Uzi Island needs environmental interns and volunteers

Road to Uzi

Road to Uzi

Uzi is a small island in the south of Zanzibar’s main island, Unguja. The road to Uzi is called Nyeker road; manmade using rocks and stones with at least four types of mangroves on either side. The road to Uzi resembles the partition of the River Nile in the story of Moses; simply mesmerising. The road has been built slowly over 50 years. It started off as a small lane for walking; this was then made wider for the use of bicycles, then for cows and finally it was made even wider for the use of motor vehicles.

The drive to Uzi Island is very beautiful, but very bumpy, if you suffer from motion sickness, be sure to sit at the front of the vehicle or make yourself as comfortable as possible.

Our informative and helpful guide, Isshaka, met us at a resting point, made with the help of volunteers for when the tide comes in. The water can rise up to two metres when there is a full moon. When the tide is high you can goDSC03795 fishing. The land in Zanzibar is so fertile we were able to plant four mangrove seeds each, Twenty (Edward) steps from the resting point, on the right, which fulfilled a personal ambition to plant trees that will definitely grow.

The town to Uzi and has been there for around 10 years along with three wells on the Island that provide drinking water. A Dala Dala, number 334, from Uzi to Stone town takes around one hour.

Uzi baskets made by women's group

Uzi baskets made by women’s group

The main sources of income for the Island are from fishing, farming and carpenter work. There are also woman groups on the island and the woman craft their own fruit baskets that Art in Tanzania export to Finland and also sell on EBay for around 25 Dollars.

Within the mangroves, women from the villages have placed plastic bottles across the water in order to collect two types of seaweed, they use plastic boats to collect these when the tide is high; 100 of these plastic boats were donated by a friend of Isshaka. The seaweed is then made into soaps and sold in order to provide income to the villagers.

helloIsshaka went to school in Uzi then to Ston etown to study further. Isshaka is very passionate about wanting to make a difference and help people live a better life in Uzi. Isshaka does 2 radio broadcasts throughout the week; one where he brings awareness of environmental issues on Uzi Island and what others can do to help, and another broadcast called Sunset Zanzibar, where he talks about tourism and the importance to the island and how tourism can help the island develop.

Uzi grows many fruits such as Mangoes, Oranges, Guava, Yams and Cassava. Alrge Baobab trees also grow in Uzi; the villages used to cut these down, however Isshaka has been campaigning to keep these trees in order to house bee boxes that provide honey to the locals; honey season is September to October. The Baobab fruit when mixed with water and sugar is a good source of Vitamin C.

Biogas from biowaste

Biogas from biowaste

The Island really needs creative interns and volunteers passionate about the environment and sustainable development. Also people that can help the women create innovative arts and crafts in order to sell and help provide an income for many households on Uzi Island.

For volunteering at Uzi  you can contact  Art in Tanzania info (at) artintanzania.org

Helping the kids in Yusuf School

YusufFounded by Yusuf Kombo Juma, a father of six children, who witnessed the problems and challenges of education and set out on a mission to tackle the issue, he sold his own land and properties and got creative in raising money in order to fund his vision.

Yusuf started his school with just one nursery class with 30 local children in 2010, this then grew each year and now the school has two nursery classes and five secondary classes with 95 local children attending the school for 8000 TZS per month, the eldest students are aged 13. The school runs from 07:30 to 12:00/ 12:45 for the older students. There are seven local teachers. Yusuf is hoping to build another classroom for those older than this, but will need funds to build it.

donatedArt in Tanzania has been working with this school since 2011; they helped expand the school from one class room to what it is now, through Art in Tanzania two volunteers have helped out for three months, helping the students and the teachers also, a volunteer from the UK taught the teachers ways of teaching for two weeks which the teachers found very helpful. Yusuf said that good education brings in more students so volunteers are very much welcomed to help support in whichever way they can.

girl school-SebastienBeunChildren of all faiths attend the school and learn, Maths, English, Science, Swahili, Arabic and some learn about Islam. There will be opportunities to teach the children different languages, such as French and German if volunteers wished to do so. If you don’t want to teach you can simply provide help and support for the children and teachers, you could even set up clubs or different activities for the children, there is something for everyone.

In order to expand the school, Yusuf wishes to buy the plot of land next to the school building to create three new classes for the school. For this he requires 4 million TZS (approximately £1450) to buy the land, and then 3 million TZS (approximately £1060) to build one classroom.

DSC04539Yusuf also has an ambition to build a centre for children near the Yusuf school on a plot of land he already owns, this would provide shelter and education for orphans in need. To build around five rooms Yusuf would require around 9 million TZS (approximately £3200) the centre would then need, beds and other furnishings to provide for the children living in the centre.

Yusuf spoke about how some of the children come to school in really bad conditions; these children need support in many ways, not just teaching.

If you would like to volunteer at this school, or to donate, stationary, teaching material, desks, chairs, clothes for the children, bags or office equipment you time or money, get in touch with Edward Busungu at Art in Tanzania for more information.

 

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.

DSCN4943crop

Clara, Marissa and Mary

Text by Hanna-Mari Pulli

Experiences and thoughts about volunteering in Moshi

Millie, Melissa and Selin volunteering in Moshi

Millie, Melissa and Selin volunteering in Moshi

Millie, Melissa and Selin have been volunteering in Moshi in June and July 2014. We wanted to know which projects girls have been participating and what kind volunteer work they have been doing in their projects. We also asked the girls about their expectations on volunteer work as well as about their experiences in Tanzania.

Millie from Britain spent 4 weeks in Moshi. She worked in two different projects during her stay. In the mornings she worked at Chemi Chemi Nursery School helping and teaching the children. In the afternoons she worked at Neema’s Nursery School and Daycare’s project teaching English for teenagers and young adults.

She says that she finds volunteer work very helpful, especially when one is able to teach the things one knows to others as well. “Volunteer work gives learning experiences to both sides and I think that volunteers can get as much of it as the people they are helping”, she says.

Even thought she felt that she couldn’t do as much as she would’ve liked to do to help people, she says that it is important to feel that one can make a difference at least to some. And she really did. Millie told us that the best experience for her was when the girls who she tough English to, invited her to their homes. That made her feel she had done something right and that her work was really worth something to others.

Two Swedish girls, Melissa and Selin, were volunteering in Moshi for 2 weeks. Melissa was volunteering at the same Chemi Chemi Nursery School as Millie did. Selin volunteered at Sango Women Group & Nursery School where she was working with young widows. She tough them basics of business management, counting and financing. She also told them what kind of things they should consider and what they should do if they wanted to start their own business. She studies business management in Sweden which made the teaching easier for her.

We asked also Selin and Melissa about their expectations and they told us that they didn’t really know beforehand what to expect. They knew about the economical problems but still the reality was bit of a shock to them. Even thought there seemed to be lack of many things, they were impressed about the caring and sharing atmosphere people have and how happy people are with so little resources. It is something totally different than in the western world. “It is amazing how much love for example the children have for each other”, they say.

Melissa and Selin both think that volunteering is definitely worth experiencing. It is something one should do in order to truly experience a new culture because it brings you closer to the culture and people than any tourist trip ever would. They say that volunteering shouldn’t be thought as a vacation because you need to have general interest in helping in order to volunteer with full commitment. They also think that teaching as a volunteer work is an important way of helping others. “Education is the key and the most important way of helping. Also donations are needed but they become so much more valuable with the help in making a proper plan on how to use the money given”, girls underline.

Girls were interviewed and the article was written by two volunteers who have been working in Moshi May-July 2014.

“This is our nursery because this is our society” – Neema’s Nursery and Montessory Daycare

Neema’s Nursery and Montessory Daycare at Kiwodea – Saba Saba Moshi – Tanzania started with seven children on 6th of January 2014. Now there are 35 of 3-6 year old children coming to the nursery and daycare. Neema’s Nursery and Montessory Daycare  is located in Moshi. Neema’s Nursery and Montessory Daycare is a private school and the teaching is mainly in English.

Neema Marko, a teacher and the founder of the nursery school, has before been teaching at Khuba Nursery for seven years. It is her longtime dream to help children’s education as someone helped her once. Neema comes from a poor family and as a child she was selling mangos and onions to get by. Her uncle’s friend from Germany decided to sponsor her and so finishing school became possible for Neema. Now she wants to return the favor by helping children who come from difficult life situations to study. Now, along the work in Khuba nursery, Neema started a new nursery school in January 2014 with a help of volunteer from Finland. Neema will finish working in Khuba nursery in December 2014 when her contract there finishes. She has started teaching adult English class for people with no English or writing skills before. Also in this volunteers can help.

Volunteer in Nursery School

Ever since Neema has worked with volunteers in her new project and she has many very good experiences of the co-operation and this is also why she wanted to work with Art In Tanzania as well. Volunteers in Neema’s Nursery and Montessory Daycare teach English, drawing and math. They are also playing with the children.

Volunteer in Nursery School

At the moment there is also a local girl working as a volunteer. She hasn’t been able to get to the collage so for her working is a good working experience even when she is not paid the teacher salary. Neema needs someone there to help her with teaching, cooking and being with children. Also for the days when Neema is not going to be there, the school has to run.

Neema wants to invite many people to come and help the children and there are many ways of helping. Teaching is the most important thing but also sponsoring the nursery is important because the school is reliant on donations. The school lacks of many things, and books, pencils and also the food for the children are needed. Neema is renting the building and also the rents of two rooms, desks, mattresses and water come quite high and the help is needed. “Teaching is the most important help for the children. But I want to tell about the problems we have. It is not to ask for money or force people to donate but so that people know.”, Neema highlights.

Neema's Nursery School and Daycare

Helping children with education and starting a nursery school has been Neema’s longtime dream that has come true. Now the challenge is to keep the dream alive and the school running. When asked what are her future hopes and plans Neema tells that she would like to go and get a diploma for teaching. She dreams of moving to a new building and to expand to having also a primary and a secondary school as a boarding school. Of the shorter term dreams she would like to collect enough money to get dala dala -car to pick the children to school every day. Some of the children live far away and it is hard to get them to come to school. Many stay at home because the parents don’t have the money to pay the transportation to the school.

These are big dreams for her but not impossible. “Me and you. When we share the dreams can come true.”, Neema says. Neema says that even with her name, the nursery school is not hers but community’s. Even if something happens to Neema, the nursery school needs to go on. “This is our nursery because this is our society.”

This text was written by two volunteers who have been working in Neema’s Nursery and Montessory Daycare at Kiwodea in May-June 2014.

Morning of English, numbers and games in the Winning Star’s Nursery School

By Hanna-Mari Pulli

Winning Stars Nursery  Kunduchi

Volunteers Amy and Helen teaching numbers

This week we visited the Winning Stars Nursery School in Kunduchi. 17 children, from three to seven years old, attend the school. The teacher Glory has worked in the school for two years and says that the volunteers help her a lot! The volunteers come mainly to teach math, English and drawing. The school is free of charge for everyone.The day starts at 9am. Some of the kids come from the orphanage located next to the school and some get dropped off by their parents. This time the children started with math; they were learning numbers and simple calculations, first together and then individually. The volunteers sat down with the kids and helped them when needed.

Winning Stars Nursery  Kunduchi

After finishing their assignments it was time for a play break! The children were playing outside and a couple of them found their inner photographers and took photos with our cameras very enthusiastically. Football, pushing car tires and climbing were also very popular. Before going back inside and continuing to study, a group photo was taken. The kids were very eager to be in the photo and we also promised to send the photos to Glory.

Winning Stars Nursery  Kunduchi

Winning Star’s Nursery School students with the teacher Glory and volunteers Amy and Helen

Winning Stars Nursery  Kunduchi

After the break the children were taught different forms of transportation with pictures; car, bus, airplane, boat and so on. All of the kids came individually in the front of the class to say all of them out loud, and later drew the shapes and wrote the correct names in their booklets. However, soon the kids were getting tired and hungry. The porridge was late. After some 20 minutes of waiting, it finally arrived and the kids settled back to their seats. Glory scooped everyone an individual cup of hot porridge and the children started to eat carefully. When they were finished with their food, it was already past midday and time for the kids to go home.

Winning Stars Nursery  Kunduchi

A day as an African pupil

By Anna Kevin and Emilia Sten (Originally published on May 10, 2014)

On Thursday morning we left the house with three Danish volunteers to “One School – Primary and Nursery”. They were going to teach there, and we wanted to experience being an African pupil for one day.

It was a bit higher standard at the school. The pupils DSCN6347had desks, books and other school material. Everyone was wearing a school uniform in light blue.

We got a seat in the back row. The lecture started with painting pictures and writing sentences on the board. Everything have to be written down, because not all the children have a chance to get a book of their own. Instead they copied everything down in their notebooks. It took a while for the teachers to get the board ready, but we were very patient. Most of the teaching was done so that the teachers said it out loud and we repeated. The best pupil was the one screaming out the answer the loudest.

DSCN6345After one and a half hour of learning, the ones who wanted got a cup of porridge. This was followed by a half an hour break, and then the active learning continued. The pupils were very eager to learn, maybe that’s because not everyone gets the chance to go to school. Volunteering can give the opportunity for more children to attend school.

DSCN6348

By volunteering you can help the Tanzania to develop. Education standard is still very poor and while the economy is growing the only way to get jobs is to get proper education. Art in Tanzania volunteers and interns help in the schools, supported by UNICEF Children Agenda program.