Give something back to the orphans of Tanzania in exchange for all the hospitality

Give something back to the orphans of Tanzania in exchange for all the hospitality

Give something back to the orphans of Tanzania in exchange for all the hospitality

My name is Suzan Kommers and I have the honor to tell you about the project I did last summer in Tanzania. After my AIESEC internship of seven weeks, my Tanzanian adventure came to an end but I felt the urge to do something extra to give back to this lovely country. During my stay I noticed the beauty of the country, but also realized what a lack of resources can do to a country and the people who live there. In my last week I seized my chance to give something back in exchange for all the hospitality and beautiful moments I had in Dar-es-Salaam, the city where I lived for two months.

During that time I looked for a project idea, which was harder than I expected, firstly because I wanted to do something for those who need it the most and secondly I wanted to create a longer impact. At one point I heard on the radio an item about an orphanage in Dar-es-Salaam that had financial difficulties making an appeal for support. Together with a local friend, I visited the orphanage. After the 103 orphans had serenaded me with their welcome songs I got a tour around the orphanage. The conditions in the house were the most miserable I had ever seen. No beds let alone chairs and tables, because of the lack of space, this was impossible. The whole situation was very poor.

Fortunately, all the children went to school, but I noticed that there was very little to do for them after school finished in the afternoon. After speaking with the owner of the orphanage, I got a clear idea of what was needed. The owner of the orphanage indicated that books would be highly appreciated because reading materials could not only serve as entertainment, children could also teach each other in a playful way after school. For me this was the project I would focus on.

And I realized that with a small donation from friends and family in the Netherlands I could achieve a lot with a relatively small amount for the orphans. To me it seemed nice to be able to donate without all the hassle, which still often is the case in large NGO’s. Through an email with pictures and a clear description of what I wanted do, I contacted my friends and family to contribute to my aid project. Also by using Facebook this message would be easily distributed and before I knew it, little by little donations were coming in. It was very nice to receive support from so many people from the Netherlands (and of some who I didn’t know) who all liked it and wanted to contribute so I could make it happen. The enthusiastic reactions were overwhelming.

After just four days, I had received more than 400 euros which made me realize that I had to start thinking about what else would be needed beside the books. So I decided to spend half the money on books and the rest on food for better nutrition (and of course for better studying). Lastly I wanted to donate a bookcase so that there was a good place to store the books and keep them in good condition.  With the help of other interns and local friends we purchased all the goods needed.

At a big party, with drinks and bananas for the children, we handed over all the goods. It was great to see all the happy and smiling faces! What a great end of my internship. Afterwards I sent everybody who had donated an email with the great result and included some nice photos. After I left, one of my friends went to the orphanage and informed me that everything was still neatly in place and properly used. I am really very thankful that I had the opportunity to do this and truly believe that I helped the orphans by making their life a bit happier! And this all thanks to the contribution of my friends.

I am also very happy that during an AIESEC preparation meeting I heard about Let’s Creaid and joined the workshop so they gave me concrete tool to set up and run a small-scale aid project.

Suzan Kommers – Utrecht