By Heather Abrey
Kitchener Post staff
If you’ve always dreamed of making a difference in a foreign country, then Give International is looking for you.
The organization is co-ordinating a volunteer trip as part of the City of Kitchener’s ongoing relationship with Morogoro, Tanzania. Twelve volunteers will be selected to travel to the African city from July 6 to July 20.
“There will definitely be work in both education and the orphanage, but there will also be opportunity, if there is a nurse or somebody from the medical profession, they can go work in the hospital,” said Ward 5 Coun. Kelly Galloway-Sealock, who has travelled to Morogoro herself and has been a leader in relations with the African city.
“The volunteers will really be able to pick and choose which activities they want to participate in while they’re over there.”
Participants must be over the age of 16 and have a valid passport. Anyone under 18 must have parental consent.
Non-Kitchener residents are also welcome to apply to the program.
The trip costs $4,400 and is tax deductable. There is a $600 initial deposit.
“That covers pretty much everything you need when you’re over there, minus your spending money,” said Galloway-Sealock.
“You can fundraise that money from family and friends and that can help pay towards your trip.”
Vaccination costs are not included in the price.
Galloway-Sealock is planning to hold a fundraiser in the near future, though no details are currently available. The money raised will be used to buy supplies for the schools and orphanage in Morogoro.
“If you can’t go on the trip, there’s still going to be an opportunity to help out the people who are going,” she said.
The trip will include days volunteering, but travellers will have time in the evening to explore the city. There will also be a two-day safari, and a day spent in Dar es Salaam — the largest city in Tanzania.
Volunteers will stay in the Morogoro hotel — one of the nicest in the city, according to Galloway-Sealock.
“You’ll have your bed and your running water and your mosquito nets to keep you covered,” she said.
Galloway-Sealock travelled to the city in April, 2011 to volunteer her own time, and a delegation from Morogoro had the chance to travel to Kitchener last summer.
“It was a tremendous experience. I think going over and learning other people’s culture can enrich you,” she said.
“What it did for me was remind me how great things really are and that we have here in Canada, and specifically in Kitchener.”
The trip is part of a five-year partnership between Kitchener and Morogoro through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). The goal is to help enrich the economic development of the Tanzanian city.
Anyone who is interested in participating in the volunteer trip can fill out an application at giveintl.org/upcomingtrips.
Galloway-Sealock hopes to have all applications by the end of February so planning can begin in earnest.
There will be a selection process, so not everyone who applies may be able to go.
“I think it makes you a stronger person. It makes you want to help more,” said Galloway-Sealock of the experience.
“It’s really just an opportunity to go learn and come back rejuvenated and ready to help in any way you can, whether that continues to be in Morogoro or that continues to be local or within Canada.
“Not all problems are over in Africa. There are plenty of people here that are struggling that we can learn to help out.”