Hello from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania!
I have finally come to the end of my Volunteer Alliance outreach trip through Southern Africa. For those of you who missed my first blog, Volunteer Alliance is a non profit organisation that connects international volunteers directly with community based organisations in developing countries. The purpose of the platform is to make international volunteering more assessable and transparent.
In the past 6 months I have visited 7 countries and over 50 organisations from Cape Town, South Africa to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In each country we have worked with grassroots organisations to build an account and profile on www.VolunteerAlliance.org that they can use to attract international volunteers. With only 2 days left on our trip, we hit the 100 organisation and 1,000 volunteer milestone! This was an ‘unreasonable’ goal that we set at the start of the trip. It has been such an amazing experience and I wanted to share a few highlights and interesting things I have learnt along the way.
Every trip is made by the people that you meet. I have been fortunate enough to travel to these countries to live and work with the people who have started organisations trying to better their communities. Naturally, these are some pretty cool people. One person in particular stands out in my mind. That is Lucinda Evans in Cape Town. She lives in a community that is policed by the military because of the level of social problems. In this community she operates a women’s safe house for victims of domestic violence. Her ‘no excuses’ attitude has offended local gangs, embassy’s and everyone in between. It is a huge task, but you can see the difference she has made in the community. Her organisation is a refuge. And I don’t think anyone could be anything but inspired by her story.
Something that is really interesting about the places I have been is the internet connectivity. It is never high speed broadband, in fact it can take a few minutes to load Google, but I have yet to find a community that did not have at least some access to the internet. Quite amazing really. This includes a village of 100 people where my train broke down. I met some of the local children in the street. One boy named Walter showed me the village, his hut and then asked me to add him on Facebook!!!! It was the most bizarre thing. The level of computer literacy is low. But it is improving quickly because the people recognize that the internet gives even the most remote communities access to all types of information. That said, I think you would be hard pressed to find a digital marketing agency here….
I am very proud of what we have accomplished. It is only the beginning for Volunteer Alliance. But I would like to say a huge thanks to James and Atomic Search for helping us to get off the ground. If you have any questions, am always available to talk about my experience firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading!