The real motivation for Sally's visit was to volunteer in our community projects in Tanzania, which involved her hopping over the pond to Zanzibar, and exploring Dar es Saleem...
I was lucky enough to visit all of our community projects whilst in Zanzibar, and also a good number when I headed back to Dar, all of which are truly inspiring and incredibly humbling.
In Zanzibar I saw the great work begin done at Yusef’s nursery school, a 20 minute drive out of Stone Town in one of the local villages; St Monica’s primary school; Zanzibar Baby Daycare; and Sober House- a home for recovering addicts.
The range of projects has something to best suit your skills as a volunteer– and some are far more challenging than others. You will get out what you put in and you'll be able to choose between either
teaching at Yusef’s or St Monica’s, taking care of the children at baby daycare, or pushing yourself further to help out at Sober House. Here, you'll help teach the residents skills (such as woodwork and sculpture) so they can produce items that they can sell within the community, or if you're not a master carpenter you can just provide support and teach basic english! One thing you'll find wherever you are is that the children in Zanzibar are incredibly polite, smiley, well behaved, and extremely well presented – you can’t quite believe how much pride they take in their school uniforms compared to kids back home, all neatly turned out in their oversized crisp white shirts, ties, and dresses for the girls. I’m sorry to say, but these amazing children who come from the poorest of families, some of them orphaned (and most with incredibly hard living situations) put some kids at schools in the UK to shame!
The projects are run by extremely dedicated staff and teachers who rely heavily on the help of volunteers and donations to further the good work that they do. Even the most simple things we take for granted, like buying desks and chairs for classrooms, are a struggle without this help and this is where Real Gap come in to the picture. As a company we rarely provide our projects with financial support- instead our volunteers give the programmes their time and effort (along with the important equipment that RG donate) so the communities don't become reliant on aid, and in this way our projects can organically grow. As well as teaching important language skills to the children, our volunteers help teach the local teachers English skills so that the good work can be continued after your volunteering time is up, which means the impact volunteers make can be sustained.
You can truly go home feeling like you have made a lasting difference after volunteering here – the smiles on the children’s faces are enough to tell you that! It is an unforgettable experience and I personally left with a greater appreciation of how lucky and privileged my own little girl is here in the UK.