Greetings from Tanzania!! It has been the 10th day since I travelled across the globe to this magical place. After the initial cultural shock, now I am getting used to the life here. I promise I will forget these days.
Before I go deep into showing you all the awesome life in Tanzania, I would like to first talk about the works I am doing and the trip to get here. I am working for a non-profit organization called, Support for International Change (SIC). SIC was founded in August 2002 with the dual goals of limiting the impact of HIV/AIDS in Tanzania and training future leaders for global health and development.Compared to other charity organization, SIC is essentially a pretty small organization with an annual budget of $400,000. However, SIC believes that even with a small budget, we can still do great works and change people’s life. This is also one of the reasons why I choose to work for them. It did great groundwork on the rural areas (roughly 100 villages) in Arusha and Manyara Regions.
I joined their awareness campaign programs that brings international volunteers in and partner it with local Tanzanian college students (teaching partners). The volunteers and the teaching partners will go through a series of training and teach the knowledge of HIV prevention to the villagers. We will then form a teaching group of 3~8 people. All of us will then stay in the homestay in the villages for 6 weeks to teach. There are 3 VPs; each of them consists of 20 volunteers and 10 local teaching partners.
To be honest, I was doubtful about the program when I first heard about it. It simply did not make sense for me to bring international volunteers in when one can just use local Tanzanians. But later on, I learned the impacts that international volunteers can make as well as the sustainability part of their works. Simply the presence of international volunteers adds up credibility of the teaching of Tanzanians. Moreover, the volunteers, to be frank, help raise money for SIC. As I learned, 45% of SIC’s annual budget comes from program fees. Another reason why I choose it is the sustainability part of it. Our awareness campaign was one part of a bigger model to fight against HIV/AIDS. SIC have CIT (Care Treatment Center), which provides treatment for HIV-positive person and testing and VCT (voluntary consulting teaching), which trains volunteers in the village to spread the knowledge of HIV. All of them work together in a model. It is with this model in mind that SIC sustains itself for over 10 years in Tanzania.
For anyone who is interested in the program, the program has a fee of 3300 dollars, which covers all of your living expenses here in Tanzania. However, the fee does not cover the airfare so in total it amounts to approximately 5000 dollars. To be honest, I was daunted by the program costs because I went to the CMC’s newly opened India Winter program and the program was very costly. Thanks to my great school of CMC and the Center for Human Rights Leadership, I got full funding from them. Without the funding, I don’t think I will go to the program. It is simply amazing that CMC has this kind of funding for students who are doing projects like this.