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.
Helping the local community
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. We also spend time there during our visit.
We have funded two computers for Hisani so the children can learn ICT skills. We also make an annual monetary donation.
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 a local basketball team by donating bibs and basketballs and donating sporting equipment and money to a street children’s centre.
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 raises up to £4000 for their trip. This funds the cost of their travel and subsistence, and also funds their follow-on trip – either climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or taking a safari on the Tanzanian plains. Some of our pupils’ more recent fundraising endeavours have included climbing mainland Spain’s highest mountain, a golfing marathon, and lots of walking – completing the Lyke Wake Walk, walking from Derby to York Minster and walking from Derby to the Tanzanian High Commission in London.
For any Year 12 pupil taking part in the Tanzania project, it is a year-long activity which culminates in the visit to Mwanza.
A key requirement of the group is to co-ordinate whole school fundraising activities throughout the year which raise donations for the project work. This can range from events such as our annual Jazz Night through to supermarket bucket collections and Charity Week activities.
What’s been achieved so far
So far we have raised over £70,000 which has enabled us to:
- build two new classrooms, and encourage their government to build a third
- build 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 text books
- provide sanitary wear for the school’s older girls.
- provide equipment for sports, maths, science and general teaching
- supply the headmaster with a laptop, printer and a photocopying machine
- supply every child with school books, pens and pencils.
Our projects for summer 2018 include:
- the installation of a 10,000 litre water tower, so that the children have ready-access to fresh drinking water
- 2 x braille machines, for the blind/sight impaired children
- sanitary towels for the girls
- 5 x sewing machines and 2 x embroidery machines, for the special needs children in order to teach them skills so that they may be able to support themselves in the future
- 10 x magnifying glasses for the sight impaired children
- puberty booklets for Standard Grade 7 children (tbc)
- sports field equipment, this will be either goal posts or basketball posts
- art murals for classroom walls
- pencil cases for the special needs children with specific items to help them
- pants for the children at Hisani orphanage, as alot of the children don’t have underwear.
We are now appealing for donations of items to take out with use. See what we need
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.
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 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.