Gedeli B School is located in Mwanza, in northern Tanzania. It has around 1300 children at the school aged between 7 and 14 completing their equivalent of our ‘primary’ education. Few move on to secondary education.
Tanzania is a very poor country. 45% of the population is under 14 and life expectancy is just 50 years. According to the International Monetary Fund, the UK is 200 times more wealthy than Tanzania.
Most people live in a basic hut with tin roofs in one room, without electricity or running water. Their staple diet is ‘ugali’ which is basically maize flour mixed with water.
We felt that Derby Grammar School could help Gedeli B School by developing a long term partnership that focused on fundraising in order to supply educational resources – from actual classrooms to pens and paper. But we didn’t want to support them remotely, our partnership needed to be more than this.
It is important to us that our pupils experience life in Mwanza, and we do this through visiting each summer. We teach the children and work on the building projects that donations have been able to fund. This is an unforgettable and often humbling experience for Derby Grammar School pupils, and our partnership has a life-changing impact on the children at Gedeli B School.
In 2013 when we first visited, the school had 1357 children in five classrooms, with an average of 270 children per class! They had nothing: no water, no electricity, no educational equipment, no text books, no sports equipment and five drop toilets without water.
Our annual visit to Mwanza also includes helping the local orphanage, Hisani, whose children attend Gedeli B School. Through collections here in the UK we are able to donate clothes, shoes and toys, as well as making a monetary donation from the project fund. We spend time at the orphanage during our visit.
Forever Angels is a local baby home we visit each year. It is for children up to five years old who have lost parents due to childbirth or Aids. We make an annual donation.
Other types of support we offer to the local community have included helping the Upendo Daima Street Children’s Centre, a project for street children in Mwanza. We play an annual football match with them and support through donations and sports equipment.
We are delighted that our work with Gedeli B School has been recognised. We were one of three finalists in the 2018 Independent Schools Association Awards – Outstanding Contribution for International Understanding.
Fundraising for the Tanzania Project
Each summer a group of Year 12 Derby Grammar School pupils and teachers travel out to Gedeli B School for two and a half weeks to teach the pupils, work on development projects to improve the facilities and get involved in community projects.
Each pupil is encouraged to fundraise for the cost of their trip. Some of their more recent fundraising endeavours have included climbing mainland Spain’s highest mountain, a golfing marathon, and lots of walking – completing the West Highland Way, walking from Derby to York Minster and walking from Derby to the Tanzanian High Commission in London.
The Year 12 Tanzania Project group also take the lead on fundraising throughout the year to raise donations for our project work in Mwanza. This can range from events such as the annual Jazz Night and Race Night through to supermarket bucket collections and Charity Week activities. We regularly raise in excess of £10,000, and all of it is ploughed in to the project.
For any Year 12 pupil taking part in the Tanzania project, it is a year-long activity which culminates in the visit to Mwanza.
What’s been achieved so far
So far, the project money we have raised is over £80,000. This has enabled us to:
- build four classrooms, one of which is a special needs classroom
- install electricity and running water in to the original five classrooms
- build two toilet blocks with cesspits and running water
- supply classroom equipment including tables, chairs, display boards and textbooks as well as maths, science and general teaching resources
- supply specific resources for the children with special needs, including braille machines and laptops
- provide sanitary items for the school’s older girls.
- create a sports area in the school grounds, and provide equipment for sports
- supply the headmaster with a laptop, printer and a photocopying machine
- supply every child with school books, pens and pencils.
Photo gallery from Tanzania 2018 project
Our projects for the 2019 project are being finalised.
If you are from an organisation or company who may be able to help our project, either through monetary or equipment donations, please contact April Sly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Rest and relaxation
After a period hard, but incredibly rewarding and fulfilling work, our pupils then have the choice to go on safari on the Tanzanian plains, or climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. Watch the video diary of the ascent of Kilimanjaro in 2018:
Read the blog
Follow the progress of the Tanzania project and our pupils’ experiences in Mwanza each July on Derby Grammar School’s Tanzania Project
All pupils in Derby Grammar School’s Year 12 can join this adventure. Your teachers will advise you when you can register for a place.
No donation, whether money or equipment, is too small. Your donations make a massive difference to the lives of children in Mwanza.