Women's Empowerment Project - Volunteer in Tanzania

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About

As a Give a Heart To Africa volunteer you will teach adult women in our vocational school. They are truly a joy to work with, they are eager to learn and appreciate any help and knowledge our volunteers share with them. We have easy to follow lesson plans so no previous teaching experience is required. Our organization is run 100% by volunteers so we truly appreciate your help; every volunteer counts and we make sure your experience is a productive one. You will get to know our students not just at school but also by visiting them every Friday in their home.
We are located at the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro, in Moshi, Tanzania. Our school is adjacent to our house so we truly live with everybody as a small family.
We are looking forward to meeting you

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Reviews

99%
based on 27 reviews
  • Impact 9.9
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 9.9
  • Value 9.6
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 15 of 27
Lucy
10/10

Unforgettable and Amazing

My two months volunteering at Give a Heart to Africa (January-March 2017) were more amazing than I can put into words. Organizations like GHTA are hard to find. Educating and empowering women in developing countries is sadly not always a first priority. When I was researching organizations to volunteer with and I found GHTA I was thrilled. An organization that not only educated women in subjects like English and math, but also vocations and business, was exactly what I was looking for.
The application process was simple and very informative. I talked to everyone involved in the organization and I felt very safe about my traveling plans.
Before I knew it I was landing in Tanzania! This was my first time traveling alone internationally so I was pretty nervous going somewhere completely new. However once I landed and met the people I would be working and living with for the next couple of months I knew that it was exactly where I wanted to be.
GHTA started feeling like a second home within a matter of days. Everyone involved in GHTA, especially the women who are the leaders of the organization, are more than passionate about helping not only women, but anyone in need, in and out of school. Over the years GHTA has been in Tanzania it is clear that they have worked and continue to work effortlessly towards empowering and bettering the lives of women in need. The change is clear. GHTA creates a huge impact in bettering the lives of their students and the community.
Volunteering for GHTA is an experience I would highly recommend to anyone who is interested. I made so many relationship and met people that I will never forget. Moshi is a safe community filled with the kindest people. Teaching at the school is a large responsibility and it is crucial that all volunteers commit their time and are serious about school, however outside of classes there are lots of opportunities to go on day trips, hiking, safari trips, exploring town, and many more things.
Volunteering at GHTA is an opportunity I am so unbelievably grateful to have experienced. If you have the chance, please please please go. It will be worth every minute.

How can this program be improved?
I dont think there is really anything the program needs to improve, everyone involved in the organization does an amazing job.
Yes, I recommend
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Danielle
10/10

Best Month of My Life

I volunteered with GHTA for a month in January 2017, and it was hands down the best month of my life. This program is truly amazing, and the people you meet in Moshi will forever change your life.

I decided to volunteer with GHTA after a friend of mine told me about the program, as she had volunteered a few years prior and absolutely loved it. I just graduated college in December 2016, and decided that I wanted to go to Tanzania for the month immediately after. I traveled with my best friend, as we were both passionate about women's education.

The women that are in this program are some of the most inspiring and determined women I have ever met in my life. For many of the students, this program is one of the only ways for them to gain a better education, and provide for their families. Everyday, I woke up with excitement to see these women and talk with them about their lives and their families. I was working in the vocations classroom, and had amazing conversations with them surrounding current global issues, and women's rights in Tanzania. Although I was teaching them English, they also did a fantastic job of teaching me Swahili.

The program is also run by a fantastic woman, Rhiannon. I have never seen someone who genuinely cares so much about giving back to others before herself. She wants each and every one of her students to succeed, even if that means being strict on them. She inspired me every day, and was also so fun to spend time with when class was not in session. She is the heart and soul of GHTA.

The town of Moshi itself is beautiful and filled with such kind people. My best friend and I walked to town nearly every day, and always felt safe. Kilimanjaro is also the backdrop to Moshi, although we did not get to hike it while we were there.

There is so much to do in Tanzania, and so many amazing people to meet. If you have the time, go volunteer for GHTA for at least two months. One month for us was not enough, and we were heartbroken to have to leave. I love the people and the organization so much, and I hope to go back to this program someday.

Yes, I recommend
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Beverly
10/10

GHTA makes a difference

Many of life’s best adventures are not meticulously planned far in advance. Thirty days after I retired from thirty years’ of teaching, I arrived in Tanzania in June, 2010, to volunteer at GHTA for the first time. I taught English to a fabulous group of men and women who were eager to learn. It stunned me that they would thank me every day for teaching them. I lived in the house that is attached to the classrooms in a secure compound in a neighborhood near the university. Our translators were so encouraging and helpful; Margaret sang as she cooked our dinner daily, and other volunteers quickly became my friends for the next two months. Although I have a teaching background, this is not a requirement; a willingness to help these students gain skills so they can discover opportunities for success and employment to provide for their families is vital. Though I loved my daily interaction with the classes, I loved our Friday home visits which gave us a chance to interact one-on-one and to meet the family (or, sometimes, the whole compound). It was the home visit that informed us clearly about each individual.
As you read other reviews on this page, you will find plenty of details about the basics of the school, the lovely town of Moshi, and the serendipitous array of weekend adventures. Though I thoroughly enjoyed my safaris, the coffee tour, the visit to Lake Chala, trips to Arusha, the Usambara Mountains, what I loved was the people. If you are reading this review trying to decide where to volunteer and how long to stay, let me be clear. At the end of two months, I was wishing I could stay longer. You also should know that I have returned twice, in October, 2011, and May, 2014, each time for two months. It was wonderful to share a home with other volunteers of varied backgrounds, languages, ages, occupations and travel experiences. We helped plan lessons and activities together and sought ways to help our students who struggled as well as challenge those who excelled.
One of the absolute highlights was celebrating the 5th anniversary of GHTA and meeting students and volunteers from the classes I had taught in 2010 and 2011 to see how their lives had been positively impacted by their time in our school. The very fact that Monika would seek to find them and invite them to come tells you that this is a community effort, not just a quick field trip into another country. What an absolute joy to come alongside them as they work in the co-op, run a spa, maintain a food stall in Uhuru Park, actively supporting one another. It is astounding that these mamas came as strangers to one another as they entered GHTA. If you are seeking to expand your horizons while making a true difference in the lives of women in the Moshi area, this is the place for you. It bears repeating that this NGO uses 100% of the fees to live and board in the house to support GHTA. No fees are divided by an umbrella organization; your placement as a teacher is established clearly when you are accepted. Former volunteers and board members are available to answer questions you might have. You will be independent, you can learn some Kiswahili, you will bond with these women very quickly and invest your time and energy in their educational experiences. You will come to love the neighborhood children in the bi-weekly after-school program. You will make some lifelong friendships with other volunteers. You will not leave GHTA unchanged; my perspective on life has not been the same.

How can this program be improved?
I have observed many improvements from 2010 to 2014, so I think it is just fine.
Yes, I recommend
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nhberner
10/10

Make a Difference in Someone's life

Give a Heart to Africa is a women's empowerment project located in Moshi, Tanzania. Its mission is to provide free education to women in the Kilimanjaro region. It's a wonderful program that is positively impacting the lives of women in the region by teaching them English, Business, Math and vocational skills. The student's are dedicated and hard working. I've been lucky enough to have volunteered here twice. Since this was my second trip there I had a chance to visit with some of my previous student's and see how the skills they learned at Give a Heart to Africa helped them to succeed.
The Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania is beautiful, the people are extremely friendly. Moshi, where GHTA is located, is at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro and has a great view of the mountain. It is also very easy to go on safari. I've had the opportunity and would highly recommend it to anyone who volunteers. If you want to really make a difference in someone's life, volunteer at Give a Heart to Africa.

How can this program be improved?
Having a few more volunteers who are dedicated to teaching the students instead of just wanting to visit some place.
Yes, I recommend
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Jen
10/10

Fabulous Volunteer Experience

I stayed at GHTA for a month and taught English. I had an amazing time and would recommend the experience to anyone interested in volunteering overseas. My only complaint would be the rooster that woke us up every morning at 3am without fail! Other than that guy, I wouldn’t have changed a thing about the experience.
Moshi was a great, safe little city and there is TONS to do in the area. I found that I had loads of free time to explore in the afternoons and on weekends. Leave time before or after your volunteer commitment to go on Safari in the Serengeti and to climb (at least a little bit of) Mt Kilimanjaro.
The house was comfortable and the food was amazing, absolutely delicious. Margaret (the cook) as well as the other staff were lovely; very friendly and helpful. I really enjoyed living at the house; there were 3 other volunteers while I was there and I found that there was lots of space for us. The compound is safe and secure and the area around it also safe, and everything you need is within walking distance. Monika and other volunteers were fun and from a diverse range of backgrounds. We had a great time together, and with the students.
The students on the whole are energetic and enthusiastic, and I found them inspiring and hungry for knowledge. My favorite part of teaching was seeing that ‘ah-ha’ moment, when they grasped a concept they had ben struggling with. It was very rewarding work. The lesson plans were easy to understand and follow. Another highlight for me was the home visits on Fridays; it was both enlightening and humbling to see where the women lived, to meet their families and to be invited into their homes.

How can this program be improved?
re-home the rooster. :)
Yes, I recommend
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Dave
10/10

Make a difference

I just returned from my second time volunteering with Give a Heart to Africa and I'm already trying to figure out when I can go back. This is a great organization doing some amazing work. Unlike most organizations, it is 100% volunteer run. Don't worry if you don't have any teaching experience because there is a curriculum to follow--the only thing you need is the willingness to make a difference. Tanzania is a beautiful country with really wonderful people. There is a lot to do on days off and plenty to see. (this will say I was there in 2014 but I was actually there in January, 2015)

How can this program be improved?
There really isn't anything I can think of that I would change.
Yes, I recommend
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Rebecca
10/10

Very highly recommended

I spent 4 weeks with Give a Heart to Africa and it was not long enough for me! GHTA is such a special organisation. The small and grass-roots nature makes for an experience that is very personal and you make a very real difference in your time there. With GHTA you are so much more than a tiny cog in a huge machine of an NGO.

The program is very well run and I felt looked after throughout my time in Tanzania (speaking as a solo student without prior experience in the country). There is also a great honesty and transparency to the running of things which is hugely refreshing.

A typical day would involve teaching in the morning (I taught English) followed by lunch and working with the kids program for neighbourhood children or helping out at one of our co-ops in town.

There is also great flexibility for getting the most out of your time in Tanzania, as well as lots of advice on how to go about it, be it safari or a weekend in Zanzibar.

The highlights for me were the home visits to a student that are conducted once a week. It was a fantastic opportunity to see how the students live and learn more about each others cultures.

Overall, I can't recommend GHTA highly enough to anyone who wants to make a real difference and have a great time while doing it.

Yes, I recommend
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Vivian
10/10

A life-changing experience

I volunteered at GHTA for two weeks, and my only regret was that I couldn't stay longer. I've been a teacher for 20 years, and have never experienced students so eager to learn, so excited to be there, and so appreciative of the opportunity! Although I've never taught English, there were clear and detailed lesson plans to follow, so it didn't take long to get the hang of it. As others have said, there are translators in all the classes, so don't worry about not speaking Swahili! If you do want to learn some Swahili, though, you'll find the students eager and happy to teach you, and it's fun to be able to learn from each other :-)

The volunteer house was safe, clean, and comfortable, located right at the school in a nice colonial-style house surrounded with beautiful vegetation. You can walk or take an inexpensive taxi into town to buy food for your breakfast and lunch, and lovely, always-smiling Margaret cooks dinner for the volunteers every night. It was hot in January when I was there (the peak of summer), but you get used to it after a few days. You realize that, even though your living conditions there aren't what you are used to at home, they far surpass the locals' living conditions, and seeing local life is a real eye-opener.

Monika, who founded and runs the program, is terrific in every way! She was very responsive by email in advance, so all questions were answered and you will arrive prepared, and on-site she always made sure we all had whatever we needed. You can learn a lot by watching her interact with the students and other locals. I really enjoyed her combination of warmth, spunk, determination, humor, and know-how.

I would go back in a heartbeat, and hope to be able to return soon. Even though the program name implies that the volunteers are giving a heart to Africa, I personally felt like the women of GHTA gave a heart to me. You should go. It will change your life, too!

How can this program be improved?
It would be nice if the bunk beds could be unstacked .... The lower bed can get stuffy with the mosquito netting tucked in (but that was in the heat of summer).
Yes, I recommend
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Bruce
10/10

Life changing experience

Most rewarding. I've never seen students more enthusiastic. Great adventure like nothing I've ever done. Can't wait to return.
Certainly loved the scenery and doing some climbing of Kilimanjaro. Also, went to Serengeti on safari. Not to be missed!

How can this program be improved?
Funding is a major issue. I will help to bring balance to income.
Yes, I recommend
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Jean-Marie
10/10

GHTA makes a real difference

I volunteered at GHTA for 2 months as a Maths teacher, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to make a real difference in a community that needs it. GHTA is a relatively small organisation in Moshi where everyone's individual contribution really mattered, and this was perfect for me - you really get out what you put in.

* My review turned out longer than I expected, so I've broken it up into sections for you:

1) VOLUTEERING

Teaching the Mamas was both a joy and a very humbling experience, as they were just so keen and eager to learn. Each volunteer teacher is paired with a local translator who is familiar with the course, and together we taught the Mamas from 9am-12pm, four days a week (Mon-Thurs). It was challenging at times, trying to figure out how to help them best understand a concept, but patience, perseverance and creativity won through every time. It's particularly rewarding to see how pleased your Mamas are when they realise how much they have learned - especially given that many of them haven't studied past standard 7, and most haven't been in school for many many years.

Every Monday and Thursday from 2-4pm, we ran a play group for our students' children as well as other children who live close to GHTA. Together, we would play football, hopscotch, skip, dance, build lego structures, make arts and crafts, read, colour and draw, and just generally have a good laugh! I really do miss the children, they are funny and energetic and beautiful and so loving.

Fridays were reserved for home visits - this is where we spend the morning visiting a Mama from our school, to meet and get to know her and her family in her home, and observe first hand her living conditions. These home visits gave great insight into how our Mamas lived and I really enjoyed getting to know our Mamas better.

2) FREE TIME

I found that I had plenty of time to experience Tanzanian culture. We volunteers usually spent our weekends exploring Tanzania: We went on Safari to Tarangire NP, Serengeti NP and Ngorogoro Crater (super highly recommended), went to Zanzibar, did a day hike of Kili (though if I had my time again I would have done a whole week hike and skipped the day hike), visited Arusha and Marangu waterfalls. I also visited our watchman's Masai village past Arusha which I found fascinating. During the week, we would hang out in Moshi at the local shops, pools, restaurants and bars, etc... Personally, I loved watching local football matches - there were some at the university next to our school (the winning team won a cow!), as well as a league that my translator played in 20 minutes away from our school. I also bought a guitar from a shop and spent a chunk of time teaching others how to play the guitar – my students were friends of GHTA, our watchmen and even some Mamas! I loved these more personal experiences, and made some really good friends along the way.

3) GHTA - THE ORGANISATION

Monika runs GHTA, and she looks after her volunteers well. She gives us enough guidance so that we have an idea of what to expect in terms of volunteering and living in the volunteer house, but also gives us a lot of independence and freedom to do our own thing. I really liked this approach. Our volunteer house was comfortable and safe and had everything we needed (although electricity and water did turn off every once in a while, but this is a Tanzania wide issue). Monika is honest and a straight shooter, and she'll do her best to help you out. At the same time, it is also up to you to ask her questions and bring things to her attention if you need anything.

I also particularly liked how 100% of my volunteer fee went to supporting the school. The only paid staff are the Tanzanian translators, watchmen, cook and cleaner, and Monika really does try to run the school as efficiently as possible. And the volunteer fee is really very reasonable ($300 a week for the first 4 weeks, and $150 for every week after that).

What also impressed me was how donations to GHTA for particular purposes actually went to those particular purposes. (Eg. Sponsorship intended for supporting a past student's further education actually was used for the past student's further education). As a small organisation, it is easier to track these donations, and I feel comfortable donating money to GHTA because I know that nothing is lost in overhead costs, and will actually go to the 'cause' I ask for the funds to go to.

4) SUMMARY

Sorry for the essay, but I really did love my experience at GHTA and wanted to give you as much information as possible! In short, Moshi and these Mamas are a community that will benefit so much from your decision to volunteer there. It is a welcoming community, and if you immerse yourself into the experience, you will make such a difference and feel incredibly rewarded at the same time. I highly recommend volunteering with GHTA, and am happy to answer any questions you may have - just give me a shout.

How can this program be improved?
As I've said before, this program is better suited to people who are comfortable being independent and proactive as it is a small organisation which does not have very standardised programs that other larger organisations may have, other than the teaching schedule I've written about above. However, personally this was not an issue for me.
Yes, I recommend
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Halina
10/10

You'll Want to Go More Than Once!

Volunteering with GHTA was such an amazing experience - I wish I had stayed longer! The people living in Moshi were incredibly welcoming and Monika and the staff made me feel at home. I made friends who I still keep in touch with and we even organized weekend excursions, such as going on a safari. The program is well organized and designed so you really feel like you are making an impact in the community. I felt safe and secure both in the town of Moshi and in the volunteer house. I would recommend this volunteer experience wholeheartedly.

Yes, I recommend
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has91
9/10

A Big Adventure

I volunteered with GHTA a few years ago, but still remember the experience like it was last month. I was only eighteen when I visited, but felt supported and safe for the time I was there. The staff of the organisation were inspirational in themselves, their ambitions were so selfless. It was great to see real impact being made. Unlike other agencies, where you pay a lot without really seeing where your money is going (into bureaucrats pockets), this organisation gives back everything it gets. The teaching side of things was difficult to begin with, but with structured lesson plans, a translator and fellow volunteers to help you, it became easier. I came to really enjoy it. It was a big, incredible adventure. I met some people in Tanzania I will never ever forget, and I thank them for a wonderful experience, that was indeed life changing.

How can this program be improved?
Easier puzzles.
Yes, I recommend
Lisa
9/10

First time volunteering abroad

I volunteered for GHTA at the end of 2009. It was not an ideal time to go as the school itself was closed for most of my time there (Christmas break). I think I taught English for about a week, when the school-reopened. The students were great, and very eager to learn. Despite the bad timing, Monika arranged for my friend and I to volunteer in one of the student's homes, where she ran a make-shift school for children. That was a truly great experience and I'm thankful for that opportunity. I still keep in touch with the woman and her daughters to this day.

I'm not a fan of paying to volunteer (had a bad experience in Kenya that has left me quite cynical!), but I support this cause. It's small, it's legit, and I would/have recommended this program to those interested in international volunteering.

I also want to add that Monika introduced us to a good friend of her's who operates a Kilimanjaro trekking company. I kept in touch with her and two years later, returned to Moshi and did the climb. I don't think I would have ever considered climbing Kilimanjaro had I not talked to her friend. And that climb was life-changing. So thank you GHTA!

How can this program be improved?
The only negative part of my experience was being left alone in the house for a week (soon after arrival) without a working phone. If I hadn't had my friend with me I think I would have been extremely uncomfortable. But I'm naturally paranoid and a "worst case scenario" thinker, so maybe it was just me!
Yes, I recommend
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Marianne
10/10

Real hands-on involvement in empowering women in Moshi, Tanzania

This is a relatively small project, that delivers great results, and because it is small, you are completely involved from the moment you arrive. I taught English at the school, and was completely humbled by these women, and some men, who turned up every day to learn, always impeccably turned out despite the often abject conditions they were living in. My experience with these wonderful people, in this wonderful part of the world, gave me a very different perspective on life, and I hope, made me a better person. It was also loads of fun and I would highly recommend it to anyone!

How can this program be improved?
While I agree that no programme is perfect, I cannot think of a single thing I would change.
Yes, I recommend
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Sara
10/10

Such a fulfilling experience!

My first encounter with GHTA was when I volunteered as a teacher in the summer of 2011. I had participated in other international volunteer projects in the past but I was extremely excited about the opportunity to apply and share some of the knowledge I had gained throughout my business degree with the students studying business at GHTA. I was also thrilled that all of my volunteer fees would have a direct impact on the community in Moshi. During my time in Tanzania I experienced so many unforgettable moments. Monika ensures that volunteers have a fulfilling and diverse experience by providing opportunities to teach, help with the children’s program and attend home visits.

Tanzania is absolutely beautiful and the strength and warmth of the people is extraordinary. If you are looking for a meaningful volunteer experience with a direct and sustainable impact, GHTA is the place for you!

Yes, I recommend

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About Give a Heart To Africa

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...