An article originally published by Childreach International, September 2014.

As the highest fundraiser for Childreach International in 2013, Brunel University student Lisa was offered the opportunity of an internship at Childreach Tanzania’s office. Read more about how she became our highest fundraiser last year and what she got up to in Tanzania in August 2014.

Jambo! My name is Lisa, but I am more commonly know as Hooch. After months of hard work fundraising for Childreach International, I was rewarded with the amazing prize of an internship at Childreach Tanzania. Here is my diary of my time with the team.

I am writing this from my backpackers’ hostel in Moshi Town, which is a delightful little stopover for young travellers, located literally next door to the Childreach Tanzania office. Now that’s a commute I could get used to!

But how did I get here? I’m glad that you asked! Childreach International offers an amazing prize to the winner of the Highest UK Fundraiser Award at their annual Student Engagement Awards ceremony. In 2012-2013, I raised over £5,300 for my Mount Kilimanjaro climb, and clinched the title! I am often asked how I raised that much, and this is just a quick summary. My most successful event was a cabaret show with a fish and chips dinner included, which fetched £1,000 on the night. But mostly it was a combination of many, many little things throughout the year – Krispy Kreme and cake sales, many car boot sales, selling glowsticks/sweets at nightclubs, a quiz night, corporate sponsorship, incessant social media spamming and constantly asking friends/family for sponsorship.

My fundraising was already going very well when a member of the Student Engagement team told me about the prize for the internship. So I thought, ‘why not?!’ It was a struggle trying to balance it all with my dissertation and placement, but organisation and motivation can help you achieve anything! When I found out I had won, I was thrilled! Now I am here, and it has been the experience of a lifetime.
My role for the internship was in communications. To make sure I was able to fully maximize my time in Tanzania, the UK office kindly invited me to intern in London for a month to learn the brand guidelines, social media strategy and the Childreach International approach in more depth. So by the time I arrived I was a whizz in all things social media and able to handle the website.
Thankfully this was my second trip to Tanzania, so I was already familiar with the conversational basics, and I had local contacts kind enough to join me for my first few evenings to help me find my feet. The staff at Childreach Tanzania were also very welcoming. On my first day, I was taken around the office, introduced to everyone and given lots of information on the work Childreach Tanzania does. It was a bit of an information overload, but by the end of my month, I felt like I could take on any questions!
The first week was very office-based, but still extremely productive. It was a chance to get to grips with the social media, introducing ways to make using it more effective and to boost the numbers of followers and likes on Twitter and Facebook. I also wrote a lot of news content and used my experience in Photoshop to create content.
Week two was a lot more full-on. The second waves of Childreach’s Kilimanjaro teams were beginning, and there were four project visits to squeeze in this week. These were thoroughly enjoyable, despite the slightly earlier starts. We would arrive at the Keys Hotel (where all the participants stay) and give each group a briefing on our work and the school they would be visiting. Each project visit included a tour and lots of playtime with the children. My role at these visits was to take ample amounts of photos of the participants, but also to talk to children and find out more about them. It is very important to Childreach International that all their work and communications is child-centred and gives children a voice.
During my penultimate weekend, I accompanied Charles from the Tanzania team on a visit to the two Big Build sites at Maendeleo and Mangi Sabas schools. The volunteers were on a relaxing day off, so I took a little wander around each site and was informed of the progress. At Maendeleo, I joined the Queen’s University Belfast students in creating our own paintings! This was quite messy work, and my inability for artistry was demonstrated, but the finished product wasn’t too bad! I look forward to hanging it on my bedroom wall when I get home.
A real favourite aspect of working in this office is the sign language classes we have to conclude each working day. Childreach Tanzania is running these because of their work to promote deaf children’s education. I was able to learn greetings, the alphabet and weekdays in Swahili sign language, which felt like a big achievement. It has inspired me to learn British Sign Language (BSL) when I get back to the UK.
My final week zoomed by so fast, thanks to even more project visits. I used the first two days in the office to really prepare the social media for the next month, as well as create more video content and prepare a press release. On the first week, I was blessed to have been able to attend the official opening of a new playground at Mgungani School by The Sarah Groves Foundation. It was both a moving and celebratory day, with remembrance for Sarah, speeches, many songs and dancing. I also did another visit to a school with a Kilimanjaro group, and had the opportunity to visit the Ghona Vocational Training Centre for the Deaf to put my limited sign language back to work!
But all work and no play would make a tedious trip. This was not the case! On a bank holiday, I had the chance to take a dip in the Kikuletwa Hot Springs. Charles (Operations) took me up part of Kilimanjaro to see the Materuni Waterfall (it is so cool and fresh!) and I went out for a fantastic dinner with Giusy (my boss, as it were) and Terry (Finance).
The whole experience of working abroad has been an absolutely amazing one! I was looked after so well at my hostel by the manager, Mosses, everyone in the office welcomed me as one of their own, and I’ve made great friends that I will sorely miss! Our last meal out altogether was fantastic. Amazing food, great company and nearly some tears of sadness that I had to say goodbye. It is an experience that I 100% recommend!
UPDATE (22nd September 2014) – Today is my first day in London as the new Communications Executive at Childreach International. After volunteering, fundraising and interning, I am thrilled to now be a part of the team on a full-time basis! I encourage you all to take advantage of this international internship opportunity as the career prospects within the charity sector upon your return are fantastic.
Every year, Childreach International give away an internship in one of their international offices in either India, Nepal or Tanzania. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be their highest fundraiser this year, get involved!

 

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