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.

Malala Yousafzai nominated for Nobel Peace Prize ahead of International Day of the Girl Child

By Amy Pitman (Originally published on Oct 9, 2013)

Volunteer, Art In Tanzania

The International day of the Girl child will be celebrated for the second time this Friday with a big focus on ‘Innovating for Girls’ Education’.

In 2011 the United Nations declared 11th October as International day of the Girl child giving a chance for the world to recognize girls’ rights while highlighting the individual challenges they are exposed to around the world. Last year, the day focused on a child marriages.

This year the focus is on girls’ education, a subject which is broad and allows for different approaches by different stakeholders around the world.

Girl child education activist  Malala Yousafzai, 16.

Girl child education activist Malala Yousafzai, 16.

Among the renowned girl child education activists in the world is a young girl from Pakistan who boldly challenged the view that girls do not have the same right to education as boys. Malala Yousafzai’s public campaign for girls’ rights was unwelcome in some circles and the Taliban militant group shot her when she openly expressed her views on her right to girls’ education.

When the Taliban declared girls would no longer be allowed to go to school, Malala started writing a blog on BBC Urdu called ‘Diary of a Pakistani Schoolgirl’ which detailed her views on education, believing she could be more than what was expected of her.

She kept the blog anonymous, however, she was not afraid to publicly speak out about these views, particularly to journalists. In February 2009, the Pakistani television presenter Hamid Mir brought his show to Swat in Pakistan, Malala’s home and she choose this opportunity to voice these views.

Although Malala was the activist, the concern was primarily with her father as he was already known as a social and educational activist. It was never expected that the Taliban would target a child.

Malala was shot in the head in 2012 and was eventually flown to the United Kingdom to receive hospital treatment. Now aged 16 and living in Birmingham, England, she has already been nominated for an International Children’s Peace Prize and was this week nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Now Malala is working towards convincing the children of Britain to appreciate the education they receive, telling the BBC programme Panorama: “I want to tell the students of UK to think that it is precious, it’s very prestigious, to go to school.”

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.

Tanzania marks International day of the Girl child for the first time, October 11th 2012

By David Kiarie
Dar es Salaam (Originally Published on: Sep 26, 2013)

For the first time ever, the world will today, Thursday October 11th 2012 mark the International day of the Girl child.

The day was declared by the United Nations general assembly on December 19th 2011 following intensive lobbying by non profit organizations that felt there was need to set aside a day when the world can recognize girls’ rights while still reflecting on the unique challenges they face around the world.

In Tanzania, Plan International and Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF) will be holding two events in different locations.

Plan International will be launching ’Because I Am A Girl Campaign’ at Karimjee hall in Dar es Salaam.

CDF on their part will be launching ‘Tanzania Ending Child Marriage Network’ at Mwembe Yanga of Temeke in Dar es Salaam.

The two organizations are members of Unicef’s Children Agenda forum, a network of non-governmental organizations, the government and other partners who are committed advocates for child rights and who collaborate in the development and implementation of a national advocacy strategy for child rights in Tanzania.

Volunteers and staff from Art In Tanzania, which is also a member of the Children Agenda network, will attend both functions.

This year’s theme for the global event is ‘My life, My right, End child marriage’.

Learning for all ages

(Originally Published on: Sep 23, 2013)

The classrooms in the house of Art in Tanzania get a little break during lunchtime after last of the children has rushed home. A fast clean and the boards fill up with preparations for new lessons, this time for the adults. Every day tens of Tanzanians around the area of Bahari Beach come to the English lessons held by the volunteers of Art in Tanzania. Some of them travel more than two hours and the age of the students range from sixteen to thirty.

The advanced class is studying categories of different nouns

The advanced class is studying categories of different nouns

Beginners class is learning numbers

Beginners class is learning numbers

The classes have been divided to three groups: beginner’s class, intermediate class and the advanced class. Some of them want to learn English to enable to study a profession, some to improve their communication with the growing population of foreigners in Tanzania and some to expand their ongoing businesses. Common to all of them is their enthusiasm to learn.

The daily debate gets the students excited

The daily debate gets the students excited

Although the equipment and the materials used in the lessons are mostly collection of books and papers provided by the all the volunteers during the years the most important thing is to get the students to interact with each other in English. One of the most anticipated parts of the lessons is the everyday debate in the end. The topics of the debates vary from effectiveness of prisons, women’s rights to western impact in Tanzania.

Another main challenge for the lessons has been the continuity. Every time a volunteer’s program ends weather it is two weeks or three months the teachers for our eager students change. To enable our students to progress the volunteers are trying to develop a system where they take enough time to let the next volunteer to get familiar with the class and to explain their activities. Although when students were asked about the vast variety of teacher they just found it positive since every new volunteers has their different ideas and a new point of view to share.