Donations to An-Nabawiya Nursery School

school2 SebastienBeunA small nursery in the village of Fuoni, pronounced An – na – Ba – wee –yah, built in 2012 by Ms Asia Issa Jecha and Mr Hassan Mwinyi kombo as part of a women’s project.

The school is run by 6 local teachers who devote their time from 07:30 in the morning to 12:00pm, five days a week, in order to help educate the young local children. The school initially had 93 students and now have at least 100 local children who attend the nursery for free. The nursery building is also used from 19:00 to 20:00 for private tuition classes; these are held by different teachers.

teaching3-SebastienBeunThe children learn English, Maths, Science, Swahili, Arabic, Art and Religious Studies. Art in Tanzania have been involved with the nursery since 2014 and have provided a total number of 10 volunteers who have helped teach the children and also assisted the local teachers, by, for example, providing them with one to one English lessons.

The first day we visited the nursery was to deliver four benches that were kindly donated by a former Swedish volunteer; altogether there are four classrooms, however, all four of the benches were placed in one classroom. The aim is to fill all four classrooms with these little benches so that all of the children can benefit and enjoy learning in a comfortable environment. All the children wanted to sit on them and were extremely excited and happy with the generous donation.

When we went to visit the nursery again, we spoke to the head teacher, Mrs Latifa Mahfoudh, a stunning and pleasant woman who you could see loved working with the children and had always had a passion for teaching; we sat down and had a long chat at about the nursery and what her ambitions were for the nursery and its students.

Latifa pointed out some of the improvements to the actual building that needed to be carried out; a new roof was needed as the current one leaked, new windows were needed as well as a more stable and safer wall/fence around the parameters of the school with a gate, in order to keep the children safe and protected. Two of the classrooms were not plastered so it was impossible to provide a more pleasant environment for the children to learn in, as you can see from the pictures, the classrooms were dark and unpleasant, even with the sun blazing outside. The nursery also needed to build new toilets for the little boys and girls to use.

As well as the children’s facilities, Latifa showed us her own office, which really does need some attention, it would help her to have a proper carpet that covered all of the floor, new stable chairs and shelves so that when volunteers or guests come, they too can use the office and have a pleasant and clean workspace to work in, without feeling your chair is going to giveaway any second! Latifa would also like to go on computer courses and get computer for her office to make her work easier.

Upon our return, three volunteers, Louise Proctor, Claire Manning and Elizabeth Drey flew out to Zanzibar from Ireland and brought with them a very generous donation of over £4000 for the nursery; with their help and local workers, building work has now commenced, with a new roof and plastering. The work on the wall/fence will be started next, and then the new windows will be fitted. The donations will also help to build new toilets for the little boys and girls. A further £3296 has been donated by Whitney Harris-Linton from Michigan (£77 put towards the roof), Melissa Wolsley from Findlay, Australia (donated £99 for a black board to be fitted in the classroom) £2600 and £520 have also been donated from more kind donators. The money given will be used to finish renovating the school and any money left over will be used on a new project in Madale, Dar-Es-Salam, subject to the donors consent.

kiswahili sebastienIf you would like to volunteer at the nursery or donate; your time, skills, money, toys, stationary or school equipment, do contact Edward Busungu at Art in Tanzania and get involved, it certainly is a fantastic project and the children and staff are simply delightful to be around.

If you do wish to teach at the school, we would recommend spending more than two weeks, as this will enable you to build a much better rapport with the children and staff, allowing them to put into practice what you teach and you will be able to witness the difference that your presence can make in their lives and futures.

 

Spice Tour

Spice is an essential ingredient of Zanzibarian culture therefore a visit to Zanzibar is not complete without a (half day) spice tour. With the abolition of the slave trade, spices became a source of income for Zanzibar and it remains to be so, with the island being the biggest exporter of cloves.

Our guide and spice farmer, Mr Abeid, who inherited the spice farm from his late father, took us on a fragrant and delightful journey of exploration along his show farm, which is around 800 acres; he has his larger farm close by. Mr Abid was very informative and charmingly engaging as well as entertaining with the help of his assistant ”Maria”.

I love my spices and was still pleasantly surprised by how the spices were grown, how they were used and their benefits in cooking and for general health.

We started with the Annato plant; a natural orange-red colouring that comes from the seeds and is used in food, lipstick and the vermillion that Hindu’s use on their forehead (modelled by ‘Maria’).

Did you know that cloves actually grow on trees, and need to be dried for five days in the sun to be black in colour? Same with peppercorns, they grow on trees. Also interestingly the island has cacoa trees, but they import their chocolate and make coco powder for hot chocolate. However they export Zanzibar coffee to Arab countries, it’s a strong flavour.

We had Ylang Ylang flowers crushed into our hands, used many well known perfumes like Channel No 5. They have a small stall selling some of their own produce which is a must see, including Ylangi Ylangi oil.

There is one fruit, you will either love or loathe like marmite – the Durian aka the stink fruit. You might not want to be near one should it drop to the floor!

Lunch was provided, cooked by local women…this was the best food I’d tasted at the time of writing. You really need to go and experience it for yourself. We asked for a recipe (measurements all to taste!)

Pilau rice

In a pan fry a bit of cinnamon, black pepper, cumin, cardamom, then add crushed garlic and sliced onions – cook until brown.

Transfer this to a pressure cooker and add washed rice and quartered potatoes with water to cover the rice. This should take up to 30 minutes. You could leave it in the original pan and cook it on the hob or put it in a Moroccan tagine clay dish to cook in the oven.

Serve rice with Kingfish dry cooked in a mix of spices. We had side dishes of mixed vegetables cooked in coconut milk and a pinch of turmeric. Also a spicy tomato sauce cooked in coconut oil plus cassava leaves mixed with coconut milk to make a spinach dish. Delicious. We were served water and lemon grass tea to accompany our meal.

Volunteering for the ’International Day of the African Child’ event

 

At Thursday the 16thJune a bus full of volunteers headed out at five o’clock in the morning to do some volunteering work for the International Day of the African Child at ’The Jakaya M. Kikwete Youth Park’. This is one of the biggest youth parks in Dar Es Salaam opened in October 2015 by the president of the United Republic of Tanzania. Which is compared to other sport venues quite developed as they had artificial football fields for example which is not that common for Tanzanian standards.

The event was apparently created for children which means a lot of colours, laughter and fun. But these colorful balloons weren’t blowing up them self from alone. Decorating was one of our tasks at the event next to judging and conducting of the reading and drawing challenges, taking pictures and collecting video footage, face painting, acting as a mascot or participating at one of the numerous sport challenges like football games or basketball matches. Supporting all these activities, helping to arrange the challenges and cleaning up is concluding our day at the event quite well.

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But next to the hard work (for some it was a tough day especially for our athletes and our mascot volunteers) there was a lot of joy for everyone as the kids who were participating organized several performances from traditional Tanzanian dances to singing performances. Also reputable sponsors like unicef or the Tanzanian government by itself were providing us for all these efforts with a lunch break and refreshing drinks. Next to the events it also had several stalls about nutrition elucidation or little healthy checks as well as technology companies presenting their electronic devices.

All in all, this day was quite a diversification as it was a pretty long and exhausting day for everyone who participated comparable to working at an exhibition day.Even more thankful was everyone for the already prepared food of mama Neema in the evening at home.

For more Information, you can have a look at the Wikipedia entry.

If you want to see more pictures of that day visit the Facebook page of Atte Leskinen Photography

 

A fashion designer volunteers her skill in Tanzania and gains an experience of a life-time

Volunteer Emilie Bendix Hansen at the volunteer house in Dar es Salaam

Volunteer Emilie Bendix Hansen at the volunteer house in Dar es Salaam

Written by Saara Kanula (Finland)
Edited by Lynne Hambury (South Africa) (Originally published on Apr 24, 2014)

Emilie Bendix Hansen is a 22 years old girl from Copenhagen, Denmark. She has been dreaming of coming to Africa for many years. She finally made her dream come true last January when she came to volunteer at Art in Tanzania (AIT).

As a volunteer Emilie has been teaching English in a nursery school in the mornings and Adult English in the afternoons – this is a typical type of volunteer project in AIT. Depending on one’s education, background and interests, one can participate in many other projects made available by AIT. In Emilie’s case, besides teaching, she found a project where she could use her professional skill as a fashion designer.

Emilie graduated last December from Teko Design and Business school and has been designing women’s clothing for Lolly’s Laundry in Denmark. While volunteering  Emilie designed clothes for Art in Tanzania. These items will then be produced by the Getting Older is to Grow (GOIG) Society – a certified Fair Trade producer of unique and sustainable handcrafted products. A non-profit organization founded in 1991, GOIG’s mission is to enable disadvantaged children in Tanzania to reach their full potential through receiving a quality education relevant to their needs. At GOIG the youth is trained to produce quality traditional handcraft products for internal and external market access.

During its start up in 1994 through to 2005, GOIG received significant financial and technical assistance from the Finnish Handcrafts Society and FINNIDA. Now GOIG is collaborating with AIT and producing items for their Fair Trade shop in Dar es Salaam and online shop in Finland.

I had a chance to meet up with Emilie and ask her few questions about her design work at GOIG.

How did the idea arise to design clothes for Art in Tanzania?
The idea came about during a conversation with a team leader at AIT. After finding out that I was a fashion designer, the team leader told me about GOIG and suggested a possibility of working with them to produce a clothing line. I took some time off from my teaching projects and then started designing women’s clothing together with GOIG.

GOIG Modern Schools situated in Dar es Salaam

GOIG Modern Schools situated in Dar es Salaam

How did you find working as a designer in Tanzania?
I knew that would be different from designing in Denmark and before I started I couldn’t really imagine what it would be like. Everything works so differently in Africa compared to where I come from. I came to Africa with an “open” mind but still found some unexpected things. This is not a bad thing as it taught me about a different culture to my own.

The GOIG Society is a very nice organization and the people are very friendly. Just a few workers speak English so communication was a little bit difficult. Luckily I had a Tanzanian co-worker, Jessica, who was fluent in English. At first she was a little bit shy, but when I got to know her, I really liked her and enjoyed working with her. We designed the collection together.

GOIG is located in Dar es Salaam, about half an hours drive from the Bahari Beach volunteer house. The GOIG building is quite modest when one compares it to any of Denmark’s buildings. Working spaces are simple and equipment is quite rudimentary – Workers sew with very old sewing machines.

Staff members (sewers) at the GOIG Society

Staff members (sewers) at the GOIG Society

How does the work differ from a designer’s work in Denmark?
In Denmark students learn how to design clothes and most of the production is done in Asia. At GOIG the teaching concentrates on teaching women to sew, so all of the designed items are made here. The process of making clothes is really different too. I was surprised to see that the workers cut the fabric without a pattern to guide them. Sometimes the outcome works well, however there are many mistakes made and fabric is wasted. Workers have graduated from the GOIG vocational school and some of them are very talented. I was amazed when I saw Jessica making clothes from bed sheets! She didn’t cut the fabric or use any needle or string. All she did was place a few pins where needed and after five minutes there was a really beautiful dress! She is able to make many different styles of dresses like that. This is something I would love to learn. One of the really great things about this project is that I did not have strict guidelines to follow and was able to be highly creative with the collection.

The final product ranges from dresses to back-packs and bags

The final product ranges from dresses to back-packs and bags

From where did the inspiration for the collection come?
The collection, which includes twelve different design pieces, nine for women and three for children, was designed for Finnish markets. In the Women’s collection there are casual, beach and party outfits. We had some instruction about what types of clothes are in demand, but otherwise we could work very independently and be creative. Marjut Valtanen, a team leader at AIT co-ordinating the Fair Trade projects gave us some insight on what would be “IN” next Summer in Finland and that guided the designs. After designing the clothes Jessica and myself chose the fabric we would like to use. We wanted to use the best Tanzanian materials so we chose some ketenge, kanga and batik. The variety of the colours in local markets were amazing. We tried to use the kind of colours that would be suitable in Finland. In Tanzania women use lots of bright colours. Finnish people are more moderate in this respect, so we tried to keep that in mind. At this point the staff is making samples of the designs. I haven’t seen them yet, but I am excited to see what the outcome is. Our plan is that the collection appears in a market next summer.

How would you describe the experience of volunteering at Art in Tanzania?
I have had a really great time – There are many opportunities to see a lot and do many different things. I’ve experienced the school system, done some designing work, planted trees in the Moshi area, been on a safari, swam at the beaches in Zanzibar, taught kids how to swim and even attained a diving licence. Working here is so different from working in Denmark – it is a difficult environment, but really rewarding. Because things happen at a slower pace, I have learnt some patience. One needs to be laid-back and things will happen when everyone is ready. Akuna Matata!

Do you think that volunteers can actually make a change in Tanzania?
Yes, one makes a change by doing little things. For example when teaching in nursery schools, the kids are very happy when just learning new songs and playing different games. Some of the teachers have also adopted new teaching methods from the volunteers. This is a really good thing – some old-fashioned methods practiced before have been replaced with new alternative methods that have increased effectiveness. The most rewarding thing for me has been teaching Adult English. Students are very eager to learn and they are so grateful to get these lessons for free and they really appreciate it. Another great moment was when I taught children to swim and helped one little girl to conquer her fear for water.

What would you say to people who are planning to come to work as a volunteer in Tanzania? One cannot really not prepare for anything one will face here. The best advice is to be open-minded. It is definitely a worth-while experience not to missed!

For more information about the GOIG Societ go to www.goigsociety.org

Kindly contact Marjut Valtanen (marjut[at]artintanzania.org) for more information about volunteering in AIT’s Fair Trade projects.

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.

Be smart, don’t start – A story about Detroit Sober House

By Emilia Sten and Anna Kevin (Originally published on Oct 2, 2013)

Suleiman Mauly

Suleiman Mauly

Suleiman Mauly was a normal child, who liked playing football and was good in school. In school he felt bored and started to hang out with the “wrong” people and using drugs. After a while he became an addict. He says he ended up hurting himself and others more than he could ever imagine. Today he is clean and he is the founder of Detroit Sober House on Zanzibar, together with Fatma Juma.

They call it a recovery community and the idea of sober house is to change the addict’s environment and give them a drug free zone. When using drugs, your friends are often also users, so getting away from them and making new friends who are not drug users is essential for healing from the addiction. At the sober house they can find someone to talk to about their problems – people who have been through the same.

It is the addict’s own choice to join the sober house, but often they got help from their families to pay for the stay. The first months of the recovery the people are not allowed to go outside the sober house. In the beginning many of them are sick, as a side effect of getting clean from the drugs, and just need rest.

As the recoveries gets better they start taking part in the daily programme. The programme consists of yoga, meditation, self-support meetings etc. The recoveries can take part in different programmes, like arts and sports, depending on their own wishes. Many of the recoveries are artists and makes paintings and sculptures at the sober house. The 12th of November they will have a big exhibition of their arts. There they will also sell jewellery and clothes they have made themselves.

The sober house doesn’t employ anyone to do the daily duties, because the recoveries take care of making food and cleaning etc. But volunteers are very welcome since they need all the help they can get. Actually it was a volunteer from Art in Tanzania who introduced the yoga sessions to the sober house.

At moment Detroit Sober House have 30 recoveries who have suffered from addictions of heroin, marijuana and/or alcohol. The staff contains five persons. As the recoveries gets better they may become volunteers, meaning they are helping the staff with the arrangements of the house.

Even after six months or more, when they are totally clean from their addictions they still have contact with the people at the sober house, to avoid falling back in old habits. They are like a family, who are there for each other when help is needed.

The Detroit Sober House also drives a campaign, where they try to prevent children and youngsters from start using drugs. The campaign is called “Be smart, don’t start”. They are visiting schools where they hand out their own brochures and tell the young people their stories. Hopefully there will be less drug addicts on Zanzibar in the future.

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Do the mzungu!

Mzungu workout is a new project for Art in Tanzania. DSC04557
A group of volunteers from Denmark felt that there is a need for afternoon activities that would get also the women of Dar Es Salaam to get involved and to move. As a result became The Mzungu workout which is a workout including stretching, exercising and moving to the music in fun light spirited manner.

Although the workout was originally meant for the ladies also some of the gentlemen found the happy group of dancers interesting and now the mzungu workout combines a group of boys and girls from young to the more matured.

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.