Volunteering / FAQ

FAQ: What you need to know about volunteering with help2kids in Tanzania

Leaving behind the comfort of home to travel to Africa can be daunting, especially when you don’t know what to expect from volunteering in Tanzania. We want to make your trip as smooth as possible, so we have put together this list of frequently asked questions from former volunteers.

Here you can find first information and the rough costs of our volunteer programmes: Volunteer General Information

 

The volunteer programme

Do you offer short-term programs? If so, is there a minimum duration required?

Our volunteers can choose to stay from three weeks to three months or more. Note: Stays of longer than three months require a more complicated and expensive visa process.

When do the programmes start?

Our volunteers can choose to start on any day/month. There are no specific start days for each programme. Usually, it is good to have 1-2 days / or the weekend time to relax at the guesthouse before starting your volunteering (But of course, this is depending on your flight / time of arrival). The availability of our programmes depends on school holidays in Tanzania, projects during holidays might be very different from what we offer during normal school days.

 What will I be doing as a volunteer in Tanzania?

You will be placed in one or more of our projects – Day Care Centre or Pwani Primary School

Let us know your preferences during the application process and we will try to take them into consideration when setting up your schedule. We can not guarantee that we can fulfill your wishes as we also have to take the needs at our projects into consideration.

Activities include:

  • Teaching English and assisting the children with their work
  • Teaching reading, writing, mathematics, computers, sports to smaller or bigger groups
  • One-on-One tutoring with kids who need to catch up in different areas
  • Singing songs and playing games, or using other fun learning tools
  • Assisting with classes at Pwani Primary School

The projects start between 8:00 and 8:30 a.m. you will have a lunch break at around 1 p.m. and then get ready for your afternoon projects. You will be free on Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday.

What is included in the costs of volunteering?

The costs include accommodation, breakfast, room cleaning, in-country support, administration, and security.

Private rooms, airport pickups, Internet and laundry service all come at an extra cost.

Travels costs, visa and insurance are at the expense of volunteers.

 Is it possible to change my selected project while I am there?

We do our best to place you in the project where you feel comfortable and where your skills are most useful. We held Volunteer Team Meetings every week where you can always discuss changing of your schedule with the Volunteer Coordinator so that you get the most out of your stay.

Is it possible to extend my stay?

As long as we have availability you can extend your stay with us. We can easily organize this while you are here.

If I decide to leave earlier than planned or I travel between my volunteering time can I get a refund?

Unfortunately we do not provide any refunds if you decide to end your volunteering time with us earlier than your original departure date or you go traveling some days between your volunteering with us.

Do you organize trips or activities during the evenings or weekends?

We can recommend restaurants where you can go for lunch and dinner or even take part in trivia and karaoke nights. During weekends, we can also help arrange trips such as safaris, visiting Zanzibar, or cultural trips and adventures in and around Dar es Salaam.

Where will I arrive and how do I get to the Volunteer House?

You should book your flight into Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam. We will arrange for you to be picked up from here and driven to our Campus, which is a one-hour drive away (depending on traffic). This will cost you USD 30. If you arrive by Ferry from Zanzibar or anywhere else, let us know and we can see what we can do.

 

Visa

What kind of visa do I need?

To volunteer in Tanzania you have to apply for a ordinary/tourist visa before arrival. The cost is USD 50 for most countries (USD100 if you are from the US) and it is valid for three months. Our Volunteer Coordinator will provide you with all necessary information about how to apply online. Within 10 days you will be provided with a letter which you will need to print out and take with you. When you arrive at the airport, you won’t have to line up at all the counters. Just show your visa paper to an immigration officer, get a stamp in your passport and you are ready to go!

For stays longer than 90 days you will need to follow a different (and more expensive) procedure. Contact us directly if you would like to find out more about this.

Can I pay for the visa with a card or do I need cash?

You will need to pay for your visa online before coming to Tanzania.

 

 

Money

Should I bring US dollars?

You will need to bring US dollars to pay for your airport transfer to the Campus (unless you have Tanzanian Schillings already). However, apart from this, it is not necessary to bring US dollars with you, unless this is how you prefer to manage your money. If you choose to bring US dollars, remember that only notes issued after 2006 are accepted, and larger bills (USD50-USD100) will give you a better exchange rate.

How can I exchange and/or withdraw money?

The currency in Tanzania is Tanzanian Shilling. There are currency exchange offices in the airport, or alternatively you can exchange money once you arrive in Kunduchi.

There are several ATMs at the airport where you can withdraw money immediately. There is also shopping centres and other places directly at the main road easily to reach by bus, where you can find several ATMs to withdraw money. These accept Visa, Maestro, and MasterCard.

How much will I spend in a week?

Your main expenses apart from the costs of volunteering will be transport to and from the projects, food, water, and weekend activities. The costs depend a lot on whether you prefer a “western” lifestyle and food or are willing to go local.

Here are some examples of everyday costs (in Tanzanian Shillings:)

Transport

  • Daladala (local bus) trip to Pwani Primary School: TZS 400
  • Pikipiki (Motorcycle) to Pwani Primary School: TZS 200o
  • Bajaji (Tuk-Tuk) to the supermarket: TZS 4000

Food

  • Packet of pasta: TZS 3000
  • Bar of chocolate: TZS 5000
  • Jar of Nutella: TZS 11000 (for a small jar)
  • Cereal (for breakfast): TZS 10000
  • Big Jar of pasta sauce: TZS 14000
  • A bottle of water (1l): TZS 500
  • A bottle of beer: TZS 1500
  • Meal in a ‘mzungu’ (Western) restaurant: TZS 15000 – TZS 30000
  • Meal in a local restaurant: TZS 2000- TZS 5000.

Local vegetables and fruits are very cheap at the local markets.

Activities

  • Entrance to local beach resort: TZS 10000, which includes two soft drinks
  • Boat to Mbudya + island entrance fee: TZS 37000

 

At the Volunteer House

What is the accommodation like?

The Volunteer House is located on the help2kids Campus not far from the beach. Volunteers live on the upper floor of the office building. There are three dormitories with shared bathrooms and one private room as well as a kitchen for everyone to use. We have a nicely furnished outside area only for our volunteers.

Who will be at the Volunteer House?

All our international volunteers stay at the Volunteer House as well as the Volunteer Coordinator and eventually other help2kids staff. As the Volunteer House is located on the help2kids Campus, you will always see some staff and kids around.

What about electricity?

Although we experience occasional power cuts here in Tanzania they are usually only for a few minutes or hours at a time. Sometimes they are unexpected and spontanous, other times they get announced the evening before.

What about drinking water?

At the Volunteer House, we will always have drinking water available for you and you can purchase soda and local beer on-site. While out you can buy drinking water everywhere at the street for very little money.

Do you have Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi is very expensive in Tanzania but still not as stable and fast as you know it from home. The Wi-Fi at the Volunteer House costs you a little more than USD1 a day in Tanzania (USD35 a month).

 

Health and safety

What vaccinations do I need? And what about malaria prophylaxis?

An important thing to know about volunteering in Tanzania is that we can’t tell you whether you should or shouldn’t take malaria tablets – we strongly advise you to make an appointment with a travel doctor and discuss your trip with them, then make a decision based on their advice. Your doctor can also recommend different vaccinations you may need. 

Whether you take tablets or not, you should bring a good insect repellent and make sure to use the mosquito net on your bed (all of our beds are protected by nets).

It’s also worth remembering that malaria can be easily treated – if you fall ill during your stay we will accompany you to a nearby clinic as soon as possible for a diagnosis.

Is volunteering in Tanzania safe?

Tanzania is one of the most peaceful countries in Africa and generally a safe place to volunteer. When you arrive we will brief you on some simple steps you can take to help make sure you stay safe during your stay.

Do you accommodate different dietary requirements (gluten free, vegetarian, etc.)?

We serve breakfast seven days per week: Toast, butter, jam, peanut butter, tea and coffee as well as a daily special, such as eggs, fruits, juice or local pastries. For USD 2 per day, you can get lunch at the Campus, where our mama cook local meals for the staff and kids from the Campus Day Care Centre. Please let us know your dietary requirements when filling out the application form and we can discuss how to handle it best.

 

Packing

What kind of clothes do I need to wear?

While at our projects or visiting Dar es Salaam it is important to dress a bit more conservatively and wear clothes that cover your knees and shoulders. You can wear bikinis at all resorts and hotel & private beaches but you will need to wear a t-shirt and half long leggings or bathing trunks that cover your knees when you go to public beaches (for example with our kids on Sundays).

What is the weather in Tanzania and like?

Tanzania has a tropical climate with a hot, humid and rainy season. The heaviest rains are from mid-April to May/June. From late October – December there are lighter rains. Even though there are rainy seasons, it can still rain at any time! It’s always a good idea to pack a light rain jacket just in case.

Do I need to bring a towel?

No, we will provide you with bath towels but you might want to bring a beach towel or an own towel for travelling.

 

Still have questions? You can find out more about volunteering in Tanzania on our volunteer information page, or you can get in touch with us at volunteer@help2kids.org. See you soon.