Volunteer at the Faraja Centre
Due to the fact that the centre cannot afford to employ teachers for subjects such as English, mathematics and computers, volunteers are greatly appreciated. There is also the option to work in the child care centre assisting the 'mama' in looking after the children. In 2010, volunteers were involved in the building of the child care centre, the establishment of the English and computer curricula and even the building of this website. Volunteers are fundamental to the success of the Faraja Centre.
The great thing about volunteering at the Faraja Centre is that it is completely free! Unlike some organisations in Africa and elsewhere throughout the world, which demand huge amounts of money from volunteers, your time at Faraja will not cost you a thing.It is planned to be able to accommodate volunteers at the centre in the near future. At present, volunteers can stay at a volunteer hostel located in the heart of Arusha and up to now, most of the volunteers have stayed at this hostel. There are many other quality accommodation options in and around Arusha, however if you would like more information about the volunteer hostel please follow the link to www.ujamaahostel.com.
There are no minimum or maximum requirements for the length of volunteer work at the centre. Any assistance is greatly appreciated.
The following is a testimonial of one of the volunteers at the Faraja Centre in 2010.
When my partner and I were looking at volunteering in Africa, we were astounded at the exorbitant prices that some organisations were demanding for us to work for free! It seemed completely unreasonable that we would need to pay thousands of dollars to volunteer and we had heard a number of stories of organisations making large profits from NGO's in countries throughout Africa.
We really did not know what to expect before coming to Tanzania and my girlfriend and I had many apprehensions. Will the work we will be doing be worthwhile? What will Africa be like? Why is this free, when all the other organisations want thousands of dollars?
I went to the Faraja Centre in January 2010 and met with Mama Siara, the director of the centre. She advised me that they had recently received a bunch of donated computers, but that only one of them was working and they were also in need of a computer teacher. With my fairly limited IT experience but a bit of help from the internet and friends with knowledge abroad I managed to get 8 of the 10 computers fully functional. Next was the task of teaching the girls how to use the computers!
Some of the young women at Faraja have never been to school and had never spoken English before coming to the centre. After covering the basics and how to turn the computer on and off, I devised a few exercises to get the girls learning how to type and do basic formatting. This has grown in to a 3 month syllabus with a range of exercises and instructions covering Microsoft Word, Excel, Publisher and the Internet. One of the things that the girls found really rewarding was making birthday cards for friends and family using Publisher.
With a group of other volunteers who arrived at the Faraja Centre in February 2010 we stripped the old tailoring room and converted it in to a child care centre. We replaced the rusting iron roof, painted cartoon murals on the walls, laid a new plastic floor and furbished the room with a sleeping area and a play area. Seeing the kids in the room enjoying their new comfortable and fun surroundings is an absolute joy and is one of the highlights of my time here.
Although my focus was mainly the computer course, I have also spent a lot of time taking English and mathematics classes and tutored a number of the girls in these subjects on a one-on-one basis. There is never a shortage of things for volunteers to do at the centre and the contribution is vital and rewarding both for the centre and the volunteers.
Our 3 month stay in Tanzania was extended to 6 months because we had fallen in love with the projects we were working on and also the country and the people in general.
I would encourage anyone thinking of volunteering in Africa to seriously consider the Faraja Young Women Development Unit. There is a great need for English, mathematics and computer teachers as well as anyone with any skills that could be taught to the women to increase their chances of finding employment. You dont need to be a qualified teacher, you need only be enthusiastic, willing and patient.
And again one of the best things about the Faraja Centre is that your work at Faraja is free and you can volunteer for any amount of time that you like.