In September, Nicola and Carey from the World Villages team travelled to Tanzania for the inauguration of the new boys’ school in Dodoma. The visit was profoundly moving as it also provided an opportunity to visit the other programmes in Tanzania. We visited the Girls’ school in Kisarawe, the training centre and day-care facilities located in Kiluvya. This allowed us to see the Sisters and children and the progress they are making throughout this country.
The visit gave us a really powerful insight into the background of the children, their home lives and the vital skills they are learning in the care of the Sisters which will transform their lives. We witnessed how the young women at the training centre are learning relevant, practical skills that will help them find work or set up their own businesses when they complete their course. We saw the youngest nursery children learning in the Montessori style lessons at the day care facility. We saw how the girls in Kisarawe are growing and thriving, gaining valuable practical skills as well as academic learning and enjoying a range of other activities like music and clubs after school.
The new boys in Dodoma were a real inspiration. Recently arrived, studying hard and so keen to meet every visitor and practise their English, asking more questions than we did!
In every programme, there was an immense sense of joy and freedom. Every child and trainee is cared for and freed from worry as they pursue an education to give them independence and freedom from poverty.
In the Kiluvya Training Centre, we were so impressed by the industry of the young women we met. There are 100 women in the centre aged 17-28 and they learn tailoring, bread and pastry making and electrical installation as well as business skills. The courses last for six months and whilst studying, the women live at the centre. Many come to the course from remote regions and so this allows them to focus on the course and get extra hours of practise in at the weekends.
The courses are focused on getting the young women ready for work but also learning skills which will help them at home. We were particularly interested to see the outdoor kitchen the Sisters have built on site at this facility. Not every young woman will have access to a gas stove in their home and so this teaches the young women how to put all of their skills into practise using the tools they will have at their disposal.
Four trainee graduates: Levina, Sabina, Hawa, and Winnefrida, have gone one step further and used their baking and enterprise skills and started a bakery across the road from the training centre, with seed money sourced from generous donors. These women are already using their skills to support themselves, lift their families out of poverty, and contribute positively to their community.
While travelling around Tanzania, we saw many children of nursery age sitting at home, playing in the streets or sitting with their parents whilst they worked at the roadside. Very many of the poorest young children were not in school so it was a joy to meet the 110 children at the Sisters’ Nursery in Kiluvya and to see them so well cared for.
These toddlers in the day-care centre are receiving early learning in literacy and numeracy skills. The children arrive at 8 am and leave at 3.30 pm. They all receive school uniform and new shoes, eat two healthy meals during the day, drink fortified milk to help their early physical development. They receive the vital foundational education which will set them on the path to a better future. They also enjoy plenty of play activities and social interaction with other children and teachers within the child-centred Montessori style of education.
With the help of our donors, the youngsters have all the provisions they need for their day at school including toys and early learning equipment. Every young child in the centre also has their own toothbrush and good dental hygiene is high on the priority list at the nursery. Poverty deprives families of essential dental hygiene products and combined with food deprivation and inadequate nutrition, many children in Tanzania struggle with dental problems. In order to address this, every child learns good dental hygiene and how to maintain it from their very first day with the Sisters.
We were blown away by the joyful and welcoming reception from every girl in Kisarawe Girls’ School. The team spent a full day at the school observing classes, seeing the new electronics workshop, being treated to a lesson from the girls in how solar panels are powered, and being able to see the incredible results of the donations we send to the programme.
There are now 780 girls in the school here studying hard and loving their life at school. We chatted to the girls about what they are learning at school, their achievements, and their hopes for the future. We met teachers and the Sisters who care for the girls. We had the opportunity to catch up with several of the girls we first met in 2019 and those whose stories we have shared, to get an update on how they are doing. We were so glad to meet Mercedes, Anastazia, Suzana, Justa, and Helena and see that they are thriving at school and to meet new girls like Christina. They were all so proud to show us their beds and mosquito nets and share their daily routines at school, all provided through the generosity of our donors.
In the afternoon, we saw the girls busy at their various clubs, from the gardening club tending to newly planted fruit trees in the garden, to the scouts club and others.
Next year will be the final year for the first 160 girls welcomed in 2019. They will sit their final exams in November ready to graduate into work early in 2025. What an achievement that will be.
The programme is going so well and thanks to you, every girl is freed from the worry of poverty and has the chance to learn, fulfill their potential and flourish in the care of the Sisters.
It was a real pleasure to see Dodoma Boys’ School for the first time and attend the inauguration of the first building constructed at the site near Kikombo. Dodoma is 450 kilometres from Dar es Salaam. It became the official capital of the country in 1996 and is drier and dustier than Dar es Salaam but is a centre of investment for the country and provides good opportunities for future jobs for the boys.
Building work on this project started in February and is progressing well on the school buildings. The pilot building containing the first dormitories, classrooms, and library is partially complete and 110 boys were welcomed into their new accommodation in August. The kitchen building is still under construction and so there is a temporary outdoor kitchen to prepare the children’s meals.
We visited several of the communities in the region and met the families of some of these new boys including Baracka. Their lives have been deeply deprived and the extreme poverty has caused emotional pain for them. Their families are overjoyed for their sons and grandsons to be in the care of the Sisters and to finally have the chance of a brighter future ahead. In their outreach work around the country the Sisters have met so many of these young boys desperate for help and the chance of an education, Anek and Anthoni are just two of these youngsters.
During our time at the new school we learnt a lot about these new boys. Many have arrived into the care of the Sisters bearing the physical symptoms of poverty including severe malnutrition and stunted growth. Some who are already 16 years old look closer in age to 12 years old due to poor diets in their early lives. Now with the Sisters they were all so happy to be at the school, and were most delighted with the food.
The boys are having pre-form 1 English and Maths classes taught by local teachers and spend the afternoons helping the Sisters and playing football which is hugely popular. With support the boys are eagerly awaiting the arrival of a new football pitch but until then they play on any open piece of land they can find
Thanks to the generosity and support from our donors, these boys will continue to recover and grow strong with a further 50 boys joining them in January 2024 ready for the start of the new school year.
Mt Iztaccíhuatl Expedition Updates
In December 2024, Enrique climbs Mt Iztaccíhuatl. You can read his updates on training and preparing for the expedition here
In September 2023, the UN reviewed its progress towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Over October, we reflected on how we work towards these goals within our programmes providing our children with the opportunities to escape from poverty and thrive.
Dodoma Boys’ school inauguration
On 21st September 2023 we were privileged to be included in the celebrations for the inauguration of the new Sisters of Mary Boys’ School in Dodoma, Tanzania.