Obesity

By : Moureen Thangavelu


Obesity or overweight is defined as having abnormal or excessive fats that may impair health. 63% of Australian adults are overweight and 18.04% of Australian children have reported overweight in 2012 obesity is also steadily rising since the 90’s. Behavioral risk facts include excessive alcohol and inadequate consumption of fruits and vegetables. Women are usually more likely to become more obese as adults but as children males have higher risks. This is due to the number of exercises a person does and their diet.
Adolescents who are overweight or obese are more vulnerable to risk behavior and are more likely to engage in maladaptive coping.


Overweight/obese teens are more likely than their normal weight counterparts to have disrupted social interactions, stigma, and weight prejudice. These stressful life experiences, combined with the normative challenges of adolescence and the burden of maintaining an unhealthy weight, can predispose adolescents to participate in health-risk behaviors.
Overweight and obese children are often taller for their age and gender, and they grow faster than slim children. Increased leptin and sex hormone levels in obese children with excess adiposity can be linked to rapid pubertal development and epiphyseal growth plate maturation.


According to study, blaming parents for their children’s weight gain can be irrational.
It has been proposed that the eating habits of parents play a significant role in whether an infant is underweight or overweight.


Changes in diet. Obesity can be overcome by reducing calories and adopting healthy dietary habits. While you can lose weight easily at first, long-term weight loss is considered the easiest way to lose weight and the best way to hold it off forever.

The Zanzibar Volunteer House

Volunteers can expect to share a house with others from all cultures and backgrounds. You will stay in dorms, eat breakfast together and perhaps do the same volunteering project or go explore Zanzibar together. An orientation will be given the day you arrive or the following day.

There can be social activities with the team leaders during the week depending on what is happening in Zanzibar and how busy everyone is, the team do meet for lunch, dinner or drinks where possible.

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Volunteers can look forward to a BBQ games night whilst staying at the accommodation. Edward, the team leader, was in his element rustling up a BBQ of Kingfish and Octopus. This was a quiet BBQ night with a feisty game of ‘Snatch’. You need to find this game and learn to play it to have a chance of beating the ‘King of Snatch’ aka Edward. The atmosphere varies depending on the size and dynamics of the volunteers. It was a pleasant evening against a backdrop of African music and good old banter.

Our tips for being out in Zanzibar, especially as female travellers:

  1. Bring a headscarf to put on your head or around your arms because the locals do appreciate this. It also serves as UV protection and mosquito barrier! We covered as much as possible and felt respected for doing so. We brought an umbrella with us to provide much needed shade when there was none.
  2. Bring mosquito repellent, mosquito after bite cream…you can get these over here, but best to be prepared. Also bring wet wipes, antibacterial hand gel because you will need these out and about.
  3. Buy a local SIM card with data as the house does not have internet-wifi
  4. The plug sockets are the same as in the UK (3 pronged), bring an international plug adapter
  5. Learn some essential Kiswahili words and phrases
Kiswahili English Response in Kiswahili English
Mambo Hello Poa Good
Karibu (singular) Karibuni (pr) Welcome Asante

Asante sana

Thank you

Thank you very much

Habari How are you Nzuri  Good

Mama’ Songs – For African Child

Tanzania Children SongsThe Ministry of Foreign Affairs Finland grant to Art in Tanzania has helped us to collect children songs as project name ‘mamas songs’. The mamas songs project aims to collect traditional music, sang in tribal languages, from various areas of Tanzania, specifically lullabies and songs for children, as well as songs for special occasions and ceremonies. This website has been created so that the Tanzanian people, as well as foreign people, can hear and learn about the various aspects of their countries musical culture and to preserve musical traditions. As all of the material on this site is downloadable free of charge, we encourage people to use the resources for teaching and singing in schools.

There are around 130 tribes in Tanzania, each with it’s own unique language, religion and social system, although Swahili is also commonly spoken in these tribes. Songs have been collected from various tribes in order to display the musical and cultural differences between them. Some of the music shown on this site is in the form of a Tanzana Children Songstraditional lullaby, with the mother is singing to the child. However, some of the pieces are to be sung in larger Tanzania children songsgroups (recordings may not reflect this, but where this is the case it is noted). Although the main focus of the mamas songs project was to collect lullabies and children’s songs sang by women, we have also branched out into male singers and adult songs for special events and ceremonies.

As well as traditional tribal songs, the project has also gathered Swahili children’s songs. This is different in the sense that Swahili is the official language of Tanzania and hence the music gathered in Swahili may be more modern and universal, as oppose to the more unique tribal music.

For some of the songs we have managed to create notation, which has not been available before, due to the free nature of the music and the inability of the people to notate music. Although we have not managed to notate all of the music, some example songs are accompanied by notation. Most of the songs have also been translated into Swahili and English, so that the listener can gain a greater understanding of the meaning of the music.

We wish to constantly expand this website and find more music. If you would like to help us please send us more songs and ideas to info@artintanzania.org

The first Montessori kindergarten in a Tanzanian government school

The kindergarten in Korongoni primary school in Moshi has improved a lot during the last year. I interviewed the main kindergarten teacher Clara, in the beginning of August 2014.

Clara is a qualified primary school teacher for children in standard three to seven and for children with special needs. However, due to the shortage of teachers in Korongoni primary school she was asked to take over the teaching in the kindergarten in 2010.

The first years were tough. Clara was the only teacher for two groups of more than 30 children, aged four to six years. She had almost no teaching materials; only a piece of chalk and one book for each subject. The desks were too big for the children and there were a lot of holes in the classroom floor.

Korongoni kindergarten before and after

The kindergarten building before and after

Clara was kept very busy throughout the whole day. She was teaching, preparing and serving porridge and washing the dishes before the next group of children arrived. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much time between the two groups which meant no break for the teacher. The sizes of the classes were too big for one teacher to handle and Clara felt that she had to play too many different roles. In addition to the teacher’s role she was sometimes acting like a police and sometimes like a grandma. Repeatedly she felt overwhelmed during and after work and experienced headaches. At the time she was not looking forward to her work days.

In 2013 Marissa, an Art in Tanzania volunteer came to the kindergarten. Marissa and Clara became good friends and Clara started to tell Marissa her dreams on how to improve the kindergarten. Together they created a plan, and Clara and representatives from Art in Tanzania researched prices for the budget. Back in the UK, Marissa with the help of GAGA-UK, raised funds which made making all of the improvements possible. In July 2013, Korongoni primary was able to open the first Montessori government kindergarten in Tanzania. Now the building has been renovated, proper desks, chairs and teaching materials purchased and another teacher, Mary, has been hired.

Korongoni kindergarten before and after 2

The class room before and after

Clara is now extremely happy and says that her dream came true. Nowadays she likes going to work and is very happy that Mary is there to help. Clara also tells that the teachers from standard 1 are very pleased with the children coming from her kindergarten as they already know the basics of reading, writing and counting. The reputation of the kindergarten has spread and many parents want a place for their kids there. Unfortunately, it is not possible to take everyone as then the group sizes would grow too big. At the moment the morning class has 32 children and the afternoon class 35.

Clara says that this kind of improvement is not too expensive and that others could do it too. Her wish for the future is that more people would understand how important it is to educate children when they are very young. Clara would especially want to continue emphasising the teaching of the basics (reading, writing and counting) after kindergarten, in classes 1 and 2.

Volunteers are wanted and needed for teaching English in both the kindergarten and the primary classes in Korongoni. Clara suggests that the volunteers could use different methods (games and play) in teaching and she is convinced that the kids will benefit from the volunteers’ teaching.

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Clara, Marissa and Mary

Text by Hanna-Mari Pulli

“This is our nursery because this is our society” – Neema’s Nursery and Montessory Daycare

Neema’s Nursery and Montessory Daycare at Kiwodea – Saba Saba Moshi – Tanzania started with seven children on 6th of January 2014. Now there are 35 of 3-6 year old children coming to the nursery and daycare. Neema’s Nursery and Montessory Daycare  is located in Moshi. Neema’s Nursery and Montessory Daycare is a private school and the teaching is mainly in English.

Neema Marko, a teacher and the founder of the nursery school, has before been teaching at Khuba Nursery for seven years. It is her longtime dream to help children’s education as someone helped her once. Neema comes from a poor family and as a child she was selling mangos and onions to get by. Her uncle’s friend from Germany decided to sponsor her and so finishing school became possible for Neema. Now she wants to return the favor by helping children who come from difficult life situations to study. Now, along the work in Khuba nursery, Neema started a new nursery school in January 2014 with a help of volunteer from Finland. Neema will finish working in Khuba nursery in December 2014 when her contract there finishes. She has started teaching adult English class for people with no English or writing skills before. Also in this volunteers can help.

Volunteer in Nursery School

Ever since Neema has worked with volunteers in her new project and she has many very good experiences of the co-operation and this is also why she wanted to work with Art In Tanzania as well. Volunteers in Neema’s Nursery and Montessory Daycare teach English, drawing and math. They are also playing with the children.

Volunteer in Nursery School

At the moment there is also a local girl working as a volunteer. She hasn’t been able to get to the collage so for her working is a good working experience even when she is not paid the teacher salary. Neema needs someone there to help her with teaching, cooking and being with children. Also for the days when Neema is not going to be there, the school has to run.

Neema wants to invite many people to come and help the children and there are many ways of helping. Teaching is the most important thing but also sponsoring the nursery is important because the school is reliant on donations. The school lacks of many things, and books, pencils and also the food for the children are needed. Neema is renting the building and also the rents of two rooms, desks, mattresses and water come quite high and the help is needed. “Teaching is the most important help for the children. But I want to tell about the problems we have. It is not to ask for money or force people to donate but so that people know.”, Neema highlights.

Neema's Nursery School and Daycare

Helping children with education and starting a nursery school has been Neema’s longtime dream that has come true. Now the challenge is to keep the dream alive and the school running. When asked what are her future hopes and plans Neema tells that she would like to go and get a diploma for teaching. She dreams of moving to a new building and to expand to having also a primary and a secondary school as a boarding school. Of the shorter term dreams she would like to collect enough money to get dala dala -car to pick the children to school every day. Some of the children live far away and it is hard to get them to come to school. Many stay at home because the parents don’t have the money to pay the transportation to the school.

These are big dreams for her but not impossible. “Me and you. When we share the dreams can come true.”, Neema says. Neema says that even with her name, the nursery school is not hers but community’s. Even if something happens to Neema, the nursery school needs to go on. “This is our nursery because this is our society.”

This text was written by two volunteers who have been working in Neema’s Nursery and Montessory Daycare at Kiwodea in May-June 2014.

Morning of English, numbers and games in the Winning Star’s Nursery School

By Hanna-Mari Pulli

Winning Stars Nursery  Kunduchi

Volunteers Amy and Helen teaching numbers

This week we visited the Winning Stars Nursery School in Kunduchi. 17 children, from three to seven years old, attend the school. The teacher Glory has worked in the school for two years and says that the volunteers help her a lot! The volunteers come mainly to teach math, English and drawing. The school is free of charge for everyone.The day starts at 9am. Some of the kids come from the orphanage located next to the school and some get dropped off by their parents. This time the children started with math; they were learning numbers and simple calculations, first together and then individually. The volunteers sat down with the kids and helped them when needed.

Winning Stars Nursery  Kunduchi

After finishing their assignments it was time for a play break! The children were playing outside and a couple of them found their inner photographers and took photos with our cameras very enthusiastically. Football, pushing car tires and climbing were also very popular. Before going back inside and continuing to study, a group photo was taken. The kids were very eager to be in the photo and we also promised to send the photos to Glory.

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Winning Star’s Nursery School students with the teacher Glory and volunteers Amy and Helen

Winning Stars Nursery  Kunduchi

After the break the children were taught different forms of transportation with pictures; car, bus, airplane, boat and so on. All of the kids came individually in the front of the class to say all of them out loud, and later drew the shapes and wrote the correct names in their booklets. However, soon the kids were getting tired and hungry. The porridge was late. After some 20 minutes of waiting, it finally arrived and the kids settled back to their seats. Glory scooped everyone an individual cup of hot porridge and the children started to eat carefully. When they were finished with their food, it was already past midday and time for the kids to go home.

Winning Stars Nursery  Kunduchi

Making a difference in Glory Orphanage

Volunteers and donors organize water and a new roof for Glory Orphanage

By: Tiina Heikkinen & Saara Kanula (Originally published on May 18, 2014)

Glory Orphanage Water Donation ProjectArt in Tanzania volunteers have been dedicating a lot of their time and enthusiasm to further develop Glory, an orphanage in Dar es Salaam. The orphanage serves as a home to 9 children and as a day-time school for other children from the neighborhood. During the day, the volunteers have been teaching the children reading and writing using interactive games, songs and other exercises. During the past few months, the volunteers have also been giving their time towards gathering donations to renovate the orphanage.

Manuela and Patrick, volunteers from Germany put their effort towards building a new roof for the building where the bedrooms are located. Half of the roof was renovated earlier with the help of previous volunteers and now the other half has a new roof. Previously the building consisted of two separate areas that were connected with a roofless corridor. Now the corridor is covered, so the whole building has a roof and all parts can be accessed without getting wet when it rains! There were also holes in the bedroom walls which are now fixed and the bedrooms are now fitted with fans.Glory Orphanage Water Donation Project

Manuela and Patrick gathered the donations for the Glory Orphanage from the Catholic Church of St. Peter & Paul, their church in Germany. Every year the church is fundraising for different purposes and this year they decided to help the kids in Glory Orphanage.

Perhaps the most incredible achievement, however, is the installation of a water pipeline to serve not only the orphanage but the whole community. Before the pipeline the orphanage was using rainwater or they bought water for a more expensive price. Now they will not only have fresh water all the time, but with every bucket they sell they will have a bucket for free for themselves. By selling Glory Orphanage Water Donation Projectthe water they will also have money for food, medication and clothes. Also, the people living in the neighborhood can buy fresh water near by. The funding for the water pipeline came from Holland and Belgium. Suzanne Ter Haar (Art in Tanzania volunteer from Holland) and her parents have been very active in fundraising.

The main sponsor has been Lievesense CSO, a water pipeline company that Suzanne’s father works. Suzanne’s father gave a lecture for several other pipeline companies in Holland and Belgium and pitched the project Suzanne was starting to organize in Glory Orphanage. LSNed and Materials Consult also signed up to donate, and together with Lievesense CSO, they funded the whole project.

The opening ceremony for the water pipe line was on 1st of May. It was a success, and a lot of Ar in Tanzania volunteers and people from the neighborhood participated. The day was very sunny and cheerful, with lots of food (typical local rice dish, ‘pilau’) and soft drinks for the kids to enjoy. The day was filled with music, dance, and laughter.

An important part of donations to acknowledgeGlory Orphanage Water Donation Project
besides funds for building material are also school supplies, toys and clothes for the kids. Just before the opening ceremony for the water pipe line, Glory Orphanage received some donations from Holland. Suzanne Ter Haar’s friends were eager to donate all sorts of things and her parent’s brought them to Tanzania. Especially the toys were extremely welcomed and brought a smile to every child’s face.

Volunteers are also finding new ways to collect money for the orphanage. Two weeks ago they were throwing a party at the Dar es Salaam volunteer house to collect money for medical expenses for the kids in Glory Orphanage and other orphanages.

A valuable lesson to take away from this story is the fact that every bit counts. On behalf of Glory Orphanage, Art in Tanzania would like to say their thanks to all the donors and volunteers that contributed to the incredible improvements done over the past year. There are no words to describe how grateful the kids in the Glory Orphanage are for these acts of kindness.

Art in Tanzania is always looking for volunteers to help us continue to make a difference.

If you are interested to volunteer or make some donations, go to our website for more information: www.artintanzania.org

Safari Time!

By Anna Kevin and Emilia Sten

DSCN6872We had chosen a three day volunteer’s safari, containing of a visit to the Masai village, N’gorongoro crater and Lake Manyara. On friday five excited people climbed into the 4×4 driven Land Rover. We were heading to the west, through Arusha aiming for our first stop, the Masai village.

When we arrived, they were already expecting us. The Masai children took our hands and led us into the mystery of their world. Our driver/guide told us how to greet the Masai chief, so we headed towards him with great interest. He is a very powerful man, with 30 wives and 124 children. He was sitting by his cattle, watching over the whole village. The tour took us around the village, and even into their houses. We heard the story of the evil tree and why the Masai are missing a front tooth. We felt free to ask anything. Art in Tanzania is using the safari income to support education in Masai land and volunteers have assisted to build up a nirsery and primary school to the village.

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We then spent the night in Karatu volunteer house. The second day it was time to meet the animals in N’gorongoro. The ride was very bumpy, but the view of the huge crater was amazing. The drive was exciting, because you never knew which animals you were going to meet. Our driver/guide did his best to find all the hiding animals, and he could spot them from a long distance. It was incredible to see the lions sunbathing next to the zebras and gnus. We even got a look at the black rhinos, which are really rare.

DSCN7109The third day was also filled with game watching. This day with a different terrain, because we were heading to Lake Manyara and the jungle. It almost felt like we were in the movie “Planet of the Apes”, since baboons and monkeys were everywhere. Here we could also see the giraffes, which are not living in the crater.

On our way back to Moshi, Kilimanjaro, we visited the optional snake park. Snakes are very hard to spot in the nature, and we wanted to be face to face with the Black Mamba. We also had the chance to try our courage by holding a snake and a baby crocodile. Back in Moshi we washed away all the dust from the safari, but the memories will stay forever.

(Originally published on May 15, 2014)

A day as an African pupil

By Anna Kevin and Emilia Sten (Originally published on May 10, 2014)

On Thursday morning we left the house with three Danish volunteers to “One School – Primary and Nursery”. They were going to teach there, and we wanted to experience being an African pupil for one day.

It was a bit higher standard at the school. The pupils DSCN6347had desks, books and other school material. Everyone was wearing a school uniform in light blue.

We got a seat in the back row. The lecture started with painting pictures and writing sentences on the board. Everything have to be written down, because not all the children have a chance to get a book of their own. Instead they copied everything down in their notebooks. It took a while for the teachers to get the board ready, but we were very patient. Most of the teaching was done so that the teachers said it out loud and we repeated. The best pupil was the one screaming out the answer the loudest.

DSCN6345After one and a half hour of learning, the ones who wanted got a cup of porridge. This was followed by a half an hour break, and then the active learning continued. The pupils were very eager to learn, maybe that’s because not everyone gets the chance to go to school. Volunteering can give the opportunity for more children to attend school.

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By volunteering you can help the Tanzania to develop. Education standard is still very poor and while the economy is growing the only way to get jobs is to get proper education. Art in Tanzania volunteers and interns help in the schools, supported by UNICEF Children Agenda program.

Sponsored youth lands a great opportunity at AIT’s IT department

By Amy Pitman
Volunteer, Art In Tanzania (Originally Published on Oct 25, 2013)

Art in Tanzania is primarily known for its volunteer work in which people from across the world assist in bettering the community in Tanzania. However, it also has another function: to give locals the opportunity to expand and develop their skills.

Simon Fredrick Simon, 19, is in charge of an internet café at the Dar es Salaam volunteer house. Every afternoon he also teaches IT classes to locals of various ages. His story might have been quite different had Art in Tanzania not given him a chance.

Simon, in a blue T-shirt, teaching at Art In Tanzania internet cafe

Simon, in a blue T-shirt, teaching at Art In Tanzania internet cafe

From an early age Simon learnt to earn money to fund his education. In a family where he has a brother and two sisters, finding money for school was difficult.

He first started making money when he was 10 by collecting empty plastic bottles and selling them for recycling. Simon was forced to find money because if he didn’t pay his school fees, he would be punished by caning. He would earn 2,000 Tsh (US $1.25) per a kilogram of bottles. All this money contributed to his education.

Over the next few years, Simon made building blocks for sale, sold mangos and did fishing as well, often selling his produce at a nearby Kunduchi village. His Father taught computer studies and Simon was able to attend some lessons, becoming incredibly interested in the subject. The class was taught in the same room as English, which gave Simon a chance to learn another language. He had a natural gift for IT and was soon given the opportunity by his Father to teach the IT class, eventually progressing to teach English as well.

Simon found out about Art in Tanzania and started volunteering in the IT department. At around the same time he was forced to move out and find a house of his own. He has only been living on his own for seven months.

To begin with a couple of Finnish girls supported him by DSC_0218paying for his rent but soon he was able to secure a job at Art in Tanzania and is now able to support himself although it is still difficult to make ends meet. Along with his monthly salary of 100,000 Tsh, (US $ 62) he is also given 20% of the internet café takings which helps him pay for his bills.

Simon enjoys working and learning, with an aim to continue in the field of IT, perhaps even to go on and teach the subject in a school. The opportunity to work at Art in Tanzania was a chance for him to develop his skills further and to meet a number of different people from across the world.

His plan is to work for the rest of the year before returning to secondary school to complete his studies. He hopes to join university or college to study IT further after his secondary school studies.