Volunteer Experience by Emma T
I first came to Lifted Strong in 2020. When I arrived at Lifted Strong I had no idea what to expect. I thought I would teach the women English, health, and business. While I did teach the women about various health topics, I did not know how much they would impact my life. These women taught me about resilience and strength. The stories I heard touched my heart. Despite language barriers, I could understand the Mamas very well. When I came in 2020, I had just gotten out of an abusive relationship. I felt very hopeless. This hopelessness was similar to how the women felt when diagnosed with HIV. I connected with the women on a very personal level as our stories were identical. My time in 2020 helped me heal. It helped me regain strength and positivity. The mamas did not know my story, but they felt what my past did. I am very thankful for these women for accepting me and challenging me to overcome my sadness. They helped me heal when I felt broken. The love they gave me in the six weeks I was there has allowed me to carry on in life when times have been hard.
The love I felt in six weeks is what brought me back to Tanzania in 2022. This time I wanted my experience to be better, and I wanted to be more impactful to the women. I came to Tanzania with a purpose. I went to impact the women and make them feel less stressed. I raised a good amount of money to help create meaningful experiences for the women and even planned a shopping trip and lunch date. I wanted the women to feel free to get whatever they wanted and be treated to a nice lunch. I also planned on getting their children much-needed school supplies. Also, the pad project was another thing I wanted to see done while I was here. With the help of donors, I was able to have 50 pads made. My last order of business was health insurance for the new mamas. While my role this time was more in the office with the founders Joyce and Eva, I know the mamas will always remember the day we went shopping and ate lunch. I will never forget the looks on their faces when I handed them a health insurance card.
The women of Lifted Strong are resilient, strong, and full of love. Their love is what keeps me coming back. Because of them, I am focused on life and have found what I want to do. My goal to start a nonprofit focusing on women empowerment and HIV education is because of them. The love they have shown me is what keeps me going when life gets tough. I recommend that everyone come to Tanzania and feel the magic of this country and the magic of the women as they are the backbone of this country.