WEHAF (Widows Encouragement & HIV/AIDS Foundation) was founded in 2016 to empower widows, children and people diagnosed with HIV and AIDS to cultivate better lives for themselves and their families. Becoming a widow is always hard, but to become a widow after a husband dies due to HIV/AIDS creates a very difficult life in Tanzania. The women and their families lose their stable income, which in Tanzania is usually provided by the men, as well as also worrying they may lose their home since women move into their husbands house shortly after marriage. Sometimes women can end up homeless and without any income, so they try to open a business that ensures a sustainable source of income. As an answer to these problems, the NGO WEHAF was founded to empower those in need. Based in the outskirts of Arusha, the project aims to mobilize, motivate and advocate for people in vulnerable situations in areas of health, social justice and economic empowerment. Your day to day work here will focus largely on entrepreneurship training, research, community health initiatives, advocacy and fundraising. They run a variety of programs that support widows and their families that usually involve training in sustainable horticulture, tailoring or baking. They also work to implement village community banking schemes in rural areas around Arusha. WEHAF is always in need of volunteers, and they look for volunteers in the fields of marketing, business, health education, education for children, entrepreneurial skills, proposal writing and fundraising. The organization has recently opened a workshop that teaches and trains women in tailoring and you are welcome to oversee those activities and to bring any new ideas along with you regarding designs of products, daily organization or marketing.
As a volunteer at WEHAF, you can help staff organize their trips to the rural villages where you will teach and coach women and their children, maintain the website and social media sites, or you may even write and support fundraisers and be the daily point of contact to empower people from various backgrounds. You will work together with the young and motivated team each day to coordinate your activities. There is no typical day for a volunteer at WEHAF; you can choose your own tasks based on your areas of knowledge and interest so everyday can be different if that’s what you want. Each day you will arrive at the office (in Maji ya Chai, Usa River, Arusha – this will take you about an hour with public transport) for the 9am meeting where you will discuss the days work. Your days could be in the office, or you could visit the villages where you will work with the widows and their children as they improve their lives. Possible work areas are:
- Health education of the community and society about the impact and outcome of HIV/AIDS
- Training single women on writing business proposals and keeping their businesses running
- Educating the widow’s children
- Creating and introducing new marketing strategies for WEHAF
- Improving the website and social media
- Writing fundraisers to support the good cause of WEHAF’s work
- Collecting donations
No matter what area you work in, you will feel like a valuable part of the whole project. The staff will always welcome you with open arms and encourage you to bring forward your thoughts and ideas to help improve the organisation. You will be part of a very meaningful work environment and all we ask is you bring along motivation, passion, initiative and any new ideas you may have to make a change in people’s lives. You don’t need any previous experience or knowledge and since WEHAF is interested in volunteers from so many fields, you will always be able to find a task for you. It’s important that you are self-driven and open-minded to people and to find new ways of helping and making improvements. To help continue the work of the foundation, donations and fundraisers are always welcome.
What an incredible experience! From the moment my friends and I applied to this volunteer project we had support. We had all our questions answered in a timely manner since day 1 of our application. On our arrival, we immediately felt comfortable and most importantly safe. Our hostel was always tidy due to our amazing Mamas (who are doing excellent job at keeping the hostel presentable) and were able to accommodate my friends and I’s request to be together in one room. We were guided to the town on our first day and taught us how to get around from our hostel to our volunteer project. They told us all the necessary information needed to get by. In the hostel there are other volunteers under Viva Tanzania who stay in the hostel. We definitely got along and also enhanced our first volunteer experience. Everyone gave invaluable tips! Our Volunteer project was amazing!! These ladies had so much ambition/ potential, they can go far in this world! I can confidently say all the previous and present volunteers have made am impact on them- emotionally, physically and mentally/ intellectually. On the weekends, we were able to arrange crazy fun activities which other volunteers from other projects under Viva Tanzania NGO can join. I highly recommend this project to anyone and I would definitely go back! Maren, 26, Germany.