small foundation with a big impact

travel report November 2013

22-11-2013
Jan Priester and Marga van Winsen visited Tanzania during the week of November 16-22, 2013 – a short and intensive trip in the company of former board member Frans Bosch and his son Guido. As it had been quite a while since Marga last visited Tanzania, her presence offered a fresh perspective on the running projects. The atmosphere at Kikatiti and Ngorika is good and for Tanzanian standards, both grounds look well maintained. The toddlers at Kikatiti were cheerful as ever, and in the meantime there was a peaceful silence in the classrooms at Ngorika because of national final exams during that very week. For Level 6 children, passing these exams leads to high school admission. Teachers have been practicing a lot with the children during the past months and the pre-exams showed good results, so positive news is expected soon!
After three days of focus in the classrooms, the children were rewarded through a goodbye ceremony for Marion Hasselaar, our former general director. In true Tanzanian fashion a depute of the Ministry of Education was invited, as well as leading figures from the district, our Tanzanian board members Joyce Sagala and Bob Shuma, and a delegation of the parents council. There was an alternation between speeches and music performances – which had been prepared by the children with the help of German Media & Art students, who are currently volunteering with us.
Every day after school time a group of children, supervised by Ngorika Home's manager Wanyaga Eudesia, works in the vegetable garden in Lerai. With the support of Rotary Club Heemstede we have been able to purchase a pump – meaning there are no more water shortages, and multiple harvests a year. One part of the ground still needs to be leveled so that it can be used as a sports field. Through a crowd funding campaign (a project of Evelien Emondts and Marinka Vukojevic) we are trying to raise funds for sports equipment and shoes for all children.
For Jan it was mostly a week of numbers, as the budgets for 2014 had to be discussed. As revenues from fund-raising are decreasing, Jan called for everyone's creativity and most requests for new investments were placed on hold. Despite thorough preparations by the management team, especially by our Tanzanian bookkeeper Mathew Massawe, the sessions were long and characterized by lots of discussions.
Marjolein de Rooij was our guest during a good part of the week. Marjolein works as a local fund-raiser and at our request, she came to identify possibilities in Tanzania. Although local fund-raising is underdeveloped in Tanzania (money is mostly raised through foreign sources or churches), there are opportunities indeed. Wouldn't it be great to be able to raise funds locally in the future? Marjolein is highly motivated and will help us drafting a strategic plan.
Also during this week board meetings of our local entities were organized – although our German partners of Good Hope were not present this time. The management team’s contributions were well-prepared. Each of them included a review of past successes, as well as challenges for the coming year.
The last day of the trip was mostly spent on joint meetings with high school executives of Henry Gogarty Girls School, Tengeru Boys Secondary School and Tengeru Vocational Center – these are the schools most of our children will be sent to in the new year for secondary and / or vocational education. The three schools are all looking for funds to finance the building of dorms. Currently the girls at Henry Gogarty sleep in unused classrooms, but the inflow of 120 girls (including six girls from Ngorika) will make this impossible. Besides enrolling our own children, we also have a mediating role between these schools and an important Dutch donor. Due to the bad state of its classrooms, working spaces and boarding facilities the vocational center is in the direst need for help.
As there is no pre-selection at our schools, and many of the children come from disrupted families and as such fall behind in their education, not all children can be expected to pass through four years of English-language secondary education. To these children, the vocational center offers the possibility to acquire practical skills at an earlier stage. Tengeru Vocational Center is open to girls as well as boys, and combines theory (40%) with practice (60%) in order for them to be a.o. carpenters, welders, mechanics, ICT specialists, nurses, bakers and cooks.  Because of this diverse range of opportunities for the children, we really want to help the vocational center.
Next week, the summer holidays at Kikatiti and Ngorika will get off to a start, and most children will be going “home” for a period of five weeks. Jan and Marga paved the way for the projects to stay on track during the coming months and traveled back home satisfied, but with lots of homework to do. The next visit is planned for February 2014. As announced, we will visit Tanzania more frequently as there has been a recent leadership change – as of October 1, our former principal Edward Mwololo is managing our projects in Tanzania.
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