house.”
2. Señora Yudith Pérez
Señora Yudith Pérez lives with her husband, Fernando Tolentino, and their three children. This house was built in response to an emergency construction need, as their previous house had been destroyed by a passing helicopter. An aeroplane had crashed in the hills of Villa Maria and when the search and rescue helicopters passed overhead, the force of their propellers caused the family’s humble home to collapse. They were left with nothing.

By building them a new home they had somewhere safe to spend time as a new family and celebrate Christmas in their new house. The family were so appreciative of all the support they received and the difference this will make to their lives.

Mi Nueva Casa
The construction of these seven houses forms part of an ongoing project that we have been running since 2007; we have now built 91 new houses to date. In this way we are slowly increasing the access to adequate housing in the district of Villa Maria and helping families have a safe place to call home.  Click here to find out more about our project and how you can help.                          

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Be part of our Brighton Marathon 2016 team!

Since starting in 2010, the Brighton Marathon has become an annual fixture getting better and better each year. The course snakes through the city centre, along the coast and ends by the iconic Brighton pier. With crowds of supporters completely lining the route, the atmosphere is always electric.

At Quest4Change we have been lucky enough to have individuals not only complete the 26 gruelling miles, but also raise fantastic amounts of money for us!  This year we have runner spaces available ready to be filled!

By running with us you will receive fundraising advice, weekly training plans, Q4C t-shirt and project information highlighting how your fundraising is making a difference. To register for a place we ask for a fee of £75 and a commitment to reaching a £500 fundraising target.

Join our team
To sign up, visit to download an application form. 

Our Brighton Marathon Hall of Fame
We wanted to celebrate all our past runners achievements and their great marathon experience running for Quest4Change.


We had four amazing individuals running for Quest4Change to kick start the first ever marathon! The team consisted of: Tom Forrest (3 hours 15 minutes), Scott Osborn (5 hours 6 minutes), Paul Deaville (4 hours 26 minutes) and Steve Robinson (4 hours 50 minutes). All together they raised over £2,300 - an inspiring amount.


The second Brighton Marathon was in the blazing sun and we had six fantastic runners fundraising for our different projects. Katy Lee, Dan Jewitt, Charlene Marriott, Matt Parkinson, Nikki Harman and Kevin Love all took on the challenge of completing the marathon. Kevin finished the marathon in an astonishing 3 hours 2 seconds, finishing in 42nd place.The team also collectively raised over £2,500!


In 2012, we had 5 amazing individuals run for us in 2012, who raised over £2000! The team consisted of: Gary Pons (3 hours 38 minutes), Dyfrig Dafis (4 hours 25 minutes), Heather Osborn (4 hours 39 minutes) and Steph and Eoin Dornan (4 hours 25 minutes). Steph and Eoin had already trained and fundraised together for the Quest Three Peaks Challenge and raised over £1095 – they really were the dream team! 


We were lucky enough to have one of our marathon places filled a second time by Heather! Cath Kemp joined Heather in the marathon and collectively they raised £745.


In 2014 our running place was filled by Rosie Thompson, a full time student, who was taking on her first full marathon. Rosie volunteered in Tanzania with Quest during her summer holidays and felt compelled to keep supporting Quest once she returned to the UK. 

When hearing about Quest4Change’s marathon places she thought this was the perfect opportunity to help! All of Rosie’s hard work and training paid off as she completed the marathon in 4 and half hours and raised £500!


This April among the thousands of runners lining up to start the marathon were Teddy Sparkes, Josh Sprey and Chris Lloyd who were all supporting Quest4Change. 

Teddy and Josh ran together completing the marathon in 5 hours 7 minutes and Chris completed the marathon in 5 hours 18 minutes!  

 All three have been fundraising throughout their training and we are currently in the process of counting the final amount.

Words of wisdom from Rosie
Still hesitating about signing up? We will leave you with some words of advice from our 2014 runner Rosie:
“If you have a vague notion that you might like to run a marathon for Quest then I’d say dust off that gym membership and do it: you do not have to be super athletic by any stretch of the imagination. A motivating cause and a little determination is really all you need!”

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

#ILoveSmallCharities Competition

You can help us to win £200 in both of this year’s #ILoveSmallCharities Small Charity Week competitions just by posting a message on Facebook or Tweeting. The competitions are open from June 15th-21st.

The charity that gets the most messages of support on Twitter wins a £200 donation in the Twitter competition, and the charity that gets the most messages of support on Facebook wins a £200 donation in the Facebook competition.

It’s super easy to enter your message:
  1. Take a photo of yourself holding up a poster with the following text: “I love Quest4Change because (why you love us)”.
  2. Upload the photo to either Twitter or Facebook.
So for example a message could be “I love Quest4Change because they help vulnerable children in Rwanda #ILoveSmallCharities”.

For Twitter entries Tweet your photo message, making sure you include @Quest4Change and the #ILoveSmallCharities hashtag. You should also mention @SCWeek2015 in your tweet so all of our entries are acknowledged and counted.

For Facebook entries post your photo message to the Small Charity Week Facebook wall, making sure you tag us “@Quest Overseas / Quest4Change” and include the #ILoveSmallCharities hashtag.

Although we would prefer a photo if you don’t have a camera you are welcome to simply write a message of love, following the instructions given above.

So get creative and tell the world why you love us between June 15th-21st! Please note that any messages of love submitted outside these dates won’t be counted.

For more information about the competition visit the Small Charities Week website.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Bolivia Gap Team Update

After a long stint without contact with the outside world, our latest Quest volunteer team are out of the jungle and have plenty to update us on.

The team was made up of three dedicated volunteers: Will, Hannah, Ollie and Project Leader Matty. As part of their construction phase, the team were tasked with building a management cage for Amira, a female jaguar. The construction of this management cage was a crucial as it would give volunteers a safer way of feeding and caring for Amira.

The team were assisted by the park’s Construction and Jaguar Coordinator, Bob, to help them complete this challenging task. Building the cage involved several lengthy and strenuous steps.  The volunteers had to dig deep post holes with just an assortment of hand tools and repeatedly mix cement to complete the concreting. All the material, including rocks and sand, had to be carried back and forth by each volunteer. While digging his trench hole Will spotted Amira on a raised platform and described it as a “moment he would never forget.”

All the volunteers’ hard worked paid off as they completed their tasks in two weeks, leaving just the safety doors and tunnels to be completed by Bob and his staff. Before leaving the volunteers had the chance to see Amira enter her new cage.  Bob described this event as the best thing that has happened to Amira in five years.  Will summarised his experience: “Seeing this unique and unforgettable event made all our hard work worth it. I found the construction project so rewarding as I know that we all worked so hard to accomplish this project for Amira and for CIWY.”

For the rest of the trip the group helped with the day-to-day care of number of different animals at Ambue Ari, with each volunteer being assigned responsibility to look after a specific animal. Ollie had the fun opportunity of looking after the baby howler monkeys every morning at ‘Monkey Mansion’. Some of Ollie’s responsibilities involved chopping up food, preparing milk bottles and daily vitamins.

The morning shift was playtime for the monkeys and as soon the doors opened the monkeys would run for the trees ready to play.  Ollie enjoyed spending time with the animals describing it as “an overload of cuteness” and an unforgettable experience.“It was a totally and unexpectedly rewarding experience being given so much trust in caring for the monkeys; I enjoyed it so much I aiming to return to Ambue Ari for another month.” 

Ambue Ari is just one of the three wildlife sanctuaries that CIWY founded and currently manages. They provide a home and a second chance at a dignified life to hundreds of rescued animals, animals that would otherwise have nowhere else to go. Work at the refuges focuses on protecting, rehabilitating and where possible re-releasing these animals back into the wild. Over the years our volunteers have spent thousands of man hours caring for rescued animals and building vital new infrastructure.  To find out more about our project please visit:

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Celebrate Earth Day

On 22 April, millions of people across the world will be coming together to mark Earth Day, an event dedicated to support environmental protection and the well-being of the planet. First celebrated in 1970 in the United States, Earth Day also came to be known as the International Mother Earth Day with the adoption of the United Nations resolution, recognising the earth and its ecosystems as our home.

Earth Day is celebrated in different ways across cities and countries. There are educational activities, games and competitions, eco-friendly products and eco-related films, all of which aim to remind us that we have a collective responsibility to protect this earth not just for us, but also for the future generations of humanity.

With more and more of the planet’s natural resources being consumed every day, we’re facing the biggest environmental challenge our generation has ever seen – climate change. Climate change continues to threaten our lives in different ways, including our health, livelihoods and the environment we live in. Not only that, it is also seriously affecting the future of our planet and that of our children. The good news is that we can still make a difference, but we need to act now.

Internationally, there will be more emphasis attached to environmental protection, with the finalisation of the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015, and the 21st session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which will see the adoption of a new climate action agreement.

But, there are many activities you can do to help raise awareness on the challenges that threaten the well-being of the earth, which ultimately impacts all of us. So, why not make a commitment to make a change for the environment this Earth Day?

At Quest, working with communities to protect our environment is at the heart of what we do. From protecting rescued wild animals in Bolivia to reducing the destruction of the Peruvian Amazon through the sustainable management of forests. Through our work in this sector, we hope to contribute to environmentally-focused sustainable development.

This Earth Day, our partners in Bolivia are planning to host several events for their community. They will be screening an environment-themed documentary in Parque Machia for residents in Villa Tunari, set up a drawing station for local children, encouraging them to explore environmental themes through drawing and a special dinner for Machia’s volunteers.

What will you be up to this Earth Day?