Volunteer as part of an inspiring arts cooperative project for the youths of Tanzania
This is an innovative project, founded by talented local youths who took it upon themselves to form a creative art club. It provides a safe and healthy environment where young people can develop the skills necessary for a sustainable future. The aim is to empower over 100 boys and girls to reach their full potential and become productive, self-sustaining and responsible members of the community.
In the morning 25-30 young people aged 16-23 receive vocational training through three business cooperatives, focused on art, tailoring and jewellery. In addition to the practical skills training they receive IT and business lessons. They sign a contract documenting their commitment, receive a small stipend and the remaining income generated is invested by the cooperative in their sustainability goals. The coops run as small businesses and manage everything from sourcing materials, design, production and sales.
In the afternoon there is a wider programme of activities including sports, music, art, designed to be more recreational, and attracting more youths not engaged in the coops. At 4pm, the club is joined by children coming out from school to join in these activities.
The club is primarily run by the local team leaders, with oversight and coaching given by the project Director. Together they are successfully building long term goals and with a view to being 80% self-sustaining by 2018.
This is an inspiring project. Overseas volunteers who can contribute arts and crafts skills are welcome, both in the three existing cooperatives, plus new trades/skills they are seeking: recycling plastic bottles into art, carpentry, small scale animal husbandry and agriculture (to make use of a small plot of land they have) and metal working.
Volunteers with talents that can be used in the afternoon recreational sessions are also welcomed: volunteer to lead music, singing, sports, dance, art activities. The club puts on occasional talent shows at weekends – its very own X-Factor, Tanzania
Overseas volunteers are required who can provide complementary skills for the club; preferably in trade skills that contribute to the business cooperatives, but also in the recreational skills to participate in the afternoon sessions.
Those with trade skills would be partnered with one of the team leaders initially, to help develop their sessions with the teams, but also to transfer on knowledge to the team leaders.
The feel of the whole project is a relaxed collaboration. How every volunteer participates is flexible, but there is a focused attitude to the club and volunteers will need to be similarly focused on how they can make the maximum impact through the skills and talents they have to share.
Desirable volunteer skills include: Arts & crafts, tailoring, jewellery, music, sports, carpentry, metal-working, animal husbandry, agriculture (running an allotment), business/marketing , leadership skills
Volunteers can contribute directly by bringing in new skills to the club and helping expand the talents they already have.
This is a project full of people wanting to learn and if you share skills then this will have a lasting impact for individuals who are learning life skills leading to sustainability.
There is a push to promote the role of women and girls at the club, so any participation or development of female oriented activity would help empower women locally and develop their confidence further.
I needed a little break in my job, and probably going away and doing something very different was one of the best things I could have done, Career break, Tanzania