In 2012 Laura Isaac travelled to Tanzania to volunteer with children from deprived backgrounds, and to learn about their culture and way of life.
During her stay Laura volunteered at Jiwe Gumu School, founded in 2003 and situated in the village of Mtongani, around 2 km from the Volunteer House.
Approximately 70 students between the ages of 3-5 attend the school and the students are divided into two (sometimes three classes). The school is funded by the headmaster Teacher Kennedy and takes in orphans and street children free of charge. The teachers are not fully qualified; therefore assistance is appreciated.
Laura said about her experience, “I thoroughly enjoyed working at the school – the children are so happy and teacher Kennedy was so welcoming. I enjoyed teaching the children, and adapted to working with very little resources. The best part for me was singing, playing and laughing with the children, and just seeing their huge smiles and hearing their laughter. It has been one of the best experiences of my life.”
Before arriving in Tanzania Laura and her friend Jodie decided to fundraise an amount of money that assisted in buying a range of school supplies, craft materials, toys for the children and some clothes.
After volunteering, having returned to the UK, Laura decided that she wanted to continue helping and supporting the children of Jiwe Gumu School.
Laura works at Llanfair Caereinion Primary School in Wales which has just over 200 pupils. Laura presented her journey to the pupils when she returned, showing a range of pictures, and sharing her stories.
Together they decided to create the ‘Smile in a Bag’ project. This project gave the children of Llanfair Caereinion Primary school the opportunity to donate educational supplies, toiletries, toys, clothes, books, teddies and much more. Laura along with the help of her family transferred the donations into tote bags, some for boys and some for girls, making sure that they were all equal. Laura then had the bags shipped over to Tanzania for the children. She said “It gives the children at Caereinion Primary School an opportunity to learn about other children who come from deprived backgrounds. It teaches them to think of others, to be kind, to share, and to care for others less fortunate than themselves. There is no better feeling than receiving the pictures of the children receiving their gift bags, and seeing the smiles on their faces. Everyone can make a difference, and every little bit counts.”
In 2012, 139 bags were donated
In 2013, 94 bags and 80 T-shirts printed with the school’s logo were donated from Caereinion Primary School.
With the aid of the volunteers from Art in Tanzania, this year’s donation was made during Easter time. It was a fun day with many activities like face-painting, singing and dancing and many happy faces as the bags were given to the children.
If anyone would like to get involved in ‘Smile in a Bag’, a donation towards the shipping costs of the bags to Tanzania is much appreciated. For more information about how you can help kindly contact Laura Isaac at rssl123(at)live.co.uk
Every bit helps!