Education in all its forms is the third vital part of our strategy for recovery.
Health Education by way of seminars at the local Community Hall in Igoda, built and run by the NGO. Teaching and informing about symptons and treatment and perhaps most importantly prevention.
Or by way of the outreach workers in the villages, encouraging and supporting people to face up to the prejudice and stigma that has been associated with HIV/Aids. Noting families whose children are not attending school, often a sign of deeper underlying problems.
Visiting clinicians hold seminars at Mdabulo, where people gather for testing.
Supporting primary and secondary education which although free in Tanzania is often impossible to access for children and young people struggling against the tide of disease, often having lost more than one parent or sibling, even the cost of the uniform, paper and pens can be too much to find.
The NGO supports infrastructure projects in schools, for example new classrooms and library at Igoda Primary, a library at Luhunga Secondary School and is currently building a dormitory for girls at Luhunga. Distances to Secondary school often being too great to manage on a daily basis so secure accommodation is a great step forward.
In an impoverished, remote, rural area like Mufindi one of the biggest hurdles for students who have the ability to further their education is finding a way to finance their needs. The NGO sponsors students through a work study programme, offering a loan or in many cases sponsorship by a donor.
In the Childrens Village there are study evenings and help from volunteers for any students living locally or in the Children’s Village.
Sponsorship is a lifeline for these young people, with limited opportunities for income generation.
At present several students from or associated with the Children’s Village continuing their education or are attending University supported by sponsors.
You too could sponsor a student like Steve or Eva.
Our on site Kindergarten has broken new ground here. Using the Montessiori method, it offers younger children the best possible introduction to learning its informal atmosphere suits the more vulnerable children in the Children’s Village. The Montessori method is used elsewhere in Tanzania but was unheard of in our rural area, it does not involve expensive teaching aids and is very accessible for teachers. Daily outside circle time is great fun, actions, singing, dancing!
Children from our kindergarten are achieving excellent results when they move on to Primary School. A good start in every way!
It Works – Let’s share it with others. Our latest outreach project is to encourage other teachers locally to adopt the Montessiori principles, offering week long training courses and seminars, providing start up materials for currently nearly 30 kindergarten teachers in our neighbourhood.
Vocational Education and Income Generation
In rural Tanzania less than 5% of young people enrol in Secondary School.
Our vocational school targets at risk youth who have been unable to continue with their secondary school education.
At present the Threads Sewing School is operating on site, students receive two years of training in sewing, tailoring and business studies and leave equipped with a sewing machine to begin generating their own income.
But there is a new project in the making, a purpose built Vocational Training Centre which will provide short and long courses in a variety of trades. Construction is completed and we hope it will be up and running this year as funds allow equipment to be purchased. The local community is feeling as excited as we are about the new Vocational Training Centre.
Threads is also income generating in it’s own right, with an on site shop and commissions to make school uniforms for neighbouring schools.
The student at Threads also have the chance to improve their English at classes run by volunteers at the Children’s Village. Many have had troubled and difficult lives and have not been successful at school and the improvement to their self esteem will help them in their future independent, life.
The Basket Weaving Cooperative Income Generation
An example of the wider community helping itself is the Basket Making Cooperative, supported by the NGO, Women who have HIV/Aids, or who are caring for others who are affected, often abandoned by their menfolk have taken this initiative to provide themselves and their children with a living.
Sila was one of the first of the basket weavers, she is frail but has manage to build her family a brick house, their old one disintegrated in the rains, and to ensure her younger children went to school.
Reeds for the basket weaving are gathered in the riverbeds, dyed and each basket maker has their own individual style, pattern and colours and the women weave their baskets when they are not tending their fields or shambas which provide almost all their food.
Income from the cooperative will pay for school uniforms and books and, health care.
Attractive, well made and sturdy, each basket is unique and are very popular and practical. Recently the women have started to make traditional rush mats as well.
The NGO helps the women to find a market for their baskets, locally, in the tourist industry and they are also are also marketed at a craft outlet in Dar es Salaam.
Self sufficiency and income generation are key projects in the overall programme and the Basket Weaving Cooperative is playing an important role in creating a future of health and hope for the community.