Mrs Finnis Returns From Tanzania

13 May 2024

Recently I returned from Tanzania where I was volunteering at a government run school, called Azimio Primary School. In 2003, the Tanzanian government introduced free primary education for all children. Whilst this is a huge stepping stone in the development of Tanzania, unfortunately, the government has few resources meaning schools quickly become oversubscribed and the level of financial support is little to none.

This became very apparent to me during my time at Azimio Primary, which consisted of 743 pupils, ages 5-14 years. With just 8 classrooms, there were sometimes up to 80 children all crammed into one classroom. Teachers had very limited resources (there were no computers, laptops, ipads etc) and often the lessons would involve the teacher copying large chunks of text out of a single textbook onto the blackboard for children to be able to access the material taught. The headteacher, Novatus Mlay, told me that if teachers needed resources copied for tests or examinations, he would personally need to go into the local town and pay a stationary shop to photocopy the materials required. Each copy cost around 100 Tanzanian shillings, which when multiplied by 743 soon adds up!

What struck me most about the staff and students at the school was their enthusiasm, incredible work ethic and their desire to make the best of their underprivileged background and lack of facilities. The school day is long and some of the students have to travel up to two hours to get to school, but in spite of this their appetite for learning is insatiable.

Having seen all that they have achieved at Azimio, I know that a little help can go a long way. These people really want to help themselves. I am pleased to say that with the funds raised from the retiring collection during our Christmas concerts, parents and staff from OHS have been able to contribute towards a new photocopier for the school. The staff were absolutely thrilled to receive this gift and I know that it will make a huge difference to both staff and pupils. A photocopier will significantly reduce teacher workload as well as improve the quality of learning and engagement for the children.

Your donations have been very much appreciated in supporting this fantastic cause and I am personally looking forward to seeing the impact that having access to a photocopier will make to the school.

Mrs Finnis

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