GIVE: Why Volunteering Matters

When I signed up to travel to Tanzania with GIVE, I didn't know what to expect.  I had always envisioned traveling to Africa for a volunteer opportunity, but what I found when I arrived was even more amazing than I anticipated.

After arriving on the island of Zanzibar, we settled into our hotel, Baby Bush Lodge, and then were off to see the school which we would be helping to build for the next ten days.  During orientation, I was hooked on a few things that our leads told us.  These stuck with me for the duration of the trip (by way of my journal). 


First, the true goal is  Providing Opportunity.  A lot of people traditionally think of volunteering as providing stuff or money to those in need.  Rather than the give them "stuff" approach, GIVE takes the approach of providing opportunity.  Nothing is a handout, everything is earned.  It's about making the possibility to earn and gain opportunity possible.


Second, there are three phases to impact the community and keep that impact being sustainable.

1.  Physical - Such as building infastructure, schools, hospitals, etc.  It is providing a basic platform or need that the community needs to grow.  

2. Social - Interaction with the community and useage of the physical.  It is becoming involved in the community, interacting with the people, and finding out what the locals need from the physical platforms that are being provided.

3.  Human - The true lasting impact - To shape beings and have shaped the way that they see the world.  This is truly was they strive for.  It is the hardest to achieve , but the most worthwhile.

GIVE seeks to work phases one and two concurrently in Zanzibar.  The reason for that is while the volunteers work to build the school, community members are concurrently coming in to receive English tutoring.   These in time will become the human impact.


Third,  what it means to impact the community and provide those opportunities.  About 0.27% of people in Tanzania actually go to college, as compared to nearly 30% of people in the USA.  I'm not advocating that everyone should go to college, but I am advocating that it should be an available opportunity for those that are interested in pursuing it.    

The standards in the US versus Tanzania are drastically different.  We think that classrooms require projectors and TVs, whereas teachers there find themselves successful with just a piece of chalk. The difference shows simply what it means to provide a school in a place such as Tanzania.  

A little goes a long way...