Kwaheri Kenya, Habari Tanzania

For our next adventure, we headed out on the open road… to Tanzania!  The Olevolos Project, which is located just outside of Arusha, is a non-profit that supports orphans and families in the Olevolos community of Tanzania.  This may sound like a simple goal, but sleeping, eating and working on their site for 4 days gave us a profound respect for not only the passion and commitment of everyone involved, but the lengths they go to in order to accomplish it.

Throughout our work with non-profits and video, we do a lot of “sizing up”.  What is an organization really about?  What social problems do they solve? Who is their target audience?  How can we best convey their mission and values through video? The Olevolos Project is new territory for us, because they are no typical 501(c)3 and consequently, the answers to these questions are multi-faceted.  They have taken a very specific problem (increasing numbers of orphans in the Olevolos village, due to HIV/AIDS) and have investigated the best ways to tackle this problem from many different fronts. That has led to the creation of a number of different programs to address this issue:

  • A nursery school
  • Adolescent Girl’s initiative
  • Secondary School Tutoring Program
  • Sustainable Livestock and Agriculture Program
  • Widow Micro-Saving Group
  • Sports & Recreation Program

The beauty I’ve found in a program like this is that it approaches a massive problem from such a holistic point of view.  When one or both parents pass away, due to HIV or any number of problems, it affects children, wives, husbands, families, and communities at large.  Dory (the Director) and James (the on-site Director) go to unbelievable lengths to involve the entire community: the village chief, the village elders, children from surrounding areas and parents.  The Widow’s group prepared and served a community meal on the site grounds one day, and one neighbor was kind enough to donate some open space to allow three simultaneous (and unbelievably competitive!) soccer games to take place for the sports & recreation program.  In work like this, the only hope of creating a sustainable environment for kids and their families is to get the community involved, excited and invested in its success.

I just want to quickly share the story and photograph of one family we met. Kadada (with the tie-dyed shirt), her younger sister Abigaeli and her older brothers Bakari and Kababu are kids who, on paper, would have every excuse to frown… and yet quite literally light up the room with their smiles.  We don’t need to look any farther to find an amazing reason to support and chamption The Olevolos Project in all of its efforts.  Thanks to Dory and James for letting us share a few days with these wonderful families!



  1. Deborah
    June 12, 2010

    Dan and Erin –

    We continue to be overwhelmed by the stories and pictures that you send back. In all my travels around the world for work and pleasure, I have never encountered the people and situations that you describe to us. We hope your work continues to go well and we look forward to the talk and slide show when you get home.


  2. nicki k
    June 12, 2010

    Teary-eyed in the best way possible. You guys are amazing!!!

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