Tanzania: Kilema Support Fund Tuitions Project Update

In the midst of Canada’s west coast deluge it’s hard to picture Tanzanian life across the world where the dry season has taken hold. Grazing animals wander through the remnants of corn and millet fields and clusters of students in blue, green and sienna colored uniforms, some a little tattered, pass along dusty roads to school. Cyclical patterns of Tanzanian life repeat whether we are talking about the dry or wet seasons or life at school, in ways similar to Canada.
The school year, though, for Tanzanian students starts January, with the usual intensity of activity around securing a place in primary or secondary school and the required uniform, supplies, books, food and cook fees. The school year completes as December nears and all minds are on passing exams for entry into the next level. Work at Kilema, Kilimanjaro, with Canadian NGO CACHA( Canadian African Community Health Alliance) and subsequent visits have brought us together with many students with the common goal of keeping them in school. We’ve had an wonderful year of sponsorships so after a bit of background let us update you on what has happened in 2009.
Disparities between Canada and Tanzania exist on many fronts with Canada fourth this year on the UN Human Development Index and Tanzania 151th out of 200, just below Haiti and Sudan. Most waking hours in Tanzania are organized to secure the most primary of needs. Food is first because if you can’t grow it you must buy it. Next is clean water, often collected by students before school, heavy plastic yellow drums strapped boldly to their bicycles. The centrality of school and the education of children is the next priority and is on the mind of every child, parent, grandparent or caregiver as a means to redefine a child’s and family’s future. There are few extracurricular activities , leisure pursuits or alternatives to distract families from this goal. Primary school is partly funded by the government but secondary school is not and many educational trajectories are ended after Form 7, the equivalent of Grade 7. The UN has applauded Tanzanian’s efforts at expanding access to education through building schools and training teachers, but funding for secondary education is not in place as in many African countries.
Our work in Tanzania has been to provide secondary or vocational tuition to 52 children, allowing them to proceed with education where they would not otherwise. These children were initially referred to us through local nurses, like Mama Kessy, doctors, community surveillance workers called HBC’s and community leaders like Exupery Mosha of North Kilema, who approached us regarding many children at Rukima and Ifati schools unable to pay their tuition and facing dismissal. His list was long but we were able to help 30 children stay enrolled, allowing them schooling, a protein rich midday meal and a sense of belonging to a group pursuing their future. Further referrals of 22 children brought the total to 52 children in school in 2008 with the help of Canadian contributions totaling $Can 11,084.

In June 08 we detoured from school funding slightly to cover the cost for a new prosthetic leg for a bright, young boy named D. ,who some may remember from an earlier blog in 2008 and who we spent much time with in Tanzania. His stump skin reacted badly to the first plastic mouldings made for a prosthetic. I’m happy to report that after some delays ( things do take time in Africa) he finally received his a new leg in the spring, and he can now get himself to school. Thanks to orthopedic technician, Omar Kinyango, of KCMC hospital in Moshi for his persistence! We’ll try to reunite with D. for pictures next January.

Especially satisfying was the continued support to students in 2009, again on behalf of many donors. While most of the expenditures were made during our visit January 09, we have continued to meet requests for field trips, a computer course , and graduation fees right up until September30/09. Overall the largest percentage of funding went toward school fees ( 90.6% of expenditures). Often tuition includes uniforms but not always and where the Tuition Project has paid for fees, families are encouraged to provide for smaller items if possible. In 2009 the average annual tuition cost per child was $192.00, in keeping with previous years. Government schools are less expensive than diocese or private schools. Students like Dismas and Innocent, require Can$108 for a year at the government school, Ifati. Ann  and Jeniphe  require $447 and $410 respectively at Olaleni, a higher quality Catholic school. I visited directly with 45 of the 52 students we sponsored, receiving grades and exam results, evaluating progress, pondering challenges to learning and facilitating the complicated banking required to pay fees into school accounts. No bank cheque! Makes me very thankful for my banking assistants Fiona , Rita and the girls!
This year we are looking forward to six graduations. Anna and Jeniphe above graduate from Olaleni School. Hephsiba  graduates from a hospitality program in nearby Moshi town. Tumiani  and Ambrose  graduate from Mandaka Vocational School which lies at the base of the south slope of Kilimanjaro. Kilema Hospital is up slope nestle on a mountain ridge. A shy young fellow, Tumiani studied to become a mechanic and Ambrose studied construction. Another shy teenage girl, Zenais, studied electricity and also graduates this year from Mandaka.
The next steps for these students will be followed with great interest but Tumiani , Anna and Jeniphe and the rest also graduate from the sponsorship of the KSF Tuition Project. No further new admissions to the program will be made and as students complete studies the size and funding requirements of the program will contract. It is for this reason we elected not to create a separate foundation but will remain as a project under the umbrella of NGO CACHA until students complete. Our affiliation with CACHA on the ground in Tanzania allows us to continue working with the full approval and welcome of the Tanzanian government. This school year we also partnered more directly with CACHA and they agreed to provide tax receipts to donors, money transfers from Canada and help and logistics on the ground in Tanzania. Their help with ground transportation to schools kept our hitchhiking with lorries down to a minimum! CACHA has also asked us if we would coordinate payments for 4 other students this coming year on behalf of other Canadian sponsors in order to streamline the work of field staff in Tanzania to which we have agreed. Those students are Franki , Lillian , Elinora , and Oliva . I’ll say now how very appreciative we are for the support CACHA has given us.

So to the financial summary:

Total funds donated to Kilema Support Fund Tuitions Project 2008/2009 (including $695.00 carried over from 2007/2008) : $17, 522.
Total Expenditures in 2009 : $11,055.
Total cost of school fees( 52 students): $10,018 (90.6% of expenditures).
Other school related funding: $1,045.
· 208 Counterbooks (hardcover workbooks): $386 (3.5%)
· Graduation /food fees: $181 (1.6%)
· Field trips : $125 (1%)
· Uniforms: $80 (.7%)
· Pocket money: $92 (.8%)
· Shoes: $77 (.7%)
· Computer courses/bank fees/messenger wages/back tuition: $117
Surplus funds from 2009 : $ 6,467
Total donations from 2009/2010: $, 1689
Total available for 2010: $8,156
Our projected needs for the coming school year are approximately $8000 taking into account children who have completed studies this year so we are well on our way… Thank you donors!
Please feel free to email me [email protected]. All donor funds are applied to Tanzanian students. Our own travel and accommodation is self financed and we continue to be pleased to have purpose in visiting Tanzania annually for the next few years.
Previous blogs describe the January 2009 convergence of three mother/daughter pairs in Tanzania for a once in a lifetime African experience. Fiona Manning and daughter Hailey, Rita Parikh and daughter Anjali, and Eva and I all relished our Tanzanian experience, the eternal handshakes, greetings and general comic idiosyncrasies of the developing world. Even yesterday I heard Eva and Hailey describe exacting details of life and food in this far off place. We met students, helped fit uniforms and shoes on many local orphan and vulnerable children, we visited Rukima and Ifati schools, exchange letters from Canadian students and toured the classrooms and kitchen with its woodpile and open fire. Students begged us to leave behind Anjali, Hailey and Eva to attend school! Shirts and shoes were donated by St. Patrick’s School and friends, and beautiful party dresses by local families. School supplies, English dictionaries and wonderful school bags(conference bags!) were all very appreciated!

For those of you who haven’t yet seen images of that January trip click here

All the above would never have been possible without the support of a wide community of friends, colleagues and family, both close at hand and in other parts of the world- England ! Chris and I have been deeply grateful for the generous donations of money and other material support by so many people and organizations, not only in the past year, but with our initial departure to Tanzania, a time with many unknowns ahead. Our Victoria and Harling Point friends and neighbours have been particularly generous with large and small donations alike, from all ages. I reflect on the persistence of our young lemonade sellers here and all the encouraging, thirsty buyers who sampled no matter the quality. Folks have been schlepping valuable recyclables, too. There have been large donors whose contributions allowed us to provide school fees but also provide field trips to power plants and parks so Tanzanian students could experience a wider view of their own area of study and country, a rare experience for many of these children. Large and small together, donations have allowed us to continue in January 2010 covering most of the $ 8000 projected needs. Sasha and I look forward to our Tanzanian departure January 12th and …white collared shirts, black shoes, English dictionaries, school supplies, school bags and girls dresses are always welcome! THANK YOU EVERYONE! .

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