Community Partner since 1987.

Mothers around the world

In honor of Mother’s Day, we wanted to take a moment to recognize how our volunteers celebrate and support mothers around the world. From Tanzania to Ecuador, Montana to Greece, volunteers support mothers in developing communities in so many ways: encouragement, time, nutrition, self-sufficiency, recognition, heart, helping hands, peace, mentoring, and camaraderie.

Top 10 Ways You Can Support Mothers Around the World


1. Encouragement

Being a mother is perhaps the hardest job in the world. It’s a job full of joy, but one which also presents many challenges, especially when paired with providing for your family and being in charge of household tasks. Volunteers provide support and encouragement for mothers around the world by spending time with them, listening to their struggles and their hopes, and sharing their own stories.

Recently in Ecuador, a team of four volunteers had the chance to sit down with an Ecuadorian mother, Daniela, in her home. Daniela shared her experience of becoming a mother at the age of 18; her husband’s struggle to find employment where he is paid on time; and her difficulties in dividing her time between working, studying, and being home to take care of her children. Daniela shared with us the progress of her studies to complete her high school diploma and how she hopes to go on to study law, saying there are so many people in her community who need the help of a lawyer who is honest and who won’t steal from them. The volunteers listened intently while Daniela spoke about what she hopes to give back to her community and they offered encouragement and support to this determined mother of two young boys.

Mothers around the world

Volunteers with Ecuadorian mother Gloria with her children, nephews, and nieces

2. Time

One volunteer told the story of a mother and her children on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana, who lived on the far end of the tribal land, did not have a car, and had no real consistent access to anyone except each other. That volunteer shared the gift of time and companionship with this woman and both came away from that afternoon more hopeful and more connected.

3. Nutrition

In rural Tanzania where nutritious food is not always readily available, pregnancy can be a stressful time. Volunteers on short-term service programs help ease that stress by helping expectant moms embrace how important it is to get the nutrients their babies need to grow and thrive both through education and by helping distribute micro-nutrient packets to add to their food.

Mothers around the world

Tanzanian mothers drinking tea during a workshop on nutrition

4. Self-sufficiency

In the little village of Anse la Raye on the island of St. Lucia, mothers and their children live in houses that are built one next to the other with no land in between to grow fresh vegetables. Our volunteers work with mothers to establish and grow food in container gardens so that they and their children can get the nutrients they need from fresh vegetables they grow themselves.

Mothers around the world

Volunteer Bill and community leader Marie-Louise planting an EarthBox in St. Lucia

5. Recognition

Team members help recognize and elevate mothers around the world in our partner communities, and many such mothers live in places where resources are scarce and support systems weak. Daycare centers for very disadvantaged families in Ecuador provide young mothers with a safe, nurturing environment where they can leave their children while they go to work each day to provide for their families. This also gives some mothers the opportunity to go back to school.

Because two-thirds of our volunteers are women, and the majority of our volunteers have taught in the classroom, Global Volunteers are natural role models for the equitable treatment of girls. Volunteers demonstrate that women and men can perform any job and be successful in any career.

6. Heart

Greece is in the middle of a refugee crisis, with more than 62,000 refugees in camps throughout the country, and the majority of those refugees are mothers and their children. Most of the refugees are from Syria, Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan. A volunteer told the story of packing supplies, all donated by Cretan people, to distribute to refugees — primarily mothers and their children — in various camp sites throughout the country.

Mothers around the world

Volunteers Vita and Kathy with Syrian family in Greece

7. Helping hands

Sometimes the most important thing volunteers can provide is more hands to feed and nurture little ones. The caretakers at the daycare centers where Global Volunteers partners in Calderón, Quito in Ecuador have a heavy work load of caring for ten one, two, or three-year-olds each. On top of caring for their charges, they are responsible for lesson planning and cleaning tasks. And most of the caretakers are single mothers themselves, who go home to cook, clean, and care for their own children after a full day’s work. Volunteers in Ecuador help to alleviate the caretakers’ workload a bit, and provide more one-on-one attention to the little ones.

Mothers around the world

Caretaker Anita with volunteer Alyssa and her one-year-old charges in Ecuador

8. Peace

Global Volunteers’ mission is to wage peace and promote justice around the world. In Cuba, you can wage peace and represent the United States in a positive light while getting to know Cuban mothers. Volunteers serve at a sewing circle in Havana where mothers and grandmothers create table runners, bags, and decorations to sell, thereby giving them a source of additional income to provide for their families.

Mothers around the world

Volunteers Susan and Ann at church sewing circle in Havana

9. Mentoring

When you share your own parenting skills and experience, you’re sharing your story by way of your own struggles and triumphs as a parent. For instance, a pregnant woman or new mother in Tanzania can be baffled and fascinated by knowing that a baby in her womb can hear it’s mother’s voice. Stories about the first time you sang to your unborn baby and when you first felt a kick immediately creates a common bond of trust. Volunteers have taught new mothers to sing to their bellies. That’s been a lot of laughs! Talk about the sound of the mother’s heartbeat in her fetus’ ears and how that sound comforts him/her immediately after birth. Even when the infant is in her mother’s sling carrier, the baby can feel her heartbeat at the same time.

Mothers around the world

Mothers and their children with two new hand-washing stations in Tanzania

10. Camaraderie

Through listening, sharing, teaching, and working together, volunteers offer mothers around the world their camaraderie. In singing songs, playing games, doing repairs, caring for children, volunteers and mothers around the world offer each other their camaraderie.

mothers around the world

Volunteers teaching mothers conversational English at daycare center in Ecuador

To learn more about how you can celebrate and support mothers around the world or volunteer with your own children, check out these blog posts:

Click here to learn more about these programs to support mothers:

Cuba | Ecuador | Greece | Montana | St. Lucia | Tanzania 


While it’s never cited as the major motivation for joining a Global Volunteers Tanzania service program, a weekend trip to Ruaha National Park and Game Reserve can’t be topped.  This Tanzania safari destination is East Africa’s largest park and game reserve, about 40 miles from Iringa. It’s home to 10,000 elephants and over 500 species of birds, plus giraffes, lions, buffalo, cheetahs, leopards, hippos, baboons, zebras and antelope. And best yet – as compared to $2,500 up to $10,000 charged by commercial operators – the costs for this two-day Tanzania Safari is between $300 and $400. And, team members enjoy it just as much as so-called “luxury safaris.”

“When I applied, you didn’t tell me how much fun I was going to have!”
– Jim Colburn, Tanzania Volunteer

Tanzania Safari “Bonus:” A Volunteer’s Story

Team member Alyssa Kornowa writes about her Tanzania safari with seven other Global Volunteers at Ruaha National Park  – after a week of working with children and mothers in Ipalamwa.

Tanzania safari weekend trip

The landscape around Ipalama is green and vast.

“Our weekend guides Darrel and Joseph (driver) arrived and off we went! As we left Ipalamwa in daylight, we were able to see what we’d missed on our arrival in the dark. The landscape of the region is breathtaking – soaring mountains covered in countless shades of green; deep valleys where we see groves of fragrant eucalyptus and hillsides of farmed pine trees. The air is scented and cool. The rust red dirt adds to the beauty of the area. The road is bumpy, but the scenery and sense of adventure make the trip into Iringa. A short stop to take a “rest” and we head in a new undiscovered direction.

weekend tanzania safari road

The journey to a weekend away is bumpy, but scenic.

As we head to Ruaha we notice a dramatic change in the landscape. We leave the lush green and head into a flat, dry, monochromatic land of leafless trees some with the wildest Suessical shapes, especially the Baobab. More unpaved roads but the trick on the flat stretches is speed to minimize the jarring. It works!!

Tanzania safari trip to the savana

a drastic change in landscape – the baobabs are characteristic of the lowlands.

Our destination overlooks the Rift Valley!! The views from the lodge were amazing, stretching out from our individual cabins was a vast sea of grey leafless trees, the flat landscape was accentuated by mountains either singular or with a range. It looks so much like the high desert of California – once a seabed, is this the same geographic history? It’s also the same with Ipalamwa which to me looks like the mid-coast of California around San Simeon. I imagine this is what California might have looked like 200 years ago.

Tanzania safari lodge

The Ruaha Hill Top lodge is indeed on top of a hill!

The lodge is rustic and comfortable and the staff great us warmly. Dinner is buffet style and very good. After dinner, we are treated to the most wonderful night “star-vies.” The Milky Way and so many constellations which for a city dweller like me was a beautiful experience. We are off to sleep with open windows and nice breezes. We have an early start tomorrow for the safari.

A Full Safari Day – Saturday, September 9, 2017

We awoke this morning with the air blowing fresh through the barren trees as we anticipated the sun’s rise over the eastern mountains. A splash of golden color, and our day had begun. Ezra served us eggs, of course, along with cinnamon bread, fruit and some type of savory pancake. And juice of a mix of passionfruit and avocado. It was pretty delicious. We gathered up our things and left the lodge for our Tanzania safari, and a day of ADVENTURE it was! The number of animals we saw was unbelievable!

Impalas on tanzania safari

Impalas on our Tanzania safari adventure.

The large group split into two, with an open-air safari jeep and another jeep with a pop-up roof for 360 degree viewing. Park entries were paid by us, Joseph (our driver) and our guides Moses and Darrell and then we were on our way. Not even a few minutes into Ruaha National Park we were greeted by beautiful impala with their tan coats, stunning black and white markings, and spiked horns. Then came the kudu (greater and lesser), for which the park is known. As we rolled down the dusty road, we caught glimpses of the baboons and had our first encounters with giraffes, their long, black tongues plucking the red brush-like flowers from all that remains on the burning bush. During the dry season, this shrub is one of the only plants that sustains some of the animals. The bare trees left more opportunity to see the animals, but I think we all wondered what exactly it would be like during the rainy season when all the vegetation remained and varying shades of green quilted the landscape.

hippos on Tanzania safari

Our first stop was over the Ruaha River where we could view hippos and crocodiles from above. Many of us struggled to see the hippos as they appeared right before our eyes but blended in so well with the rocks. The crocodiles were very inactive as they sunbathed on the shore or slowly swam with their heads just above the surface. The birds we saw in the park often took a backseat to all the other animals but were impressive to watch in flight or when we could catch a glimpse of their colors. The birds included kingfishers, palm swifts, red-billed and ground hornbills, social weavers- who made nearly perfect round and golden grass nests- Guinea fowl- which frustrated Maynard to no end as he could never get a good photo before they scattered- tawny, batura, brown snake, and fish eagles, vultures, starlings, hammerkops, and saddle-billed storks, whose huge black and white wingspan and red markings and bill could be seen from a great distance. And these are just the birds that were pointed out to us. There were so many more.

lion on Tanzania safari

As we made our way through the 22,000 square kilometer park, we came upon zebras, water bucks, elephants, warthogs, mongoose, and finally gazelles and jackals. But some of the most impressive were the lions and leopards. Earlier this morning, Ezra said we were going to have a very good Tanzania safari day because we had the good fortune of seeing the baboon below us in the trees while eating breakfast. And he was right! While we were driving along the road, Moses had his eyes peeled for all animals and there he found, lying under a tree on a rock, a female leopard sitting perfectly still. She didn’t hardly move as we pulled right up alongside her. With her tail twitching slightly, she seemed to be unaffected by our presence. Whether this is good or bad, I don’t know. Moses was very excited to tell Darrel in the other vehicle and word was passed around to the other guides about the leopard’s location, since they are so rare to find.

Elephants on Tanzania safari

Our group stopped for a packed lunch near the dried riverbed where we could view some elephants who were digging their trunks in the sand to obtain any moisture that might remain below the ground. It was getting pretty hot so after lunch it didn’t seem like we saw as many animals out. They were probably trying to protect themselves from the heat. You could tell that the guides were looking for something special though, and it felt like we were in habitat where some lions might be. Suddenly, one of the guides spotted an area with a ton of vultures in the trees, and where there are vultures, there is most likely something dead for them to feed on. And where there is a fresh kill, there is oftentimes a lion. And this was exactly the case. Under the vultures lay a fairly fresh giraffe carcass, probably taken down by one of the 3 lions we found lying beneath a bush in the shade. It’s not a Tanzania safari without seeing lions feeding on a fresh kill. Again, the lions hardly noticed us as we pulled right up next to them. At this point, our day had pretty much been complete but not without seeing hundreds of impalas as we headed back to the entrance of the park.

Jeeps for Tanzania safari

But our day got even better with another type of adventure! We had to cross the dried riverbed once again before leaving the park so our guides told us to “hold on tight, always” as the big safari jeep tried to keep up its speed as it sunk into the sand. Joseph pressed on getting some magical traction from somewhere, leaving the smaller jeep with the other volunteers in the dust, now stuck in the hot sand. After crossing, our guide was able to connect with another vehicle that had a massive chain to tow the jeep. After about 20 minutes, we were again on our way. It’s hard to imagine what might happen without trusty guides and vehicles! It’s a long way to the park entrance!

As we ended our Tanzania safari, we passed through an “elephant graveyard”- not the type with skulls and bones but one with dead and fallen trees. We learned that the elephants strip the bark from mostly the massive baobab trees to obtain the calcium, nutrients, and moisture during the dry season. As the elephants strip the bark down low, they try to reach up further and further, even standing on their hind legs to get as much bark as they can. The stress this puts on the trees weakens it until eventually it becomes so deprived of its nutrients that it can topple down with the tug of an elephant’s trunk. The elephant, and then even some other animals, finish stripping the bark and remaining leaves, if any, and what’s left is a very blackened, dead-looking forest of downed trees. Driving through the “elephant graveyard” left an indescribable eerie feeling.

Somehow, we left the park feeling exhausted. It could be riding in the heat, but more likely it was just the fact that our senses were on overload all day as we tried to take in everything we could. Just after turning off the main road to head up to the lodge we saw yet another surprise! No, not a cheetah or water buffalo like we were hoping for to complete our Big 5 list, but the other jeep with a flat tire! One of the volunteers ironically had just asked Darrell how long tires last on a vehicle that puts up with so much abuse from the rough terrain – and not a minute or so later, bam… a flat tire! Thankfully these guys know what they are doing, and can have a flat fixed within minutes. How long would it take us since I’d bet most of us are either out of practice or have never even had to change a tire? It wasn’t long at all before the rest of the group joined us in receiving a  sweet cold towel from the lodge staff to wipe all the sweat and sand from our faces. Since we had some time before dinner we all freshened up and rested a little. Delicious peanut soup and salad, along with fish, vegetables, and potatoes were served for dinner. We reminisced about our day and soon everyone retired to their cottages, too tired from our Tanzania safari of a lifetime.”

Want a true humanitarian trip – helping mothers and children – and enjoy a Tanzania safari as a bonus?  Talk with a volunteer coordinator:

Chat online about volunteering abroad


Volunteer Voice: Read more about serving as a Global Volunteer in Ipalamwa, Tanzania from Tanzania volunteer alum Ruth Curran.


Hands on help

Volunteering gives you the chance to be a part of something bigger than yourself, find purpose, and use your civic responsibility for the greater good. On a Global Volunteers service program, you can provide hands on help to communities in need around the world. Without the help of volunteers, our partner communities would struggle to meet their basic needs. As a Global Volunteer, you won’t just be a bystander watching how local people are working for their communities – you’ll be an important part of that local development process. You’ll be right in there, working alongside local people who seek to better their community.

“I love rubbing elbows with young people of other cultures.”
– Dr. Bill Chase, 5-time Global Volunteer 

We have all kinds of projects around the world and so surely there is one that is the perfect match for your skills and interests. Join us. Take the leap to get your hands dirty, make a difference, learn about yourself and another culture, and help a community in need.

Here are the top 5 ways you can provide hands on help:

Top 5 Projects Providing Hands On Help


1) Paint and Repair Buildings

If you can wield a paintbrush or pound a hammer, we need your skills. Help preserve and maintain community facilities by renovating, repairing, and painting classrooms, community centers, health clinics, and childcare facilities. Brighten the lives of children by providing nicer facilities with a fresh coat of paint. Help with plumbing, electrical, and carpentry assistance. Teach young people to develop their trade skills. If you have experience in any of these areas, you can be of tremendous assistance in many communities.

Cook Islands | Cuba | Ecuador | Greece | Peru | Romania | St. Lucia | Tanzania | U.S.A. – Montana | U.S.A. – West Virginia

Hands on help

Volunteers Sue and Fran paint a mural in the Cook Islands

2) Tutoring and Classroom Teaching

Is math, chemistry, physics, geography, or biology among your passions? Tutor children at the primary or secondary school level. Work one-on-one and in small groups with students of all ages. In some communities, you will assist teachers and in others, you will plan your own lessons and activities. This may be the most fun you’ve ever had!

Cook IslandsPeru | St. Lucia | Tanzania

Hands on help

Volunteer Don tutors students in Peru

3) Gardening

Do you have a green thumb? Help establish, plant, weed, and harvest household, school, and community gardens. Help community leaders, students, and parents raise bountiful crops of fruits and vegetables.

CubaPeru | Tanzania

Hands on help

Student volunteers gardening alongside Cubans

“This has reminded me how good it feels to connect with others and how rewarding it is to give to others.”
– Melissa Ferrell, attorney and mother who volunteered with two of her sons in Ecuador

4) Parent Workshops

If you have a background in healthcare, food, nutrition, education, or business, we need your skills in Tanzania where volunteer professionals conduct interactive workshops with pregnant women and parents. Parents thirst for knowledge and want the appropriate technology so they can ensure the health and well-being of their children. You can present on a variety of topics, such as staying healthy during pregnancy; caring for newborns; healthy diets; child brain development; growing fruits and vegetables; raising poultry; preparing nutritious meals; positive discipline; psychosocial support; stress management; disease prevention ;and using games and toys to stimulate babies’ physical, social, cognitive, and emotional development. In coordination with our staff and Reaching Children’s Advisory Committee Chair, you select your topic. Our Tanzania staff will translate your presentation. Use your expertise to give hands on help in Tanzania!


Hands on help

Volunteer Ruth giving a presentation to Tanzanian women

5) Childcare

Offer the “extra” attention at-risk kids crave and deserve, while also mentoring them in social skills and hygiene. Stimulate their young minds and bodies. Work with children 1 to 5 years of age through co-creating arts and crafts, playing with toys, reading storybooks, teaching hand washing with soap and water, and more.

“I feel extremely fortunate to have spent the last week in Calderón with everyone at the daycare center. Although we did accomplish a lot in terms of SMART goals, it just doesn’t seem right to call it ‘work’. It truly is an opportunity.”
– John Fiegel, Cook Islands and Ecuador volunteer

Cook Islands | EcuadorPeruSt. Lucia | Tanzania

Hands on help

Volunteer John, Teacher Karina, and children giving thanks for their lunch in Ecuador


“I wish every American could do a Global Volunteers adventure. To get “into the trenches” in another culture is deeply humbling.”
– Suzanne Cochran, Ecuador volunteer


Be the change you wish to see in the world by providing real hands on help, as requested by communities around the world. Work under local leaders’ direction to improve their communities, and be a positive force for change. You can do this! 

Hands on help

Teachers Jorge and Karen with volunteers Lena, Jen, and Justin in Costa Rica

Chat online with a Volunteer Coordinator about which of our programs best suits your skills and interests. Chat online about volunteering abroad

Volunteer in Africa

Volunteer Ruth Curran reflects on sharing her experiences as a volunteer in Africa with her friends and family at home, and how difficult it can be to do justice to the depth of those experiences.

As A Volunteer in Africa

After serving as a Global Volunteer in Africa, Ruth writes about how to tell that story. She’s hesitant because she fears people may be uncomfortable with some of her experiences, and in disbelief about others. When thinking of the promise she saw in Tanzania, she writes:

“I bet, however, that you will write that all that off as idealism or the romance of the moment in hindsight or the view from the other side of my rose colored glasses or the perspective from my glass overflowing take on life. I know that. I appreciate that. I respect that position.”

She says of Tanzanians with whom she worked:

“These people allowed me to think in ways that I did not even know I could. I came out not just changed by the experience this time but a better thinker – a multidimensional thinker – because of these three and a half weeks.” 

Volunteer in Africa

Ruth serving women tea at a Reaching Children’s Potential Workshop

Ruth is an author, writer, and speaker who first came in contact with Michele Gran, Global Volunteers’ co-founder and CEO, when she was doing research for a book about brain health and the brain benefits of travel and living a purposeful life. Ruth is a Master of Science with more than 28 years of experience as a business development executive, strategist, and organizational behaviorist. After learning about Global Volunteers through her research, she served as a volunteer in the Caribbean (St. Lucia) in 2015. She joined the Reaching Children’s Potential Advisory Committee that same year. Since then, Ruth has served as a volunteer in Africa (Tanzania) on two service programs and is registered for a third in Tanzania in July 2018. Due to her commitment to Global Volunteers’ work around the world, in 2017 Ruth joined the Global Volunteers staff team as our Director of Partnerships and Collaborations, managing our educational and institutional partnerships.

Her blog post explores her day-to-day experiences in Ipalamwa, Tanzania as a volunteer in Africa and how she finds it so difficult to capture the feelings and wonderment she experienced while there.

“I don’t believe I even know how to tell you about how a magnificent 13-year-old young woman who, without even realizing, gracefully shined a light in the darkness and changed the tone – created a moment of safety and sanity in a world that held neither – for another young girl whose life, experience, and existence held so little hope.”

Volunteer in Africa

Ruth watching the sunset in Tanzania

Read the original blog post: If You Ask Me About My Trip to Africa…


Team Journal Entry for September 6, 2017 from Team #2 to Ipalamwa, Tanzania

Each volunteer team of Global Volunteers prepares a team journal for the service program. Each entry assumes the personality of the author, and many are greatly entertaining. We find this entry by team member Beverly, an attorney, especially creative! See if you agree!



 Brought by Petitioner Team 2, Reaching Children’s Potential Demonstration Program

 September 7, 2017


This Motion asks that the Court declare the day September 6, 2017 a very fine day in the life, work, and experience of Team 2, Reaching Children’s Potential Demonstration Program (hereinafter referred to as “Team 2”). This motion is based on the relevant facts and law as set forth below: first, in a statement of pertinent facts and second, on the applicable law as applied to those facts. Team 2 is confident that, upon reviewing this Motion, the Court will be compelled to grant the requested relief: a declaration that September 6, 2017, was, indeed, a very fine day.


  1. Day broke with a fine mist and muted shades of grey, green, and ochre, and with the sound of Abby’s camera clicking away madly while volunteers gamely allowed their morning faces to be memorialized.
  2. Mama Tony’s eggs o’ the day and porridge with sweet golden raisins satisfied our tummies, and holding cold hands near Mama Tony’s blazing cook-fire satisfied the need to take the chill off the early morning air.
  3. English Language Camp teachers strode purposefully in the wake of Captain O’Captain Tim, to meet their young charges — up to about 55 from yesterday’s 40. The team “flexated”— a term which appears wholly unrelated to Charles Atlas and body-building — by trying new and different approaches to engage, enrich, amuse, and show love to the campers. Every one of them used the hand-washing stations before lunch. A teaching take-away lesson? No matter how closely-aligned with curriculum — learning colors in English, for example — beach balls in the classroom are not a pedagogically-sound teaching technique.
  4. Day two for the Workshop Team brought education, fellowship, and treats to 13 moms, most of whom had brought their infants and toddlers; and the workshops boasted process-improvements like a second hand-washing station. Highlights of the workshops included impromptu praise singing and dancing in celebration of the hand-washing stations that would soon be installed at the moms’ homes; and, most spectacularly, visible proof that the workshop had had its desired effect when a mom took her toddler for a bathroom break outside, and immediately thereafter washed his and her own hands.
  5. The Hand-washing-station Building and Installation Team continued its record-breaking pace by installing seven new stations, recognizing that would have been impossible without the expertise of local partners like Julius and Babu who are able to take any pit or ditch and make it exactly right, and to stir up a batch of cement like some might mix a Betty Crocker box cake.Tanzania
  6. The Home Visit Team’s morning saw the team, with Regina, first rounding up and giving a ride to a few stragglers who were late for the morning workshop, and with good reason: their choice at 9 a.m. was to get water for the family or to attend the workshop. They, quite understandably, opted for getting water. A growing sense of community was evident, demonstrating that four women can sit down on chairs, elegant sofas, or logs anywhere in the world and talk about men, children, and the challenges of pregnancy. That sense of community continued in the afternoon with installation of five hand-washing stations — three of them in a close little neighborhood with friendly moms and curious kids. An impromptu game of catch morphed into a strange version of keep-away and finally to a no-net, rudimentary volleyball practice.
  7. The sun set as it had risen, muted yet lovely, and it softly shadowed the evening walk some volunteers took to the nearest shop to buy, and enjoy, a local brew.


The law in this matter is compelling:

  1. The Law of the Heart tells us we want to connect with others, both near and far.
  2. The Law of Adventure tells us to seek out far places and new people.
  3. The Law of Flexibility tells us that flexating is good for body, mind, and soul.
  4. The Law of Science tells us it is crucial to reach pregnant moms, babies, and young children in the first 1,000 days, to arrest and eliminate the preventable tragedies of stunting and disease.
  5. The Law of Logic tells us if people who can volunteer to help people who ask for help, great things can happen.
  6. The Law of Experimentation tells us to try, evaluate, and improve.
  7. The Law of Holding Babies and Giggling with Children tells us there is nothing better.



Petitioners Team 2, Reaching Children’s Potential Demonstration Program, assert that the applicable law as summarized above, when applied to the facts described herein, leave the Court with no alternative other than to declare that September 6, 2017, was, indeed, a very fine day.

Respectfully Submitted,
Team 2 by Beverly Hall Burns, Esq.
Its Attorney for the Day

To see more captivating photos (just like these!) of Team 2 to Ipalamwa, Tanzania, please enjoy this photo album.

Or, read these moving blog posts from our first team to Ipalamwa:
Reflections from Team #1 in Ipalamwa
A Volunteer’s Powerful Reflections from the Inaugural Ipalamwa, Tanzania Team

Reflections in Tanzania

Reflections in Tanzania from Global Volunteers Team #1 to Ipalamwa
by Ruth Curran, Team #1 volunteer, Global Volunteers board member, and Reaching Children’s Potential (RCP) advisory committee member

I know that journal entries are about creating a diary and chronicling the events of each day – that is important and that will give us all a record to look back on. I also know that every time someone writes and reads their impressions of the day, I get a deeper look into their heart and that is such a gift. I am honored to be the first. Here we begin our work and our reflections in Tanzania.

Ruth’s Reflections in Tanzania on Day One 

I remember reading the preparatory materials before my very first Global Volunteers service program and chuckling when I read these words: Expect the unexpected. I thought “I am pretty flexible and seriously, what could be so unexpected that it might throw me off my game?” Ha! Silly naïve me! That first day on that first trip and those that followed, delivered on that promise and now, the unexpected and my ability to adapt in situations that I had not imagined, are things I simply look forward to.

Good thing because this trip threw us a huge curve ball and, as the unexpected seems to do, gave us all the opportunity to shine and grow into a stronger team.

Reflections in Tanzania

When Dan, Emily, Stephanie, and I arrived at the Lutheran Center in Iringa after our early morning flight, Bud greeted us with a warm welcome, coffee, breakfast, and news. There was a little uneasiness about how the rest of the team would react to the unexpected changes, but there was no pessimism, no regrets, no looking back. I could feel that we all knew we had a purpose so much greater than the first hurdles placed in our path.

The second plane arrived, Joe’s car pulled up, we all checked in to our lodging, and we left for dinner. As the evening went on and everyone started sharing their stories, I got the feeling that even though our reasons for being here varied, our hearts were all in the same place. I watched in awe as the team began to form. Each one of us is thrilled to be, as Bud said, laying the foundation for the ground floor of a project that just might shift the balance of the world and make it a better place for children to grow and thrive.

That is staggering and heartwarming and awe-inspiring and is, in my opinion, nothing short of magical.

What a perfect start to TEAM ONE – something I have been looking forward to since this time last year and I am so excited to be on this journey with this group of people. Bring on the unexpected – we’ve got this!

Reflections in Tanzania

Team #1 to Ipalamwa, Tanzania

After two full weeks (of three total) of volunteering in Ipalamwa building hand-washing stations, planting container gardens, teaching, and working with mothers and their young ones, Ruth reflects more:

Ruth’s Reflections in Tanzania on Day 14 

The end of the second week on this project ended with no boom, no bang – just a gentle poof. According to Dan and Makarios, that is the best possible sound. The last introductory workshop was as unique and wonderful as all of the rest had been – this was a smallish group of moms and caretakers, seven by the end, all with babies in tow. They smiled and nodded through the content, appeared engaged in the conversation, and were definitely hungry for more.

I walked away from this workshop knowing that this week, with this introduction, we took the first baby step on what will be a very long, sometimes bumpy, often slow moving road to somewhere we can’t really yet fully imagine but know it is one filled with the promise of a healthy “someday” for many children.

The teachers and hand-washing expert went off to school, the engineers put the finishing touches on the first garden boxes, and Bud ticked off the final items on the building check list.

Reflections in Tanzania

Ruth at a newly built hand-washing station

The afternoon was filled with report writing, celebration planning, a whole lot of loose-end tying, and a bit of planning for the future. Except of course for Sara, Grace, and Joan who left for a weekend of relaxation and animal spotting at the Hill Top Lodge.  Emily, Kelly, Stephanie, and I, hands covered with glow-in-the-dark “germs”, went to the Secondary school to re-enact and film the hand washing – germ transfer game. Such a joy to hang out with both those amazing women and their new friends. On the way back, we spoke about the difference in feeling between working with students in the secondary school who spoke a bit of English and had some goals and aspirations, and working with families with infants who, in many cases, were working to get enough food to get through the day. No judgement – simply different. Both equally needed and important and valuable for both us personally and we hope, this village. We are all, whether we are aware of it or not, leaving our unique imprint on this community.

The end-of-week-two celebration brought a few surprises. The first and probably most unbelievable was that a group of six invited guests actually showed up, on time! The program itself was nothing short of inspiring – that in and of itself was not a surprise but the performances were. Three secondary students just blew us away with two songs. Even I had tears in my eyes as their beautiful voices filled the courtyard. Anna, Winnie, and Regina belted out a song so filled with gratitude and hope it took my breath away. Bud told the story of his friendship with the Bishop and how RCP is the by-product of that trusting relationship. Finally, I knew the Bishop would speak beautifully, but when he made us laugh and cry and think and wonder all at the same time, I turned to Emily and said “that is why I was so inspired to work so hard to come back and be a part of all of this”. Honestly, how could I not…. Excellent food, laughter, and good feelings filled the porch and courtyard.

I remain in awe of the possibilities and promise of this final week and can’t wait to hit the ground running.

Reflections in Tanzania

Ruth caring for a baby

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Tanzania Volunteer with Global Volunteers

Reflections on Ipalamwa, the village that is at the top of the mountain and the end of the road…

From a Team #1 Tanzania Volunteer, Robi Kronberg:

Images, experiences and memories of Ipalamwa will forever be a part of me. As a member of the inaugural team to the village of Ipalamwa, I experienced a life change in my two weeks of learning from and working with the people of Ipalamwa.

Here is what I will forever hold in my heart…
  • the brilliant smiles that are as plentiful at the signs of impoverishment
  • the resilience of Ipalamwa’s people that is as prevalent as their hunger
  • the knowledge that hope can and does coexist with despair
  • hearing from the parents of Ipalamwa their desire to raise healthy children… a universal wish shared by parents all over the world
  • the authentic desire of school children to be learners and thinkers
  • the laughter of children at play
Tanzania Volunteer - Children Playing

Beautiful smiles of some of the children in Ipalamwa

  • the shyness of both volunteers and community members that blossomed into friendships
  • the beauty of Ipalamwa’s people, their pride, their strength, and their willingness to open their homes and hearts to strangers in hope of creating life-changing partnerships
Here is what will bring me back…
  • the desire to see parent’s dreams for their children come true
  • the passion to make a contribution to a project much bigger than any one person
  • to once again gaze at the southern hemisphere, where the stars and galaxies are so brilliant in the night sky that the experience can’t be described in words
  • to feel again the sensory experience of bumps on a well-worn dirt road and the handshake of welcome and gratitude from a grandmother who deeply loves her family
  • to see again the red dirt blended with the brown stalks of corn, green avocado trees, and earth-toned brick of huts and homes – all of those colors seamlessly blended with the vibrancy of the cloth artfully wrapped around the women of the village
Tanzania Volunteer - Women in Ipalamwa

Traditional cloth used in Tanzania

  • to smell again the air of the surrounding hills and mountains and the smoke from a family’s cooking fire
  • to once again savor the camaraderie of a group of volunteers bonded by passion, laughter, and the shared experiences of Ipalamwa

Feeling inspired?

The inaugural Ipalamwa, Tanzania team served in July 2017 (see photo below). They focused on launching the Reaching Children’s Potential (RCP) program, a child-focused, comprehensive, holistic effort beginning with pregnancy and continuing through the 18th birthday.

Tanzania Volunteer - Global Volunteers

Inaugural Ipalamwa, Tanzania volunteer team in July 2017

Volunteers from all walks of life are needed to educate, assist, and support the parents, community members, and children in Ipalamwa. View the full, year-round schedule. You may also like:

Tanzania Volunteers with Global Volunteers

From Robi Kronberg, one of the Tanzania volunteers on the inaugural Ipalamwa team:

My suggestions to future Ipalamwa, Tanzania volunteers…

  • The children may initially be shy, but they will warm up quickly. They enjoy having their pictures/videos taken and seeing themselves immediately afterwards. This activity is a great way to “break the ice” with then. You will love their enthusiasm and their beautiful smiles. (Note Global Volunteers’ photography policy of waiting three days of being in the community to take pictures.)
  • The families whom you will visit are inviting us into their homes. When they offer you a chair or a stool, be aware that they are extending a warm welcome for you to share in their lives, even if only for 10 minutes. Take a seat and experience the part of their life they desire to share with you.
  • The local Global Volunteers staff are amazing. See them as partners in this shared work. Use them as resources, soak up their knowledge.
  • Your emotional reaction to things you see and experience may range from despair to hope. Allow those emotions and savor the depth of your feelings. Process with your teammates, share your feelings and thoughts at the nightly team meetings. It helps.
  • Be prepared for the experience to have a profound impact on your life. That is a good thing… It will keep the experience alive and continue to push you towards action.

Tanzania Volunteers - Ipalamwa

  • Enjoy your teammates. Embrace the opportunity to be in close proximity to people who may or may not have similar life experiences to you. Share pictures of your family, your pets, things that are important to you. Play a new game, share a bottle of wine, or your favorite tea. Laugh together, cry together. It’s part of sharing an experience as profound as this will be. Take at least one night to look at the stars. You will never forget the sight.
  • Allow yourself to grow. Push your comfort zones. Learn from community members and each other.

Tanzania Volunteers - Team Members

  • Realize that you are one small part of a project that will be the catalyst for significant change in the lives of many. Your contribution can and will change the trajectory of people’s lives and people’s futures.
  • Realize that you may have known about this project for only a short time while those visionaries who conceptualized this project have spent years, decades, putting all of the pieces in place to bring this to fruition. We, as volunteers, have a responsibility to honor the dreams, hopes, and hard work of those who have committed their hearts, souls, and minds to the RCP project. Don’t let them down.

Visit our Tanzania page to learn how to become a Global Volunteer in Ipalamwa and be the change in children’s lives.

crowdsourcing to volunteer abroad

Read about how one Global Volunteer used crowdsourcing to volunteer abroad – raising enough funds to cover both the program fees and to buy schoolbooks for students in Tanzania.

“Kelly is one of those full of life, bursting at the seams with joy and laughter people who feels the world on a deeper level than most.”
– Ruth Curran, Global Volunteers board member and teammate to Kelly

Kelly Molloy, a math teacher from Long Island, decided to honor her 50th birthday by serving in St. Lucia. In Anse la Raye, St. Lucia, Kelly says she fell in love with everything both Global Volunteers and cultural immersion experiences, and found a sense of purpose that she did not know lived in her soul. In July 2017, Kelly served on the inaugural service program to Ipalamwa, Tanzania in East Africa. For both service programs, Kelly crowdsourced the program fee simply using Global Volunteers website for St. Lucia and GoFundMe for Tanzania, posting all results and thank yous on Facebook.

 “It was very easy to set up a fundraising webpage on the Global Volunteers website.”
– Kelly Molloy

Crowdsourcing to Volunteer Abroad

Last year Kelly’s friend Gila, a social media queen, advised her to simply “tell people what you are doing, tell them you are raising money, and see what happens”. On Facebook Kelly shared that she was going on this service program, provided a link to donate, and watched in awe as email after email came in telling her that yet another person had made a contribution. Kelly said she was shocked at the results. She then used Facebook to thank each of the contributors. What happened then was even more amazing to her. Her friends on Facebook started to share the thank yous and money started coming in from people she didn’t even know. Kelly and her two friends Gila and Amy who were going to serve in Tanzania together all used a combination of GoFundMe, Global Volunteers’ fundraising portal, and Facebook to raise all the money for their service program fees!

crowdsourcing to volunteer abroad

Kelly with Tanzanian students

Crowdsourcing donations for schoolbooks for Tanzania students

While in Tanzania for two weeks, Kelly taught math at the secondary school in Ipalamwa where she formed a real bond with both the students and teachers. She was extremely impressed by the level of math competency — especially given that they had no calculators and no text books. Teacher Jessica copies everything done from her one textbook onto the blackboard and then the students copy it down onto paper. And sometimes it would happen that students would copy down something wrong, and then would not be studying the correct thing. When Kelly investigated a bit more and found out each text book cost $5, she thought it was outrageous that students do not have them to study. Even such basic supplies such as chalk are hard to come by in the schools in Ipalamwa.

That lit a fire under her – such a small amount to make such a huge difference. Immediately upon returning home, Kelly started a schoolbook fundraising campaign on GoFundMe and through Facebook and within three days she raised $1,600 for books for the school in Tanzania. That means books for 100 students in Ipalamwa! Kelly will be donating this money to Global Volunteers so that the in-country staff can make sure that the money is spent on books and the children Kelly and others supported.

Kelly plans on continuing to serve on at least one service program per year, and is already registered to serve in Tanzania in summer 2018.

“Being involved with Global Volunteers’ service programs changed my life.” – Kelly Molloy 

crowdsourcing to volunteer abroad

Kelly with students in Ipalamwa, Tanzania

Want to learn more about crowdsourcing to volunteer abroad?

Read 6 Creative Tips for Fundraising to Volunteer Abroad.

You, too, can do it!

For more tips for fundraising to volunteer abroad, chat online with one of our Volunteer Coordinators.

Ipalamwa Tanzania

Ipalamwa, Tanzania is a small rural village of about 5,000 in the highest highlands of the Iringa District. It’s literally at the “end of the road.” And, what a road it is!  From here, it seems you can see all the way to the end of the Earth. Indeed, the clear, vast perspective from Ipalamwa reveals the Earth’s curvature on the distant horizon – unobscured by pollution or urban construction. Clear vision. Clear intention.

A distinct clarity of perspective is also evident inside this enterprising community, which has become the nexus of our most ambitious program on the African continent. The Tanzania Reaching Children’s Potential (RCP) Demonstration Program is setting the standard for essential service delivery to children and families – with the goal of eliminating childhood stunting within the Iringa District. At the point of success, more communities will be engaged to replicate the RCP model throughout the country.

Ipalamwa Tanzania

Reaching Children’s Potential (RCP) projects engage volunteers of all backgrounds and students of all ages.

Reaching Children’s Potential in Ipalamwa, Tanzania

With the program launch this year, a beehive energized professionals, generalists, retirees, students, faculty and families from across North America. Volunteers are mobilized on a wide range of service projects:

  • Demonstrating proper hand washing with soap and water
  • Teaching breast feeding, prenatal nutrition and fitness during pregnancy
  • Engaging preschool children in learning activities and teaching classroom subjects to primary and secondary school students
  • Providing baby stimulation and psychosocial support at caregiver home visits
  • Teaching health education, hygiene and disease prevention to families
  • Helping local tradesmen with light labor and construction
  • And more, depending upon monthly needs

We’re committed to sustaining these projects for decades, and we rely on everyone’s participation – yours and those you recruit to join you. Building on the outcomes of our five-year demonstration project in St. Lucia, and over three decades of engaging some 33,000 volunteers worldwide, we know eliminating stunting is possible. Learn more about the goals of the RCP program and the details of serving in Ipalamwa here.

You’re needed! Chat online with a Volunteer Coordinator to learn more about helping in Ipalamwa.

Chat online about volunteering abroad