Janina Kraft

Janina Kraft | 20 years old | Switzerland

My time at IOP was wonderful and very impressive. I was there for a month and then 2 weeks more in the country with my family. I am still talking about all the little stories here at home in Switzerland and I definitely won’t forget this volunteer trip, which was the first I’ve ever done (but I think not the last one).

The village Ilula, all the citizens I met and especially the girls, the other volunteers, the staff and Bibi Berit grew close to my heart. I am very thankful for all the talks I had on the street, during work or in the evenings with all the people. They made the cultural exchange real! It was very interesting to support the staff and to see how the organization works. The staff involved us volunteers in all their duties and always had time for our questions. Especially the foster family visits were very impressive. To see the hard living conditions was sometimes quite shocking and made me think.

We also had free time to explore the villages. We tried to negotiate on the markets, traveled with the Daladalas, did trips gave also the feeling to go deep into the culture and to see the real Africa.

Unfortunately, 2 weeks of my stay with the girls went to the villages to visit their relatives (some walking up to 24 miles). The center is definitely a different place without the girls. Therefore, I enjoyed the last week with them even more. We played outdoor games, did handicrafts in the evenings or sang and danced together. I really miss their voices singing all the African songs and prayers!

I just want to say thank you to all the IOP people – I think you do a great job and it is so important that there are people like you in such regions. For me personally, I learned a lot about the Tanzanian culture (I loved to learn a bit of Swahili and He’he!), my own culture and also about myself. In my opinion, such volunteer work would be good for every young adult in our society. Just to see how a life could also be and what the people made out of it. I really try to take something of their happiness and serenity with me.

I try to keep in touch – especially now with my sponsor child, Faith!

— Janina

Janina had a fundraiser in her church and raised $600.16 toward the windmill project in Ilula that will provide some electricity at the IOP Center.

And if YOU think Janina’s story sounds great, why don’t you come to visit us? We have so many things for you to become involved in! If you are young or not so young, you can invest a piece of your lifetime to improve the world! It is never too late! Our oldest volunteer was 79! Spend your vacation time at IOP! As an individual or even as a family! Do as two teachers in Norway did: Take off some months and do something very different! You will never forget it! — Bibi Berit

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