Zanzibar is world famous among travellers and tourists for its white sandy beaches and historic Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Known as the ‘Spice Island’, Zanzibar is alive with incredible smells and sounds to enrich the senses. If you would like to experience some rest and relaxation alongside hard work, Zanzibar is the place for you.
Teaching and multi-sports
African Adventures works with two large, overcrowded schools on the outskirts of Zanzibar Island’s Stone Town that educate a combined total of 10,000 children between the ages of 6-18. The schools are so overpopulated that they are required to split the school day in two, running classes for half the students in the morning and the other half in the afternoon.
Students learn by rote (rote learning is a memorization technique based on repetition) and therefore, do not always have underpinning knowledge. This means that lesson delivery is often less interactive than in the UK. Teachers will be either fully or partly qualified. A syllabus is followed using a text book and lessons are delivered accordingly. It is not uncommon for teachers to answer their phone during lessons, or leave their class unattended to focus on something else that requires their attention.
Sport is hugely popular in Zanzibar and all students are encouraged to participate in sessions. Despite the enthusiasm for it, access to opportunity when it comes to sport is severely limited, so sports volunteers will be welcomed with open arms at our partner projects. Football is Zanzibar’s first sport but our multi-sports coaching programme gives you the flexibility to coach a variety of sports and deliver sessions for those sports that you are most comfortable with. The students love to be introduced to new sports so do not be afraid to try something different for your sporting sessions.
As a teaching assistant volunteer, you will work alongside teachers and other volunteers to help manage the demands of educating large classes of mixed students. There are typically 100 children and only one teacher in each class, which can be extremely challenging because of the difference in academic ability across the student body. High-achieving students can be held back and struggling students can often get left behind. Teaching assistants can help bridge that gap because the class can be divided into smaller groups to work on more relevant topics. Once you feel comfortable with your allocated class, it may be that you start helping with lesson delivery and then progress to delivering lessons yourself.
If you opt to help with sports coaching, qualifications are advantageous but certainly not essential – don’t worry that students will be expecting professionals to turn up! Additionally, we have a fantastic set of coaching resources and tips for you to read through before you go to make sure you are well-prepared. Although you will have plenty of space for your sports classes, there will be very limited resources – if you need balls/bibs/cones, we would strongly encourage that you bring your own, and don’t forget a puncture kit! As a multi-sports coach, you will work alongside an English-speaking teacher to deliver your games and sessions. It is uncommon for teachers at the projects we work with to specialise in sports coaching so your support and ideas will be gratefully received. You could typically expect to start with two hour-long morning sessions at 9am. Lessons inside the classroom will then take place – some of which are based around health, the body and the theoretical elements of sport – which you will be invited to participate in. There will be times when lessons are not sports-focused and instead concentrate on other areas of the curriculum. You will be invited to participate in these, so that your days are busy and fulfilling.
Your volunteering day
You will wake up and meet for breakfast at around 7:30am and will then be taken to your allocated project around 8:30am to start your day’s volunteering. Remember to take plenty of water with you as it will be very hot and humid. A typical morning session at your school project will involve assisting in the classroom with English and Maths. This will include you using books, writing out activities on the chalkboard and engaging students in interactive learning by asking them to join you at the front of class. Learning English phrases and numbers through singing songs is often very popular. At around 10:30am, it is likely that classes will stop for morning break where there will be time for the children to have a snack and play games. This will be followed by another lesson until around 12:30pm when lunchtime will commence. You will break for lunch and be served a delicious, hot meal that is brought to you by your trip hosts.
After lunch, you may like to take your learning outside the classroom and get the children participating in a PE lesson. Activities may include bean bag racing, co-ordination exercises and counting games. These activities will depend on the resources available so we recommend bringing some sports equipment with you if you have specific sessions planned. Afternoon activities will finish at around 3:00pm, at which point you will be picked up and taken back to your accommodation to relax after a hard day’s work. You may have the chance to visit the market or explore Stone Town during the afternoon. Dinner will be served at your accommodation around 7:00pm, following which you can relax with a book, play some games or reflect on your day’s volunteering with other travellers. You may also like to practise your Swahili!
Building and renovation
The schools that African Adventures works with are government-run but do not receive much funding to help them develop and improve their facilities. They are incredibly overcrowded and desperately need new classrooms to help them manage student numbers within classrooms. Our building programme focuses on developing the schools’ facilities so that the children attending can enjoy a better education through improved learning environments.
Why we need your support
Whilst the schools we work with are government-run schools, they are severely underfunded. The buildings are old and tired, there are rarely enough desks for the number of students, and there is a significant lack of learning materials. The schools are heavily overcrowded and are struggling to accommodate the number of students that attend.
In fact, the schools are so overrun that they must have two sittings, one in the morning and another in the afternoon, which is unheard of in the UK! In the worst cases, there can be up to 175 children in one lesson, with only two teachers, and the children must learn sitting on the classroom floor; clearly not a conducive learning environment. Volunteers are desperately needed to help improve the quality of education delivered, through the creation of an enhanced learning environment.
Construction and renovation assistance
As a building volunteer, you will work at one of our partner schools to help us deliver Our Goals, which focus on working towards a point where the schools can provide a full day’s education to their students every day. Building and renovation work typically ranges from painting and decorating to assisting with the construction of new classrooms, kitchens and security walls. All the work that we organise is requested by the schools, so our building programme only ever meets an existing need.
You do not need any form of previous experience as all work is led by a local builder, who will deliver a short induction to explain how to carry out the work. Any specialist building work is reserved for those with qualifications, so do not worry about being out of your depth. You should be fit and healthy enough to carry out typical activities such as painting, cement-mixing, plastering and carrying moderately heavy items. If you are unsure about this, please contact your doctor.
Funding is provided by African Adventures and African Adventures Foundation, and the work you will be helping to carry out during your trip will be made clear prior to departure.
Your volunteering day
A typical day will begin at 9:00am and finish at 3:00pm. It can be very hot in Zanzibar, so it is important that volunteers keep well-hydrated and work at a steady pace. You will wake up and meet for breakfast at around 7:30am and you will then be taken to your allocated project at around 8:30am to start your day’s volunteering. Depending on your allocated construction work, a typical morning session at your school project might include cementing bricks for a new classroom, painting existing classrooms, or screeding classroom walls and floors. There will be a friendly team of qualified builders to help you with these tasks. You might like to take some gloves and eyewear with you for protection.
At around 10:30am, you can stop for morning break with the children, when they take time to have a snack and play games. After 30 minutes, lessons will recommence and you can continue with your building work for another hour or so. At around 12:30pm, your Trip Host will bring you a cooked meal, which will be well-deserved after your morning’s work. In the afternoon, you will continue with your building and renovation activities until the time the school closes at around 3:00pm and your Trip Host takes you back to the volunteer accommodation for some downtime. During the afternoon, you may like to visit the craft market or explore Stone Town. Dinner will be served around 7:00pm, after which you can either spend some time with fellow volunteers or just relax with a book and reflect on your day’s volunteering.
What to Expect
Zanzibar is a predominately Muslim island and Islam is heavily embedded within school life. There is a traditional uniform that all students are required to wear. Boys and girls sit separately within the classroom and if any groups need to be formed when delivering lessons, boys and girls will automatically ‘buddy up’ with same-sex friends. It is not uncommon to see teachers use the cane in Zanzibar. This can seem very strange to people from the West and we would advise volunteers to talk this through with their trip host at the end of the school day should they find it destressing.
Swahili is Zanzibar’s first language. Some lessons will be taught in English and most of the teachers will speak English, so there is not a huge language barrier. The students will want to practise their English speaking with you. Please do not underestimate the impact this can have on a young person trying to learn a new language, as it can be more valuable than you think. The students will enjoy trying to teach you some Swahili too! For many students at the schools, you being there will be their first interaction with people from the West, meaning some may feel nervous around you. Give it time, keep smiling and, gradually, we are confident you will build up a brilliant rapport.
There are likely to be other volunteers with you during your programme, meaning you will have the great opportunity of making new friends and bonding as a team. Outside of project hours, you can relax, get to know the other volunteers and the African Adventures staff on your programme, and explore the local area. Zanzibar is an incredible island with lots to see and do and our friendly in-country team are on hand with the best recommendations!
All the schools that African Adventures support receive grants from our official charity, African Adventures Foundation. This helps to fund ongoing work such as building new classrooms, and supplying teaching resources, new school facilities and equipment. Before you travel, you will know how your trip has contributed to your project’s ongoing development before you even step on the plane.
We believe in providing an experience which has clear two-way benefits. Not only will you be helping to create lasting change in this deprived area of Zanzibar, you will go on an amazing journey and learn a great deal in the process.
We are confident that you will:
- Learn valuable skills which you can use in the future.
- Gain experience that will benefit you and your career.
- Return home a more globally aware citizen.
- Help create lasting change in our partner schools.
- Feel proud of the impact you have made whilst volunteering.
- Go on an emotional journey that will make you appreciate what you have.
- Build new relationships and make new friends, possibly lifelong ones.
- Be inspired to continue helping to create change.
Your programme package
- Friendly pre-departure support and useful information
- Dedicated African Adventures Programme Co-ordinator and Zanzibar Trip Host
- Comprehensive personal travel insurance
- Western style accommodation with electricity, toilets and running water
- Daily transport to and from projects, if required
- Return airport transfers in-country
- Visit to fish market
- Three meals per day
- Fully organised project work, with clear objectives, advised prior to departure
- 24-hour in-country support
- Trips to historic and cultural areas of interest
2017 Programme Start Dates
2018 Programme Start Dates
Taste of Zanzibar Weekend +£150
Discover the hustle and bustle of historic Stone Town, which remains true to its old Arabian heritage as a busy market town. You will visit the House of Wonders, the old slave fort, the world famous fish market and the birth place of Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury.
Zanzibar is renowned for its exotic spices and exports them all over the world. You can see, taste and smell them all during the famous spice tour. The weekend ends at the beautiful Mbuyuni beach resort where you can get away from it all and immerse yourself in a beautiful coastal paradise.View the brochure
Ocean Safari Day +£100
The Ocean Safari is your chance to get up close and personal with Zanzibar’s famous marine life. Swim amongst the beautiful reefs of Fumba Peninsula in search of tropical fish and feel the sand between your toes on white sandy beaches. You’ll also have the chance to watch majestic humpback and bottlenose dolphins at Menai bay.
Prepare yourself for an all-you-can-eat seafood feast on Kwale Island. Here, you can try freshly grilled lobster, tuna, king fish and a variety of exotic fruits. Enjoy island living in all its glory by booking a day on African Adventures’ incredible Ocean Safari.View the brochure
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