Children's Special Needs Classroom Assistant

Agency
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founded in 2014
Pearl
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Coordinator | Pearl
Coordinator | Pearl
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.

High­lights

Experience a life changing cultural journey to Africa.
Gain perspective of how developing nations keep their cultures alive in our modern fast changing world.
Become more passionate about social care and gain a sense of community!
Make memories you will never forget with people from all over the world sharing your experience with you.
See some of the most incredible nature scenes in the world including the famous beaches, Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru, safaris and so much more.
Work with children with special needs, learning disabilities and developmental disorders in an extremely challenging environment that needs external help and support. This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

About the project

The project is set at a primary school for low income families in a rural part of Arusha. They have a classroom set apart from the main school for children with special needs.

What they do: 

  • They provide a special needs classes for low income children in the surrounding area
  • They provide extra support, modified curriculum and disability support
  • They provide information and awareness for families who cannot get assistance from social welfare or hospitals
  • They provide educational support and home visits to children who have been referred to their services by our partnering NGO

The Problem
There are widespread socioeconomic issues in Tanzania, many children end up not receiving the best start. Although in most circumstances communities and families come together to support each other, many children may not receive social welfare care that supports them in crisis.

  • Malnutrition, environmental and genetic factors play a part in a large number of children born with developmental delays 
  • Families needing to work and unable to pay for specialists to help their children when neuro-cognitive or developmental difficulties
  • Children with learning difficulties and their families not receiving proper help
  • Children are not given enough stimulation, assistance and nutrition to reach developmental milestones
  • Children with special needs are often shunned by their community, ostracised or not included in their wider community
  • The school is in a very underdeveloped community. The classroom is in bad condition with very basic chairs and desks, a simple chalk board and donated toys, games and learning materials,

  • The outside “play area” is desolate, dusty and sparse with no soft play ground or grass, no play sets, swings or play gym. This makes it difficult for the teacher to supervise play time

Challenges to note before joining:

  • Self direction when situations appear unclear/unambiguous
  • Entering a chaotic environment where there is no clear or set curriculum yet
  • Strong cultural differences in pace, level of understanding and societal  approach children’s needs
  • Situations or scenarios that can feel overwhelming or unmanageable
  • Extreme lack of basic resources; funding, equipment and staff
  • Working in a rural setting with no modern conveniences
  • Long distance travel (risk assessed: safe)
The Children
  • Most of the children fall within the Autism spectrum, attention deficit disorder or non specified learning difficulties 
  • The class currently consists of 29 children of mixed age and gender (at the time of publishing)
  • The age varies hugely between 6 and 19 years old. The children are inappropriately mixed as there is nowhere else for them to go and receive support.
  • There is only 1 teacher between 29 children with no assistance
  • This is government school with no further funding for assistance or facilities being given
  • Many of the children have to walk home unaccompanied leaving them in extremely vulnerable situations in the community and some issues of neglect
  • Many struggle with nutrition as there is not enough assistance to meet their nutritional requirements

The Mission

The school and their supporters specifically reached out specifically to our organisation for help and support as they have no other options but to ask for outside and foreign help. They are completely overwhelmed, based in an extremely poor and rural community which cannot afford to contribute more, help or support their work. They have asked for volunteers with:
  • Experience working with non verbal, autistic or children with special needs or learning impairments
  • Speech and Language Therapy backgrounds
  • Occupational Therapy backgrounds
  • Children's Development or Children's Psychology
  • Teaching or educational background in a primary school setting
Your role as a volunteer
Your role as a volunteer will be to assist the staff meet the children's development and social needs. The children require a lot of support and stimulation to learn throw play and social interaction. The centre mainly requires general day to day and people who are enthusiastic, patient and passionate about child development. 
  • Help to develop a better curriculum based on what is available and manageable in their environment
  • Help the teacher to identify enhanced teaching methods with the huge challenge of 29 children with a huge age range
  • Help to manage the classroom on a day to day basis
  • Help the teacher organise play and activity time
  • Help to identify other solutions to the huge challenges being faced by this amazing class of children
  • The teacher speaks good English but please be aware of cultural difference and minor language barriers with the staff
  • The lessons are taught in both Swahili and English.
General childcare: Supporting the care of the children day to day. 
  • Overseeing the children during class time and play activities
  • Assisting the staff with children who need more learning support or attention during the day
  • Helping with the upkeep of the centre-cleaning, maintenance every day work
  • Tending to the children during play time
Community Health Support and Outreach: Home visits for severely disabled children may happen according to need and availability of resources.

Project Management: The centres require a lot of management support ensuring that it stays open. You can help by overseeing the weekly budget, fundraising, ensuring the centres are providing adequate meals, that the property is kept safe and clean, even photography or helping build their websites.

Training and supporting the staff: As well delivering small scale teaching and training to the local staff on first aid and general skills support. 

  • Children's Special Needs Educations is severely lacking in understanding, training and advancement. Any training and support to the staff and community awareness would be very much welcome.
  • Help to innovate and develop their current curriculum 
  • Help to update and refresh basic child development and child counselling skills

Assistants, students and interns are vital to help deliver the care the children required as the centre is also understaffed.

Why this is important
Many of the children have special needs, disabilities and require extra support, additional psychological care and special education.
These are bright and sweet children who have the support of passionate and hardworking staff fighting for their futures. But there is so much more to be done. Many of the centres are in need of full refurbishment and stimulating and educational toys and equipment is needed to progress these children. 

But will you make a difference?

Yes. Many bright and motivated volunteers have shone the light and shown the difference that can be made through volunteering. By providing time and care, volunteers introduce new ideas, hope and care at ground level, adding to the work already being done. It is of serious importance that you are ready and prepared for the challenge before starting.

Your Stay
You will stay in a safe, clean and comfortable accommodation, comfortable bedding, excellent breakfast and dinner and housekeeping. This will be a quiet and friendly neighbourhood only 15 minutes from the main hustle and bustle of town. You will have 24 hour gated security, a domestic/cook (who will happily do your laundry for a small fee) and a coordinator who will ensure you settle in quickly and comfortably into your new town. This is a shared home where you will be staying with other volunteers and guests from across the world, so you will never be on your own in your new environment. The house is impeccably clean, well kept, modern and spacious.

How will you get around?
Please note this project is 45-60 mins travel. For your placement, you will travel like a local and walk or take public transport. You will need to set a small budget aside for this (around $1 per day by local minibuses, 4 to 5 days per week). It is important you are prepared and comfortable to travel across town to reach the school, this is a demanding role that requires dedication. You will also need to budget for your own lunch or make a small contribution to join the school lunch of rice, beans and vegetables. 

Important VISA & Permit Information
You will be required to pay a for a VISA work assignment. Please note this is a legal requirement and your responsibility. Please enquire for more details.

Typical day

Your typical day will usually begin very early, supporting the safe house to prepare for the day. You will be assigned to a specific social worker to work with with a goal orientated plan to work on, depending on the skills or support you will be providing. Your day can be either very hectic and extremely challenging or slow and very quiet. You will need to be motivated, resilient and work well in a team in order to get the best out of your experience. 

What will your schedule look like?
07:00 Breakfast
08:00 Report to placement
12:00-13:00 Lunch Break
15:00 Placement ends

The rest of the day will be yours to relax and enjoy what the town has to offer you!

Free-time activities

Arusha provides an array of activities to get involved in during your free time. Explore the numerous walking trails, enjoy the large amount of cafe's bistro's and local food in town. There is a newly built mall in the town centre which also now has a cinema complex and more places to relax. There is a vibrant night life on most evenings in Arusha, whether you want to enjoy a quiet drink, watch outdoor cinema or go dancing. 

Night life

The social life in Tanzania is amazing, because Tanzanians are so open, friendly and love a good laugh. Tanzanian’s are famous in East Africa for their partying. They really do know how to have a good time. Their DJ’s and musicians are some of the best in Africa and there are many bars, clubs and restaurants popular amongst tourists and volunteers where you can let your hair down and socialise with locals and people from across the world.

Siret Trip Adventures provide a unique opportunity for our special volunteers to experience more of Africa's beauty. Take a scenic weekend walking tour of the lush rolling foothills of Mt Meru or a breathtaking day trips to some the world's most admired national reserves. Arusha is packed with opportunity to experience unique and unforgettable outdoor adventures. 

What else is there to do?

There are endless possibilities. Most volunteers rave about climbing Kilimanjaro. This usually takes about a week, so ensure you organise this with us before you arrive. Take advantage of this amazing tourist treasure.

Hot springs

An oasis in the middle of a barren landscape. The hot springs are truly magnificent. This can be organised as a day trip at any time. 

The Waterfalls

Another hot favourite. Hiking across lush vegetation to the spectacular waterfalls.

Safari

Ah yes, what Tanzania is world famous for. Safari is once in a lifetime adventure that is unique to the Africa experience. Unforgettable and jaw dropping landscapes is what is promised. This will need you to sacrifice some days, so please ensure you organise this long in advance. 

Tour packages, Safari's and cultural experiences are all available. 

Climbing
Concert/
Music
Hiking
Museum/
Opera
Riding
Safari/
Zoo
Sightseeing
Sports
Swimming

Require­ments

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Criminal Background Check
required
Education Requirements
Special Needs Education, Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Children's Psychology, Teaching or Teaching children with developmental challenges at 2nd Year Bachelors, Masters Degree or 2 years or more work experience level
Required Documents
Cover Letter, CV and Remaining documents requested at preparation stage.
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Childcare, social work or education experience.
A clear interest in early childhood development and special needs.
Self direction and able to initiate/start ideas and solutions.
Solution focused.
Able to work in an under-resourced and challenging environment.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 07:00 - 15:00

What's Included

Services by Medi Trip
  • Volunteer placement facilitation-full program scheduling 
  • Placement supervision
  • Pre-arrival support & preparation of your project/work placement
  • Airport pick up 
  • Orientation (usually begins on a Monday
  • Accommodation Room & Board (Breakfast & Dinner)
  • Housekeeping
  • Wifi
  • Daily in-person availability of coordinators
  • EXCLUDES

    • Airport transport on departure (can be arranged)
      • VISA and PERMIT fees
    Airport Pickup at Kilimanjaro International Airport

    PICK UP POINTS:
    Kilimanjaro Airport (KIA)
    Arusha Airport (ARK)
    Arusha Bus station

    Accommodation

    Our volunteers stay in a newly refurbished volunteer house with modern amenities for a comfortable guest house experience.

    • Conveniently located in town
    • Housekeeping daily
    • Hot showers
    • WiFi
    • Beautiful spacious grounds 
    • Gated security with electric fencing and intercom entry
    • Overnight security guard

    Private double bedrooms available on request.

    Food & Beverages

    Breakfast and Dinner

    • Continental breakfast with, eggs, toast, variety of fruit! Coffee & Tea.
    • Dinner Mondays to Fridays. Kitchen facilities available at weekends.
    • We have a filtered water cold/hot water dispenser to save on buying bottled water and make sure you keep hydrated with clean and safe water!

    And of course the kitchen is yours to use! We have a fabulous chef who can guide you to local supermarkets if you want to buy your own personal food and snacks!

    During orientation you will be shown tasty and affordable places to get lunch during your work day. You will have a good variety of local and western food places. There are amazing cafe's, bistro's and affordable western restaurants to enjoy a burger, salad, seafood etc!

    Internet Access
    Good access at the project site
    What's NOT included?
    Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
    Flight Tickets
    The nearest airport is Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) in Kilimanjaro. We assist you to find cheap flights to Tanzania.
    Travel Insurance
    Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Tanzania provides security and is a plus to have.
    Vaccines
    If you are intending to volunteer in Tanzania you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Tanzania.

    Dates & Fees

    NO CREDIT CARD FEES

    Details on arrival

    Placement begins on the first Monday of each week, except for the last week of each month. Placements will not be available during public holidays

    • Christmas (December to January)
    • End of June to July

    Please book according to your arrival/landing date, to endeavour to arrive on a Sunday and start orientation on a Monday.

    Availability
    Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    Duration
    4 - 12 weeks

    Program fees

    Costs: Prices in USD
    4 weeks (min. stay)
    $722
    6 weeks
    $869
    8 weeks
    $1,114
    12 weeks (max. stay)
    $1,602
    Average fees
    $157 /week

    Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Medi Trip will let you know about the final price during your application process.
    Deposit (15%)
    The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
    Final Payment (85%)
    Your final payment will be agreed with Medi Trip during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

    Why book with Volunteer World

    Extra security layer by Volunteer World
    Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
    Quality Assurance
    High ethical standards & transparent social impact
    Flex Option
    Change your reservation at no extra costs
    Refund Guarantee
    We refund your fees if Medi Trip cancels your trip
    Support & Mediation
    We cover your back no matter what happens
    Our services are free of charge!
    All program fees are charged directly by Medi Trip.

    What are people saying about Volunteer World?

    Children's Special Needs Classroom Assistant

    Work with children with special needs, learning disabilities and developmental disorders in an extremely challenging environment that needs external help and support.

    $157/week

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