Volunteer at a children’s village in rural Tanzania
Volunteer at a Tanzanian children’s village in the Karatu Region. This is a fantastic community based charity, set up to provide a permanent home for marginalised and vulnerable children. Volunteers can get involved with childcare, teaching or helping at the medical clinic.
This programme is perfect for people who have a genuine passion and interest in working with children. Based in a stunning, rural location, the children’s village is a thriving community based charity.
At the hub of the village are the children’s houses, where groups of 8 – 12 children live with Tanzanian mothers (known as Mamas), employed to help with the day-to-day care of the children. There are 3 houses for younger children and 4 for older children. During your time as a volunteer, you will live in a house with the children helping the Mamas with the daily tasks that go into managing the house, and providing additional support for the children.
Childcare volunteers – Volunteers will spend most of their time working with the younger children in the village. For any of the children not yet attending primary school, we offer a day care programme. Volunteers will help to plan fun activities six days a week to help the children learn English, expose them to new and fun ideas and supervise them during playtime. From arts and crafts to football games and pool days, there is plenty to do!
Volunteer teaching – Volunteers will take the lead teaching day care classes in the village. From toddlers through to 7 year olds, volunteers with teaching experience will plan lessons for up to two classes a day, and help in developing and executing a curriculum to help prepare the younger children for school, and build on the concepts that the the older children are already learning at school. Volunteers also have the opportunity to get involved in the after-school clubs programme at the local primary school, working with children from the village and surrounding community.
Medical volunteers – There is a small medical clinic that treats minor ailments at the village that provides free health care for all of the children at the village, as well as children attending the primary and secondary school and anyone in the local community. For those who have a qualification in medicine or nursing, you have the opportunity to work in the clinic for full or half days. For example, you could assist our Nurse in conducting physical examinations for over 1000 children. Please note, due to the set up of the clinic, we would only be able to have one volunteer at a time working alongside the nurse.
As well as working in the village and medical clinic, the charity also works to promote the well being of all children and address the region’s systematic poverty by attacking its root causes from all sides. This includes increasing access to high-quality education through partnerships with local government schools, and micro-finance training and loans for the entire community.
At the village, days start early and volunteers can expect them to be long and rewarding. The team at the village are welcoming and supportive and everyone works together to create a loving home for 97 children. After a busy day, there are shared volunteer areas for you to relax in. On Sundays, volunteers often head to local lodges or Karatu, to explore the local area, pick up provisions or to relax by the pool – a fantastic end to the week!
This programme is for volunteers aged 21+. If you do not have experience working with children, do not be put off. We will fully brief you before you go and the local staff will work with you to help you to make the most of the skills you already have so you can have a positive impact on the children you work with. If you do work in education, either as a teacher, teaching assistant, special needs coordinator or educational charity worker, then this project can offer you a fresh perspective on your role. The charity appreciates initiative and your expertise can be used to make a significant impact. Sharing good practice is a two way deal. All voluntary work can be used to demonstrate continual professional development. Use your summer or take a career break and make a real difference in Tanzania.
Accommodation and Food
Volunteers can expect to share a comfortable, single sex room with up to 2 other volunteers. There is a private volunteer room and western bathroom in each of the children’s houses. Take a look at the pictures.
The accommodation is set in a rural area, on a coffee plantation 3-4 hours away from Arusha. Based near the Rift Valley, there is plenty to do and see. There are drivers at the accommodation, who can take the volunteers to Karatu, the nearest town, and to the amazing array of safari lodges nearby during days off.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner is included in this programme and is cooked by a Tanzanian chef. The delicious food is varied and nutritious.
- A sense of achievement that you’ve made a real contribution to Tanzanian life – bringing education, fun and friendship to local children.
- Immersing yourself in Tanzanian life, learning Swahili and a completely different culture. Step away from the typical tourist locations and see what life is like in rural Tanzania.
- Eating authentic Tanzanian cuisine.
- Meeting like-minded volunteers and making friends for life.
- Volunteering with a programme that is making an incredible impact in their local area.
Whyshould I do this?
Whether you are considering a career in teaching or childcare or simply looking to experience Tanzanian culture and live as a local, this can be a life changing experience.
Working with children in Tanzania is something that you need to be passionate about. It is not a project that you can just turn up and try for a short amount of time. We require volunteers to spend a minimum of 3 weeks on the project, ideally at least a month, to really be able to immerse themselves and make a difference.
One of the key reasons the village appreciates our volunteers is that they arrive with an open mind, are willing to get involved wherever needed and there is the cultural exchange of language and ideas – which benefits everyone involved.
As a volunteer, you will have a lasting positive impact on at least a few of the children in your care and this is an achievement to be proud of.
Oyster Worldwide are ATOL protected and can help to book flights for you. Alternatively, you can book your own flights. You will need to fly in to Kilimanjaro Airport, where you will be met by the driver. You can arrive on any day, except Sunday.
For those arriving before midday, you will be driven directly to the village, via Arusha. For those after midday, you will be met and taken to a local lodge. You will then be met by the driver and taken to the village the next day. At the village, you will receive a full orientation from our Volunteer Coordinator.
Rose is the Volunteer Coordinator at the children’s village in Tanzania. She is able to help volunteers while they are on the project. Before you arrive at the village, Rose works closely with the Oyster office to ensure that your arrival is fully planned. Between the Oyster office and Rose, we will be able to organise an individual work plan that will utilise your unique skills. We can also give ideas on resources that are available, and what you should bring with you.
Once at the village, Rose will be your point of contact for any questions you have adjusting to your new home. She will do her best to see that you are accomplishing your goals during the volunteer experience, while also making sure that the children and the village is making the most use of the skills that you have to offer. Please keep in mind that the realities of rural Tanzania may limit our ability to fulfil requests.
Rose is from Northern Virginia in the USA and joined the team in January 2017. She has an MSc in Sustainability, Culture, and Development Anthropology from Durham University in the UK, and a BA in Anthropology from Wagner College in New York City. Her Master’s dissertation involved fieldwork in Kenya, where she looked at the impact of mobile phone use on women living in low-income communities. Before coming to the village, Rose worked for the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) managing program logistics for all CGI conferences and acting as the Executive Assistant to the CEO. In addition to her professional and academic pursuits, Rose is a classically trained percussionist and pianist, and taught private music lessons for ten years.
What is provided
- Phone or face-to-face interview and informal briefing
- Access to your personal ‘My Oyster’ account – our online portal where you can find out much more about the programme and manage your booking
- Pre-departure briefing course covering medical, safety and project advice. This also includes training on how to teach and work with children
- Help and advice from our UK office before departure and whilst in Tanzania
- Advice on obtaining a visa
- Accommodation for the duration of your programme
- 3 meals a day for the duration of the programme
- An orientation on arrival at the village
- Transportation to the village from the airport
- Return transfer at the end of the project to the airport
- Assistance and support from the volunteer coordinator, Rose, during your project
- Oyster Worldwide volunteer t-shirt
- Oyster luggage tag
On your return:
- Welcome home pack
- Certificate of Recognition (on request)
- References (on request)
What do I need
- A passport valid a minimum for 6 months after your return date
- Tourist visa purchased at time of entry into Tanzania. This is $50 in cash ($100 for US Passport holders)
- A business visa for those staying over 21 days, costing $250
- Class C and Class D Permits for Tanzania, for volunteers staying over 3 months
- Insurance covering your project and any planned independent travel, we can introduce a policy to you
- Independent travel and personal expenditure
- Any home country travel costs (to airport)
- Provide a recent police certificate/DBS check