Autumn, 2019

During a busy year-end in 2018, and a flying start to 2019 working towards a major infrastructure project, I visited the Rotary Club of Callington where I was awarded a Rotary District 1175 grant. With a further donation of £500 from my own club, Morden Rotary in South London we raised a total of £2500 for the first stage of the project – the hand-wash facility.

This is now structurally complete and working. It still needs some finishing touches which I hope will contribute to an investment for a whole new Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) tradition in the school, including school assemblies and a sanitation awareness programme. ABCD (UK) will benefit from a charity visit next February by our friend Andy Butcher from MFF – Morden Family Fun Day his son Joe and MFF’s manager/volunteer Conor Fanning. You can make a charitable donation for the completion of this stage of the project in Justgiving – click here.

Conor, Andy, me and Joe plus Andy’s Morden Little League Team

Progress towards the completion of the whole project (including two new toilet blacks) was hampered early this year after a heavy rain caused the collapse of the boy’s toilet block. We had hoped to rebuild both girls’ and boys’ toilets with further funding from our two Rotary districts. The local Education department has stepped in now so we need to re-assess our working relationship with them. I will need to meet with relevant authorities to see what we might do to help.

A big big thank you though!

So, a big thank you to all who donated towards this project, including my friends in Callington Rotary and colleagues in the Rotary Club of Morden. The work would not have been possible without your help. The hand-wash facility is a great success. Both school and community are very grateful.

Now, however, plans for the replacement of the two toilet blocks have been put on hold. Estimates for rebuilding the boys’ toilets alone by the district education office are put at approx, £5500, more than half of what I’d hope to spend on both blocks!

Feeding the whole school

Earlier last year ABCD (UK) again funded the food planting programme at Lyasikika Secondary School which in 2018 was also partly funded by Morden Rotary. The existing school programme for planting found funding difficult. As the number of students supported by ABCD (UK) continued to rise at secondary level the funding I was providing for them came almost equal to the cost of the planting programme for the whole school. I decided to support the whole planting programme instead. Now all students have enough to eat!

Planting for next yea’s school meals

Renewing Old Schemes

Last year I also prepared an exhibition of student drawings and paintings from the primary schools we support, along with photos taken by our volunteer Andy Ollett while on safari. It was a lovely show and quite welcome within the vision of ABCD (UK). The exhibition, held in an empty office in Morden was a success. This year I had re-booked only to find the office had closed down completely. I will need to look out for another space this year! More to come next year. Watch this space!

Meanwhile, in my plans to return to Tanzania in October/November this year I hoped to engage with the District Education Office to find out if a solution to the collapsed toilet has been proposed. If not, I shall see how, if at all, ABCD (UK) can help.

I plan to also try to revive the school uniform programme. Second to the cost of school lunches for families is the cost of a uniform. Some children in our cohort are visibly in dire need of a new uniform but they struggle on bravely. The cost of the programme in 2016-17 was mitigated by a daughter and friend of the village, Ndenny Meekins, now living in Canada. I would like to revive this programme this year as it really helps those families who struggle. The aim is to employ local women who have sewing machines and to provide uniforms for the last but one primary class so that they have new uniforms for their final year. They can then hand them down as they graduate. Eventually I’m hoping the stock will grow and help many more children, especially as more of ABCD (UK) children enter secondary school.

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New uniforms 2016/2017

And finally

This year saw some changes to my vision for ABCD (UK). Large infrastructure projects, although welcome, take up much of our time and effort leaving little wriggle room for supporting the children. The children will again, from now on, take centre stage.

Thank you