Please download and complete the Volunteer Application Form and email it to Amy Hathaway at: firstname.lastname@example.org
How does Forever Angels support Ethical Volunteering?
It is essential that our volunteers understand our ethos and are prepared to work with us to ensure they are doing good through their volunteering.
Our goal is for children to live in FAMILIES. We do not believe that orphanage care is ever a good option…and children are only in our care because there is no other option in the short term for them.
Many orphanages around the world exist to support volunteers who want to ‘travel and do good’ and in doing so, children are living in orphanages to fuel the ‘volunteer business’ – many who have relatives and who could and should be living at home. This is tragic and wrong.
Forever Angels Baby Home exists because there is a real problem of child abandonment and maternal mortality in the city and there is no other option for these children.
However – we provide short term care whilst searching for extended family members or adoptive families in cases where no family can be found. Whilst in our care, our Tanzanian staff are the children’s caregivers and providers. It is essential that the children attach to them and not to volunteers who are short term and who come and go out of the children’s lives.
Volunteers are not allowed to form close attachments to the children at Forever Angels – their role is to provide educational and fun activities to enrich and enhance their childhood experiences. Even better – we hope they will train our Staff so leaving lasting change and improvement for our community.
All volunteers need to understand the importance of this and they will be expected to read about the issues surrounding growing up in institutionalised care before they come. They are also asked to sign to agree to work with us and support our ethical ethos at all times.
What support will I receive?
The short answer is LOTS!
Amy (Our Founder who now lives in the UK) is available to answer any questions you may have. She is more than happy to have email or phone conversations or even meet you in person to discuss the volunteering experience, show you photos and basically tell you what an amazing time you will have!
She will guide you through the application procedure; give you booklets of information about Tanzania, Mwanza and the Baby Home; advise you on vaccinations and travel health; and even give you some basic Swahili tips!
She is full of good ideas about fundraising and can support you to raise as much money as possible.
Amy will ensure you have all your correct paperwork and know what you are doing in terms of obtaining your visa on arrival, as well as advising about flights and hotels if necessary.
She has supported over 400 volunteers going to the Baby Home and is happy to answer any questions you may have.
Volunteering Support at the Baby Home
You will be collected from Mwanza airport and taken to the Baby Home (about 10 minutes away)
Our Managers will settle you into the Volunteer House and introduce you to the other volunteers. Our volunteers are always lovely and welcoming and will make you feel at home right away. You will have a ‘Food Parcel’ waiting for you to keep you going for the first couple of meals.
On the first few days you will be taken on a tour of the local market as well as into the main town to get your bearings.
We know you want to dive ‘straight in’ so the Managers will give you a tour of the Baby Home (and a few children will probably join in too!)
During your time volunteering – there will be ‘Volunteer Meetings’ and the Managers are around (living on site) for you to chat to any time if you have any questions or concerns. The other volunteers are also always a great source of advice and support.
Amy is just an email away if you need anything.
Volunteers are asked to complete a brief evaluation when they leave so we can strive to make the volunteer experience better. (But – if you have a lumpy mattress or a dodgy cupboard door, just report it to the Managers as soon as you notice so you get the benefit!)
Volunteers are invited to join our ‘Forever Angels Volunteer’ Facebook page to post any stories and photos and to chat to other volunteers.
We hold Volunteer Reunions in the UK most years which you are always welcome to attend.
Again... Amy is always around if you need a chat or just want to reminisce about your experience.
She is always more than happy to provide you with a reference and will send you a ‘Volunteering Certificate’ too.
How long can I come for?
Volunteers come for between one and three months and can arrive and leave at any time as long as there is room in the house. There are always between 2 and 10 volunteers at any time so plenty of support is available.
What will a typical day look like?
The fun thing about volunteering with us is that there never is a ‘typical’ day – you take out of the experience what you put in. Every day the children need fun activities planned for them at the Baby Home, but you may also be asked to take children on trips; support on hospital appointments; arrange birthday parties; plan and carry out staff training….and anything else that happens to come up!
Volunteers tend to be scheduled ‘on shift’ for five half days a week, but many also come to the Baby Home on their days off to do 1:1 work with our Special Needs children or just to help out.
Is it a safe place to visit?
Tanzania is a very safe and peaceful country. Mwanza is a very safe city and our volunteers have never experienced any real problems. You do need to remember that you are a 'Westerner' in one of the poorest countries in the world though - so do not 'flash' mobiles, cameras or wads of money around.
Are there travel opportunities?
Mwanza is wonderfully located to travel to a wide variety of amazing destinations and there are plenty of travel opportunities. We are very close to the Serengeti National Park, a short flight from Zanzibar, Kilimanjaro and close to the borders of Uganda and Kenya.
How much will it cost?
Depending on where you are coming from, flights can vary hugely. From the UK an off-peak season Turkish Air flight can be bought for £330 to Dar es Salaam. Fast Jet internal flights from Dar es Salaam to Mwanza can be as little as £30 depending on how early you book them.
The visa which permits you to volunteer for up to three months (a Tanzanian Government regulation) costs $250.
We ask for a ‘donation’ to cover your accommodation costs – this money goes directly to Forever Angels and helps us to fund our work. This covers your accommodation, lunch at the Baby Home as well as a cleaner to wash your clothes (hand washing is not as fun as you may think!)
1 month - £500
2 months - £800
3 months - £1,000
Often your skills mean more to us than the money – so if these accommodation costs will prevent you from coming, let Amy know when you apply. We may be able to offer a reduction.
Most Volunteers tend to live on between £50 to £100 ($85 - $160) a week in Tanzania - this allows them to go out to dinner a couple of times a week and buy food at the local market.
There could be other costs in terms of paying for vaccinations (some Doctors offer to do this for free for volunteers – it’s worth asking!), medical insurance etc.
What should I bring with me for the children?
Thank you for asking! We are ALWAYS in need of underwear (ages 2 to 6years), pyjamas (ages 2 to 6 years) bubbles, balloons, stickers, sweets (like Haribo / Smarties), colouring books, face paint, sterilising tablets, plasters/band aids and 5ml syringes. If you can bring any of these items, that would be wonderful.
"It was fun, emotional, exhausting, amazing, eye opening, life changing and so very much more."
As soon as I read about the work of Forever Angels, I knew immediately this was a place I simply had to visit and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.
The application process was straight forward and Amy was easily contactable via email to answer any questions. I also enjoyed following the blog as I felt like I knew some of the children before I arrived. I was happy to know that the money went directly to the project rather than getting lost in “middle-man” administration fees.
I was met at the airport and immediately made to feel very welcome. The managers were always on hand to deal with any questions or concerns and to make sure I had help with sorting out changing money, negotiating my first trip into town for shopping, buying a local sim card, etc...
The Baby Home is a truly special place with a great team of dedicated staff, who provide consistent loving care to some extremely vulnerable children and families. I love that they work so hard to keep families together and their concern does not end when the children leave. I went with a desire to make a difference in some small way, I did not expect the biggest difference to be for me. It has helped me to live much more in the moment, to appreciate so many aspects of life that I take for granted, pushed me outside my comfort zone and enabled me to gain a much better understanding of life in Tanzania.
I made friends of all ages, among the volunteers and also of the staff. If you go with an open mind and take time to get to know the staff and local people, they will welcome you into their hearts and homes and help you experience and embrace so much of Tanzanian culture in ways you will never forget.
As well as spending time at the Baby Home, I visited a clinic, a hospital, an orphanage, as well as taking a couple of days off for a safari in the Serengeti, all very different, valuable and amazing eye opening experiences.
There were days that were physically and emotionally tough but the smiles, cuddles and laughter more than compensated. I feel so incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to be involved in a small way in such a fantastic project.
Any regrets? – Only that I didn’t go sooner and stay for longer.
Volunteer ethically with us