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 has reactivated Yamba Village Health Post (Catholic Church registered). It has done this by sponsoring the salaries of two village health workers. It has also provided a stock of medicine, medical equipment and cleaning materials.

Village Africa is assisting four government primary schools (Yamba, Milingano, Kweulasi and Kwembalazi) and one 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 and Kikumbi). Village Africa is also running a child sponsorship scheme for primary school and secondary school students. It ran a successful and popular volunteer teaching programme to assist with the teaching of English from Sept 2006-Sept 2012 until changes in the immigration process. It gives farming education on crops and livestock to pupils and adults.

Village Africa was started in May 2006 by a British woman (Caroline Johnston) and a Tanzanian priest (Father Stanislaus Baruti). It is registered in the UK as an independent charity. It has Directors and a small UK office run by a volunteer. 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 grantmaking 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. The nearest bus is five hours walk away. Prior to the start of Village Africa, sick people and pregnant women were taken on a stretcher carried by six men down the mountain on a two day walk to hospital. Mother and child mortality 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 7km road to give vehicular access. Village Africa has two four wheel drive vehicles which are used to bring medicine, supplies and visitors to the project. They are also used as an ambulance to take sick people to hospital in emergencies. The free ambulance service covers Yamba, Milingano and Makanya (a total population of 7000).

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 committees and the Tanzanian government. All are assisting in ways that they can and all believe that development is possible (‘Vyaadahikana’).

Please view Location page for more information.