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.