Volunteering with Children – Tanzania
Volunteers have the option to work in Day Orphanages and Nursery or Primary schools at a variety of locations in and around Arusha. Secondary school placements are also available through volunteers are required to have teaching experience or qualifications for these placements. Here, we’ll look at volunteering with children – Tanzania.
Placements are in Independent English Medium schools. Many Nursery and primary schools are funded by independent organizations or local NGO’s. Government Primary schools are free for students to attend and Secondary schools require fees so many students never make it past their primary.
Nursery schools (kindergarten equivalent) and day Orphanages are attended prior to primary school and the children’s ages vary from 4 to 12 years old. In some cases, the numbers of students enrolled in a single class (130) are staggering. The level of English, both understood and spoken by the children also varies and is potentially the biggest challenge volunteers will face on a teaching placement. Overcome the language barrier though and the rewards are endless as you are welcomed every day by laughter, smiles, and song.
Primary schools are slightly more organized than nursery schools with classes often being more manageable and the level of English is noticeably better, making it easier to communicate with the students. Teachers use very few teaching aides in school simply because they don’t have the resources but they welcome new ideas openly and the kids are fascinated by new activities and games.
TEFL certification, Teacher experience or qualifications required.
Teaching experience is required for secondary school because the teaching of subjects require greater expertise as the skill level is higher. Government schools are staffed by teachers who have been allocated a school to teach at and who perhaps ran out of career options. Students in secondary school are pleasant and hard working and they are grateful to have volunteers (who are passionate teachers) at their disposal. This reminds me of my Camp Pendelton Run some time ago.
Usually, volunteers stay at selected Volunteer Guesthouses that have been specifically set up with the volunteers in mind. The guesthouse generally can accommodate 12-14 volunteers at a time and is situated in an area known as Sekei. The guesthouse is a short 5-minute walk to local transport and an easy daladala (local transport) ride to town and most placement sites.
The houses are large and safe and provide indoor bathroom facilities with hot running water for a ‘real’ shower at the end of a long day volunteering, there is even a (bath) tub in one of the rooms. There is a communal kitchen with a fridge and a fabulous mix of local and western meals are provided by the housegirl and staff. What a peaceful setting!
The bedrooms are set up for volunteer comfort and boast a variety of options from dorm rooms (share with up to 6 other same-sex volunteers), semi-private rooms with two beds and a couples private room with en-suite. Availability dependent.
Volunteers also have the option to live with a local Tanzanian family at or close to, their placement site. Volunteers will be provided local meals for breakfast and dinner as well as water for showering (not drinking) and laundry. Each homestay placement has been personally selected and is continuously inspected by a member of the organization to ensure suitability and safety. Homestays offer complete cultural submersion to give volunteers an understanding of how local families live and are a really wonderful way to get to know the Tanzanian people.