We build early learning eco-friendly children's villages and big, bright futures


You asked, we've answered here in our FAQs, but if we've not addressed your query below, please feel free to ask a question directly.

why would I contribute to fws over other charities that support orphans?

Whoever heard of too much of a good thing? Too many people caring and reaching out to others? We believe that fws provides another important avenue of giving to the developing world fws has also added some specific elements to the regular orphan-care perspective; we are eco-friendly and we offer early interactive learning, health and social welfare programs. This wholistic approach gives children and communities a considerable leg up for the future.

Another thing fws believes brings specific benefits is our size. Being small means we can:

  • Identify problems where they lie more quickly. We are in daily communication with our in-country team. A professional fws volunteer management team is on the ground, working along side the local management team.
  • Get more of your donation to the actual cause (we are currently all volunteers so we don't pay any salaries). Currently 90 per cent of your donation goes directly to the cause, while 10 per cent goes to our admin costs (e.g. things like insurance for events). 
  • Get funds to the recipients more quickly being a small team we can decide on ideas and action them directly.

For more info about where, when and how we'll spend your contribution, visit our current projects page.

how much of my contribution reaches each children's village?

Currently 90 per cent of your contribution goes directly to the cause, while 10 per cent goes to our admin costs. The Fundraising Institute of Australia (FIA) advises that most charities direct about 20-22 per cent of contributed funds into admin costs. 

How do we keep our costs down and intend to keep them down? Currently, nobody working for fws in Australia or USA gets a cut of your money. 

fws has committed to spending no money raised publicly (by people fundraising for us or during the events we put on) on salaries for the fws management team. If there comes a time that we will need a full-time management team to run fws in Australia, we will look to fund those positions with corporate sponsorships, not public donations. 

That said, we do currently intend to spend publicly-raised money on stipends for our long-term (volunteering for 12 months or more) in-country volunteers. We have four positions - manager, permaculture advisor, teacher and finance manager that will receive a stipend equivalent to a local wage in 2014-15. 

  • fws does not spend money on TV or magazine advertising, or telemarketing campaigns.
  • fws reduces printing and paper costs by running a paperless office wherever possible.

what will my money go towards, right now?

Right now we are collecting funds for the monthly running costs of Kesho Leo children's village, in Tanzania, East Africa and raising money to build houses for families to move into over the next 12 months.

how will I know that my money gets to there?

Money will remain in fws's National Australia Bank Account (audited each year) until it is required in the recipient country; in our first case, Tanzania. Your donation will then be forwarded to our recipient country account (also audited each year) and accessed by our finance manager (who submits monthly financial statements to the Australia-based fws treasurer to monitor). You'll be able to read and see what difference your money is making in our e-newsletter, Gimme Shelter, and in our regular onilne news updates.

who is managing the work overseas?

A core principle of fws is to ensure that all of our children's villages are managed and staffed by local people. Kesho Leo is run by a team of professional Tanzanian staff, consisting of: 
  • A social welfare manager who resides at Kesho Leo and supports the other residents at Kesho Leo
  • A business development manager
  • An education manager
  • A permaculture team manager
  • A health consultant
A professional team of volunteers work alongside local staff in skill-specific roles, including project management, education, farm management and infrastructure.

why aren't you helping indigenous communities in Australia?

Our board are very committed to social justice issues and would personally love to be (and in some cases are) involved in projects for Indigenous communities in Australia.  We consider there is a lot of need in a lot of countries. Having had first hand experience in Tanzania, we are aware that we can do a lot more in Tanzania with a lot less money than we can in Australia. So, for now, we have decided to focus our energy in the community of Sinon, where we are very familiar with the community needs, strengths, desires and challenges.  

I am travelling to East Africa. Can I visit the children's village or volunteer in some way?

Yes! fws is very pleased to announce our new internship program where you get a chance to participate in a three week program at the eco-friendly Kesho Leo Children’s Village.
Whether you are a student or professional looking for a rewarding holidays, you can join our team for a three week volunteer opportunity of a lifetime. For a small fee, you can help arrange a community health event, join us on the shamba (farm) or contribute towards building a house for one of our Kesho Leo families. All funds from your stay go towards supporting our Kesho Leo residents.
If you can’t make it for three weeks, feel free to contact us and ask to join a site tour. Otherwise, if you are really interested in volunteering for a fair while, we have a number of specific and skilled volunteer positions that we are looking for people to fill in Tanzania

Being volunteers ourselves, we hope you will find a volunteer role within fws to suit you, but if not, we'd recommend you contact Australian Volunteers International - they offer a terrific service.

why does fws need members?

We need members for two reasons. Firstly, so that we are recognised as an organisation of considerable size if we ever apply for assistance via AusAID. To meet those goals, we need 100 members. We're getting close to this number of members today! 

Secondly, we'd like you to become members because we can't tell you how many 'breakthroughs' have come to us via the word of mouth of our members – people offering ideas, skills, funding, advice...you name it, we'd be half the organisation we are without your input. So yes, please, become a member, and tell everyone about us. This is a collective effort, so please join us!

what does the future hold for a Tanzanian orphan?

Orphaned or not, Tanzanians are a very resilient people with a sense of community that we rarely experience Australia. An orphaned child is usually taken in by an extended or neighbouring family. This is an emotional and financial burden they all readily accept. Although given the basics, the provision of education and adequate health care are often unrealistic expectations. There is a risk that orphans (some as young as 13) will be encouraged into paid labour to sustain their younger siblings, taking on the role of a parent at a very young age. In these situations, any dreams of education are left behind and the future is purely about survival.

If an orphan can access education as well as the basics, they have an instant hand up. "Education is the key to life" is a line we all heard kids say while we were in Africa. A child leaving Form 4 (which, in Australia, is the equivalent of year 10 in high school) will receive a certificate, which deems them as employable. If employed, a future outside of basic survival exists for that child - a future where they can help finance their parents' and siblings' lives, and then their own children in time as well. For these reasons, fws children's villages have been designed to give kids the best chance possible of future employment by incorporating bi-lingual, early learning education programs and after school tuition programs.

what's the long-term vision of fws?

The families that fws supported to move into Kesho Leo were, at the time, families headed by single women, selected due to a level of vulnerability they faced in the community. Over the last five years these women have worked hard to achieve personal goals and financial milestones and this includes saving money (with matched funds from fws) to purchase their own land. Some of these mamas have welcomed orphaned children into their families along the way also. Many of these families are now eager and ready to move out into independent living in the wider community and we thoroughly support this move as a healthy return to 'normal life' that promotes dignity, independence and the self-determination of Kesho Leo’s first house mamas and their families. This transition commenced in March 2014 with the first bricks of the first house being laid. fws has committed to support these families socially and financially until the children complete form 4 (the equivalent of year 10).
As these families move out of Kesho Leo into independent community living the organisation will have 8 accommodation units within Kesho Leo available. The organisation is current considering options of using this space to balance our objectives of supporting and ensuring the safety of vulnerable children and also trying to increase our financial sustainability. 

Thanks for your interest in fws. If we've not answered your query here, please feel free to ask a question directly.