Our group of 6 did a 5-week stint with MAD in Moshi, Tanzania. We helped start the library building at Royal School in Himo and taught arts classes (singing, drawing, acting, dancing), spent time at Kilimanjaro Kids Care (who all attended Royal School) and at the local YWCA with at-risk youth, mostly goofing around and learning traditional dances. We also went on safari and to the beach as part of our program (MAD collaborates with local tourism businesses to organize these vacations).
The thing I liked most about volunteering with MAD is how down-to-earth everyone and everything is. You really see the difference you are making because they work on a grass-roots level. They stay focused on what works and always work to improve it. They grow when they know they can achieve their desired result.
The biggest difficulty for us was personality clashes and culture shock. Being really close to poverty and bare minimum conditions can be extremely difficult for people, and being around the same 7 people for 5 weeks can add to the stress. But we made it through because everyone stayed focused on Making a Difference.
I have spent much of my life volunteering for various programs, including the Peace Corps in Thailand. However, I appreciated so much my time in Tanzania that I have revisited the Kilimanjaro Kids orphanage again, two years after I first volunteered. What I most treasure about Make a Difference Now is that I really spent time with the kids, reading , sewing, playing and even making jewelry, and to become close to the 22 children. Several of them are now thriving on the secondary school level. Their family has become the orphanage in Himo. Spending time there was not only a direct and personal way to help devastated children but also to learn first hand about the culture and workings of life in this part of Africa. Volunteers usually stay in a well-appointed guest house or with a family nearby, and one can even choose to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro! I highly recommend this program, and you can also travel before or after to safari or visit, as I did, the gorillas in Rwanda.
San Fransisco, CA
I really enJoyed this program. I wanted to go where I could grow and give. Make a Difference was perfect. Love the folk who work here, and of course the children are amazing. I want to return and climb Mt
Kilimanjaro w/ MAD!!
2 week Kilimanjaro summit and classroom construction project
We had a great time with MAD! The hike was awesome, 9 of 11 summited! We loved working with the Royal school building a classroom for them during our second week in memory of a dear friend! Planning on going back to summit again and see the finished science classroom and maybe build a library!!
Definitely reccommend MAD for your authentic Tanzanian experience!
Worthwhile...and truly you make a difference !
I was seeking a volunteer experience that blended helping and teaching Tanzanian children and learning about the culture and land near Mt. Kilimanjaro. I connected with the MAD-Now director, Theresa Grant, and sensed her personal commitment to her mission, the orphanage and MAD's other projects in Himo, Tanzania. MAD-Now is also involved with AID's awareness, Malaria Preventative work, and other projects to benefit the community. I spent 6 weeks with Theresa in Himo. During that time I climbed Kilimanjaro and also went to the Serengeti on a safari. I lived in Himo in a safe and comfortable guest house. We went to the local market to purchase food and made our own meals at home. I traveled daily with Theresa to visit the private school where the 22 orphan children are sent to school. For 2 weeks I worked designing a computer lab which recently received a gift of 20 computers for the children. After school we visited them at their Kid's Home to help with homework, play games and interact with the kids. One of the highlights was training for and running the Kilimanjaro Half Marathon with Theresa which was held in Himo. We trained running in the early morning on backroads at the base of the mountain...how cool is that? My departure date came too soon and I long to return. I continue to hear from the children in letters and often send them gifts. It's a hands-on program. You are connected directly to the children. You are immersed in the local culture and you have free time to climb the tallest mountain on the continent....or just hike the hills. Either way you grow spiritually, emotionally and intellectually. So go GROW with MAD-Now !