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help2kids

About

help2kids offers children in Africa the opportunity for education, nutrition, and a place to live. We strive to give young people a lasting perspective that will help them to achieve a better life.
We run community projects in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) and Leopard Bay (Malawi), including a children's home, local nursery schools and primary schools, health care and community projects. For more information, please visit our website. We are always looking for motivated people willing to volunteer with us!
We provide nice, clean and safe accommodation at our Friendly Gecko Guesthouses. We offer our volunteers the ability to choose from a wide range of volunteer work. The volunteers can also choose to work in both countries (Tanzania and Malawi) and experience completely different cultures of East Africa.
Have a look at our websites and send us an email.

Founded
2009
Headquarters

Zugerbergstrasse 49a
6301 Zug
Switzerland

Reviews

Default avatar
Amabel
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I have been volunteering with help2kids for 10 weeks and it was a really amazing experience.
Because, there are several different projects I can only talk about the ones that I was assigned to which were : Bajeviro Primary School in the morning and English Corner in Kunduchi in the afternoon.

At the primary School the main task was teaching or assisting with teaching, but also marking tests and exercises. At the beginning, when you first arrive at the project, you usually have a talk with the Coordinator of the primary school project , where you can discuss in which grade you want to help out and also which subjects you're interested in helping explain the kids. Although, I really liked the project, there were moments that were rather chaotic i.e at times when there were a lot of volunteers and it wasn't clear anymore in which class one should go, or on some days, teachers didn't show up or left early ( after all it's Africa ;) ) and left us volunteers teaching alone at certain times, which is not for everybody. However, all of the teachers were amazingly kind and open people and if you needed help with the kids, they were willing to help. However, if you are not comfortable with standing in front of 60 kids and with teaching independently ( which I was not all the time) you might want to consider to volunteer at the Kunduchi day care centre instead of the Primary school, because there you work with much younger children and from what I've heard of from other volunteers, it's less teaching there.

In the English corner project in the afternoon, I taught English to local Fishermen, which was an amazing and rewarding experience. I have met some of the kindest people there who are also eager on sharing their culture with you. I therefore learnt a lot about Tanzania and also became good friends with some of the Fishermen and Women in my class.

The accomodation is a volunteer house, where all the volunteers and some of the staff i.e the volunteer coordinator live. It's a big house, in a nice area and there is also wifi, although it does not work all the time. Moreover, the food was amazing! I still miss Mama Martha's Chapatis and lentils.

I made many good friends in Tanzania, some of the kindest and most interesting people I have ever met, and would highly recommend to volunteer with help2kids. They currently also built a new childrens home, which is much bigger than the old one, so it seems like they are really putting in some effort to help the kids.

Default avatar
Monika
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent four months with Help2Kids in Tanzania in late 2014 and returned for a two-months stay in summer 2015. I took part in many different projects there as well as traveling around the country and see Tanzania's beautiful landscape!

I went to the nursery school every morning with at least one other volunteer, where we led a class of about ten kids who were between five and eight years old. We taught English, Maths and special arts and sports classes. We also tried to teach English to the younger group(3-5years), which was a lot of singing and trying to play educational games, which was a lot of fun, not only for the kids.
I really liked that we were free to plan our own lessons with the kids and teach them our own way. When it got to difficult the teacher was always next door in the other classroom and could translate and explain the activities to the kids. During breaktime we had time to play and cuddle the kids on a sandy yard in front of the school.
At the Guesthouse where all the volunteers are staying we taught English to the Mamas and the gardener who work there. It was great to talk and laugh with them as you saw them getting more confident with their English. I also got to know their personalities and they become much more than a cook and laundress to me. They took me to the local market, taught me how to cook traditional food and a lot about their culture and live in Tanzania.
For lunch we all met at the Children’s Home of Help2Kids where the volunteers and staff ate together and could talk about there mornings.
At around half past three the kids of the Children’s Home come home from school and it’s the volunteers job to help them with their homework doing educational exercises or just hang out together and play games. It’s an awesome experience to get to know all these wonderful children and their characters.
I think it’s best to go there for as long as possible as you need some time to get into the projects, get to know everyone and feel at home. When I realized I know all the kids and Mamas names and they knew mine that was the moment I felt like I was not a stranger anymore at the Children’s Home but a welcome guest there.
That’s why I decided to go back there and volunteer again in 2015, which was the best decision I could make.

What would you improve about this program?
I really liked working with help2kids and would recommend it to everyone who wants to spend a few months overseas.
Help2Kids definitely needs more long-term volunteers, as many volunteers are leaving after just one month.
During the six months I stayed in Tanzania, I got to know more than 50 volunteers.
I think the impact would be much higher for both the kids and the volunteers if they stayed longer.
Default avatar
Alice
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

In January of 2015 I started as a volunteer at help2kids in Tanzania. I had planned to go on to Malawi after 2 month but after a month I already knew that I would not leave TZ any sooner than really necessary.
Working with the kids and really getting to know them requires some time. That's why I would recommend that if it's possible you go for at least 3 month.
I got to learn some Swahili and also how to really move and be in TZ culture.
Haggling at markets or with a bajaj driver, going with the daladala everyday, buying oranges at the side of the street in May, finding new ways of teaching, no umbrella during rainy season and really getting to know everyone in the projects, especially the kids and staff members, are just a few parts of my experience with help2kids. I really came to see Dar es Salaam and the Friendly Gecko as my home for 5 month - a feeling you might not get if you're only there for a few weeks.
I also got to see Kilimanjaro during my Visa run to Kenya and words wouldn't do the experience any justice.
Overall I loved living in TZ (even if only for 5 month), I came to love the kids and everybody who works at the projects and I made some really special friends.
My piece of advice for people who think of volunteering: go as long as possible, think of fun, educational activities that you can do with the kids (you might want to bring crafting supplies), don't expect the projects being about you volunteering but really about the kids, try supporting the staff and Mamas as best you can and just bring loooots of love and ideas and joy.

Default avatar
Nicole
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent 2 amazing months in Tanzania with help2kids.
I'm a kindergarden and primary school teacher in my country (Switzerland) and with help2kids I had the great possibility to get to know the educational system in Tanzania. I could work in a primary school and as well in a kindergarden. I love to work with the local people, the children and as well with the other volunteers. (There were a lot of volunteers from Switzerland, almost all of us)
During my stay in Tanzania I was located in the Friendly Gecko Guest House, that is part of the help2kids organization. The local staff in the Friendly Gecko Guest House is absolutely friendly and cooks amazing food! I visit Tanzania during summertime/summer vacation. So there were a lot of volunteers, sometimes too much. The Guesthouse was really crowded.
During my stay I did a Safari-Trip to different Nationalparks in Tanzania with some other volunteers. It was a great adventure. If you inform the staff from help2kids in advance it's possible to take some days off and to go on a trip. I really enjoyed this generosity.

To sum up, I had a great time in Tanzania and really enjoyed it! If someone ask me, would you do it again? My answer is definitely: YES!

What would you improve about this program?
During the time I was in Tanzania, there were some people, who stay just a short time (e.g. 2 weeks) or were not 18 years old.
In the internet there is written that you have to stay at least 4 weeks and you have to be 18 or older.
In my opinion there is no sense in taking volunteers that are too young or stay a short time. There is no profit for the children in Tanzania, if there are so many changes of the volunteers.
Default avatar
Geraldine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spend 5 weeks working for help2kids in Malawi. It was a beautiful and wonderful time with so many amazing moment, which I'll never forget.

I assisted in Preschool class at the nursery in the morning and in the afternoon I had different projects such as teaching Intermediate English for adults, kids corner, computer class and many more.

My Highlights are the friendly people I met in Malawi. Every time I needed help I found someone who was willing to help me out. I had really difficulty to adjust back in Switzerland because the people here are not as friendly than in Malawi.

Every day the children walk me home from class, even it is out of the way. You need every finger on every hand to hold all of the children. They are always happy.

This program is great for all the people, who wants to do something good for the community. The local people, the staff, the volunteers are amazing. You work during the day but you have also a lot of free time. Time you can relax, read, watch movies, going to the beach....

I hope to go back soon. I miss Malawi and all the friendly people...
Tionana

What would you improve about this program?
To have more material available for teaching in class.

Programs

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Staff Interviews

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

Fabrizio Amador Caddeo

Job Title
Volunteer Program Manager
Fabrizio is the Volunteer Program Manager and Guesthouse Manager for help2kids. Born and raised in Rome, Italy, Fabrizio has worked and volunteered in many places, most recently spending a year as an Education Coordinator in Peru. Fabrizio has also worked in Portugal and France teaching Italian and English and led student groups on trips to France and Malta. He has master’s degrees in Peace Studies and Modern European and American Languages and Literatures and a bachelor’s degree in Languages and International Communication. In addition to a passion for travel and volunteerism, Fabrizio enjoys playing the guitar and can often be found serenading those living at the Friendly Gecko Guesthouse in Tanzania!

Three years ago, Fabrizio had a good job in Rome. He worked in a comfortable office and had a good salary with the opportunity to grow professionally. After one year and some months he packed up and went to Peru to work for a salary about one tenth of what he previously earned. To this day, he considers it one of the best decisions he’s ever made.

What position do you hold at help2kids and why do you like working there?

headshot

I am the Volunteer Program Manager and I also run the guesthouse where the volunteers stay. The house is beautiful, with a lush garden outside and my office is the breezy terrace upstairs. Some days are spent visiting the projects and checking in with the volunteers there.

Occasionally, I finish my work early and spend the afternoon at the beach, located just 10 minutes from the guesthouse. Both the local and the international staff I work with are amazing and I consider it a privilege to work alongside them.

Three months have passed since I arrived and I feel that rather than colleagues, the people I work with are more like a family to me. Most importantly, I like my job because I am part of an organization that is concretely working together with the local community in order to improve the conditions and opportunities of vulnerable children.

What do you find most fulfilling about your interactions with volunteers?

My position is unique in that I get to share everyday with the volunteers. I share this beautiful experience both professionally and personally, living and working among the volunteers. It’s exciting to know others who decided too to leave the safety and comforts of home to see what else is out there and to get involved in something bigger than themselves.

Each volunteer has a story to tell and a unique experience. It is great that my position allows me to build meaningful relationships with the volunteers. The bonding that occurs after several weeks of living and working together is strong and it's nice to know that even when the experience ends, what you have experienced together will continue to live in the many volunteers around the world with whom you shared an important part of your life.

Did you volunteer abroad? If so, where and what inspired you to go?

I have always been addicted to travelling but at a certain point I realized that I preferred to stay in a place for some time rather than just pass by on a short visit. I wanted to share the habits of the locals and get deeper in touch with different cultures. That’s when I started volunteering.

When I decided I wanted to volunteer, I was twenty-seven and had been teaching. I was looking for an opportunity based on my professional experience and skills and ended up in Kenya, teaching orphans in a small township. I enjoyed the experience so much that I decided to repeat it a few months later in Morocco.

Finally, last year I decided to quit everything and go to Peru with the European Voluntary Service to work with street children. I spent one year there and it was incredible. After that, I decided it was time to check out the other side of things, and came on staff at help2kids, where I get to make sure volunteers have equally great experiences that inspire them to keep giving back and gaining perspective.

What's a typical day like for a participant in your program? How many hours do they work? How much free time do they get for travel?

Volunteers typically work six to seven hours per day. They have breakfast in the morning and then go to their respective project. Afternoons are usually spent tutoring kids at the help2kids Children’s Home. Volunteers come back in the late afternoon for a delicious dinner prepared by our wonderful cook, Martha. In the evening, we will watch a movie, play games, go out for a drink, or just hang out and talk on the terrace.

Dar es Salaam is a lively city, surrounded by beaches. Weekends are spent exploring the city or enjoying the beach or one of the local islands. We’re pretty flexible when volunteers want to take a few days to travel to Zanzibar or one of the national parks for a safari, we just ask for a little notice for the project managers. Many volunteers prefer to travel before or after their time volunteering.

What qualities should volunteers have in order to be effective participants?

Volunteers should possess a willingness to learn, to get involved, to discover, to meet new people, and to have fun. They should abandon prejudices, stereotypes and embrace the different culture and way of life. For our projects, it is particularly beneficial if volunteers enjoy working with children. I also believe enthusiasm and the desire to actively participate are important for a successful experience.