Special Needs Assistant Volunteer

Uhuru Unit-Primary School - Arusha, Tanzania
Quick Facts: Placement ID: IND-199 Location: Arusha, Tanzania Sector: Social Services Category: Personal Support Work Min Duration: 4 weeks Lodging: BaseCamp or Host Family Language: Basic
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Volunteer Job Description

The Uhuru (freedom) Unit Primary School is a day school that provides education and care for intellectually and physically impaired children. The school has an enrolment of approximately 70 children each year.

Special needs education assistant volunteers are needed to help with numerous initiatives at the school. The staffs aim is to help these individuals reach their highest potential by utilizing a number of different approaches to reach that goal.

During a volunteer's time at the school you would be expected to assist in the daily lessons and activities like: supervise organized play activities with the children, work one-on-one with some of the kids, teach subjects such as mathematics, health and hygiene, communication skills, physical training, art and music, (songs and nursery rhymes), as well as sports and games. Volunteers that have tailoring skills may be asked to participate in that program.

By assisting these children to learn important life skills you would be helping them to develop skills that will help them increase their ability to live happier and more productive lives.

Volunteers may also be asked to help with office work such as: write proposals, write emails and letters to current sponsors of the school, as well as to look for new sponsors, organize the children's report files and enter the data into their computer system.

Special needs education assistant volunteers do not require to have had training in this field. However, volunteers who have worked with these types of impaired children would certainly be a plus.

Volunteers must be mature and patient individuals who understand that sometimes repetitive lessons may be required. Volunteers for this placement should first determine if this is the type of placement they sincerely wish to volunteer at, in order to make a positive contribution.

Volunteer Tasks Required


Special needs education assistant volunteers would help the teachers in their classrooms as the students do not speak English. Sometimes learning to speak their native tongue is even difficult.

Communication skills

Special needs education assistant volunteers would work alongside the teachers to develop and implement new communication skills, as well as assist in teaching the current methods.

Physical Training

Special needs education assistant volunteers would participate in the exercise program for the physically impaired children. These exercises are mainly geared to improve the mobility of their impaired joints.

Volunteers would be expected to develop, (with the teachers), different exercises that are applicable to each child according to his/her physical impairment.

Health and Hygiene

Volunteers would work together with the teachers to prepare basic health awareness sessions. These sessions would mainly include lessons in personal grooming such as: brushing their teeth, washing their hands before meals, combing their hair, covering their mouths when coughing etc.

Administration Duties

Volunteers may be asked to help out with general office work such as: update student files and enter the data in their computer system. Write proposals seeking funds for the school or write letters to current sponsors to update them on recent events at the school etc.

One-on-one Sessions

A special needs education assistant volunteer may be given the opportunity to work with the children on a one-on-one basis to assess the child's weak and strong points and then help to develop methods to improve their problem areas.


A special needs education assistant volunteer would be expected to participate in numerous activities with the children. Some of these activities would be mainly aimed at just having fun but others would be geared towards a more learning aspect.

Host Organization Details

Uhuru Unit-Primary School

The Uhuru Unit Primary School's ROLE is to provide education and care for intellectually and physically impaired children.

In some areas of Tanzania, (as in many places in the world), someone with mental and/or physical disabilities is treated as an outcast in society. Uhuru (freedom) Unit Primary School strives to give the students at their school, an education geared towards their individual abilities so they may become active members in the community in which they live. The school provides them with an academic education and/or vocational skills along with the personal care that they may require.

This organization with the support of other similar organizations in Tanzania is dedicated to changing the lives of mentally and physically impaired children. Since they started they have served a large number of children who's families had no means of providing an education and thus no means of independence for their mentally and/or physically impaired children.

The Uhuru Unit Primary School has had great success since it was established and now has approximately 70 students per year. Unfortunately, the school can not accommodate boarders but functions as a day school only. They have daily classes from early morning until noon. Six teachers are responsible for teaching the children the various lessons, according to their level of ability. Some of the subjects they teach include: math, communication skills, tailoring skills and health and physical training for those who are physically impaired.

When They Were Founded

Uhuru Unit Primary School was founded in 1990 by the Government of Tanzania under their elected supervisor Mr Shabani Aruko who was in charge of the building process until it was completed. When opened the school had three classrooms. They now have a total number of 6 classrooms, a dining hall, two offices and a storage room; thanks to the donations from private companies and other NGOs.

Who They Work With


How Are They Funded

The Uhuru Unit Primary School is funded by the government, as well as, private NGOs and other individuals. When they first started the school they had three classrooms donated by the government under the Ministry of Education. Later, they got sponsored by a Dutch organization called, Terre des Hommes and they built three more classrooms in September 2005. The school also has a new dining hall donated by, PCP Arusha LTD, this is a private company in Tanzania.

Donation Requests

All teaching and student supplies would be appreciated. The school teaches the skill to become a tailor so tailoring machines would also be greatly appreciated.

Placement Location Information

Arusha, Tanzania

The city of Arusha has an estimated population of one million people and sits at the foot of Mount Meru. Mount Meru has one of the highest peaks in Africa; it is a few hundred meters shorter than Kilimanjaro which is the highest mountain in Africa and encompasses three volcanic cones, Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira (don't worry, they're not active)!

Arusha is surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscape on the planet; with easy access to the Arusha National Park, Serengeti, Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Park there is never a shortage of things to do!

Arusha is a busy industrial and administrative center. Some of the main manufactures include textiles, beverages, processed foods, plastics, and electronic equipment. It is well known as an African Congress Centre and the International Tribunal for the Rwandan Genocide.

Transfer From BaseCamp

From BaseCamp center take a three minute walk down to the road, here you will find the public transport which will take you downtown. The public transport that runs this route have red strips on the sign and this show the destination. They have several stops on the way and the stop you ask to get off is Ice Cream Stop. Once you get here get off and turn left, walk for three minutes and you will see a big sign of Uhuru Primary on your right hand side. Walk in the gate and there are a lot of buildings inside the compound. The Uhuru Unit primary building is in the middle of the compound.

Distance & Time

Distance from BaseCamp: 1km
Travel Time from BaseCamp: 0:15

Weather in the Area

Despite its closeness to the equator, Arusha's elevation of 1400 mm on the southern slopes of Mount Meru keeps temperatures down and alleviates humidity. Cool dry air is prevalent for the majority of the year. The temperature ranges between 13 and 30 degrees Celsius with an average of around 25 degrees.

Arusha has distinct wet and dry seasons and experiences an eastern prevailing wind from the Indian Ocean, a couple of hundred miles east. Highest average rainfall occurs in March, April and May.

City/Village Description

The city of Arusha has an estimated population of around one million people and sits at the foot of Mount Meru. Mount Meru is the fifth highest peak in Africa; it is a few hundred meters shorter than Kilimanjaro which is the highest mountain in Africa and encompasses three volcanic cones; Kibo, Mawenzi, and Shira (don't worry, they're not active!)

Arusha is surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscape on the planet. With easy access to the Arusha National Park, Serengeti, Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Park there is never a shortage of things to do!

Arusha is considered to be one of the best African cities when it comes to great weather and tourism combined.

Arusha is a busy industrial and administrative centre. Some of the main manufacture products include textiles, beverages, processed foods, plastics and electronic equipment. It is well known for the African Congress Centre and the International Tribunal for the Rwandan Genocide.

Nearest Medical Clinic

AICC Hospital
Old Moshi Road
TEL 1: 0744299381
TEL 2: 2544113

Placement Address

Uhuru Unit-Primary School
Sokeine Rd

Accommodation and Meals

All of our volunteers begin their stay in Tanzania at our BaseCamp Center in Ngaramtoni - Arusha. Given that this placement is less than a 1 hour and 15 minute commute from BaseCamp, volunteers working here will have the option of living with us at BaseCamp or living with a host family.

The following information outlines a brief description of life at BaseCamp and also what someone can expect living with a host family in Tanzania. Once you have completed our application, you can let our staff know if you would prefer to live with a host family. Otherwise, your application will default to having you live with us at BaseCamp.

If you have any questions about the difference between life at BaseCamp or life with a host family in Tanzania you can always give us a call or send us an email. Our contact details are listed in the footer of every page of the site.

BaseCamp Tanzania

BaseCamp Tanzania
BaseCamp Tanzania Address

Nelson Mandela Road
Kijenge Ya Chini Mt. Meru Gas Station
Ngaramtoni - Arusha, Tanzania

BaseCamp Tanzania Contact Details

Tel: 255 719 177 084
Mobile: 255 754 683 347

BaseCamp Tanzania is located in the Kijenge area of Arusha. The centre is located just a few minutes from the famous Clock-Tower and many amenities such as banks, internet cafes and international calling centres. You can also find some great local markets selling everything from fresh fruit and fish, to beautiful wooden carvings and amazing East African paintings! Arusha is a comfortable place to live with many of the conveniences of home, while still allowing travellers to experience the African way of life.

BaseCamp Tanzania is set up with a number of dormitory style rooms. Pillows, sheets and blankets are provided. The house has a large covered balcony on the main floor with a spectacular view! There is also a large common room on the lower level with a small resource centre containing books, magazines, movies, games and other African publications. Outside is a beautiful lawn and garden that overlooks the city and is an ideal setting to catch up on email, review some Swahili or just enjoy a quiet afternoon. Wireless internet access is available throughout the house, making it easy to stay in touch with friends and family back home.

The meal plan at BaseCamp is a 14 day rotating schedule of a variety of traditional dishes from around the country. This allows volunteers to try a wide range of Tanzanian dishes and to gain some knowledge of the food served and meal etiquette before living with a host family. For those who stay on in BaseCamp, the 14 day schedule allows for lots of variety.

BaseCamp Tanzania is also the training and orientation centre. Each day volunteers will spend part of the day in lectures or workshops at BaseCamp and part of the day exploring the city and learning how to get around comfortably on their own.

Living With a Host Family in Tanzania

Living with a host family in Tanzania is a fantastic way to gain a deep understanding of and appreciation for the people and customs of the country. Each home-stay will provide a bed and three meals per day for our volunteers. The majority of host families offer private rooms with only one or two volunteers living with the family.

Living with a host family can greatly enhance your performance at your placement. For one, it will have a huge influence on the speed with which you gain familiarity with the local language. This, along with your deeper understanding of cultural practices and beliefs that you are likely to gain in this environment, can go a long way to improving or strengthening your relationships with your team mates at work. Furthermore, a significant percentage of our host families are closely affiliated with the organizations with which our volunteers work. As such, even the evening meal or hanging out around the house can become valuable time during which volunteers can share their ideas and continue their support of their host organization.

All of this being said, living with a host family is not for everyone. It is very important for volunteers to honor the house rules in their host family and to be punctual. Also, depending on how remote your placement location, host families can be very rustic. Our staff in country can give you a better idea of what exactly you can expect from a host family in any particular community. However, in general, if these things sound like they might pose a challenge for you, we strongly suggest that you look at a placement within commuting distance from BaseCamp Tanzania.

How the Program Works

Our program structure and costing is completely flexible which lets our volunteers ensure that they only pay for exactly the degree of support that they want.

Option 1 - Free Services

Some volunteers prefer to coordinate their own accommodation, meals and other support while overseas.

Anyone is welcome to use our volunteer placement search tool to help in finding a placement that is well suited to their interests. Once someone finds a placement that they wish to work with, they are welcome to make all the rest of their arrangmeents on their own.

As well, our team of staff overseas are often able to offer a few helpful pointers for volunteers 'doing it on their own'. Just send us an email with your questions and we will put you in touch with our team abroad. We only ask that you keep your requests fairly general, as this type of advice is exactly how our team earn their living. :)

Option 2 - Placement Support - 250 USD

Other volunteers would like assistance in selecting and confirming their placement, but they plan to manage their own accommodation and other expenses on their own.

These volunteers have the option of choosing to only have our assistance with selecting and confirming their placement. This option also includes ongoing placement support while abroad, so a volunteer would be able to ask our team for help if things at their placement were not working out.

In providing Placement Support, our team works with each volunteer through email, telephone and either Skype or Google Hangouts, to ensure that each volunteer has a clear understanding of their placement options. Our in-country staff will put together a custom list of placement options for each volunteer that they believe are the most appropriate matches with the volunteer's background, skills and interests. Then each volunteer can work with our team both in Canada and abroad to go through each of the options and narrow-down their selection.

Option 3 - Full Program Support

For most volunteers who are volunteering for less than a year, they are looking for an option that includes their accommodation, meals, airport reception, country and program orientation and placement support. This is what our Program Fees are designed for.

We are proud of how over the years we have ensured that our program fees are amoungst the most reasonable of any program in the world while we continue to provide exceptional volunteer support both at home and abroad.

Our Program Fees and listings of what these do and do not include are listed below:

Program Fees

Program Fees - Tanzania

  Registration Fee
  1 Week
  2 Weeks
  3 Weeks
  4 Weeks
  5 Weeks
  6 Weeks
  7 Weeks
  8 Weeks
  Additional Weeks
All program fees are listed in US Dollars.

What is Included
  • Pre-Departure support
  • Placement consulation
  • Airport reception & transfer
  • 2 Day orientation
  • Accommodation (BaseCamp or host family)
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Emergency & placement support

What is Not Included
    Before Departure
  • International flight
  • Travel medical insurance
  • Visa costs where required
  • Work permits where required
    While Overseas
  • Daily transportation to and from placement
  • Transport to airport on departure
  • Placement fees if requried

Program Dates


The following is a list of all months during which this placement is not available.

  • June
  • July
  • November
  • December

Our regularly scheduled program start dates are the first Friday of each month, every month of the year. We strongly recommend beginning your program on one of these dates as this will allow you to go through our orientation alongside other international volunteers.

If you would prefer, our application will also allow you to select a custom start date for your program. Keep in mind that there is an additional fee for a custom start date which ranges from 50 to 75 USD.

Dec 03, 2021 Jan 07, 2022 Feb 04, 2022
Mar 04, 2022 Apr 01, 2022 May 06, 2022
Jun 03, 2022 Jul 01, 2022 Aug 05, 2022
Sep 02, 2022 Oct 07, 2022 Nov 04, 2022
Dec 02, 2022 Jan 06, 2023 Feb 03, 2023
Mar 03, 2023 Apr 07, 2023 May 05, 2023
Jun 02, 2023 Jul 07, 2023 Aug 04, 2023
Sep 01, 2023 Oct 06, 2023 Nov 03, 2023


These dates are the day that volunteers should plan to arrive on the ground in country. We can accommodate arrivals in-country at any time day or night on these dates.

Give us a Call
Canada / USA 866-646-4693 (toll free)
UK 866-646-4693 (toll free)
Australia 866-646-4693 (toll free)
International 613-353-3000
Send us a Message