Arise School Breaks Up For Easter!

The last day of term is always an opportunity to have some fun. Here are some photos of the Pre School children at Arise enjoying their final day – and the welcome treat of a lollipop! – before breaking up for the Easter Holidays.

Newsletter: March 2019

Dear Supporter(s),

Stop Press! Mt Kilimanjaro forms an awesome background to Arise School. We have just heard that it has now been successfully climbed in aid of ACE. Having set himself this tremendous challenge, we were contacted by Andrew a short while ago to say he would like to use his climb to support the charity. The money he has raised will go towards classroom furniture and a football pitch. Very many congratulations, Andrew, on your tremendous effort!

What a difference a few months can make! You will know from our December Newsletter that all efforts are now focussing on the goal of enabling Arise School to become self-sustaining. Irrigation of the land is continuing to go extremely well and the goat herd ever increases in numbers!

At New Year, these efforts received a tremendous boost in a very unexpected way. An ACE supporter pledged an extremely generous donation which he wanted to be used specifically towards this end and in a way that would also benefit the community.

As a result, ten houses are being built on land owned by, and adjacent to, the school. They will be for rent by community members with income going directly to the school. Once again, the construction work is boosting the local economy with the creation of new jobs. We expect that, from January 2020, Arise will be able to assume full sponsorship of new children at the same level as the ACE Sponsorship Scheme i.e. an average of 25% children in each year.

You will also know from our last Newsletter that we have been giving much thought to the issue of secondary education for those children in the ACE Sponsorship Scheme. Arise now has 362 pupils registered. Next January, this will rise to 400 – a full school. For the eldest students, it will be their last year of primary education.

After a lot of consideration, our Management Committee has now decided that, in principle, the charity should support all 85 children sponsored by ACE to continue their education at the local Government secondary school.

We very much hope that all our sponsors will wish to continue to support their child at secondary level. There are still a lot of issues to be addressed in terms of how this will be administered and overseen in the coming years. This is especially so as the youngest sponsored children are only three years old. This means that we will both be well in to our 80’s by the time they complete secondary school! We will continue to keep you informed as the situation develops.

Meanwhile, in January, we were delighted to receive the national exam results for last year’s Class 4 pupils (aged 10/11 years). All passed with flying colours! Of 34 children, no child received less than a Grade C overall. Twenty four were awarded Grade B and five Grade A.

The top student (with five Grade A’s in his individual exams and only one Grade B) was delighted to become the very proud new owner of a bicycle awarded by the school as an incentive for the children to give their very best.

They certainly all appear to have done that!

In particular, one of our sponsored pupils gained Grade A. Having seen ourselves the poverty of his home and family, this is an amazing achievement. Without sponsorship, he never would have had the opportunity of an education. Many congratulations to all the children and staff who worked so hard to achieve these results.

Thank you to everyone for all your ongoing interest and support in ACE and for helping us to achieve so much more for the children of Arise School and the local community.

Andrew Successfully Reaches the “Roof of Africa”!

A few weeks ago, Andrew wrote a blog about the forthcoming challenge he had set himself to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, or the “roof of Africa” as it is termed, and to raise money in aid ACE. We were delighted to learn this week that he had successfully completed his eight day climb.

From Arise School, the view of the mountain is awesome. It always fills us with wonder. Coincidentally, Andrew had chosen the Lemosho route which goes up behind the school. We can only imagine his elation – and, no doubt, his relief! – at reaching the summit. Many, many congratulations, Andrew, from both ACE and everyone at Arise School.

After all his efforts, the day after his descent from the mountain, Andrew was able to visit Arise School and see first hand the difference it is making to children whose family circumstances are such that they would not otherwise have the opportunity of an education. With his work regularly taking him across Africa, like ourselves, Andrew is a firm believer that education is the best long term way out of poverty.

Amazingly, Andrew raised enough money from his climb to meet both the cost of the desks and chairs needed to complete the final classroom and of a much sought after football pitch. The pupils love football and were delighted to receive a signed photo of the Arsenal football team which Andrew had obtained on their behalf.

On his return home, Andrew sent us the following description of his climb and visit to the school:

“After 6 days hard trekking, I finally reached the roof of Africa at 07:45am on 17th March.  The journey really was like walking from the tropics to the polar regions in under a week. My clearest description is to imagine walking at the pace of a bride down the aisle, while breathing like you’re jogging hard.  Only on summit night, make it twice as breathless, half as fast, pitch black, -7c and a wind chill taking it to -15c.  Perhaps unsurprisingly you feel a sense of achievement!

That sense of achievement pales though into comparison with what I saw at Arise.  Literally lives transformed. It’s great to see the money raised already hard at work with the picture showing the classroom ready to be kitted out and the retaining walls for the pitch being dug.  It’s clear how much the children will love it!

A challenge, followed by a privilege to witness such an enterprise.  Thank you for your support in playing a small part in helping this further blossom.”

Our very grateful thanks and appreciation go to Andrew and to all his sponsors for their brilliant support. We hope that he left Arise knowing that the results of his tremendous effort to climb the mountain and complete the challenge will make a very real difference in the lives of so many children.

Another Brilliant Effort in aid of ACE!

Many of our supporters will remember the brilliant efforts made by Eleanor back in 2016 when she was only 12 years old to raise money for ACE. With the support of her Mum, Dad, Aunty and other family members, she raised over £2,000 which paid for electricity to be installed at Arise School.

But, the family’s support has not stopped there. We were delighted when Eleanor’s Dad, James, contacted us just a few weeks ago to say that he intended to take part in the St. Helens 10k in aid of the charity. Already training with great determination and commitment, it was the first time that James had attempted anything like this.

Sunday, 10th March dawned very wet, cold and windy. James might have been forgiven for deciding against running in such weather conditions but not so. He was determined to complete the challenge – and he did so in great style. Looking at photos of himself after the event, James commented on his performance:

“Good to see I had a smile on my face most of the way round! North Road was the only thing that could wipe the smile off – on the way up, at least”.

Those of us who know North Road, a steep climb out of the town, know that in itself it is a real challenge – never mind the rest of the run!

Many congratulations to James on his achievement. It was another brilliant effort on behalf of ACE. A huge “Thank You” to all the family for their amazing, ongoing support and “Asante Sane” from everyone at Arise School.

A “Really Special” School!

A “Really Special” School!

“We were fortunate enough to visit the school before Christmas – really special”

At any school, the final day of the school year is normally looked forward to with great excitement by all the pupils – and staff! Arise School is no exception. On Friday, 7th December, the last day of the 2018 Tanzanian school year, Arise also welcomed some visitors from the UK.

Two of the visitors, Matt and Grace, were already familiar faces to the children. Last year, they gave up their jobs in London to volunteer in East Africa for twelve months. Initially in Tanzania and staying in the local town of Moshi, they had already been to Arise on several occasions, including helping with the Kisimani Kids’ Club on a Saturday afternoon.

On this occasion, they were accompanied by Grace’s parents who had taken the opportunity to visit Grace and Matt during their time away. The photos we have just received from Grace’s parents capture so well the happiness and excitement of the children with their visitors on this last day of the school year. To use the words of Grace’s mother, they also capture what makes Arise School “really special”. We hope you enjoy them.

Andrew – Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in aid of ACE

Sometime over the end of year break I started thinking about my plans for 2019.  I can’t quite remember when, but at some point I started thinking about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.  There’s plenty to put you off it (if you want a really blunt view do a web search for The Guardian’s article on it !), but I couldn’t quite get it out of my mind.  I got to the point of concluding, if I didn’t do it, I’d think “what if ?”, so found myself booking an 8 day climb on the Lemosho route up Africa’s highest mountain on 10th March.  Its pretty daunting at 17,000 plus feet, half the oxygen of normal and a temperature range of 37c at the bottom down to -10c at the top, but it sure to be an experience !  To emphasise I am not some “Bear Gryllis” type in disguise, I’m a 51 year old whose worked in Financial Services all my life, travelling around the world, but climbing on a plane is not quite the same as this !

After booking the trip, I started to think about raising some money for charity with it.  My work takes me across Africa (writing this while en route to Lagos, Nigeria), and I knew I wanted to give something back to the continent.  Of course, one of Africa’s biggest challenges is the continuation of Poverty and my belief is the best long term way out of this is education.  So my search began for a charity to support with the criteria of Africa, children & education.  I also didn’t want it to be a big charity where your money can get lost in admin.  And then I came across ACE and all they had achieved at Arise Community School !

I stand in awe at what those involved in ACE have achieved to date.  Starting a school from scratch to getting to 363 pupils receiving education is a really powerful achievement. But of course the pressure to continue and make the school as sustainable as possible remain.  Which is why I decided to support the charity as my sole fundraising venture for my climb. If I can raise £1,500 it will be enough to add to the school with a fully fledged football pitch. If I can raise £3,000, it’s enough to pay for the final classroom to be equipped with all the necessary furniture needed to hold classes there.  I somehow guess the kids will vote for the football pitch !

Either though are really great things to raise funds for.  And to emphasise, all of any donations will go directly to the initiatives above.

Any support you can give would be very gratefully received !

Congratulations Arise Pupils On Your Exam Success!

At the end of November, along with students in all other Tanzanian schools, pupils in Grade 4 at Arise School sat exams set by the National Examinations Council of Tanzania. Aged 10/11 years, this was only the second year that Arise pupils have reached this stage and, following the registration of the school with the Ministry of Education in Dar es Salaam during 2017, the first year that the school has been able to register as an exam centre in its own right.

After a nervous wait by all concerned, the results are now out. Thirty two pupils, 20 boys and 12 girls, sat the exams in six subjects – English, Kiswahili, Maths, Science and Technology, Social Studies and Civics. As well as an individual grade in each subject, they receive an overall grade.

We were delighted to learn that every pupil passed with flying colours! At an individual level, no child failed an exam (Grade E and above is a pass; Grade F is a fail). Nine pupils were awarded Grade A overall, 18 were awarded Grade B and five Grade C.

In English, 25 students gained Grade A and 7 Grade B! This is an amazing achievement given that many of them have only been learning English for a relatively short time.

Each of the nine pupils who received Grade A overall, was given an Arise School “Honor Roll” certificate to recognise their outstanding achievement. In addition, the top student (with five Grade A’s in his individual exams and only one Grade B) was delighted to become the very proud new owner of a bicycle awarded by the school as an incentive for the children to give their very best. They certainly all appear to have done that!

Particular congratulations go to one of the the nine students who is the first child sponsored through the ACE Scheme to receive a Grade A. Given the poverty of his home circumstances, there is little doubt that, without the support of his sponsors, he would not have had the opportunity of an education.

Since Arise School opened, it has been the aim to develop it as a centre of educational excellence. The results already show that the school has the capacity to achieve that. In Siha District, the results placed Arise 7th out of 27 schools. It was ranked 141st out of 616 schools in Kilimanjaro Region and 1007th out of 4177 schools nationally.

The students and staff have all worked tremendously hard to achieve such a high standard. Every one of them is to be congratulated on their performance. We are delighted for you and wish you every success in the future as you settle back to your studies for your final set of national exams and the award of your National Primary School Leaving Certificate at the end of your primary education in November 2021.