The first Montessori kindergarten in a Tanzanian government school

The kindergarten in Korongoni primary school in Moshi has improved a lot during the last year. I interviewed the main kindergarten teacher Clara, in the beginning of August 2014.

Clara is a qualified primary school teacher for children in standard three to seven and for children with special needs. However, due to the shortage of teachers in Korongoni primary school she was asked to take over the teaching in the kindergarten in 2010.

The first years were tough. Clara was the only teacher for two groups of more than 30 children, aged four to six years. She had almost no teaching materials; only a piece of chalk and one book for each subject. The desks were too big for the children and there were a lot of holes in the classroom floor.

Korongoni kindergarten before and after

The kindergarten building before and after

Clara was kept very busy throughout the whole day. She was teaching, preparing and serving porridge and washing the dishes before the next group of children arrived. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much time between the two groups which meant no break for the teacher. The sizes of the classes were too big for one teacher to handle and Clara felt that she had to play too many different roles. In addition to the teacher’s role she was sometimes acting like a police and sometimes like a grandma. Repeatedly she felt overwhelmed during and after work and experienced headaches. At the time she was not looking forward to her work days.

In 2013 Marissa, an Art in Tanzania volunteer came to the kindergarten. Marissa and Clara became good friends and Clara started to tell Marissa her dreams on how to improve the kindergarten. Together they created a plan, and Clara and representatives from Art in Tanzania researched prices for the budget. Back in the UK, Marissa with the help of GAGA-UK, raised funds which made making all of the improvements possible. In July 2013, Korongoni primary was able to open the first Montessori government kindergarten in Tanzania. Now the building has been renovated, proper desks, chairs and teaching materials purchased and another teacher, Mary, has been hired.

Korongoni kindergarten before and after 2

The class room before and after

Clara is now extremely happy and says that her dream came true. Nowadays she likes going to work and is very happy that Mary is there to help. Clara also tells that the teachers from standard 1 are very pleased with the children coming from her kindergarten as they already know the basics of reading, writing and counting. The reputation of the kindergarten has spread and many parents want a place for their kids there. Unfortunately, it is not possible to take everyone as then the group sizes would grow too big. At the moment the morning class has 32 children and the afternoon class 35.

Clara says that this kind of improvement is not too expensive and that others could do it too. Her wish for the future is that more people would understand how important it is to educate children when they are very young. Clara would especially want to continue emphasising the teaching of the basics (reading, writing and counting) after kindergarten, in classes 1 and 2.

Volunteers are wanted and needed for teaching English in both the kindergarten and the primary classes in Korongoni. Clara suggests that the volunteers could use different methods (games and play) in teaching and she is convinced that the kids will benefit from the volunteers’ teaching.

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Clara, Marissa and Mary

Text by Hanna-Mari Pulli

Mawenzi Regional Hospital, Tanzania – supporting many with few resources

By Saara Kanula

Mawenzi Regional Hospital is a busy hospital which attends to over 300 outpatients daily and has around 300 beds in its wards but the number of patients can easily rise to almost 500. In the paediatric ward, sometimes up to four kids sleep in one bed.

Art in Tanzania is organizing donations for Mawenzi hospital in order to support its staff to continue their work supporting the people of the Kilimanjaro region in northern Tanzania.

Mawenzi Hospital - Moshi

Building of the new theatre started at 2010.

In Mawenzi you will find all of the usual medical facilities including: paediatric, physiotherapy, gynaecological and prenatal, a HIV-unit, tuberculosis clinic, X-ray unit and laboratory. Besides the in-patients, more than 300 out-patients come to the hospital each day. 

Art in Tanzania has been co-operating with Mawenzi Regional Hospital for several years. They have great opportunities for medical students to undertake internships and they are constantly looking for volunteers to share their professional skills with the hospital staff.

The staff in the hospital do their very best but have few resources and outdated equipment. As a public hospital Mawenzi offers medical care to the majority of the population in the Kilimanjaro region, especially those who can’t afford private healthcare. Lack of basic equipment puts patients at risk and makes it difficult for the doctors to do their work.

Mawenzi Hospital - Moshi

Dr. Nkini

Mawenzi Regional Hospital is located in Moshi and serves a population of around 1.7 million. It was established prior to 1920 as a small military dispensary for German soldiers. In 1956 it became a hospital and has been growing ever since. Mawenzi hospital is funded by the government but since KCMC (Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre, a big university hospital) was opened in the 1970’s support and funds have been scarce.

Many of the hospital’s buildings are inadequate for modern medicine. There is a great need for renovation of old facilities and construction of new ones. The hospital is making efforts to find private investors to co-operate with and improve the quality of its facilities. Its management team has great plans for the future but it is desperately in need of support.

Mawenzi Hospital - Moshi

Building of the new Maternity clinic was suspended in 2009 because the government couldn’t fund the construction anymore.

Slow progress

Inside the hospital compound you can see lots of small buildings surrounded by flourishing gardens. Most of the buildings are over 90 years old and in need of renovation. The wards are quite modest inside.

Mawenzi Hospital - Moshi

Most of the buildings inside the hospital compound are from the 1920’s and in need of renovation.

Mawenzi Hospital - Moshi

Doctors office in the eye clinic is quite modest with only few basic equipment.

After walking pass different wards and through small paths you see a brand new white building which Dr Nkini (my host) points out to me. It is the new theatre building. Inside the building there are three theatres that have wash and sluice rooms, as well as facilities for the surgical staff. You can easily picture the building full of nurses and doctors, and patients waiting for surgery. However, at this point there are only empty rooms. The hospital has been waiting a long time for government funds for new surgical equipment.

Theatre two 2

The hospital has been waiting a long time for government funds for new surgical equipment.

Before the old theatre was closed in 2010 there were seven to twelve operations being performed daily—mainly C-sections, laparotomies and hernia repairs. Now the hospital send patients elsewhere, even for minor surgery. The Hospital’s administrators worry about loosing its specialists to the other hospitals because they are not using their surgical skills.  By the end of July the new theatre building should be finished and the hospital is working to obtain new surgical equipment little by little.

 Behind the new theatre there is another building under construction. Dr Nkini explains that it is to be the new maternity clinic. Building started in 2004 but was suspended in 2009 because the government couldn’t fund both the theatre and maternity clinic construction at the same time.  Now it is uncertain when the building will be completed.

Dr Nkini also took me to the dental clinic. It has just been renovated and the practice is about to be shifted from the old department. The clinic is busy, attending 30 to 60 patients per day and has three specialists to take care of them. More up-to-date equipment is needed as they only have few basic equipment.

Mawenzi Hospital - Moshi

The old theatre was closed at the end of 2010 by the Ministry of Health because it didn’t conclude the standards anymore.

Donations from Finland and the UK

At the moment Art in Tanzania is collecting donations in Finland destined to  different locations  within Tanzania. If you can donate medical equipment it will be very much appreciated.  Please contact Sari Vilen for a list of equipment that the hospital needs.

Also other kinds of donations are needed such as eyeglasses, school supplies, second hand computers, tools, sport equipment etc. Contact: sari@artintanzania.org.

Art in Tanzania is also planning to collect donations in the UK and other countries. If you are in the UK and want to make a donation, please contact Andy McKeegan – andy@artintanzania.org

Making a difference in Glory Orphanage

Volunteers and donors organize water and a new roof for Glory Orphanage

By: Tiina Heikkinen & Saara Kanula (Originally published on May 18, 2014)

Glory Orphanage Water Donation ProjectArt in Tanzania volunteers have been dedicating a lot of their time and enthusiasm to further develop Glory, an orphanage in Dar es Salaam. The orphanage serves as a home to 9 children and as a day-time school for other children from the neighborhood. During the day, the volunteers have been teaching the children reading and writing using interactive games, songs and other exercises. During the past few months, the volunteers have also been giving their time towards gathering donations to renovate the orphanage.

Manuela and Patrick, volunteers from Germany put their effort towards building a new roof for the building where the bedrooms are located. Half of the roof was renovated earlier with the help of previous volunteers and now the other half has a new roof. Previously the building consisted of two separate areas that were connected with a roofless corridor. Now the corridor is covered, so the whole building has a roof and all parts can be accessed without getting wet when it rains! There were also holes in the bedroom walls which are now fixed and the bedrooms are now fitted with fans.Glory Orphanage Water Donation Project

Manuela and Patrick gathered the donations for the Glory Orphanage from the Catholic Church of St. Peter & Paul, their church in Germany. Every year the church is fundraising for different purposes and this year they decided to help the kids in Glory Orphanage.

Perhaps the most incredible achievement, however, is the installation of a water pipeline to serve not only the orphanage but the whole community. Before the pipeline the orphanage was using rainwater or they bought water for a more expensive price. Now they will not only have fresh water all the time, but with every bucket they sell they will have a bucket for free for themselves. By selling Glory Orphanage Water Donation Projectthe water they will also have money for food, medication and clothes. Also, the people living in the neighborhood can buy fresh water near by. The funding for the water pipeline came from Holland and Belgium. Suzanne Ter Haar (Art in Tanzania volunteer from Holland) and her parents have been very active in fundraising.

The main sponsor has been Lievesense CSO, a water pipeline company that Suzanne’s father works. Suzanne’s father gave a lecture for several other pipeline companies in Holland and Belgium and pitched the project Suzanne was starting to organize in Glory Orphanage. LSNed and Materials Consult also signed up to donate, and together with Lievesense CSO, they funded the whole project.

The opening ceremony for the water pipe line was on 1st of May. It was a success, and a lot of Ar in Tanzania volunteers and people from the neighborhood participated. The day was very sunny and cheerful, with lots of food (typical local rice dish, ‘pilau’) and soft drinks for the kids to enjoy. The day was filled with music, dance, and laughter.

An important part of donations to acknowledgeGlory Orphanage Water Donation Project
besides funds for building material are also school supplies, toys and clothes for the kids. Just before the opening ceremony for the water pipe line, Glory Orphanage received some donations from Holland. Suzanne Ter Haar’s friends were eager to donate all sorts of things and her parent’s brought them to Tanzania. Especially the toys were extremely welcomed and brought a smile to every child’s face.

Volunteers are also finding new ways to collect money for the orphanage. Two weeks ago they were throwing a party at the Dar es Salaam volunteer house to collect money for medical expenses for the kids in Glory Orphanage and other orphanages.

A valuable lesson to take away from this story is the fact that every bit counts. On behalf of Glory Orphanage, Art in Tanzania would like to say their thanks to all the donors and volunteers that contributed to the incredible improvements done over the past year. There are no words to describe how grateful the kids in the Glory Orphanage are for these acts of kindness.

Art in Tanzania is always looking for volunteers to help us continue to make a difference.

If you are interested to volunteer or make some donations, go to our website for more information: www.artintanzania.org

‘Smile in a Bag’ Easter Donations 2014

In 2012 Laura Isaac travelled to Tanzania to volunteer with children from deprived backgrounds, and to learn about their culture and way of life.

Jiwe Gumu - Laura Isaac Donation

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.”

Jiwe Gumu Nursery School Volunteering TanzaniaBefore 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.

Jiwe Gumu Nursery School Volunteering TanzaniaTogether 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 donatedJiwe Gumu Nursery School Volunteering Tanzania

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!

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Pupils from One School in Dar es Salaam receive donations through AIT

By David Kiarie (Originally published on Nov 1, 2013)

Pupils from One school of Tegeta in Dar es Salaam are a happy lot following the completion of a modern sanitation block at the school.

The toilets were constructed with funds from a volunteer at Art In Tanzania who saw the need for the school to have clean sanitation facilities.

The funds also saw the school connected with piped water by Dar es Salaam Water and Sanitation Company (DAWASCO), bringing to an end the problem of water shortage that the school had to contend with for a long period of time.

“We are glad the pupils now have clean sanitation blocks for both boys and girls and a reliable source of clean water that is safe for domestic use,” said the school head Obedi Rusumo.

Rusumo said although the school had been funded to put up a sanitation block, the administration minimized costs and saved enough money to buy a water storage tank and have piped water connected.

“We used to order between 200-300 litres of water daily which cost us between Tsh. 15,000-Tsh.20,000, about 10-13 US dollars. We no longer need the services of the water vendor and we can use the money we are saving for other purposes.

” We have also managed to clear a Tsh 2 million debt that we owed DAWASCO after connecting us with clean piped water,” said the school headteacher Obedi.

He further said that the ministry of education officials who paid a visit to the school that was facing closure due to poor sanitation have hailed the project and have already registered the education centre, as a nursery school, with the government.

The government has also promised to donate land to the school to enable it grow into a primary school. Presently, pupils who study at the private nurserly school have to join other schools for primary education.

The school with six teachers has two levels of baby and middle classes with pupils age ranging from three and six years old.

The school also plans to have electric power connected and has mobilized some funds for the same although they have a Tsh 700,000 deficit. The total cost of the exercise is Tsh 1.2 million according to Rusumo.

”I credit our school development to Art In Tanzania through whom we meet our esteemed sponsor Carol Wood who has stood with us for this long,”

Carol, a former volunteer with Art In Tanzania, also sends monthly donations that goes into purchase of flour to make porridge for close to 200 pupils at the school.

The sponsor also donated sleeping mats which are used by baby class pupils who have to take a nap every day at the school before they go home at noon.

The headteacher further expressed his gratitude with AIT for offering volunteers to teach pupils at the school.

”The volunteers and interns teach our pupils both written and spoken English among other subjects,” Rusumo said adding that it has helped to improve their performance in class. Another volunteer from Art In Tanzania Rick Jonnes also built desks for the school several years ago.

Sponsored youth lands a great opportunity at AIT’s IT department

By Amy Pitman
Volunteer, Art In Tanzania (Originally Published on Oct 25, 2013)

Art in Tanzania is primarily known for its volunteer work in which people from across the world assist in bettering the community in Tanzania. However, it also has another function: to give locals the opportunity to expand and develop their skills.

Simon Fredrick Simon, 19, is in charge of an internet café at the Dar es Salaam volunteer house. Every afternoon he also teaches IT classes to locals of various ages. His story might have been quite different had Art in Tanzania not given him a chance.

Simon, in a blue T-shirt, teaching at Art In Tanzania internet cafe

Simon, in a blue T-shirt, teaching at Art In Tanzania internet cafe

From an early age Simon learnt to earn money to fund his education. In a family where he has a brother and two sisters, finding money for school was difficult.

He first started making money when he was 10 by collecting empty plastic bottles and selling them for recycling. Simon was forced to find money because if he didn’t pay his school fees, he would be punished by caning. He would earn 2,000 Tsh (US $1.25) per a kilogram of bottles. All this money contributed to his education.

Over the next few years, Simon made building blocks for sale, sold mangos and did fishing as well, often selling his produce at a nearby Kunduchi village. His Father taught computer studies and Simon was able to attend some lessons, becoming incredibly interested in the subject. The class was taught in the same room as English, which gave Simon a chance to learn another language. He had a natural gift for IT and was soon given the opportunity by his Father to teach the IT class, eventually progressing to teach English as well.

Simon found out about Art in Tanzania and started volunteering in the IT department. At around the same time he was forced to move out and find a house of his own. He has only been living on his own for seven months.

To begin with a couple of Finnish girls supported him by DSC_0218paying for his rent but soon he was able to secure a job at Art in Tanzania and is now able to support himself although it is still difficult to make ends meet. Along with his monthly salary of 100,000 Tsh, (US $ 62) he is also given 20% of the internet café takings which helps him pay for his bills.

Simon enjoys working and learning, with an aim to continue in the field of IT, perhaps even to go on and teach the subject in a school. The opportunity to work at Art in Tanzania was a chance for him to develop his skills further and to meet a number of different people from across the world.

His plan is to work for the rest of the year before returning to secondary school to complete his studies. He hopes to join university or college to study IT further after his secondary school studies.

Young student benefits from sponsorship through Art In Tanzania

Written by Anna Kevin and Emilia Sten and edited by Amy Pitman. Art In Tanzania volunteers. (Originally Published on: Oct 15, 2013)

In a place where education is hard to come by, sponsorship can help give a young person an education and eventually a chance to a better life.

This is the story of 22 year-old Joseph Wilson, whose life changed when he got a sponsor.

Originally from Mwanza, near Lake Victoria, Joseph moved to Dar es Salaam because his family couldn’t afford his education fees as he has two other brothers who were also depending on them.

He was eager to learn and after moving to Dar es Salaam he took up evening classes taught by volunteers at Art In Tanzania. It was then that he realized that if he wanted a good education, he would need to find a sponsor.

Joseph WilsonSponsors provide money for an individual’s education including school fees, transportation, exam fees, books and other materials. Food is not covered so Joseph has to pay for this himself. He was able to find a sponsor in one of the team leaders at Art in Tanzania. This all started four years ago.

However, his sponsor got a family of her own and was unable to afford the sponsorship anymore. But as fate would have it, he soon found himself another sponsor in a Dutch couple.

He now attends a military established and sponsored school called Makongo High School. His lessons are taught by soldiers.

The sponsors maintain contact with the individual to ensure both are satisfied. The money can be given directly to the individual, to the school or to Art in Tanzania but Joseph always provides his sponsors with receipts to prove that the money is going into the intended use.

Joseph’s life has changed for the better thanks to a sponsor paying for his education and he is very thankful for this. When he is not in school taking his studies, Joseph works part time at Art in Tanzania in order to pay for his food and says he can’t complain because he’s not walking around hungry.

His average days schedule includes school, scouting, football and work, and his goal is to become a high school teacher. He has a dream that one day he will establish a school which would have a focus on different teaching techniques. He also adds that his school will not allow corporal punishment, which is a common practice in Tanzania, but rather a different approach to correct wrong doers without humiliating them.

Joseph believes that without the sponsorship, his life would be miserable. He says he would probably be a street child because “without an education, you can’t do anything.” Joseph will be sitting his form four national exams in a few weeks and hopes to pursue his education further.