Arise Goes Green!

All efforts at Arise School are now focusing on it becoming self sustaining. As part of this, a farm project has been started growing vegetables. We all know that a healthy diet is one of the ingredients integral to smart children who can concentrate on their studies.

The aim of the project, among many others, is to cut down the food budget whilst providing healthy, nutritious food for the children. The vegetable farm is already enabling the school to save much from the money that would otherwise have been spent on food. In addition, the children have a much healthier lifestyle.

The farm has not only been a benefit to the school. It has also benefited staff members and some of the neighbours in the local community who are able to have a taste of the green vegetables grown.

Organic manure is used instead of artificial manure. This encourages ecological preservation and reduced chemical intake, preserving the environment. Following the successful ACE Well Appeal and the installation of the well during 2018, the school no longer depends on rainfall for irrigation. This makes if possible for vegetables to be produced throughout the year.

The outcome is to the benefit of all the students at Arise – healthy, nutritious meals contributing both to their overall development and wellbeing and their ability to make the most of their opportunity of education.

A huge ‘Thank You’ to everyone who has made this possible. If you are in the area, Arise welcomes you to call by can and have a taste of the vegetables grown on the farm.

Karibu sana

Carmel College Interact Group Fundraises for Arise School

We were delighted to learn recently that, on top of their studies, students from Carmel, our local sixth form college, have been busy undertaking various initiatives to raise money for Arise School via their Interact Group.

Interact Groups are part of an international organisation, supported by Rotary International and local Rotary Clubs, in this instance our local Rotary Club of St. Helens. Based in schools and colleges, the groups seek to offer young people, aged 12 – 18 years, opportunities to work together to the benefit of both their local community and to encourage international understanding.

Two weeks ago, members of the Carmel Interact Group, invited us to take our ACE display to a charity fair they had organised for those charities they have been supporting. At the end, they presented us with a cheque for an amazing £1,000 for text books for Arise. Within a few days, to the delight of both pupils and teachers, the school had purchased the books. This means that, in every subject, Arise now has sufficient text books for two pupils to share one book.

This week, we were able to return to Carmel College to tell the students a bit more about Arise, its background and ethos. Not least, they were able to see photos of the books being purchased and watch a short video featuring two of the pupils very enthusiastically thanking the members of the Interact Group for their support.

To their thanks, we would like to add ours. Two years ago, Arise had but two or three texts books in each subject. The teachers were constantly having to prepare, print and copy worksheets, a both time consuming and costly process. Without the incredible support of St. Helens Rotary Club from whom we received a donation towards text books in 2018, and that of the Carmel Interact Group, there would have been very little chance that we would have achieved this position in such a short time. A huge “Asante sana” to all who made this possible.

Eat Your Hearts Out Tottenham Hotspur!

Spurs may have had a new stadium built recently but Arise School are close behind them. Well, not quite a stadium, just a football pitch!

Recently, Andrew climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. He wanted part of the money he raised to go to build a proper football pitch at the school – no more jumpers for goals! No more arguing whether the ball is out of play due to the lack of line markings!

An area of the school ground was identified………no trees felled. Work began on levelling the ground. Then, it was time to secure the outside of the pitch. When secured, soil will be spread to cover the pitch and tufts of grass planted. It is hoped that the rains will then do their job and soon the grass will spread across the whole pitch.

A big ‘thank you’ to Andrew for making all of this possible. The pupils at Arise love their football. It will give them the chance to learn to play the game properly and develop their skills. And, who knows………Arise might produce the next Lionel Messi (Barcelona) or Kelly Smith (Arsenal Football Club)!

Lastly, if you love your football, enjoy working with children, have coaching skills and would like to use them to good effect as a volunteer at Arise, we would love to hear from you!

A Successful New Learning Experience For Arise Students

A few weeks ago, Arise School welcomed students from Faith Light School for a new learning experience – a debate in English. This was part of an initiative both to develop the school’s relationship with other schools – for the teachers and for the students – and to develop and improve the children’s English speaking skills.

The motion chosen for the initial debate was:

“To educate a woman is to educate the entire society”.

Given that one of the underlying principles on which Arise School has been developed is that girls should have equal access to the school alongside their male counterparts, it was a very appropriate topic for this landmark debate. However, it was somewhat ironic that the motion was proposed by Faith Light School and opposed by Arise!

It proved a hot debate between the two English Medium Schools. Although Faith Light School had a good chance of winning, we were delighted to hear that Arise had won. Both sides did very well and a lot of learning was generated about why educating women in today’s society is to educate society as a whole. However, it was a combination of their outstanding spoken English, their preparation and presentation of the case and the supporting facts that gave the Arise students the winning edge.

The students enjoyed their time together and are looking forward to other shared activities between the two schools to their mutual benefit. Many congratulations go to both schools on their English and their debating skills. The initiative also provides a very real example of how collaboration and this sort of joint activity promote the academic growth and development both of the individual students and of their respective schools as a whole. Well done to everyone concerned.

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 !