“One Step at a Time”

Since the charity started, a small number of young people have been enabled to access higher education or secondary school. Their family circumstances have all been such that, without the ongoing support of individual sponsors, they would have been denied this opportunity.

We recently learned from Arise School that one young man, Prosper, has now successfully completed his secondary education to the equivalent of GCSE in the UK. We received the following from the school to mark Prosper’s graduation from secondary school:

“We would like to congratulate Prosper on his form four graduation. We understand that it wasn’t easy but you’ve made it and we know that more years of success are ahead of you. Our greatest desire is that you keep up the spirit.

Today you walk amongst your peers, your classmates, and your friends to receive your O-Level graduation certificate that you’ve worked so hard to earn your whole life. Today is the day you graduate O-Level secondary education. Everyone that surrounds you is most definitely proud of you. And, after having seen everything that went into your education, we especially are so proud of you.

School can sometimes seem difficult. It’s filled with all-nighters, rigorous classes, hard work, and dedication. There were times you probably considered dropping out. We commend you for sticking to your education and completing your O-Level secondary education. This is one of your many milestones in life.

You have so many possibilities in front of you. Remember your worth; you’re a valuable person. Enjoy your life and the opportunities presented to you. Congratulations Prosper.”

On behalf of ACE and, in particular, his sponsors, we also offer Prosper many congratulations on his achievement and every success for the future. Very well done!

Inspired to Fundraise for Arise

It is always good to receive a blog, especially from first time visitors to Arise School with their initial impressions. Inspired by her visit, on her return to the UK, Marie set about fundraising for ACE. Marie has since sent us the piece below with photos from her visit.

“June and I were in Tanzania with the primary aim of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro but with both of us having worked as teachers back home, we wanted to have the opportunity to visit a school to use our experience to educate pupils back home on what life is like for students in this part of the world.

Following our summit of Kilimanjaro, we were lucky enough to visit Arise school in the foothills of the mountain.  Having previously visited schools in Zanzibar, I was very impressed by both the setup of the school and the quality of the education the students were receiving.

The school is well organised and provides a really great opportunity for the pupils who attend.  We were welcomed by both students and staff and were treated to a welcome song performed by the pupils and the opportunity to visit and support in lessons.

I was incredibly impressed overall but what hit me most was hearing the stories about some of the poorest students who had been given the opportunity to attend the school and get an education by the sponsorship and money donated to ACE by those back home.  The money donated to help expand the school and give the pupils the education they otherwise wouldn’t have access to really does make a difference.

Since returning, I have been inspired to fundraise for the school and look forward to following its progress.”

Marie has raised over £200 for the charity. It will go to help Arise School further its journey towards self sustainability. A big “asante sana”, Marie. As a small charity, it means so much when people like yourself take the initiative to fundraise for us.

Arise Community School: “Quality Education for Children and the Community”

One of the aims of Arise since its outset has been that it should work closely with parents and the community as a whole to provide quality education both for the children and the community, fostering and developing good relationships between students, staff, parents and community members in order to achieve this.

To this end, in the last couple of years, both teaching and non teaching staff have participated in training and attended workshops to equip and empower them to become better educators and to create a safe and friendly environment in which the children’s needs can be met.

The weekend of 3rd – 5th August saw another exciting step forward – a three day seminar for students, parents and teachers. On Friday 3rd August, a seminar was held for the oldest pupils in Classes Three to Five. They were taught about their rights as children, how to set goals and work to achieve them by believing and dreaming big and, of course, by studying hard!

On Saturday the 4th August, a seminar for parents provided the opportunity for them to learn how to motivate and encourage their children to attend school and how to create a friendly and supportive environment for their learning at home. Discipline issues were also addressed. Mr. Willbroad Prosper, Guest Speaker from the Family Hope Foundation in Dar es Salaam, a specialist on family matters and a key player in educational and family issues in Tanzania, was very well received. Parents not only really enjoyed the seminar, they requested another be arranged on good parenting in order to help them improve the lives of their children!

The climax of the event was reached on the Sunday when sessions were held for the staff. Topics covered included safeguarding and child protection, child neglect and exploitation, domestic violence and other crimes against children. The final session addressed issues of discipline and classroom management, in particular, learning how to change from the traditional approach in Tanzania, based on fear, threats, humiliation and physical punishment, into a child friendly and non-discriminatory one that supports cooperative learning. (N.B. Physical punishment has never been permitted at Arise School but is still lawful and very prevalent in many schools throughout Tanzania).

All three days included activities and games outside the classroom to enable the participants to gain a better understanding of the concepts that were taught in the classroom sessions, for example, the importance of team work and effective communication.

What another brilliant example of how Arise School is developing as a centre of excellence and how it is carrying out its mission to provide “Quality Education for Children and the Community”. Very well done to all concerned in making this initiative possible.

New Homes For Two Families After The Rains

This year, the rains in Tanzania have been particularly heavy. On our trip to Arise School in May, roads had been transformed into streams and low lying land into small lakes. We were told that the homes of two of the children supported through the ACE Sponsorship Scheme had been washed away.

Some of you may remember that a few years ago, we received a totally unexpected donation to build the school kitchen. This was from a retired couple who live locally to us in Billinge but wish to remain anonymous. They also made a further donation last year to enable the kitchen to be extended to meet the needs of the growing number of pupils at Arise.

When we returned home, we had yet another amazing offer from them. On learning of the situation, they wanted to give the necessary funds to build new houses for both families concerned!

Money was transferred to the school immediately and work began. The houses were to consist of two rooms plus an outside toilet. Within a month the work was completed.

Whilst back in Tanzania in the last two weeks, Ron was taken to meet the families. Both are already settling into their new homes. To say that they were delighted would be an understatement!

Even though they have nothing, as is typical in Tanzania, both families gave him gifts…… eggs, beans and sweetcorn, together with a flower garland.

What another brilliant example of how, through ACE, this retired couple are making such a very real difference, not only to the school but also to the local community. We cannot thank them enough for their tremendous generosity and kindness.

“Kicking the States” in aid of ACE!

Those of you who follow our blogs will remember Bex and Gil, two intrepid ACE volunteers who undertook “Scoot the Loop” – an amazing challenge which involved them traveling round the M25 loop on kick scooters to raise money for ACE. Unbelievably, they are now in the throes of an even bigger challenge in aid of the charity. Bex writes:

“Seven weeks ago we set off from downtown Vancouver, Canada, on our kick scooters. Our panniers were heavy with our camping gear and our stomachs were knotted with nerves at the thought of the task ahead. I kept having the same thought….are we mad?!

Taking action:

After visiting Arise 2 years ago, we left with mixed emotions as anyone who has visited Tanzania will understand. We felt deeply saddened by the situation that the children live in. But, also, we were inspired by the school and the wonderful people that live in the village. We knew we had to take action. We wanted to take the experience and do something positive with it by taking on a challenge that could help raise much needed funds for the school. The bigger and bolder the challenge, the more we could raise…and so the idea for “Kicking the States” came about.

The challenge:

Over a 3 month period, we would attempt to kick-scoot the full length of the USA from Vancouver, Canada all the way to Tijuana, Mexico. We will be completing this 1,500+ mile journey using our leg muscles alone (there are no motors!). As far as we know, no one has ever done a journey this long on a kick scooter before. We will be completely self-supported, carrying all our own gear and working out the logistics as we go.

Now do you understand why we were nervous?

Ups and downs:

The scoot has been a complete rollercoaster. As we anticipated, it has been a huge physical challenge. Each day we cover an average of 50km and every night we sleep somewhere different – sometimes camping or sometimes staying with people who have offered to host us. The trick is to take each day as it comes and to break down the distances in to small manageable chunks.

We’ve had some scary moments including a run in with a bear, someone threatening to shoot us in the night and, also, nearly being crushed by a falling redwood tree. But we’ve also had some truly amazing moments too….mostly the people we have met along the way. Strangers have shown us the most incredible generosity, helping us with food or accommodation and donating generously to our fundraising efforts. Those moments, and remembering the faces of the children at Arise, can get us through even the toughest of days.

Reaching halfway:

This week we passed the halfway mark of our adventure which felt like a huge moment. Leaving Vancouver on day one feels like a lifetime ago, as do the nerves that we experienced that day. Each day we grow with confidence and now just look forward in anticipation at what awaits us on the second half of this trip. Who knows what stories we have lying around the corner!

Please do follow our journey and show your support by donating. Go to – www.kickingthestates.com