Women's Empowerment Project - Volunteer in Tanzania

Video and Photos

GHTA Women
GHTA Women
hiking on Mount Kilimanjaro
a meeting of some student's after class.
Kilimanjaro as seen from downtown Moshi.
Mount Kilimanjaro as seen from Give a Heart to Africa
Volunteer with women in Tanzania
Volunteer with women in Tanzania
Volunteer with women in Tanzania
Volunteer with women in Tanzania
Teach women in Tanzania
Teach women in Tanzania

About

As a Give a Heart To Africa volunteer you will teach adult women to become entrepreneurs 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 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.
Over the decade that GHTA has opened its doors to the Moshi community we have educated over 600 local residents and seen our graduates go onto create their own businesses that not just provide for their families but enrich the local economy as well.
We are looking forward to meeting you.

Highlights
  • Each year 50 disadvantaged women attend our program to learn basic business skills including English, business and vocational classes
  • Give a Heart to Africa is a small NGO offering our volunteers an intimate experience working with a small staff team and other volunteers
  • We have been in operation for over a decade with the only paid positions going to local Moshi residents
  • 100% of all donations and volunteer fees go to our programs, our students and the operation of the school
  • Volunteers have a unique opportunity to see a tangible impact on the students while there seeing growth in the women participants as they learn

Questions & Answers

Reviews

99%
based on 34 reviews
  • Impact 9.9
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 9.7
  • Value 9.7
  • Safety 9.9
Showing 1 - 15 of 34
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Madison
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing!

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

An experience of a lifetime

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

Loved helping female entrepreneurs!

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

Once Was Not Enough!

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

Visit Number 4!

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.
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Karen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I fulfilling experience you will never regret or forget

I spent 4 weeks at GHTA in 2011 and I always remember the words of Monika, the founder, as she personally dropped me back at Killi airport and saw how sad I was leaving. She said kindly, “you’ll be back”. Well she was right. I’m writing this in 2019 from the GHTA school itself. Probably the biggest reason why I returned is the integrity and impact of this NGO. I saw first hand how volunteer skills are maximised and our fees directly fund the running of the GHTA school, empowering women’s though education and the support and security of every volunteer.
Moshi is in a romantic location at the foot of Kilimanjaro. It’s is a mid sized town with tourist business opportunities but unfortunately there are still a few hardships experienced by some of the residents, particularly women who, for various reasons, couldn’t complete their schooling and may have little or no work but have mouths to feed. This school is specifically for these lovely women who actually have huge potential (and smiles), teaching them English, business and vocation skills.
As a volunteer you live in the school. Sounds odd but that cuts out any travel hassles. We work Monday to Thursday mornings teaching and spend afternoons reviewing or helping at local business, started by ex GHTA students, organising extra tuition for those that need it or on Fridays we have home visits which is a great way to see how the ladies live. You don’t need to be a teacher to volunteer but thinking on your feet a bit helps. Moshi isn’t a raving social town from a foreigner perspective but there are some nice coffee shops and local restaurants to try. The curry here is actually really good. There is also a new 4 star hotel with a roof top bar here if, like me, you need to get your tourist vibe fix on occasion. You are also 5 hours away from Norongoro National Park (amazing), Tarangeri NP and 7 from the Serengeti. It’s easy to organise safari weekends while here and even bolt on a Zanzibar trip if you fancy. I’m here for 6 weeks as part of a longer trip through Africa and it’s going so fast! I know I will be sad to leave again. The women have been so wonderful and my experiences at GHTA have enriched my life.

What would you improve about this program?
Very little to improve upon. I would LOVE WiFi here but quite frankly electricity and hot water (which we have both) is the priority. 4G is available to buy in town and its pretty quick.
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Adair
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I left my heart in Moshi at GHTA

I chose this volunteer placement after extensive searching. I did NOT want to end up in a program catering to Gap Year students, rather one that is geared to adults with workforce skills. I DID come to this very concerned with my own safety, as i had never travelled solo in Africa. The fact that GHTA caters to women's education and economics (my career and passion) and is at the foot of Kilimanjaro (I am a mountaineer) sealed the deal. I decided to drop in for six weeks, live and work in a safe place, get the lay of the land, gain some knowledge of local ways and language, and take off for travelling adventure.
Instead: I spent my entire African stay of five months at GHTA, and extended as long as my life in the States would allow. At GHTA i was able to work closely and meaningfully with local women; spend long afternoons driking tea in their homes, meeting their families, playing with their children; live long enough in a town that i learned my way around and felt at home; met some fascinating young people who have become long distance friends; travelled to stunning safari and hiking locations on the weekends; spent long evenings in the hot humid dark talking with GHTA staff members about their lives and mine. Aide work is humbling and complicated. We will spend our lives wondering if we made a diffference in our students' lives. But one thing for sure: the students and staff of GHTA made a huge difference in my life. I long to return (and will do so!) and encourage anyone looking for a program deeply embedded in a community to check out GHTA.

What would you improve about this program?
Since i worked at the school the curriculum has been overhauled, which was overdue. I hope to return to work with it!
Lucy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
I dont think there is really anything the program needs to improve, everyone involved in the organization does an amazing job.
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Danielle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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Beverly
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
I have observed many improvements from 2010 to 2014, so I think it is just fine.
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nhberner
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
Having a few more volunteers who are dedicated to teaching the students instead of just wanting to visit some place.
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Jen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
re-home the rooster. :)
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Dave
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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)

What would you improve about this program?
There really isn't anything I can think of that I would change.
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Rebecca
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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Vivian
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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).