Village Life Outreach Project is a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit that promotes community growth locally and abroad with a reach extending all the way to three remote villages in Northern Tanzania (Roche, Nyambogo, and Burere). Their work concentrates on three main areas: improving access to clean water, providing essential health care services, and helping to overcome the obstacles of obtaining an education.
Before Village Life began its mission, these extremely rural communities had no clean running water. People often had to share water sources with livestock, frequently gathering the water from local ponds, streams, and if possible, Lake Victoria. Reliable access to healthcare was almost nonexistent. Depending on which community someone lived in, there could be a full day’s walk to get to a local hospital. School children were attending classes in crumbling and unsafe buildings, forcing classes to be held outside in some cases. Access to secondary schooling was limited or unavailable, and students would frequently journey home for lunch and not return.
Facing these issues, Village Life and its partnership with the Roche, Nyambogo, and Burere communities have established three primary programs. The Life Program offers access to a source of clean water. The Health Program, which has developed the Roche Health Center, provides primary health care to a population of over 20,000. The Education Program operates a feeding program with seven primary schools that offer one meal a day three times a week, thereby increasing attendance and sending more students to receive a secondary level education.
Village Life’s ultimate goal is “to build sustainability and social entrepreneurship,” according to Executive Director Sue Casey-Leininger and Program and Development Director Buthaina Karaman. “We want these projects to last forever, even once Village Life completes its work. We are committed to empowering these three communities until we’re no longer needed.”
If you’d like to get involved, they recommend the following:
- Donating! It may seem simple, but especially in these uncertain times, every dollar helps keep life-saving work going. You can also join at Night on the Serengeti in September for a fun evening and to learn more about the work the local nonprofit does. Information for donations and Night on the Serengeti are on its website.
- Do you have a particular expertise? Join one of Village Life Outreach Project's committees. Their committees in the US and Tanzania work together to get work done. Their US committees for Life (water), Health, and Education meet monthly to use their expertise and resources to execute the programming in Tanzania. They're looking for all kinds of skills and talents—everything from doctors, nurses, teachers, and engineers to fundraisers, writers, and creative people.
- Are you a local high school or college student? The nonprofit offers some classes at the University of Cincinnati, independent study options, travel, local volunteer opportunities, and internships.
- Travel! Have you ever wanted to see East Africa? Join the nonprofit on one of its trips. While they take two large trips a year, they can arrange for travel almost anytime. They can put your skills to work or you can join them on a cultural immersion trip to learn more about their work and the amazing culture in Tanzania.
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Scroll through the gallery above to see photos from a trip to Tanzania made by Village Life Outreach Project. To learn more about the organization or to get involved, visit their site.