As Arise Community School reopened its doors this week for the start of the new school year, we learned that 10 new children turned up to register. We are waiting to hear exactly how many pupils there are now but we know that for many of the children living in great poverty and hardship, this is probably there only chance of an education.
In June 2014, Tom Sims, a young man in his mid 20’s with much experience of travelling, went out to the school for a couple of weeks. It was the first time that anyone had gone out to visit through the charity and, naturally, we had some apprehensions as to how things would go. We need not have worried. Tom had a great time! Not only did he spend a lot of time in the classroom with the children, he was also taken out to meet their families and to see the very basic conditions in which so many of them live in.
Tom’s account (below) of his time there, speaks for itself. It relays with such passion why these children need to be supported in their education. Please help us to give an individual child the chance of being lifted out of poverty through education. Please join our Sponsorship Scheme.
A standing order of £12 per month will meet the costs of a child’s schooling, including fees, tuition, two school uniforms per year and daily porridge.
“I’ve always loved travelling, witnessing the variety of societies and lands the world has to offer. On the one side I see such beautiful and awe inspiring things. On the other, such poverty and injustice.
I arrived home from one of my trips, and one thing kept bothering me. I felt I could do more for the people who had next to nothing, that I owe it to those less fortunate. I knew I wanted to do charity work, but where to go and what to do? I searched and found many charities online but found the process of getting involved very difficult.
I explained this to my parents, and they told me they knew friends of a friend who had started a charity in Tanzania quite recently. I got in contact with Ron and Sue, and asked them about their charity: Africa’s Children in Education, ACE. What would I do and how could I make a difference? They told me I didn’t need any experience, just an open mind and the will to work hard. I accepted the challenge, taking the first step of a big change in my life.
As I left for Tanzania I felt nervous but excited! I knew no matter what, this would be a life changing experience. I met Frank from the Arise School at the airport. He drove me to the school, based on the slopes of Mt Kilimanjaro. The Charity is so small, I handed Frank the fund-raising money I had gathered while in the UK, and we went to the hardware stores to buy supplies to fix up the school. I spent my three weeks in Tanzania keeping very busy; helping the children with class work; playing and making up games for us to play together; painting the toilets, digging a fire pit with Peter, the school assistant. Everyday I was cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner, every meal was amazing and the tables we sat around lively. But it was not just working, I had some down time to go explore. I was taken by Bigger, Frank’s brother, on a bike ride to Mt. Kilimanjaro. I visited the local towns and city, and went on an amazing safari.
Frank proposed he take me to meet some families of the children taught at the school. I was happy to accept. Frank, his father and I walked through the village to a tiny little house where two sisters lived. Arriving outside, I saw this was not a house but a tiny muddy shed. There were filthy clothes on the floor outside and all was quiet. Frank spoke loudly in Swahili, and the timid face we recognise appears from behind the door, then two more faces with the mother close behind, a tiny baby in her arms. She invites us into a dark, claustrophobic room. There was a pot on the side with maize cooking slowly, the families only meal of the day Frank says. She tells us about her situation: Bearing two children with her drunk of a Husband, who left and never came back. The other children born after men who had promised to look after her if she slept with them didn’t fulfil their promise. Their Mother working 16 hour days collecting firewood, whilst looking after her children. It was pitch black inside. I could only just make out their faces the light through the door. We explain that we will try all we can to help her children receive an education to give them a better life, and to give them a safe place to go every day. To give them a place that allows them to enjoy their childhood.
As we leave she walks away and returns with some maize from her own small and personal crop. She hands it to me and thanks me for everything I have done. I try not to accept it but she insists. I am so moved I walk away crying, knowing that no matter what happens in life no-one should suffer such pain and hardships.
My time spent in Tanzania with ACE was an amazing experience. It changed me, made me a more complete person. I want to thank everyone at the school, Frank, Ron and Sue for letting me be part of their community. I would love more people to have the experiences I have had, to feel the rewards for helping others. If you would like to help make a difference, or have any questions please feel free to contact me at: email@example.com
Please make it possible for a child living in the conditions Tom describes to go to school by signing up for our Sponsorship Scheme. To find out more, please email Ron or Sue at ACECharity@aol.com. Thank you!