Realising A Dream! Part 2

It was only a dream when they started to clear the ground for the first classroom to be built in 2012. From that small beginning, there are now seven completed classrooms at Arise School.

The shared foundations for the final three classrooms have recently been started. As on previous occasions, the local community donated sand, cement and building materials to support ACE in its fundraising efforts. A working party of over 60 local men and women then gave their labour; the women collecting rocks, the men digging the footings. 


2016 proved a bumper year and we were able to complete three classrooms by early 2017! But costs are increasing all the time and this took a huge amount of effort. ACE is a small charity and we do not anticipate being able to maintain such momentum. However, we will continue with our aim to raise enough money each year to build one more classroom.

As the number of children and classrooms have grown, so has the number of staff. From one teacher and two support staff – a cook and a security guard – in 2013, there are now 18 full time staff, including nine teaching staff. The “Arise family’ continues to grow apace!
All the teachers and support staff are locally employed. The school also sources as much as possible from the local community, including all the desks, chairs and uniforms. In addition, it has become a learning ground for nearby college students. Each term, Arise welcomes students on teaching practice.  

The invaluable contribution made by volunteers is always welcomed. In particular, there are four local volunteers who regularly use their skills and talent to the benefit of the school. Through ACE, there have been a small number of volunteers from the UK whilst others from Europe, Canada and the USA have given their time, energy and expertise whilst visiting Arise.

Who would have dreamt all this would be possible when they started to clear the ground for that first classroom back in 2012!

Realising a Dream!

Who would ever have believed that an invitation to have coffee would lead to a school being built! In February 2012, Frank took us up the mountain to his home village to meet his parents. As they showed us round their land, Frank told us about his family’s dream – to give six acres of their land to build a school for their local community where many children still do not have the opportunity of an education. 

Like Frank, we also believe that through education it is possible to overcome poverty. On returning to the UK, we decided to try and raise the money to build just one classroom. A small plot of land was cleared of coffee roots and maize and, almost five years ago to the day, the foundations were laid. When we visited several months later, Frank and Ron shared their delight as, together, they went into the nearly finished classroom.


In January 2013, that first classroom opened with one teacher, Martha, and 11 children. The numbers grew rapidly. For four of them, this would not have been possible without the support of our ACE Sponsorship Scheme. Today, there are over 270 children on the register. The original pupils are now in Class 4 and preparing for their national school exams this coming November. It has been critical to them accessing this opportunity of education. Sixty two children are now sponsored through ACE.

Visitors to the school always comment on how happy the children are to be at school. They are being taught in a healthy and safe environment. They are being educated for a better future. Their smiling faces say so much. Five years ago, who would ever have believed this was possible!


The dream is still being realised. Eventually, we hope to have a full pre and primary school. If you would like to help us make this possible, please donate online today. Thank you.

Return to Arise!

Those of you who have been reading our blogs for a while, will remember Beth, Emily and Tamsin who, as Geography undergraduates, volunteered at Arise School in 2015 whilst also undertaking their fieldwork research. It was their first trip to Tanzania. Two years on, Beth and Emily, recently returned to Arise to complete the research for their Masters degree and, most importantly, to reunite with all their loved ones in Tanzania.  
This was how Beth described it, second time round:


“Our first impression of Arise was that it was a completely new project from before! The school had grown enormously, both in numbers of pupils but also in infrastructure. ABC (the nursery class) now has its own classroom and the oldest children are in class 4! The teachers have their own staff room; there is a teaching head and even electricity! It was very emotional seeing how much Arise had grown in such a short time but, also, to see how truly happy everybody seemed. We were extremely impressed.

It was so lovely for us to see that the pictures we had sent back to the school were in the classrooms and that the new staff recognised us from them! Although we did not know the new staff, we instantly felt welcomed again to the Arise family. Everyone welcomed us with such love and kindness.
We could not believe how much the children had grown. It was amazing to see them looking so healthy with such big smiles. Reuniting with them was truly the highlight of the trip. It was so heart warming to know they remembered us. Once again, we could sing the Lion King together!
We were able to spend time with our very good friend, Prosper, who is doing very well at his new secondary school. He is achieving highly and, importantly, his dancing skills have got even more impressive! We could not be prouder of our kaka (brother) and so grateful that we are able to sponsor him through ACE. 

Finally, as part of my research, I was able to visit numerous primary schools in the area and have conversations with people from a wide range of backgrounds about primary education. More than ever, I came to realise how much more developed Arise is than the other local schools. Not only are the school infrastructure, the facilities and resources much greater, but the love and the support the children get at Arise provides them with an opportunity to prosper within their education. Although the family at Arise is now much bigger, the love and drive to help the school and wider community remain. 
Once again, I have been truly touched and amazed by the work of ACE. An enormous thank you to everyone at the school for again welcoming us as your visitors and for letting us be a small part of this amazing journey. Already, I can’t wait for the next trip to see what lies ahead for Arise.”

Fashion and Fundraising: A Winning Combination for ACE!

After six months of planning and preparation, last Thursday evening, the doors of our local Town Hall here in St. Helens, opened for a Colours Fun(d)raising Fashion Show in aid of ACE. Colours Fashion Shows are informal, enjoyable and fun. There are lots of bargains to be had and, following the show, the opportunity to try on clothing and purchase items.  

Fashion and Fundraising: A Winning Combination for ACE!shion and fundraising certainly proved a winning combination for ACE! The event was extremely well attended by nearly 200 women and we raised approximately £2,500 for the charity which was amazing. All of the money will go towards the cost of building another classroom at Arise School. It will enable a further 40 children to have the opportunity of an education.

So many people, individuals, organisations and local businesses, contributed to the success of the event in so many different ways, including selling tickets, donating raffle and tombola prizes and volunteering on the night. A huge “Thank You” to you all. Very importantly, we wish to thank our local Council for making it possible to hold the Fashion Show in the Town Hall – a beautiful and prestigious Victorian building – and the manager of our local branch of Lloyd’s Bank for his sponsorship and ongoing support of the work of ACE.


If you are interested in holding a Colours Fashion Show or organising any event in aid of ACE, we would be delighted to hear from you. Please email us at ACECharity@aol.com or telephone: 01744 28535.

Promoting the Health and Wellbeing of the Arise Students

Since Arise School first opened its doors, Frank and Salome have been concerned to make sure that, as far as possible, the children’s health and general wellbeing enables them to make the most of their opportunity of education. It was good to hear from them very recently that the school received a visit from Government health workers as part of a national campaign to combat an acute and parasitic disease which is endemic in children in Tanzania – schistosomiasis, or as it is sometimes known, bilharzia. 
Schistosomiasis is one of the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD’s) – a group of seven endemic tropical diseases that particularly affect the poor. In fact, sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 93% of schistosomiasis in the world. Tanzania has the second highest prevalence rate next to Nigeria. Caused by a parasitic worm, it leads to urinary and intestinal problems. It particularly affects children and young adults and can result in death. The World Health Organisation has set a target of gaining and sustaining control of the disease and eliminating it locally, wherever possible, by 2020.

The Government health workers who visited Arise School were able to distribute and administer deworming tablets to the students to prevent schistosomiasis. Prevention is especially important as health care in the local community is still frequently inaccessible to so many because of their lack of finances to pay for it.

Frank sent us some photos of the event with these comments about its importance:

“We believe that in order for all our students to succeed in their studies it’s important that their health be taken into consideration and taken care of, this is why we are trying our best to ensure that they are always healthy at all times.  

We understand that promoting physical and emotional wellbeing is a crucial part of every child’s development. Our goal is to provide students with learning opportunities that support healthy eating and regular physical activities by creating a supportive environment and implementing policies and practices that help our students to remain healthy and physically fit.”
What an excellent example of how Arise is to be commended for its wholistic approach to the education of its students.

Benchmarking Arise School

Whilst at Arise School recently, Ron was able to visit a couple of Government schools in the company of the local District Education Officer. They went by land cruiser up the hillside of West Kilimanjaro. Although one of the routes used to climb Africa’s highest peak, this is an area often overlooked in the rush to climb Mt Kilimanjaro or to visit the northern safari parks. The land is fertile, yielding potatoes, carrots, wheat, barley and onions. In the distance, both adults and children could be seen working hard in the fields.

The aim of the trip was to see the differences between Government owned schools and those, like Arise, that are privately owned. Two schools were visited, Lemosho Primary School and then nearby Mwangaza Primary School.  


Lemosho School dates back to 1979. Originally located in the forest hills, it was built of wood at a time when sand, cement, bricks and mortar were still inaccessible because of the terrain. As a result of deforestation, in 2004 the school was forced to relocate in the village of Lemosho. Mwangaza School was started in 2004 to assist Lemosho in providing education to children in the community.  

Given the distances from home to school, attendance is something of a challenge. Many of the pupils walk 6 kms a day! Lemosho now has approximately 1,200 students, ten teachers and seven classrooms. Only the most recent are brick built. Mwangaza has about 1,100 students, seven teachers and eight classrooms.  

The teacher: student ratios of the two schools clearly show the enormity of the task facing the teachers there. Compare that to Arise School where the aim is to have a maximum of 35 pupils per class. What a difference between the schools!

There are also very big differences in the infrastructures and surroundings of the respective schools. In the Government schools, a huge amount of renovation and maintenance work is needed. There is such a visible contrast in the external environments, too. The Government schools are bare as a result of deforestation in the area and the constant sand storms whipped up by the wind. Arise School is eco friendly. The grounds are filled with green, eye catching plants and tropical flowers which provide a pleasant and supportive learning environment for the pupils.

The trip was quite a learning experience and provided much food for thought. It highlighted just how many challenges the Government operated schools throughout Tanzania face. More classrooms and teachers are desperately needed to drive up performance levels and enable the country’s children to have the education they deserve. Not least, it reinforced the need to help the Arise pupils appreciate their learning opportunities and the need to make the most of them.

The Arise Community in Action!

A few days ago, we were delighted to receive these photos and the piece below informing us that, once again, building work has started at Arise School.  

“In spite of the rainy weather conditions and mud here as it is the rainy season, on Saturday, 6th of May 2017, about sixty parents turned up at Arise Community School in response to a call to join our staff at the school. We planned to spend the day digging the foundation and moving the rocks for our next classrooms. We were so happy to see so many of those from our community come to support us. It was an amazing day with much accomplished.

The men dedicated themselves to digging the foundations whilst the women applied themselves to picking and moving rocks closer to the foundation to make it easier for the Fundis (workmen) to drop them in when the building starts. Though there were drops of rain here and there, everyone seemed to enjoy the occasion and worked hard.”

What a brilliant initiative! Another great example of how Arise School has become an integral part of the community. We look forward to receiving more photos as the building work develops. If you would like to support ACE and the local community in their efforts, please donate now to our “Buy a Block: Build a Future” appeal.  

                                                          

Just £1 buys one block including the cost of laying.



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