Our Story | Village Life Outreach Project

The Beginning

Village Life offers programming designed with sustainable impact in mind. How did this vision become a reality? It was born after Dr. Christopher Lewis, founder and Board Chair of Village Life Outreach Project, witnessed firsthand the harsh conditions in the villages that we now serve. Along with identifying this need for help, Chris also saw how warm, giving, and happy the people of Tanzania were despite these conditions. Let’s start from the beginning…

Chris first traveled to Tanzania in 2003 on a month-long global health elective during his family medicine residency training at the University of Cincinnati. Field experiences in Honduras with his mentor Jeff Heck, M.D., founder of Shoulder to Shoulder, Inc., had sharpened Chris’s global health knowledge, and he was eager to apply those lessons in Tanzania. Chris worked at a local hospital in the rural village of Shirati in the Rorya District. He came to Shirati ready to save the world, but it didn’t take long for Chris to notice a major challenge – a distinct lack of accessible healthcare and other resources for the surrounding villages. The only time these villagers could see a doctor was if they were able to make the arduous daylong walk to Shirati Hospital.

A pregnant mother who would’ve been one of Chris’s first patients died making this trip to the hospital while she was in labor. He never got the chance to help her. This shaped a new perspective for Chris; we can’t go to these areas with the intention of saving the world.

“In reality, on any given trip to Tanzania, our U.S. volunteers are impacted more than any tangible benefit they leave behind. But by working together in partnership with the people we serve, we’re able to build sustainable, real-world solutions that make a difference – while learning important lessons of love, humanity, and community from our African colleagues that we bring back and share with our own friends and neighbors.”

– Dr. Christopher Lewis

When he finished his month in Tanzania, Chris made it a goal to someday return, planting the seeds of what would become Village Life Outreach Project

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Our Mission

The mission of Village Life Outreach Project is to unite communities to promote Life, Health and Education.

By partnering with the villages of Roche, Nyambogo, and Burere in the Rorya District of Tanzania, East Africa, Village Life implements sustainable projects to fight poverty and improve health, water quality and quantity, and educational outcomes.

Lessons from Tanzania of love, global citizenship, and social responsibility are shared with the Cincinnati community and beyond through partnerships and service-learning initiatives at local schools and universities.

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Areas of Focus

  • Life

  • Health

  • Education

  • Roche Health Center

Our Vision

We believe that by developing partnerships aimed at reducing poverty, disease, and malnutrition, we improve lives in Tanzania and in our local communities.

Our Core Values

  • service
  • collaboration
  • sustainability
  • community
  • partnership
  • integrity
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Where We Work

CINCINNATI: Village Life’s home base is Cincinnati, Ohio. Through strong partnerships with UC Health, the University of Cincinnati, local high schools, businesses, and individuals, we provide significant opportunities for individual and community growth both here and abroad.

TANZANIA: Village Life’s partner villages are located in rural Tanzania. In the Rorya district, villagers work and survive mainly through subsistence farming and small-scale fishing.

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Our Tanzania Partner Villages: