Uchira Children’s Fund very much welcomes assistance from local or international volunteers alike.
Working in Uchira offers the chance to make a real and lasting difference to the lives of a great many vulnerable children and their families. It is guarantee’d to capture your heart and mind alike, if you not sure ask John our founding director, he began life in Uchira as a volunteer too, and 3 years later he is now a permanent resident of the village!
For all the work with the fund can take on many forms on each given day, we can give you an idea of what a day can look like here…
Working directly with the fund:
IN THE FIELD…
- Physically finding the children: can often take time, as they may live in further to reach places in the bush or the foot hills of mount Kilimanjaro. We are often told of families or children in need by the local schools or other community members, so geographically we know around about where they will be! So be ready for a bit of off road travel to reach many of the children, be it by car, or motorbike (If you feel uncomfortable on 2 wheels that is!)
- Assessing the home life: is the first step. Once we do children must be interviewed and photographed. We also have to do a full assessment of the home environment and work out any immediate needs such as food, medical, beds or clothing and so on.
- Providing amenities: Children and their families are often in immediate need of basics, such as food and medical attention. We will normally make same day return visits with sacks of maize/rice/beans and other local staples for most families we meet. We will also arrange for children or their parents/guardians to receive the medical attention they need at the catholic dispensary in Uchira, ran by a Kenyan Dr and 7 nuns.
- Housing: Some families require shelter, be it they are homeless or in sub standard accommodation. Naturally this too is something we try to do the same day. In emergencies children can come and stay at our center in the village, until we find suitable accommodation for them or their families.
- Sponsorship: This process ultimately leads to the end goal of finding the children, and or families a full time sponsor to assist with their education, medical, food and housing costs. On average the fund has found 2.3 children a sponsor each week since its inception.
- Sustainable livelihoods: For all we would love to help every family provide for themselves, we often can’t given their home environment or health status. Where possible we do assist families to go into business in some way, be it opening shops, selling hand crafted goods to tourists, or anything else that can be introduced ultimately. We have quite a few success stories of families becoming self supporting in doing this.
- Permaculture projects (begin in November 2016) Please email for more details..
WEEKLY OUTREACH and HOME VISITS…
- Weekly food and nutrition outreach: As mentioned many of our children, and or their families need assistance with food and nutrition. This involved weekly deliveries of essentials to ensure no one is going hungry.
- Home visits: Many of our children have difficult home life and so we do home visits as often as possible. Some children, those living with mentally impaired parents or guardians, tend to take priority. Others may have been orphaned or abandoned, and taken in by family friends or relatives; so we must assess their well being with their new guardians regularly. Home visits are an adventure in and of themselves, and you never quite know what you will find. Volunteers of course do not go alone, and are accompanied by John or Tom a Tanzanian employee of ours, who is a qualified social worker.
AT THE SCHOOLS….
- Working in the schools: We work closely with several nurseries, 3 primary schools, and a secondary school. Volunteers and staff alike work in the schools, be it teaching English, helping to assess pupils within the school and assessing any school needs, such as renovations or supplies.
- HIV/AIDS prevention: Working in the schools to educate on HIV/AIDS prevention is a very important aspect of the work. Some of the children we help are sadly carriers of the virus, so this is a vital part of our work.
- Environmental work: We also teach pupils about the environment, and why in a place where trees are felled daily to cook, people must learn to replant them to protect their ecosystem and crop yields. We often plant trees with the children, and have a prize for the best kept trees!
AT THE CENTER…
- Children: In some instances children must come and live at our center in Uchira, volunteers can spend time getting to know these children and helping them to learn to read, write or what ever is required!
- Permaculture: We have a garden where you can help to teach the children about planting and caring for plants. In the area over 95% of people rely on local crops for survival, so again this is an imperative lesson to teach. In november 2016 our Food Forest will begin also, so please do get in touch if you have green fingers at all! 🙂
- In the field: Medical outreaches are very welcome, and any students wishing to come and offer such a service to our children and the community at large provide a great service to Uchira.
- At the clinic: We work closely with a Catholic Dispensary, or Doctors clinic in Uchira. Volunteers will help with the vast array of patients that attend the dispensary each day. Working along side one Dr and 7 nurses, 6 of which are sisters or nuns. The Dr can also write evaluations etc for medical students upon their departure.
- Building: At certain times of the year the fund will be in need of volunteers with construction interest or expertise, to help with building anything from houses for families and children, or toilets and libraries for the community as a whole.
- Volunteer house: The volunteer house is situated in the Heart of Uchira Village, it has a walled compound and 24 hour security. It is walking distance to local shops, and everyone is very friendly. as everyone knows us pretty much! Volunteers will have their own dorm style rooms. No hot showers here though! So be warned! 🙂
- Donation based stay: For all we would love to host all our volunteers for free, we simply haven’t the funding to do so. Therefore we ask for a daily, weekly or monthly donation (dependent upon the length of your stay) to help cover the running costs incurred hosting any volunteers. You will see though, 100% of any funds we have go on the running costs of the center or directly to benefiting the children. No western staff here receive pay like many other volunteer programs we would like to add, so 100% of the cost of your stay helps Tanzania and its children.
- Planning your stay: Email our Director on John@Uchirachildrensfund.org to explain what you would like to do whilst you are here. If you are just wishing to work solely with Uchira Children’s Fund and stay in the village etc, then things are very straight forward. However if you are keen to see some of Tanzania etc, John can help you to arrange your trip with reliable and reputable companies that support our fund.
- Actual Costs: Dependent on you stay length, and what you wish to do whilst here, costs can vary from as low as $500 a month up to $1000 for the first month, then it will come down considerably, the reason why is below! If you opt for a daily rate, we tend to say around $30 a day as a blanket rate so to speak.
- Why a cost?
Here in Tanzania volunteers must have a permit for volunteering… sadly the government uses overseas help to earn money! It is $550 usd for a Resident Class C permit….In your first month, to be effective you will need a translator….If you want to implement a project, such as our Tanzipads school tour, the transport and things like the washable sanitary pads the volunteers handed out at school, (of which we handed out thousands in July 2015 with our first volunteer group)… needs to be paid for, or the project could not of happened! This is where the higher prices come in, obviously if your happy just helping around the community, costs are much lower … We budget what is needed for each individual stay, the last group paid $1000 each for example! Also remember… you can fund raise for the costs as our last group did! 🙂
If you fill out the volunteer form below with a few details, and we will contact you as soon as possible!
Thank you for the interest! Hope to see you soon! 🙂 Karibu sana as they say here in Uchira 🙂