Who Has the Best Volunteers?

I think it’s safe to say that READ International loves volunteers and anyone who is familiar with our organization knows our obsession with youth contributing to their world. Our volunteers come every February and July energized and dedicated. It’s hard not to fall head over heels for our volunteers every library refurbishment cycle! They carry out READ’s mission with so much enthusiasm that we have no other option than to gush about them. To avoid another newsletter where we write paragraphs about what they did and how great they did it we’ve decided to let one of our volunteers tell you about his volunteer experience with READ.

Meet Peter. A 20 year old Accountancy student from the University Dar es Salaam who spent all of the February Library Refurbishment Programme pleasantly surprising READ staff with his maturity and leadership skills.

READ: Lets start with the obvious question, why did you decide to volunteer with READ International?

Peter: I decided to volunteer with READ because of my passion for helping my community. Also to gain experience and exposure and to widen my scope.

READ: Where did you go for your library refurbishment?

Peter: I got a chance to go to Madimba Secondary School located at the district of Mtwara Rural in Mtwara Region. Madimba Secondary School was about 22 km from Mtwara town so it is a rural area but for me it was okay as I used to live both in rural areas and urban areas in some parts of Tanzania.

READ: Mtwara is quite far from Dar es Salaam, how was it being so far from home and having to work and live with your team for three and a half weeks?? Especially because you met them for the first time at training!

Peter: Working on a team was great, though a bit challenging at first, but after knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses we managed to work harmoniously and achieved the project. The hardest part was that it took much time to reach consensus on common decision like what kind of color to paint, how many shelves we should have and such. Best part of working on the team was team spirit and cooperation, we used to stay together, working together, walking together we were just like ants.

Team Madimba walking in ant formation 

READ: Overall, did you enjoy the refurbishment?

Peter: Yes, I enjoyed a lot, being honest the training was superb and the refurbishment in general was really great. My favorite part was dealing with finance and budgeting because it’s a part of my career but also painting and the literacy activities.

READ: We only give volunteers 24 days to finish their libraries, how did you guys successfully finish the library on time?

Peter: The reason behind our success was cooperation; we  introduced a system called kitalu, this system was distribution of work to all team members and every member was required to finish on required planned time.

Peter and his teammate, Blandes, working on the windows

READ: It was three and half weeks of hard work! So what did you walk away from this experience with?

Peter: I learnt a lot mostly about self-reliance, how to budget time and finance, the importance of team work, bargaining skills, motivation skills, accomplishing the work under pressured environment moreover being flexible.

Peter and the rest of the Madimba Team

How great is Peter? Hes only one of our many wonderful volunteers! I’m certain you’re convinced now; our volunteers are the best.