In three week’s time, Ron will be back at Arise School! Unfortunately, Sue is still not able to travel with him after her recent illness and is finding it all very frustrating. Although it seems hardly any time since Ron’s last trip, there is a lot going on at the school at the moment that we need to keep up to date with.
Firstly, Ron will be ascertaining where things are at with the official registration of the school with the Ministry of Education in Dar Es Salaam. This has been an ongoing process since the very early days of the school with lots of hoops to be jumped through.
The last written report that the school received from the Ministry was very positive in terms of the school’s strong points. At the time that they visited in January, the report stated that there were 111 children and 111 desks and chairs. We think that this is probably a rare situation. In most Tanzanian schools furniture, equipment and resources are in very short supply.
The report also commented positively on various other aspects, including the social services available – food, safe piped water and first aid box; the 6 teachers and 3 non teaching staff employed, the children’s playground for games, including the swings and the trees round the premises. The report recommended registration. We hope to hear shortly that this has been granted. Then planning for the celebration will start!
Secondly, Ron wants to see progress with regard to the building work. One of our recent blogs launching the ACE “Buy a Block: Build a Future” Appeal, told how the local community has again donated sand, cement, building materials and their labour, this time to prepare the footings for the fifth and sixth classrooms. ACE is now making strenuous efforts to raise money to build the walls – hence, the “Buy a Block” Appeal. However, as always, we wish to assure ourselves that the foundations are in place before releasing money to move to the next stage.
Why is this all so important? The number of children attending Arise School has grown very rapidly in the last four months from 111 in mid January to 203. The school has a month’s holiday during June. There are then likely to be requests for even more children to be registered at the start of the new term in July.
The aspiration is that Arise School should become a “Centre of Excellence”. To achieve that it must now be officially registered with the Ministry. Very importantly, it must also have enough facilities, including classrooms, desks, chairs, books, other resources and, of course, teachers to cater for the growing demand.