There are many “Volunteer Agencies” Operating in Tanzania and around the world. During my first visit to Tanzania I volunteered with one of these international organisations. Although I had a good time, it was quite clear that the thousands of dollars I spent, for only a few weeks, was not helping local Tanzanian projects or even the local economy. This is the basis of why Hostel Hoff was founded.
For this reason we would prefer to keep costs as low as possible. There is no obligation to fundraise, but if you do manage to raise some money you can put it directly into the project where you are volunteering. Here you can see exactly how your money is being used to help.
Through Hostel Hoff you pay for your accommodation. The volunteering is free, as it should be!
"The volunteer placements organized by Hostel are with local projects and will be the most rewarding part of your stay. Amost everyone finds the first week of volunteering difficult between the language barrier and culture shock, but those challenges are so worth it when you start to feel at home in your project and begin to figure out what you can offer to help."
We arrange volunteer placements at a variety of different projects falling under a number of categories. You can chat to past and current volunteers if you wish. They can be contacted through our Facebook page, Hostel Hoffers. Most of these projects are working towards long term sustainability. We have a set number of placements at each project, according to their needs. Please read through the placements listed to get an idea of what we do, but for a more detailed description please contact us via email. The earlier you book, the wider range of projects there will be to choose from.
Below is a summary of the type of projects you can expect to work with during your time at Hostel Hoff….
There is much need for extra help in Tanzanian schools. However, it is very important to know where and how to give support. We do not support government schools as this interferes with the local education system and may reduce the incentive for the government to improve its own educational system, whilst also disrupting the work of the local teachers. In general we support locally based schools, trying to provide an education to those that would otherwise go without. We currently have volunteer positions at teaching project for children of all ages. The nursery schools are run by local organisations trying to prepare the children for primary school by teaching them basics such as reading, writing, Maths, Swahili and English. Projects working with older children are providing an education to orphaned and disadvantaged children, who otherwise would not be able to attend school. We do not agree with placing unskilled people into teaching positions, replacing local teachers or disrupting the work of the local teachers. Local teachers are teaching at all of these schools and rather than replace them, we try to enhance their work by taking extra classes and activities, dividing large classes and helping give more individual attention to the children. Volunteers can also help with one on one tuition for children falling behind.
One of the common difficulties for children in Tanzania is that primary school is taught in Swahili and secondary school in English. This is obviously a difficult transition, therefore much assistance is required to help children build their English.
Along with formal teaching there are opportunities to pass on other skills to children, such as drama, singing, music, gardening, hygiene and human rights. Volunteers run skills training and health/life skills tasks at a few projects.
You do not need to be a teacher to help with teaching positions. You can still be a valuable asset when volunteering as a teacher’s assistant, activities director or offering one on one tuition. Other aspects of teaching projects include work with children with learning difficulties, street children and young people on remand. Vocational skills are particularly valuable for these placements.
There are many orphanages within Moshi and its surrounding area. Due to the high rates of HIV/AIDS and poverty here, there are large numbers of orphans who benefit from the help offered by these centres.
Path to Africa, our charity, currently financially supports Hope Village Orphanage. This orphanage is more like a family home, with seven children who have been taken in by one local lady. Volunteers work at the orphanage after the children return home from school each day, helping the children with their homework and running activities for them.
We have other orphanages also requiring volunteers, although some are only available during school holidays when the children are home from school. Often these can be combined with a teaching project close by during term time. If you prefer to work solely at an orphanage, manual work such as farming and household chores are available whilst the children are at school.
Volunteering at an orphanage can be very rewarding. The children love having people to play with or provide some simple lessons. No skills are required for this type of volunteering, just a true love for children.
Working with Disabilities
Volunteers wishing to work with young people with disabilities are always welcome, as there are eleven centres in need of support in the Moshi area. Some centres focus on children with more physical disabilities and others work primarily with mental disabilities such as autism and downs syndrome.
Volunteers are required to play with the children, help with drawing and writing, help with feeding and other daily chores and assist with simple exercises with the physically disabled children. Occupational Therapists, physiotherapists and volunteers with experience of working with special educational needs are most useful at these centres, however all volunteers with experience of working with disabilities will be welcome.
Construction and building work is frequently being undertaken by a number of our projects, although this can be sporadic as it is often based upon available funds. Please contact us to find out where there is a need for support when you would like to stay.
A greater awareness of environmental sustainability is also developing in the region and as a result a number of our projects are developing environmental aspects to their work. For example, one of our orphanages operates a farm to provide produce for the orphans and another projects focuses on growing and planting trees in the local villages where deforestation has occurred. Whilst volunteers with experience of sustainability and farming are very useful here, those with no skills but a willingness to work hard, are also very welcome.
There are a number of small clinics and hospitals we work with that are in need of support from volunteers with a medical background, including medical students, doctors, nurses, laboratory technologists and midwives. Volunteering in this way provides a great opportunity to share skills and gain experience.
There are many women’s groups in the area affecting change at a local level. The women that create these groups are often widowed due to HIV/AIDS virus, HIV positive themselves or looking after the children of deceased relatives. These groups generally focus on helping at a very local level to empower those around them. Common activities include educational and microfinance projects to assist women in becoming self-sufficient, supporting local orphans in the form of access to free education, and raising awareness of important health issues.
We are working with a number of such groups which are at different stages of development. Volunteers are needed to support various on-going activities such as microfinance projects, education or administration or helping with long term funding. Volunteers are placed according to their skills and length of time here, as some groups are looking for very specific skills, whilst others can use help at a more basic level. Contact us directly for information. Women’s groups also undertake local community based projects such as surveying in local villages, running community health seminars or discovering new ways to assist a particular village.
Women's and Community development projects are most suited to volunteers who can come for a minimum 3 month period.
Some of our projects undertake a multitude of different work. Often teaching, community work and women’s groups can be combined. Projects are also continuously evolving and therefore may have more specific needs at certain times. When contacting us it is good to advise us of any skills or experience you have. We have connections with projects needing medical practitioners, website designers, social and international development, construction, lawyers, social workers, therapists and many other skills. We can find something that will be enjoyable to you whilst also highly benefiting a project. Often these projects will require you to have contact with them in advance. We can put you in contact with the project directors and clear information can be provided about the skills needed and best ways for both you and the project to benefit.