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Give a Heart To Africa

About

Give a Heart To Africa (GHTA) is a grass roots volunteer organization located in Moshi, Tanzania. Our aim is to empower adult women via education and entrepreneurship. We offer them a one year course in English, Business and Vocational skills. All 3 subjects are taught by international volunteers and translated by former graduates. GHTA is 100% run by volunteers so we truly need and value your help. No prior teaching experience is necessary as we have detailed lesson plans available. Every Friday we visit one of our students in their home, meet their family, share a meal and learn more about each others' lives and culture. Volunteers from all walks of life are welcome, just bring an open mind. Thank you for considering to volunteer with us

Founded
2009

Reviews

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Madison
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

So glad I was able to come to GHTA and help at the school where my Aunt & Uncle have been volunteering at for years. All the students welcomed me with open arms, many of them came to me to practice their English or ask me math questions. The school's staff and volunteers I met were equally as welcoming, and I felt at home. GHTA really does make a difference improving the education and lives of it's students. The volunteers brought me to several stores in Moshi that were run by past graduates, it was wonderful meeting the former students! Sadly, I learned that in Tanzania most citizen's education ends at standard 7, which is the American equivalent of 6th grade. It is very expensive to attend private high school in Tanzania, and the majority of families can not afford it.
The women that attend the school work extremely hard. In my short time here I've watched students stay late for extra help, hold their baby in their arms while writing notes in class and help other students. I can't wait to come back and stay for longer next time. Everyone here feels like family, and it's so amazing helping women in another country change their lives for the better.

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John
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This was seven years ago and continues to be an amazing experience. I always leave feeling the women have given me more than I was able to give to them. They arrive at school each morning full of smiles and enthusiasm and as each week goes by you see them grow in confidence and ability. The weekly 'home visit' is such a special event, having each one of the women invite you into their home is so special and humbling.
If you want a hands-on experience that really makes a difference then GHTA is the most amazing experince.

What would you improve about this program?
This programme is totally dependant upon volunteers. The longer a volunteer can stay the better and more effective they can be, especially if it is for several months. I would try to encourage long-term (several months) volunteering.
Read my full story
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Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I volunteered with Give a Heart to Africa for two months teaching English and helping out with the vocational studies and family care. I really enjoyed getting to know the students during small group study while preparing for the midterms. It was also very rewarding to get to know the student’s families and home life through the home visits where volunteers have an opportunity to try home-cooked Tanzanian food and experience the day-to-day living of the students.

GHTA provides lots of support for volunteers from airport pick-up to tours of the town and surrounding areas to a well-developed curriculum on which to base your classroom activities. I made truly great friendships with the staff, students and other volunteers while at GHTA. The program at GHTA is not only rewarding for the volunteers but truly makes a positive impact on the women who become entrepreneurs and the local community.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Great support with this program starting with an airport pickup and a tour of Moshi. Curriculum is fully designed for volunteers to use and living with other volunteers allows for collaboration on lesson plans and weekend adventure partners.
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Victoria
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I arrived in Moshi in June 2010 for my first volunteer experience with Give A Heart To Africa (GHTA), after much research and debate about which volunteer project to choose. I had never been particularly engaged in women’s issues before, but the fact that GHTA focused on women felt good to me, and was definitely one of the deciding factors in my choosing GHTA. In addition, at that time, the school was in great need of volunteers, which was another of the deciding factors for me, as I wanted to feel needed and to be kept busy. GHTA was promising a truly hands-on experience and that is what I was looking for. I did not want to volunteer for a large organization; I wanted a more “cohesive” type of experience, which is what GHTA offers, where the staff, students, and volunteers form one big family. That is the experience I got, and that is what has kept me going back! During my 4-month stint, I became a teacher for the first time in my life and had a blast! I taught English and then entrepreneurial skills (i.e., how to start a small business and be successful). Of course, I had major jitters in the beginning, but the help and kindness of the Tanzanian translators (all former students), a curriculum and lesson plans to guide me, and -- importantly -- the students’ enthusiasm, warmth, and smiles, soon put me at ease. The students were so grateful and eager just to be in school, that I knew that anything I could help them learn would be appreciated. The weekly visits to students’ homes were definitely a highlight of my volunteer experience, giving me the opportunity to see Tanzanian life up close and, importantly, get to know the students better. When it was finally time for me to return to my life before GHTA, I was definitely not ready to say good-bye! My time at GHTA helped put a lot of things in perspective in my life, and I returned to GHTA 9 months later to take on the role of general manager for one year – and what a year it was! I now live in Tanzania and visit the school when I can, and help interview prospective students. Please join our GHTA family. We need you!

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Wandering
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I left my heart in Tanzania for the first time in 2013. Since then, I have traveled back to Give a Heart to Africa, four more times. During my most recent visit in the summer of 2019 I was in awe of how much impact this program has had. It has grown from a school, and a business cooperative, to a school with expanded programming, and three local businesses that grew out of GHTA, employee GHTA graduates, and continue to benefit from mentoring from volunteers and the local staff. I loved the teaching, there are lots of resources and supports to help. I also truly loved experiencing the local culture, which included weekly home visits to the students homes to meet their families. If you are looking for something that has impact that you can see, this is the place for you.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't be afraid of the teaching if you have never taught.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

The choice of GHTA as a volunteer location was the result of several months’ work by my wife.

As an ESL Primary School teacher, she wanted the opportunity to be able to make use of her experience to teach adults. Since we were travelling and volunteering together, the programme also needed to provide me with an opportunity to contribute. Since retiring, I have a CELTA Teaching Certificate and the programme also offered me the opportunity to use my recently acquired skill as well as my business experience.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

After several email communications outlining the requirements of the programme, we had a long Skype Call where Monika provided us with much more detail. As seasoned travellers we knew all the medical, legal and visa requirements, however, Monika was able to answer a number of additional questions we posed. She was particularly helpful with the special visa requirements of the GHTA Volunteer Programme.

Monika was also helpful with some additional elements that we could bring to help support the project.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

In terms of advice, there is really only one. After a very short while in Africa, you hear the expression ‘TIA’, meaning, “This Is Africa” – things do not happen to any western schedule, time is a moveable feast and anything can and regularly does happen in its own timeframe, so flexibility and enjoying all the new experiences is key.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

A typical morning for me at GHTA would involve teaching a group of 15-20 women some very simple and basic business skills. How to set-up and run a small business, and the challenges, rewards and problems they may typically encounter.

The afternoon would often be taken up with coaching and helping students with their homework or the assignments set during the morning.

An evening meal was often followed by preparation for the next day. A beer or two in town would sometimes follow.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest shock was one afternoon when we were involved in a vocation class and we asked the women to paint some pieces of wood. Not one of the women had ever held a paintbrush and they had no idea of how to apply and paint on a piece of wood. The event was incredibly humbling and it made me realise how much we take for granted.

How does volunteering feel like?

In terms of what people might like to know about volunteering and the project at GHTA, I would say most emphatically that you will leave Africa with the knowledge you have been given and experienced more than you were possibly able to give to the students.

They arrive every morning, full of enthusiasm and determination to learn and improve their lives and very little dampens their spirit. During visits to the homes of our students, we were treated with a welcome that you rarely experience at home.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Lisa Hassan Mkopy

Job Title
General Manager
I joined Give A Heart to Africa in 2011 as a student, then I got sponsorship to start a Spa business from the donors through the organisation. I also volunteered to be a secretary in a board of Give A Heart to Africa in Tanzania.

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory was a trip to Zanzibar Ireland because it was my first time being into Ireland. The beach is very safe, clean and big, the culture and food were amazing; people are friendly and kind. I got a chance to go to Kizimkazi Ireland to swim with the dolphins; I had a great time to explore my time in the sea with warm water and sun.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Give A Heart to Africa makes me grow through the experience I am learning every day because the Organisation gives me the opportunity to meet new people from different countries with different cultures. The program that the Organisation gives to the society and the women make my experience to improve and gain a lot of skills through education.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

The best stories that I have heard from return students are that most of the women have gotten new skills and the improvement of their English level is great, and also self-confidence that makes them achieve and grow their small business through the subject that they learn from our Organisation.

The students get a chance to meet different culture through our volunteers who have professional skills in different things, which most of the women benefit from.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

Graduate program. Give A Heart to Africa offers a chance to the graduates to come back to school to share and learn through each other, though sometimes we get teachers and volunteers to teach the women and learn what they wish to learn more in their improvement of business, language or any other skill.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Give A Heart to Africa offer free education to women who are in need of help through four subjects: English, Business, Vocational skills and Math for one year.

Upon completion, students receive a certificate. The Organisation offers women to come with their young children to school and take care of the children until their mother finishes the study hours - that makes my company unique because, when the student gets to class, they don't have to worry about their kids.

The school hours are very convenient for the women because it's only three hours and 4 days of the week that need the student to be in the class for the study.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I believe that, through the hard-working team, management and volunteers that Give A Heart to Africa has, my Organisation is successful because of its quality and unique education to society is bringing the change and perspective to the women in Tanzania.

Most of the women who have been through our program have changed their lives because of the knowledge, skills, and confidence that the organisation builds into their small business.