Through the hard work and at the instigation of our then President Peter Ricketts, the Rotary Club of Arusha became twinned with our own Rotary Club towards the end of 2001. This was not to be the usual social twin but one where a wealthy area would regularly financially assist a poor area. Tanzania certainly fitted this criterion. One in ten children do not live to reach their first birthday. Aids is rife and many parents die, however there is never a lonely Tanzanian. The families live together and if the breadwinner dies then the nearest relative will take on the responsibility of the entire family. Many children live with their grandparents
Spending funds in Tanzania provides tremendous value. Our first School only cost just over £5,000. Faye Cran, who is our contact in Arusha, is the hardest working Rotarian you could ever meet. Her dedication, which is beyond belief, has earned her many Paul Harris Fellowship awards Everybody knows her in Arusha affectionately as “Mama Kuku”.
In January 2002 we agreed to
pay for the secondary school education for thirty children (between the ages of
15 and 20) for the following six years. Without our financial support they
would have been left to look after themselves - several of these children have
lost both parents to Aids – they would either turn to begging on the streets or
Our first School was a kindergarten (infants school) called the Tanzanian Totos in Majl ya Chai, a small village on the slopes of Mount Meru, fifteen miles from Arusha. It is a very poor area and it had no school building before our school was built. Three hundred children, between the ages of 5 and 10, had to sit in the open air under trees during the hot weather, whilst the school was closed during the long rainy season. Our money paid for the whole of the building including finishing, such as painting. It means that the children can now enjoy their education for the whole of the year. To enable the maximum usage of the school they run two “shifts”, one from early morning and the other lasting until the late evening. The desks for the school were made by the “Street Children”. Our school was so highly regarded that it was officially opened by the Prime Minister of Tanzanizia.The following year a school was built for children between 10 and 15 who lived in the Masai village of Nazaretti which is twenty miles from Arusha. All the students live in mud huts as do the Head teacher, his wife and two children.
The school originally consisted of two classrooms but Faye Cran was able to get a Government Grant for the roof so that they were able to build an extra classroom. When Peter Ricketts and his wife Andrea visited the village the children gave them the warmest welcome and put on a show lasting one and a half hours, after which Peter was made an Honorary Masai Elder
The third school completed was for the ladies who worked at the market in Tengeru, in the suburbs of Arusha. They did not attend school as children and sold products in the dirt at the side of the main road, where several were killed. The new school enabled the ladies to learn basic lessons such as English and also covered health issues, including how to avoid Aids. The desks, which were again built by the “ Street children”, also doubled as market stalls so that the goods could be taken up offthe ground. The market was also transferred from the main road to the school grounds. Perhaps the greatest need for schools are for the two years between what we know as Sixth Form and University. We have addressed the problem by building four classrooms to date, and as these classrooms cover the whole of Tanzania, we have also constructed the accommodation. Although we have supplied most of the funds towards the project, some have been raised by local fundraising. Faye believes that the community will always take more interest in a project if they contribute towards it. As there is land available we agreed in 2008 to build further classrooms and accommodation. It makes sense to do this because the teachers, who are in such short supply due to the Aids virus, would be available. Hopefully the students will pass their examinations to Universities so that they can eventually qualify with a degree and perhaps become doctors, teachers or engineers. This would not only benefit the student but should also improve the conditions and standards in Tanzania.
Over some 17 years we have donated over £50,000 to Educational projects in Arusha. With the tremendous difference in costs what would we have achieved in the United Kingdom with this donation? Surely a fraction of what we have done; the charitable pound buys so much more over there.
Our latest project is to collaborate with the Purple Community Fund, a quite amazing charity that started in the Phillipines and with our help is now becoming involved in Tanzania. For a video of their early work click here
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