Every two years Welfare Aid Interntional facilitates a 2 week journey for young community members to experience some of the harsh poverty which our aid recipients endure. This epic journey to the east coast of Africa has multiple benefits; aside from validating and verifying the aid recipients and projects, it allows the volunteers to experience unique communities and cultures to in turn inspire a sense of responsibility and eagerness towards helping those in need.
Anyone willing to join us on the next trip in 2020 is encouraged to contact us and take advantage of this life changing experience. Below is a brief journal of the 2 weeks of this journey taken in July 2018.
The first day of our Tanzania Welfare Aid expedition took us to the lush hills of Kisarawe in rural Tanzania.
We witnessed the impact of inspiring local leadership in shaping the social landscape with vision and insight. A light jog, a game of soccer, new friends and some cassava with ginger tea completed the day!
How has WAI helped since? We are in the process funding a deep well for this village that will supply many families and its only school. More details https://welfareaid.org/campaigns/water-wells-tanzania/.
Day 2 started at dawn, woken by the gentle echoes of the call to prayer at Kibaha on the outskirts of Daressalaam, Tanzania. It was a surreal day, from the melodious prayers of the young boarding students to the composed logic and transformative passion of the head of the WIPHAS campus, Haji Sahib (Mzee Haji). It was both challenging and inspiring to witness what true dedication to humanity can achieve. This campus represented the epitome of how a social ecosystem should function. This is one place everyone must visit at some point in their life in order to discover true purpose.
How has WAI helped since? We have established a partnership with WIPAHS to fund orphan and educational sponsorship. We are currently supporting 10 students in the primary campus, 10 in the secondary and 20 orphans.Orphanage and Education
Day 3 in Daressalaam revealed more hidden treasures. As the first light of day swept through the city, so too did the enlightment emanating from the incredible people we met. In a tiny space that could barely contain a small family, 2 TV stations are run to serve the community and region.
Similarly, in the suburb of Kigogo, a few dedicated people have made educating the youth a critical priority in their lives.
More light in the form of the incredible generosity of the local community shone through; we experienced the local cuisine as we were treated to a generous dinner, as well as a game of soccer and a refreshing swim. As we prepare to leave this city, we hope the indelible mark left on our hearts will help in enlightening those around us. We hope that this This “Heaven of Peace” (Daressalaam) will motivate us to reflect on how we can exude some of our own light back home in Australia.
As we bid farewell to Daressalaam, day 4 took us to the banks of Mwanza on the majestic Lake Victoria, the third largest lake in the world. This beautiful city held a hidden secret – an industrious, passionate, 3-person organisation that is changing the very ideological and welfare landscape for the most impoverished: the Desk and Chair Foundation. The incredibly simple projects involving blood donations, toilets, wells, medical and education support have transformed this region into a haven. We were touched to the very core when visiting the largest public hospital (Sekatoure) that operates on the bare minimum to run an inspiring orphanage that cares for disabled orphans. Mwanza is rich and fertile with philanthropic opportunities that can REALLY make a change. For those who want to contribute to this journey of development and change, stay tuned for more.
How has WAI helped since? We have established a partnership with DCF to fund a prosthesis project to provided mobility to those who have lost their libs. We intend to provide suitable toilet facilities to Sakatoure Hospital.https://welfareaid.org/campaigns/amputee-prosthesis/
Day 5 was our busiest so far and was a testament to the ‘Desk and Chair Foundation’s unrelenting pace in providing welfare for all the citizens of Mwanza regardless of creed/colour/religion. We began the day witnessing the handing over of 8 internally manufactured and designed hand trikes for those who have lost the use of their legs. It was touching to witness their lives transform before our very eyes! We then headed to 2 schools (primary and secondary) in Mwanza city. The primary school housed 1800 students sharing just 7 class rooms, whilst many in the secondary school sat on the floor! Welfare Aid has commited to fund more classrooms (15,000-20,000AUD each), and with help from our donors, fund them with desks and toilets.
Trying to keep up with the foundation founders pace, we traveled to a small rural village where time has seemingly stood still. We were lucky to witness the construction of a shallow well (this is the Foundation’s 400th or so) using a very innovative pump mechanism that makes it easier for villagers to harvest clean water. We also witnessed first hand the difficult lives of the villagers, forcing us to reflect upon the privilege we are so lucky to have, and revising our thoughts on how indebted we are to those who are less fortunate than we are.
How has WAI helped since? Providing 60 desks and chairs to the school, committing to and raising funds for 9 wells in the area so far, and multiple other projects in the pipeline. Water Wells
A safari on the way…
Our journey from the unforgettable Mwanza to Arusha took us through the majestic Savannah of the Serengeti. Witnessing tens of thousands of wildebeest dotted across the land in their annual migration and lions lounging within their pride was a testament to the sheer beauty of this land. The vast planes and the moonless starry sky above reminded us of our place in the universe. It was a very unique experience camping in central Serengeti amongst howling hyenas and patrolling lions. Thankfully, the morning of our 7th day was met instead with the gentle chirping of birds and blissful Savannah breeze. The trek to Arusha took us through some magnificent country, semi-arid Savannah lit golden by the sun, the incredible beauty of the Ngorongoro crater, and majestic game at every corner. Reaching Arusha, we all felt blessed to have such an incredible opportunity to witness and reflect on the grandeur of creation.
DISCLAIMER:The entire journey to Africa was funded privately by the participants. No donation funds have been used to fund any element of this trip. To join us for the next trip, please contact us by email ([email protected]).
Day 8 of our epic journey and just beyond the foothills of Mt. Meru, lies Arusha and its generous people. Here, we experienced a very unique and heart-warming initiative. A carnival organised by the youth of this town gathered 300 children from 9 different orphanages to enjoy a day of games, good food and good company. Seeing the orphans so happy and observing the youth being so active was a very inspiring and touching experience.
The 9th day was a trip down memory lane for WAI. This was a follow-up visit to the picturesque Mti Mmoja School that WAI funded for rewiring and solar panelling 2 years ago. It was great witnessing the bright faces of the students as they started their new term and observing the impact of the support of our donors in terms of progress over these 2 years. However, significant challenges still remain, in terms of water supply, a dire need to renovate certain parts of the school (especially toilets) and retaining quality teachers.
It was very fun playing a game of soccer with the students and a great way to connect with them.
We also had the unique opportunity to visit and enter some of the Masai villages and homes to better appreciate the difference education makes to the lives of these locals.
How has WAI helped since? Donors have sponsored the school’s first computer and science labs. Any volunteers who wish to contribute (physically or virtually) to help elevate the school (admin, teaching etc.), please contact us.Upgrade program
Day 10 was much anticipated with WAI revisiting its very own orphanage, The Al-Zahra Children’s Home. The expedition members were honoured to serve the orphans by cooking a traditional meal and enjoyed playing and getting to know the orphans. For those of us who had met the three girls 2 years ago it was amazing to see them progress so much! From timid Masai girls who had been through so much hardship, they can now read and write and have learnt both English and Swahili to an exceptional level, and can also understand basic Gujarati, Urdu and French!
This was a very encouraging experience for WAI members and we look forward to receiving the next 2 orphan girls in the coming months. It is truly an honour to be at the service of an orphan and we thank all our donors for making this possible. If you would like to contribute to their wellbeing, please visit our site https://welfareaid.org/campaigns/arusha-orphanage/
After taking a one day break, day 12 was spent distributing water to a rural village in Arusha. This is always a very fulfilling experience and the villagers are always very appreciative.
In many places the ground water is too brackish, and without pipelines sourcing water for the residents, the only option is transporting it in large 10,000L trucks directly to villages. If you would like to support such an initiative please contact [email protected].
On our 13th day and approaching the end of our Africa expedition, we had the pleasure of visiting and lodging in the “Tamani” institute located in Zanzibar. This self sustainable project uses rental profits derived from beachside tourist villas/apartments to fund a very well resourced primary school.
The 150 students that attend have a 90% pass rate compared to the 20% average of students attending other (public) schools.
The institute also provides very comfortable accommodation for volunteer visitors at a subsidised rate (40USD/Day inclusive of meals).
Although rental profits fund much of the school, there still remains a deficit as a result of recurring running expenditures. For those interested in donating or volunteering please contact [email protected]
Day 15 was spent in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. Nestled just past the lavish suburbs of Lavington and Ngong, lies the sprawling slum, Riruta where a substantially poorer population of Nairobi reside. Driving along a spine-shaking road, passing tin shack housing, we came across The Almuntazir School, a shining “purple” light in the lives of the residents. The memories of our last trip in 2016 still fresh, we were impressed to see the developments at the school. The smiling faces of the children and the ever optimistic Sr Fatema, Sr Fahima and the dedicated headteacher, working despite seemingly insurmountable odds, was heart-warming and infectious. We witnessed the delivery of school uniforms sponsored by Welfare Aid to the smiling children and orphans and toured the new facilities. The school still faces challenges of income as most students (70%) cannot afford to pay the meagre fees ($100 per year). Yet, with tenacity and diligence, the team is spurred on by the bright faces of the children who would otherwise not be in school.
How has WAI helped since? Donors have supported providing one terms fees for 100 students in 2018. Donors have also sponsored the erection of new classrooms and textbooks for the students. Al-Muntazir Shool