Leave a lasting impression on the lives of some of Tanzania’s most disadvantaged children by assisting with childcare and education in an orphanage.
It is estimated that around 1.4 million Tanzanians are infected with HIV. Furthermore, for every 1,000 births almost 6 women die in childbirth. These factors along with general widespread poverty and minimal state welfare have resulted in an alarmingly high level of orphans and street children in Tanzania. Plan My Gap Year works with a number of centers in Arusha that strive to address this issue.
There are two main types of orphanages in Tanzania – board orphanages and day orphanages. The word orphanage in Tanzania does not necessarily mean that the children have lost both parents. In fact the majority may have only lost one parent and the single parent cannot afford to raise the child.
Boarding orphanages are traditional orphanages where the children permanently reside at the home. These orphanages are typically understaffed and highly overcrowded. At the boarding orphanages, volunteers get involved in the various aspects of caring for the children. From feeding and helping to prepare meals, to organising games and sporting activities, or simply spending time with the children.
Volunteering at the boarding orphanages is a highly challenging but extremely rewarding experience. Volunteers must be proactive and energetic as it can get a little chaotic at times with so many children and not enough staff. However, putting a smile on a child’s face and giving them the one-on-one attention they so desperately crave makes all the hard work worthwhile. The children at the boarding orphanages range from toddlers to 18 year-olds.
The day orphanages are essentially run as day-care centers. The children attend the center during the day and then return to stay with family, friends or relatives in the afternoon. These children are sent to the day orphanages before they reach school age (from the age of 6 onwards), as their guardians are unable to look after them during the day. The day orphanages are generally quite structured. Volunteers play an active role in the general care of the children but the primary focus is teaching English.
IMPORTANT VISA INFO
On-arrival into Tanzania you will need to obtain a Tourist Visa. This costs $50 ($100 for US Citizens). You do not need to worry about this in advance as you can purchase the visa at the airport on-arrival.
Tanzanian law stipulates that all volunteers must have a work permit. If you’re joining PMGY in Tanzania for less than 90 days then you will need a CTA Work Permit. This costs $200 (£130). Our local team will process this on your behalf when you arrive in Arusha. Please make sure you have $200 in cash. Our local team will process this for you within the first couple of days of your arrival and return your passport to you with the work permit stamp inside it. Therefore, you do not need to obtain this work permit prior to arriving in Tanzania. If you are volunteering for more than 90 days then the work permit fee is $550 (around £345).
The total visa and work permit fee for the trip is $250 (approximately £160), or $300 for US citizens. You should bring this amount with you to Tanzania in cash (US dollars). The cost would be $600 for volunteers joining us in Tanzania for more than 90 days.
It is also mandatory to have the Yellow Fever Vaccination to enter Tanzania. Therefore, you must ensure you allow yourself plenty of time to arrange this immunisation before you go, as you will need to show your Yellow Fever Vaccination record to the immigration officials at the airport. There has been a lot of debate on this issue, as some health officials say it is not necessary to have the Yellow Fever Vaccination.
However, from the personal experience of the PMGY team we have always been asked to show proof of our Yellow Fever Vaccination on entry into Tanzania and so strongly advise all our volunteers to do so as well to avoid any complications on-arrival. More recently, our UK team have been in direct contact with the Tanzania embassy who have now confirmed to us that the Yellow Fever Vaccination is now mandatory on entry into Tanzania.
You should arrive into Kilimanjaro International Airport (airport code JRO) on the selected Sunday start date. You will be met at the airport by one of our local staff or an appointed driver who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.
The programme ends on the Sunday of your final week and you should depart the accommodation on this day
ESSENTIAL PROGRAM INFORMATION
For the majority of our programmes you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on the programme – particularly if you’re looking to travel between June and August, as spaces can fill up very quickly during this period.
It is best that you apply sooner rather than later as some of our programmes only have a limited capacity and spaces get filled very quickly.
Can I use this program as part of a university or college placement?
It is certainly possible to use one of PMGY’s programmes as part of your university or college placement. Project staff can sign off any paperwork required by your course tutors. PMGY regularly receives medical, childcare, psychology and nursing placement students at our projects around the world and we have ties with some of the leading universities.
If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programmes could meet the placement requirements for your degree course then please contact us.
Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?
Although our volunteers work in the developing world, we always ensure our host locations are safe. Each programme has been extensively researched and has passed our strict vetting process. Our UK team undergo an extensive routine when establishing our in-country infrastructures and we continue to monitor our safety procedures on a regular basis. Furthermore, we monitor the stability of our volunteer destinations on a daily basis. Through our constant contact with consulates and embassies and our reports from our overseas teams, we are able to ensure that our volunteers are never placed in unstable regions.
The PMGY team have visited and participated in every programme we offer and verified them based on our own independent criteria. We carefully inspect every little detail of our set-up. From inspecting the living conditions, checking out the neighbourhoods you’ll be staying in, to tasting the food you’ll be eating – each and every programme we establish has gone through a lengthy and rigorous vetting process. Risk assessments have been written for all areas in which PMGY operate and our experienced local coordinators are always on-hand to manage any emergencies that may occur. Our UK team are always on the road reviewing our risk management procedures in the field and monitoring local conditions.
In emergency situations we have the necessary protocols and equipment in place and we are able to evacuate our volunteers from potential dangers. Our local coordinators are trained to deal with emergency circumstances.
All volunteers will receive a PMGY Volunteer Handbook once they have paid their deposit and confirmed their place on the programme. We will send you an email entitled ‘Welcome to PMGY’ which will include a link where you can download the Volunteer Handbook. Please note that we DO NOT send a hardcopy of the PMGY Volunteer Handbook.
This Handbook contains literally everything you need to know – from what to pack, to how to obtain a visa, to local language guides. It is really important that you read through the Volunteer Handbook carefully once you’ve downloaded it. If you require any further information not covered in the Volunteer Handbook then our team are always on-hand to assist you.
PMGY support four main orphanages during the school term-time, three board orphanages and a day orphanage. Most volunteers go to the board orphanages, working with the very young children in a caregiving role. The teaching sessions at the orphanage are more relaxed and informal. Lessons are centered on games and activities to keep the children engaged.
PMGY volunteers are based in the quiet suburbs of the city of Arusha, near the foot of Mount Meru, Africa’s fifth highest mountain at 4,556m (14,947ft).
This vibrant African city is an excellent base and for the most part, it is lush, green and enjoys a temperate climate throughout the year thanks to its altitude. You will find all the amenities you could need in Arusha including banks, supermarkets and international standard hospitals as well as excellent restaurants and night life.
Arusha also has its first real coffee house, Africafe, a great location to chill out, people watch and sample some home baking with famous brands of teas and coffees grown on the fertile slopes around Mbeya, Southern Tanzania
This informative Maasai cultural museum comes complete with mock-ups of home and bush life, which you visit with a real life Maasai warrior. You can then take a 30 minute camel ride towards the Monduli Mountains, and visit a local Maasai village where you’ll get the chance to chat to the local Maasai and learn about their culture.
MT MERU CURIOS & CRAFTS MARKET
There are quite a few markets in Arusha but this one (often referred to as the Maasi Market) has some great souvenirs and some higher-quality items. You will need to practice your expert haggling skills though and be persistent as this market is one of the best in central Arusha.
Just a 1hr 40min direct flight from Arusha, the exotic island of Zanzibar, locally known as Unguja, has amazing beaches and resorts, decent dive spots, acres of spice plantations, the Jozani Forest Reserve, and Stone Town. Stone Town, the archipelago’s major metropolis, is a maze of narrow streets lined with houses featuring magnificently carved doors studded with brass. There are 51 mosques, 6 Hindu temples, and 2 Christian churches. And though it can rightly be called a city, much of the western part of the larger island is a slumbering paradise where cloves, as well as rice and coconuts, still grow.
We recommend that volunteers book a flight to arrive into Kilimanjaro International Airport (airport code JRO), particularly if this is your first time in Tanzania. You will be met at the airport by a member of our Plan My Gap Year team and taken to your accommodation in Arusha which is approximately 1 hour away.
If you would like us to also arrange your return, we will charge a fee of £20.
You will stay at our Volunteer House in Arusha. This is a cosy house located just 5 minutes walk from central Arusha in a quiet neighbourhood.
Rooms are shared, up to 6 people per room. Each volunteer is provided with a mosquito net. The shared bathrooms have warm showers and western toilets. The house has a living area with a TV and comfy sofas to relax in during the evening. There is also a communal kitchen where you can prepare meals and store food in the refrigerator. Please note that power cuts are fairly commonplace in Tanzania although they tend not to last more than a couple of hours.
The house does not have Wi-Fi but there are internet cafes nearby where you can get online for around £1 per hour. Alternatively you can purchase a USB internet dongle for £15 and this will allow you to connect to the internet at all times via your laptop. A weekly laundry service available for £3 per person, or you can choose to hand wash your clothes. We have a cook who will prepare your meals and a cleaner who will maintain the house. There is also a night guard employed for extra security.
A member of our local team will regularly visit the house to ensure everything runs smoothly. There is a great atmosphere at the house and you will meet some wonderful people to share your experience with.
Volunteers receive breakfast and dinner at the Volunteer House, which are freshly prepared on-site by our cook. Meals are a mixture of Tanzanian and western cuisine. You should budget around £2 per day for lunch if you plan to eat local meals or £4 to £5 for western food.
Generally, we have a two-week rotating menu, which offers a varied choice of meals. For breakfast, you will receive cereal, or fruit salad, or boiled eggs, or a Spanish omelet, or pancakes.
For your evening meal you may have pasta, lentils and chapatti, burgers (beef and veggie), or banana and potato stew. We will always have a vegetarian option available and can cater for the majority of dietary requirements.
There are western supermarkets in Arusha where you can purchase food and store it at the house if you’d like to prepare your own lunch/meals.
*Please inform us in your application if you have any dietary requirements.