The work of SOS Children’s Villages in Tanzania started in 1984. The then President of the island of Zanzibar, Ali Hassan Mwinyi, approached Hermann Gmeiner with the request that a SOS Children’s Village should be built there. A government agreement was signed on 25 February 1987. The SOS Children’s Village was constructed between 1988 and 1990 and the first families were able to move into the family houses in 1991. It is situated seven kilometers from the harbour town of Zanzibar.


Besides the 11 family houses, there is the village director’s house, an aunt’s house (SOS aunts care for SOS children in the absence of SOS mothers) and an administration and service area. The SOS Kindergarten and primary school went into operation in 1995, and comprises four group rooms, a playground and several additional rooms.


The SOS Kindergarten applies the “Jolly Phonics” method in its teaching. It has capacity for approximately 150 children from the SOS Children’s Village and its neighboring community. Due to the great demand for kindergarten places and the high quality of the childcare being offered there, the kindergarten works in two shifts. The children being cared for are between the ages of 4 ½ and 6 ½. When youths are about 15 years of age, they move out of the SOS Children’s Village and into one of the two SOS Youth Facilities.


Departments within SOS Children’s Village
– Family based care
– Kindergarten
– Marketing and Sales
– Medical Centre
– Primary and Secondary School


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When working in the school or family houses
- The minimum for a volunteer is 18 years old.
- Volunteers can stay for a minimum of 3 weeks up to 6 months, depending on the skills.
- Proactive thinking and self- initiative expected
- Adaptability, independent working
- No smoking and drinking when at the project
- Patience- time is a relative and communication and explanation will be slow
- You are willing and able to work with limited resources
- It is not a problem for you to adapt to the local customs and to work with the local population

When working in the clinic
- It is not a problem for you to adapt to the local customs and to work with the local population
- You follow a training or a graduated as a nurse, physiotherapist, midwife or other relevant medical training
- You always wear as a cover up a medical gown.

Grooming Standards
- It is important to cover knees and shoulders at school at all times.
- Male: t-shirt and long trousers (no jeans) is recommended.
- Female: t-shirt (no low-neck line or singlets) and trousers, skirts or dresses that cover the knees (no high splits in the skirt or dress that would reveal the knees or upper leg)
- In the month of Ramadhan, it is very much respected and appreciated for girls when covering up your head with a scarf and it is a must to respect the Muslim culture in general.