About us

Village Africa is a charity working in Tanzania, East Africa. It is based in a village called Yamba, high in the West Usambara Mountains in the Tanga region. Its aim is to alleviate poverty. Its work is in health and education. Locally it is known by the Kisambaa name ‘Vyaadahikana’ which means ‘It is possible’.

Village Africa runs a life-saving ambulance service. On average there are 50 emergency trips per year from the remote villages. It is a 3 hour drive in a four-wheel drive vehicle on rough terrain to the nearest hospital. The free ambulance services covers Yamba, Milingano and Makanya (a population of 7,000 people).  The charity also gives health seminars to pupils and the community.

Village Africa is assisting 4 government primary schools (Yamba, Milingano, Kwembalazi and Kweulasi) and 1 government secondary school (Mibukwe). The project builds classrooms and school toilets and provides water tanks, desks, books, cupboards, sports equipment and school stationery as funds permit. It has also helped other government primary schools to a lesser extent (Mkurumuzi, Kongoi, Mhanko, Mavumbi, Kwediwa, Kwemisambia, Bumba, Kishimai, Kwemkomole, Kibaoni-Kweulasi, Kikumbi, Foroforo, Kwebamba, Kijungumoto, Mashewa and Sagara). Village Africa is running a child sponsorship scheme for primary school and secondary school students. The sponsors follow the students to vocational and higher education if they are able. It also assists with farming education on crops and livestock.

Past activities include running a successful and popular volunteer programme (including teaching English) from Sept 2006-Sept 2012 and managing Yamba health post from May 2006-Aug 2018.

Village Africa was started in May 2006 by a British woman (Caroline Johnston) and a Tanzanian priest (Father Stanislaus Baruti, now Monsignor Baruti). It is registered in the UK as an independent charity. It has Directors and a small UK office run by a volunteer from home. The charity was initially financed by a very generous gift from the late Mrs Rhoda Lawley. It is now funded by donations from both individuals, companies and grant making bodies. In Tanzania it works under the umbrella of the Catholic Diocese of Tanga. The project has Tanzanian staff and employs a lot of village casual labour for building projects.

Most villagers have no cash income – just the crops they grow. They experience frequent crop failures caused by excessive rain or drought. Despite the cold climate several months of the year, many adults and children do not have adequate warm clothing, footwear and bedding. There is no mains electricity or piped water. Prior to the start of Village Africa, sick people and pregnant women were taken on a stretcher carried by 6 men down the mountain on a 2 day walk to hospital. Mother and child mortality in Tanzania are high.

The villagers of Yamba and Milingano have a thirst for development and have proved this in practical terms. They donated land, buildings, building materials, food and hours of casual labour to get the project started. They spent months turning the bush into a 4.7km road to give vehicular access. Village Africa has 2 four-wheel drive vehicles which are used as an ambulance and to bring medicine, supplies and visitors to the project.

The villagers are friendly, hospitable and generous. They look after one another. They wear vibrant colours, sing, dance, drum and play the guitar to enjoy life. They are incredibly strong and can carry a 20kg bag of cement up the mountain.

The project has the support of the community, the village and ward committees and the Tanzanian government. All are assisting in ways that they can and believe that development is possible (‘Vyaadahikana’).

Please view Location page for more information.