Schools across Tanzania reopened their doors on 29th. June following their closure since mid March as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. In line with guidelines issued by the Tanzanian Ministry of Education, Arise staff had been busy preparing to receive the children.
This included three teachers attending a two day training workshop on keeping children and staff safe and on handling issues arising from the virus. The teachers took back the information and learning they had gained to the benefit of the whole Arise staff team.
In preparation, hand sanitizers are now installed in all necessary areas, with plenty of soap and running water for frequent hand washing. As every pupil and member of staff arrives at the school gate, their temperature is taken using an infrared scanner before they are allowed to enter the school grounds.
In addition, all students eight years of age and older, excepting those with a respiratory condition such as asthma or sickle cell, must wear masks whilst within the school premises, although they are advised not to do so whilst engaged in sports and physical exercise activity. Arise is providing masks for children who arrive at school without one and advising parents to ensure their children have sufficient masks to change them. We know that this will not be easy for many of the poorer families.
However, in these unprecedented and difficult circumstances, we are reassured that Arise staff are doing their best to follow guidelines and keep their pupils as safe as possible. We also know that the children will be pleased to return after the three month break. We wish them good luck as they settle back to their studies, especially those pupils in Grades 4 and 7 who will be making up for lost time with regards to sitting national examinations later in the year.
“Connecting Classrooms” is an international programme that promotes teaching and learning about global issues. It enables pupils to learn and work together on the big issues that face the world today. Under the heading “Living as One”, students at both Arise and Cronton Schools worked on their chosen global themes of Zero Hunger and Gender Equality.
Children and staff at Cronton CE Primary School, Widnes, their families and community, have actively fundraised towards the development of Arise School and donated hundreds of items since its early days. Last year a successful joint application was made to the British Council’s “Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning” scheme for funding towards a teacher exchange.
In February, as the first part of the exchange, Arise School welcomed Sarah and Zuzana, two teachers from Cronton School. It was their first time in Tanzania and, during their week at Arise, there was much sharing and learning on both sides to the advantage and benefit of all the pupils and staff concerned. Some of this, along with memories from the exchange, has been captured so well in the video below which Zuzana has since put together.
The second part of the exchange was due to take place at the end of this month. Two Arise teachers were excitedly looking forward to coming to England to spend a week at Cronton School. Sadly, the global Coronavirus pandemic now means that the exchange has had to be deferred indefinitely. However, we remain optimistic that it will be possible for it to go ahead once schools in both countries are reopened and travel restrictions lifted.
As part of the global pandemic that is now having such devastating consequences in so many countries across the world, the first confirmed case of Covid 19 in Tanzania was announced in mid March. Today, 22nd. April, this number has risen to 254 with 10 deaths.
Tanzania is a large country and the vast majority of these cases are in Dar es Salaam, 9/10 hours by road from Arise. To limit its spread, the Tanzanian Government acted very swiftly to introduce preventative measures. Whilst restrictions are in place, the country is not currently in lockdown. However, all schools and universities were closed, initially for four weeks. Like schools in the U.K., all schools now remain closed for the foreseeable future.
In this difficult situation, Arise staff have been looking at how they are able to reach out to their pupils. Many of the children at Arise, in particular, those who are sponsored through ACE, rely very heavily for food on the two meals that they receive at school every day of the school year. Ever aware of the importance to the children of their school meals, Arise has risen to this new challenge.
Arrangements are in place for some of the parents from the poorest families to come into school to collect bags of rice and other basic food necessities. School staff are taking out supplies to other families who do not have the means to provide regular food for their children. For the children concerned, this is such a very real lifeline for them.
Arise pupils always enjoy learning and being at school so much. Teachers are continuing to set homework for them and, in the absence of access to technology, parents are being encouraged to come into school every Friday to collect and return their children’s work.
Pupils in Grades 4 and 7 who are due to sit national examinations in September and November, face particular challenges in terms of continuing their studies. Whilst it is very much hoped that restrictions will have been lifted by then, we wait to hear how they will be assessed if the restrictions remain in place.
At such a very uncertain and difficult time, we wish Arise staff well in their efforts. Above all, we hope that all the Arise pupils and their families, the staff and their families stay safe.
It was on one of our trips to Tanzania in February 2012 that Frank, now Arise School Manager, took us to meet his parents at their family home in the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro. They showed us round their land and told us of their vision – a school for the poorest children in the community who would never have the opportunity of an education. We decided to try and build just one classroom.
It opened in January 2013 with one teacher and 11 children.
Arise School was born!
With your support, in January 2020, Arise became a full school of 400 children. There are no vacancies! The school now has 10 classrooms and 14 teachers, supported by a further 14 local staff. There is a school kitchen, already extended once to provide sufficient capacity for the number of pupils; two toilet blocks, one with showers; an office, a shade area providing an outdoor covered space for pupils and staff, and a newly completed, spacious staff room which the teachers are enjoying settling into.
Through your efforts, electricity and WiFi have been installed and a generator purchased for backup. A well has been built and irrigation system installed to utilise some of the school’s land to grow fruit and vegetables. Hard earned funds paid for a water filter to provide drinking water for domestic purposes, saving on the cost of metered water. Chickens and goats provide eggs and milk for the children. The result of a very generous one-off donation, ten houses have been built for rent and are now bringing in income.
All of these projects are aimed at Arise becoming self sufficient and, eventually, self sustaining. To this end, the ACE Sponsorship Scheme has been closed to new children and Arise School is assuming responsibility for sponsoring the poorest local children through the income it has begun to make.
However, the backcloth to this in Tanzania is one of rising costs, increasing Government taxes and the drop in the value of the pound. Reluctantly, our Management Committee has decided that an increase in the cost of sponsorship for children in the ACE Sponsorship Scheme is necessary. FromMay 1st, the cost per child will rise from £16 to £18 per month. We appreciate that this is not a good time given the Coronavirus situation and will write out individually to all our sponsors shortly. Meanwhile, we wanted to give you advance notice of the change.
Through the British Council’s “Connecting Classrooms through Global Learning” programme, a very successful teacher exchange took place recently with two teachers from Cronton CE Primary School, Widnes, spending a week at Arise School. There was much sharing and learning between the schools to the advantage of all the pupils and teachers concerned. Two Arise teachers were excitedly looking forward to their exchange visit to Cronton School in June. Coronavirus means this is now unlikely to take place as planned. We very much hope an extension will be granted to enable it to happen once restrictions are lifted.
In early March, we were delighted to learn the brilliant news that a grant application to the British and Foreign School Society (BFSS) had been successful. This 3 year project will bring the benefits of ICT to Arise and the local community. A Computer Room will be built and equipped with desks, chairs and 20 computers. It will enable pupils to learn computer skills and sit their national ICT examination. Teachers will be able to access online resources to inform their teaching and the school improve and develop its data systems. Other local schools will have free access to the resource, as will young people and community members wishing to develop their ICT learning or use the resource. This will be a huge step forward both for Arise and the community. We are indebted to BFSS for making it possible. When the first classroom opened in 2013, never in our wildest dreams did we think that Arise School would come so far!
Finally, our ACE website is being updated and we do not currently have an online donation facility. If you would like to make a donation towards the work of ACE, the bank details are below:
Name of Charity: Africa’s Children in Education
Account Number: 03910431
Sort Code: 207445
Thank you for all your ongoing valued and valuable support.
We arrived back in Tanzania last week. Every time we visit, we are struck by the changes and development at Arise School. On this occasion, it was immediate.
Over the years, so much work has been done by Frank and the staff to create a welcoming, green and pleasant environment in which the children can learn, play and enjoy. This has now been extended to the roadway and entry into the school grounds.
We hope you agree with us that the photos and video speak for themselves!
Since it first opened its doors in 2013, Arise Community School has taken various opportunities to undertake or set up initiatives to help their local community of Wiri in different ways. We were pleased to receive from them the piece below about their latest project to help some of their poorest community members achieve financial independence.
“We believe that Arise Community School does not only exist to educate, it also exists to empower the economic development of the underprivileged within its community.
In Tanzania’s poorest rural families, goat rearing is an important source of income, and we are on a journey to train rural women and men how to gain financial independence by raising healthier goats. Goats can be sold easily because they are always in demand as a source of food.
Today, Arise Community School started its journey of economic empowerment to the community by issuing out a female goat to Grace who will be responsible for the upbringing, grazing, and care of the goat when ill.
Grace is the grandmother of Ivan, one of the boys sponsored at the Arise Community School. Through the goat she can support Ivan in other needs, such as, food to improve nutrition, medical care and school needs. With more control of their finances, women not only improve their status within the homes, but they also have greater ability to make decisions and have greater power over their own lives. This is what we are expecting to see in Grace’s life.
The agreement is: Grace will look after the goat and ensure that she brings back three kids. After that, she can permanently keep the goat, and the rest of the kids. The goat issued is the kind that gives birth to twins, therefore, Grace will be done within a year. The kids will be raised at Arise and issued to other members of the community in need.
We believe that this will be one of the many ways in which Arise looks at empowering the economy of the underprivileged within the Wiri Community.”
We wish Grace and Arise “Good Luck” in this venture and look forward to hearing how it goes.
Very sadly, earlier this year, a colleague of one of our ACE supporters lost his life in the Ethiopian air crash. Much respected by those he worked with, Nasser had assumed a greatly valued mentoring role with his colleagues. In memory of Nasser, they wanted to make a donation to the charity.
As a mentor, Nasser motivated and encouraged his colleagues. Following an exchange of ideas with Arise School and our supporter, we agreed the donation should be used in a way that would motivate and encourage Arise pupils.
With this in mind, the staff, in conjunction with the headteacher, chose five girls and five boys, who, in their opinion, had worked very hard or done particularly well in their schooling in spite of adversity, illness, death or other difficult circumstances at home and merited having their efforts recognised.
So, this week, the children were taken into the local town of Moshi, about 35 kilometres from Arise, to each choose a book. For some of the children it would have been their first trip outside the village and, no doubt, the first book that they will have owned! As a special treat the children were rewarded with their favourite meal…….chicken and chips!
A big “Asante sana” (thank you) to all of Nasser’s colleagues for their generous support in this way.
Since the early years of the charity, the pupils of Cronton C of E Primary School, have raised money for ACE with the ongoing support of their Headteacher, staff, families and the local church congregation. They have also donated hundreds of items to Arise, including school shoes, football kits and sports equipment. In October 2017, Arise pupils were delighted to welcome Cronton’s Headteacher when she visited for the official opening of the school.
This longstanding, joint working has now taken a very exciting step further. Recently, a joint application for funding was submitted to the British Council’s “Connecting Classrooms Through Global Learning” programme. This international programme supports teaching and learning about global issues. It enables pupils to learn and work together on the big issues that face the world today. The two global learning themes chosen by Arise and Cronton Schools to work on together are Zero Hunger and Gender Equality.
“Connecting Classrooms” will also allow for an exchange of teachers between Cronton and Arise Schools with so many potential benefits for pupil learning, teachers and the schools as a whole.
On our recent visit to Arise, we were able to welcome British Council staff from both Tanzania and the U.K. to the school. Much to our delight, we have since learned that the application has been successful.
As part of Zero Hunger, pupils at Arise wasted no time in starting work on a pumpkin growing project. Within a few days, they had cleared an area in the school grounds and planted pumpkin seeds. It is now only a few weeks later but we have already received photos of the seedlings growing rapidly. It is anticipated that they will be ready for harvesting in February. Meanwhile, from the start of the new school year in January, pupils will have a series of lessons to learn about the causes and potential solutions to hunger across the world.
We know that being able to participate in “Connecting Classrooms” will have so many positive and beneficial spin offs for pupils and staff at both Arise and Cronton Schools and wish them good luck in taking it forward.
Recently, two of our ACE sponsors, Angie and Clint, took the opportunity of combining some time at Arise School with a holiday in Tanzania. Now home in the U.K., Angie sent the following to us about their stay at Arise:
“ We are just back from an amazing, life changing trip to Arise school. We had sponsored a pupil there for the last two years and wanted to go and visit the place where it all happens.
On arrival, we were greeted with a whole school assembly. The children were happy and super well behaved. Singing was second nature and amazingly in tune. Their joy of attending was so evident. This school is a very special place. It’s much more than just a school – community resource and a beacon of hope and wellbeing.
Many pupils live in poverty and an opportunity to attend this wonderful school means food, love and care as well as a fabulous education and a chance to immerse themselves in the English language.
We stayed with one of the staff, Anna, and her adorable son Jovial. Immediately, I felt part of the family and formed a friendship which I believe will be life-long.
As a former teacher, I did a few lessons here and there but we found lots of other opportunities to help out. Clint painted the ceiling of the girls’ dormitory as a few of the children actually live on the premises. I made a few posters with some stickers from back home to help brighten the place up. We helped to serve the twice daily meals which are so important. Growing children need sustenance! At the weekend, we organised games as the school is a community hub.
I felt incredibly fortunate to meet Janeth, the little girl I sponsor, and her Mum. We went on a few home visits and met so many children who are desperately in need of a place at the school.
The happiness of the pupils is evident to see. If ever a project made a difference, this is it!! Arise is an amazing school! We are so proud to be a part of it. It was an amazing experience and I think we will be back”.
Trips to Arise School are always very special and memorable occasions for us. Our recent one, accompanied by one of our ACE supporters, Ray Vincent, and his son, Chris, was certainly no exception.
In January this year, we received a tremendous boost to our efforts to enable Arise to become self sustaining. This was the result of an extremely generous donation to ACE from Ray, a self-made businessman and ongoing supporter of the charity. Ray wanted his donation to be used specifically to help Arise become self-sustaining. He also wanted it to be used in a way that would benefit the community.
As a result, ten, two bedroomed houses have now been built and are nearing completion on land owned by the school. The first two will be ready for rent in a few weeks and income from this will go directly to Arise. As with all other construction at Arise, the work on building the houses and associated tasks has been undertaken by local workers, generating jobs for the community. When rented out, tenants will either be from the community or in employment locally.
After receiving a very warm, musical welcome from the Arise pupils, and with garlands placed round their necks in traditional Tanzanian style, we were able to show Ray and Chris the houses firsthand. He was also able to meet some of the local workmen. As Ray modestly put it, his donation to ACE was “in memory of my parents’ hard work and the opportunities it gave me in life”.
With the income received from the rents, the first priority for the school will be to sponsor some of the poorest children in the local community. Ray’s generosity will give those children opportunities that they would not otherwise have, initially, the opportunity of an education.
A huge “Asante sana” to Ray from both Arise School and ourselves for creating the potential to make such a difference in their lives.