Mugeta Children’s School (MUCS)
In 2012, started to realize my wish to give orphans and poor children in Mugeta and its neighbouring villages access to nursery and primary school education. My father, Mwalimu Gambarage Witare, who retired from his primary school teaching career in the same year, was dedicated to work on my idea of establishing the Mugeta Children Centre School. He donated about 7 acres from his own land to initiate this centre.
In Feb 2010, I raised one million Tanzanian shillings (equals $1000 CAD by then) from my friends in Dar es Salaam and I donated 2 Million Tanzanian shillings (equals $2000 CAD) to build one class for nursery and buy some basic teaching equipments. Villagers were supportive in collecting stones and making bricks. In February 2010, I built the first classroom building. In March 2010, the first 15 students were admitted to the school; 7 kids were street kids and they were not attending school; 3 were orphans living with their grandparents; and 5 were from families living under difficult conditions.
Mwalimu, a trusted English teacher who received his education in colonial era, is teaching the children. Two local teachers who finished their secondary school volunteer teaching with him. These local teachers need to attend a teacher’s college to be qualified teachers. In every month I send a portion of my stipend money to support them buy corn flour for children’s porridge and as a small token for volunteers.
When I visited this centre June 2011, I was smitten by compassion to see that the number of children has grown up to 31. Of these, 15 are orphans, 7 are living under difficulty conditions, and 9 are from the neighborhoods. The number of children is growing year by year: in 2010 – 15 children; in 2011 – 31 children; in 2012 – over 50 children. Mwalimu’s wife, Bibi Helena Gambarage, makes them porridge every morning. In my visit to MUCS, I also visited the Ward Executive Officer (WEO) where I was informed that more than 137 children from around the ward need our attention. But we needed to restrict the enrolment because of the limited resources we have for now. Early this year, 2013, I raised CAD $ 2,980 which helped in the construction of a four-door latrine and for the roofing of the extended two classrooms. At the time of my visit in summer 2013, there were 73 children enrolled, where 38 children are less fortunate. The school has 5 teachers and it has students up to grade 3. The school has acquired a provisional registration and it is hoped that, if all goes well with the infrastructure, it would have a national registration by the end of this year.
Through the support of many individuals and organizations Mugeta School has changed the lives of many children. I am trying to explore the possibility of having volunteers from Canada over to Mugeta every year, particularly high school students and UBC students. In July, this year one of my professors and his family and friends visited Mugeta School. Due to this visit my level of commitment to getting volunteers over has doubled. I believe that my thoughts will one day transform into things!
A PLAN AHEAD:
Phase 1: Immediate Solution:
A censor conducted in 7 villages of Mugeta Ward by the WEO reports that there are currently 67 orphans and 70 children living under difficult conditions who need MUCCS to accommodate them.
The biggest challenge for Mugeta is the infrastructure. The school has 3 classrooms while there are 4 grades (nursery to grade 3). For that matter, one class has to study outside until the first group is finished. Therefore, we need at least two more classrooms. The teachers also need an office where they will keep students records and mark students assignments. Villagers have collected stones and have made bricks enough for two new classrooms and a staff room. The budget for two classrooms is CAD$6,000 and CAD$2,700 for the office room.
Another challenge iselectricity. I have designed a multi-media program that would help children learn English in an interactive environment if there were power. Mugeta has received donations such as tablets, computers, kids DVDs, games, even a projector which would improve teaching and learning activities in the school. The catchment area is 3km, and the estimated budget by TANESCO for the entire project is about CAD$3,000 (Tsh. 4500,000).
Need to hire a teacher who knows English to assist teaching as Mwalimu is too old to teach on his own.
We wish to provide lunch for less fortunate students and make them stay longer at school up to 3pm in order to be able to attend an English emersion program that will commence when the school gets electricity. Providing lunch would require a stable funding source.
Fund to hire bulldozer for levelling the ground to have a flat ground for sports.
Summary of needs:
CAD $ 11,700 for energy and infrastructure
Long Term Plans:
To enable this centre to be progressive and sustainable we plan to also enroll regular pupils so that their parents will support MUCS via their fees.
Extend classes up to grade VII
Hire up to 7 teachers who speak English since the language of instruction is Swahili at Nursery and Primary School but English in Secondary Schools.
To officially register this centre to be recognized by the government so that pupils may sit for their grade IV and VII exams.