Edinburgh Global Partnerships – New Vision School in Mugajwale

Tanzania

New Vision School in Mugajwale, northwest Tanzania, is an English-medium nursery and primary school, where pupils learn in Kiswahili and English as well as the local language Kihaya.

Being able to speak English from an early age means that the children have a better chance of succeeding at Secondary school where all lessons are taught in English. It was started around 5 years ago through the efforts of Prosper Nduke, a local man who donated some of his land and drummed up support and funds to build the first classroom. Since then the school has been growing and gaining more students each year.

kids web

The student-run volunteering charity Edinburgh Global Partnerships (http://www.egp.org.uk/) has supported New Vision for the past couple of years. In summer 2006 the first group of 8 student volunteers went out with £7000 raised in the UK to help renovate the 2 original classrooms and build 2 new ones to accommodate the extra pupils who were starting at the school each year. The 2007 EGP project with New Vision School involved the construction of a dormitory to enable children from further away to study at the school, whereas before the catchment was limited by the distance children could walk in to attend school each day.

The dormitory taking shape. 2007.

The role of the volunteers was to help out on the building site and in the school wherever needed. Digging the foundations in the first week was definitely the hardest task, and on site they sieved sand, mixed cement, and moved earth, rocks and bricks. The children at the school were fantastic and the volunteers would take any opportunity to sneak off site to play with them!

Infrastructure is only one part of a successful school; so much depends on the skills of their teachers, and there has been a shortage of qualified teachers in Tanzania as the number of schools keeps expanding. In 2005 New Vision School had 4 great teachers but none were fully qualified. With money left over from the 2006 construction project that was finished under-budget, New Vision and EGP set up a revolving teacher training fund that would provide the funds to send promising local students to teacher training college, who would then work for the school. The first participant was a young man called Evelius who at the end of his first year was second best out of all the trainees in the college. Hazel’s Footprints Trust kindly donated the funds for his second year’s training, and so by the end of this academic year New Vision will have an excellent new teacher arriving.

teacher web

Hazel’s Footprints Trust has also provided money towards textbooks for New Vision School, which I know will have been greatly appreciated by all the students who are incredibly enthusiastic and keen to learn. The Form 4 pupils (the highest year) sat their national exams towards the end of last year and did exceptionally well – amongst the best in the district. With students setting their sights no lower than becoming Prime Minister (right) and President (far right) of Tanzania they certainly have a long way to go but I have a lot of faith in them!

On behalf of everybody from Edinburgh Global Partnerships who has been lucky enough to be involved with these projects over the past couple of years, I would like to say thank you so much to Hazel Footprint’s Trust for your support of the students and teachers of New Vision School. Please keep up your great work.

Janet Crossley

(Tanzania project coordinator 2006, EGP committee 2007-08)

Image credit: NOO