Another Brilliant Effort in aid of ACE!

Many of our supporters will remember the brilliant efforts made by Eleanor back in 2016 when she was only 12 years old to raise money for ACE. With the support of her Mum, Dad, Aunty and other family members, she raised over £2,000 which paid for electricity to be installed at Arise School.

But, the family’s support has not stopped there. We were delighted when Eleanor’s Dad, James, contacted us just a few weeks ago to say that he intended to take part in the St. Helens 10k in aid of the charity. Already training with great determination and commitment, it was the first time that James had attempted anything like this.

Sunday, 10th March dawned very wet, cold and windy. James might have been forgiven for deciding against running in such weather conditions but not so. He was determined to complete the challenge – and he did so in great style. Looking at photos of himself after the event, James commented on his performance:

“Good to see I had a smile on my face most of the way round! North Road was the only thing that could wipe the smile off – on the way up, at least”.

Those of us who know North Road, a steep climb out of the town, know that in itself it is a real challenge – never mind the rest of the run!

Many congratulations to James on his achievement. It was another brilliant effort on behalf of ACE. A huge “Thank You” to all the family for their amazing, ongoing support and “Asante Sane” from everyone at Arise School.

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A “Really Special” School!

A “Really Special” School!

“We were fortunate enough to visit the school before Christmas – really special”

At any school, the final day of the school year is normally looked forward to with great excitement by all the pupils – and staff! Arise School is no exception. On Friday, 7th December, the last day of the 2018 Tanzanian school year, Arise also welcomed some visitors from the UK.

Two of the visitors, Matt and Grace, were already familiar faces to the children. Last year, they gave up their jobs in London to volunteer in East Africa for twelve months. Initially in Tanzania and staying in the local town of Moshi, they had already been to Arise on several occasions, including helping with the Kisimani Kids’ Club on a Saturday afternoon.

On this occasion, they were accompanied by Grace’s parents who had taken the opportunity to visit Grace and Matt during their time away. The photos we have just received from Grace’s parents capture so well the happiness and excitement of the children with their visitors on this last day of the school year. To use the words of Grace’s mother, they also capture what makes Arise School “really special”. We hope you enjoy them.

https://vimeo.com/317496729

Andrew – Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in aid of ACE

Sometime over the end of year break I started thinking about my plans for 2019.  I can’t quite remember when, but at some point I started thinking about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.  There’s plenty to put you off it (if you want a really blunt view do a web search for The Guardian’s article on it !), but I couldn’t quite get it out of my mind.  I got to the point of concluding, if I didn’t do it, I’d think “what if ?”, so found myself booking an 8 day climb on the Lemosho route up Africa’s highest mountain on 10th March.  Its pretty daunting at 17,000 plus feet, half the oxygen of normal and a temperature range of 37c at the bottom down to -10c at the top, but it sure to be an experience !  To emphasise I am not some “Bear Gryllis” type in disguise, I’m a 51 year old whose worked in Financial Services all my life, travelling around the world, but climbing on a plane is not quite the same as this !

After booking the trip, I started to think about raising some money for charity with it.  My work takes me across Africa (writing this while en route to Lagos, Nigeria), and I knew I wanted to give something back to the continent.  Of course, one of Africa’s biggest challenges is the continuation of Poverty and my belief is the best long term way out of this is education.  So my search began for a charity to support with the criteria of Africa, children & education.  I also didn’t want it to be a big charity where your money can get lost in admin.  And then I came across ACE and all they had achieved at Arise Community School !

I stand in awe at what those involved in ACE have achieved to date.  Starting a school from scratch to getting to 363 pupils receiving education is a really powerful achievement. But of course the pressure to continue and make the school as sustainable as possible remain.  Which is why I decided to support the charity as my sole fundraising venture for my climb. If I can raise £1,500 it will be enough to add to the school with a fully fledged football pitch. If I can raise £3,000, it’s enough to pay for the final classroom to be equipped with all the necessary furniture needed to hold classes there.  I somehow guess the kids will vote for the football pitch !

Either though are really great things to raise funds for.  And to emphasise, all of any donations will go directly to the initiatives above.

Any support you can give would be very gratefully received !

https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/andrewwalden2

Congratulations Arise Pupils On Your Exam Success!

At the end of November, along with students in all other Tanzanian schools, pupils in Grade 4 at Arise School sat exams set by the National Examinations Council of Tanzania. Aged 10/11 years, this was only the second year that Arise pupils have reached this stage and, following the registration of the school with the Ministry of Education in Dar es Salaam during 2017, the first year that the school has been able to register as an exam centre in its own right.

After a nervous wait by all concerned, the results are now out. Thirty two pupils, 20 boys and 12 girls, sat the exams in six subjects – English, Kiswahili, Maths, Science and Technology, Social Studies and Civics. As well as an individual grade in each subject, they receive an overall grade.

We were delighted to learn that every pupil passed with flying colours! At an individual level, no child failed an exam (Grade E and above is a pass; Grade F is a fail). Nine pupils were awarded Grade A overall, 18 were awarded Grade B and five Grade C.

In English, 25 students gained Grade A and 7 Grade B! This is an amazing achievement given that many of them have only been learning English for a relatively short time.

Each of the nine pupils who received Grade A overall, was given an Arise School “Honor Roll” certificate to recognise their outstanding achievement. In addition, the top student (with five Grade A’s in his individual exams and only one Grade B) was delighted to become the very proud new owner of a bicycle awarded by the school as an incentive for the children to give their very best. They certainly all appear to have done that!

Particular congratulations go to one of the the nine students who is the first child sponsored through the ACE Scheme to receive a Grade A. Given the poverty of his home circumstances, there is little doubt that, without the support of his sponsors, he would not have had the opportunity of an education.

Since Arise School opened, it has been the aim to develop it as a centre of educational excellence. The results already show that the school has the capacity to achieve that. In Siha District, the results placed Arise 7th out of 27 schools. It was ranked 141st out of 616 schools in Kilimanjaro Region and 1007th out of 4177 schools nationally.

The students and staff have all worked tremendously hard to achieve such a high standard. Every one of them is to be congratulated on their performance. We are delighted for you and wish you every success in the future as you settle back to your studies for your final set of national exams and the award of your National Primary School Leaving Certificate at the end of your primary education in November 2021.

Back to School

At the beginning of last week, Arise School reopened for the start of the new academic year. We heard just a few days ago that 363 students had registered in the course of the first week!.

This time six years ago, when Arise first opened its doors to children from the Wiri community, there were just 11 pupils. We certainly never dreamed then that, just six years later, the school would have developed in the way it has.

In January 2013, there was just one classroom. There are now ten completed classrooms i.e. all the classrooms needed for a full pre and primary school.

Last week, the ninth classroom came in to full use as home to the eldest group of pupils – Grade 6. Thanks to the generosity of one of our supporters, the classroom furniture, all made locally, was in place ready for them to resume their studies at the start of term.

This time next year, the tenth classroom will become home to these students as they move up to Grade 7, their final year at primary school. For the first time, Arise School will then have a full complement of 400 pupils from three years upwards.

Who would have thought that this would have been possible! Our aim when we set out in 2012 was to try to raise enough money to build one classroom. We certainly never set out to build a full school! Nor in our wildest dreams did we envisage that, just six years later, the school would have developed in the way it has.

As children and staff settle back at school, we wish the students every success in their studies this year. We also thank both the teaching and support staff, for all their hard work and commitment to Arise and for making it such a caring and happy environment for the children to learn.

“The Small Goat Herd is Increasing Rapidly”!

In our ACE December Newsletter (see our previous blog), we wrote “The small goat herd is increasing rapidly”. No sooner had we posted the blog than we received the following from Frank at Arise School:

“What an amazing Sunday we had today….. Salome and I were on duty taking care of the goats in the field, grazing them. It was wonderful to see them; so amazing to watch the goats eating and picking different kinds of leaves, selecting which to eat and which not to eat among thousands of grasses and leaves. We were enjoying watching them so much.

Bleue joined us. He is a school Shepherd dog who we have tamed to take care of the flock. As we were watching the goats feed in the bush, one of the goats gave birth to twins! It was so amazing to see them come into life… just a few minutes later, they started breast feeding, jumping up and down.

We were so happy see the number of goats now hit 28. Tomorrow, the children will be so happy to see the newborn goats kids join our Arise family.. Karibu sana Dese and mba (December).

We took the goats back to their pen for them to rest and digest. Then, we had to go to the garden and pick greens to cook for the school children tomorrow. That was our Sunday!”

What a fantastic experience. If you would like to help Frank and Salome in their endeavours to grow the goat herd and enable Arise School to become self sustaining, please purchase our ACE Gift Certificates this Christmas by emailing us at ACECharity@aol.com. All proceeds from their sale will go to Arise School.

Newsletter: December 2018

Following our recent visit to Arise School in early November, we are delighted to report that 2018 is proving another very successful year for ACE. As a result of last year’s successful Well Appeal and the construction of the well in the early part of this year, an irrigation system has also now been installed.

The school is making very good progress towards becoming self sustaining. It is already self sufficient in spinach/green vegetables and bananas. This means that surplus can be sold locally to bring in income. The small goat herd is increasing rapidly, providing much needed milk for the children. The chickens continue to produce eggs and pigs are being fattened to be sold at market.

The school is on target to begin to sponsor children itself in the local community from January 2019. This will be a real reflection of the community principle that has been an integral part of the underlying philosophy of Arise since its inception. It is “their school, for their children and their community”. Having completed all the capital development of the school that we committed to originally, we will continue to work with them towards it becoming self sustaining. At the same time, throughout their time at Arise, we will also continue to provide ongoing sponsorship for all 80 children who were part of the ACE Sponsorship Scheme prior to the scheme closing earlier this year.

In our last ACE newsletter, we gave you the opportunity to let us have your views about secondary education for the Arise pupils. We asked:

“Should ACE play a role in facilitating secondary education for those children currently sponsored through the ACE Scheme? If so, what sort of secondary education should this be and how will it be funded and administered?”

Thank you to all of you who sent us your views on this. Our ACE Management Committee is still considering the way forward. Whilst it’s fair to say that the majority view is to follow our hearts and give these children the chance to move on to the next stage in their education, our heads are holding us back. It is not straightforward and raises a lot of issues, especially in terms of fundraising, administering and overseeing any scheme both here and in Tanzania for the foreseeable future. The youngest Arise children are only three years old and have a long way to go in terms of even completing their primary education. It is still “work in progress”. When the Management Committee reach a decision, we will write to all of our sponsors to let them know the position.

Once again, our recent ACE Fun Quiz was extremely successful. Thank you to everyone who supported it. We are delighted to say that the final total raised came to an amazing £1,530!

Finally, Christmas is approaching rapidly. If you are still struggling for gift ideas for family and friends, proceeds from this year’s ACE Gift Certificates will go towards Arise School becoming self sustaining. Gift Certificates can be purchased for any amount. (suggested £5 minimum).

To purchase just email us at ACECharity@aol.com. Payment can be made via MyDonate on the charity’s website: ACECharity.uk.

Thank you for supporting ACE for another year and for making it possible for the charity to do so much more for the children at Arise School. On behalf of our ACE Management Committee, Season’s Greetings to you all and very best wishes for the New Year.