Tuesday, 19 May 2015
Tanzanian laws require that all children attend primary school. Due to the poverty levels and lack of government infrastructure there are few schools in many communities, and many that exist do not provide a quality education with up to 100 children in a class and one reference book between 30 children
It is also expensive to attend a “free” government school due to the cost of uniforms, supplies and in many cases boarding facilities. A majority of children live in extremely rural and impoverished areas, where the hope of attending school is a distant dream to even the most academically gifted children. In addition to financial obstacles, children face major infrastructure difficulties to attending school regularly. For example, a big part of every child’s day, usually the girls, is spent fetching water for the family and the school, where it is used for daily needs such as preparing porridge and watering the trees and plants. With the closest water source for a village sometimes miles away, time spent fetching water is precious time not spent in school.
Education is vital to a thriving society. It’s important to educate children, no matter where they live, for they will grow to become responsible citizens of their society. Each child represents a future, the future of the community, of the country, and indeed the future of the whole world.
It was for this reason that SEEDS4tanzania decided to build pre-schools in the villages of Chitemo and Nyhinila to educate the children aged 3 to 7 years in the basics of reading, writing and sums so that they would be motivated to attend a government primary school and have a fighting chance to progress. As many of you already know who have read my recent blogs our two pre-schools are up and running. Both have a qualified pre-school teachers assisted by volunteers and the classrooms are equipped. Other women have now been identified for teacher training in 2016. Fantastic! The problem of paying the teachers still has to be resolved but on a temporary measure SEEDS will send funds in the meantime.
We have also overcome the problem of lack of water in Nyhinila by supplying the village with a water bore-hole that went into operation in October 2014. The bore-hole has not been without problems that we are continually trying to solve. We have still a long way to go before all our projects are completed and hopefully in time the villages will become independent of our aid.
I had the opportunity of speaking with the Archbishop of Tanzania during his visit to the UK. He is aware of the problems we are having at present and has kindly offered to visit the two villages to assess what is required to move forward and in due course complete the projects to a standard that SEEDS is hoping for.
During my next visit in October there will be the 10th anniversary of the relationship of Mpwapwa Diocese with Rochester Diocese. The celebrations will be held over three days and I am honoured that two of the days of celebrations will be spent in our villages Chitemo and Nyhinila. Government and local Council official will be invited and this will really help to have the work recognized officially and perhaps gain support for the future of the villages.
However there is now the serious problem of famine in certain areas of Mpwapwa Diocese due to the lack of rain fall. This happens every three to five years. The people and animals lack water, the crops have failed, which means no food and the price of grain from other areas has soared. Rochester Diocese launched an appeal last month to raise £10,000 to help those worst affected. This will be of great help but it is temporary. These people, many thousands of miles away, are our friends in need, so let us hope and pray that the help required to survive this drought is provided and that importantly a solution may be found to overcome this happening in future years. I witnessed this situation in years past and it is devastating to see the land so dry, the rivers just dust bowls an the suffering of the people and children. Rev Canon Yolande Marcussen