At the foot of Kilimanjaro, nestled between the hills, Shimbwe can be found, a little mountain village in one of the poorest regions outside the regional capital, Moshi, which is known as a paradise for nature lovers and adventurers alike. The Child & Family Foundation has made it its goal, with the help of the organisation, C-re-aid, to renovate two of the four primary schools in the village to optimise the learning environment and to ensure that the children of Shimbwe can look forward to a better future.
Shimbwe is surrounded by dense woods and wilderness. Only some of the inhabitants have access to transport, the village itself has no access to urban infrastructure or social amenities. Education, nutrition, free time - the people spend the vast majority of their time outdoors and, as such, have a strong connection to nature and it is vital to their livelihood. Some move into the bigger cities having completed school, but many stay in the village and start work on the land and in livestock farming, just as generations before them have done.
The Shimbwe Chini Primary School
The Child & Family Foundation has planned to renovate two of the primary schools in the village to make the school children’s everyday life a little easier, to create a more aesthetic learning environment and to help these children to secure a better future for themselves.
One of the schools is the Shimbwe Chini Primary School. Perched on the slopes of Kilimanjaro and periodically subjected to heavy rain as well as direct sun light, the 70-year-old building is threatened by climatic and structural influences. The school serves 250 children who are divided up into seven classes and a children's nursery. The school also has a director's office, for Vincent Temba, an office for teaching staff, a kitchen as well as a dining room, toilets, two unfinished houses for teaching staff and a playground outdoors. The public school, as well as the grounds, belongs to Shimbwe's local council. The building was constructed in 1948 and has not been renovated since then.
Despite the awful conditions, the Shimbwe Chini Primary School's pupils achieve high results in national examinations. Of the 37 pupils who took examinations in 2017, 36 were successful.
A situation with pros and cons
As the village is difficult to reach and there aren't enough teachers in the area, not every class can have lessons every day. Added to the fact that the school's grounds, located on the Shimbwe Chini's main high street, are often cut off from the surrounding area by heavy rains. The next primary school is 15 minutes away by car or more than an hour on foot. Although the school doesn't have access to electricity and no internet, there does have one plus point - due to the location, on the slopes of Kilimanjaro, free drinking water is always available by the bucket.
The pupils live in Shimbwe and the council presume that 99 per cent of the children living there go to one of the four local primary schools. The rest of the children, who come from well-to-do families, go to private school in Moshi.
The reason why nearly all children go to the schools in the village is that they simply don't have any other option. There is barely any public or private transport and even if there were, most of the families wouldn't be able to afford for their children to go to school in a neighbouring town or village, and definitely not in the regional capital. Moshi is not only unattainable due to financial reasons, it is also the case that driving into town during the monsoon season is impossible.
School fee contributions
The parents must pay for their children to eat lunch at school. For many parents, this is simply an unaffordable sum and they have great difficulty scraping the money together. The school food is, at any rate, very modest fare: porridge and beans. Many of Shimbwe's local inhabitants are unemployed and survive on what they can grow themselves. This is, however, advantageous to the school as they have managed to come to an agreement with some families who then deliver the necessary vegetables to the school. The parents must scrape together the money for a new school uniform every two years. Many children wear their uniforms for much longer than two years, which means that they often come to school with very old school uniform on. Another way to get the cost of the uniforms down is to get hold of second-hand clothes.
Ths school wanted to initiate a donor campaign in the village to finance the school's renovation. However, this proved to be too great a challenge.
Support urgently required
As the government doesn't provide the school with sufficient support, it requires aid in many respects. At the moment, it is not possible to run the school properly. Currently, three teachers are employed by the school, whereby one of them cannot teach for health-related reasons. These three teachers try desperately to manage the work of eight or nine teachers. Lack of teaching staff is already a major problem in Tanzania generally. Last year, a huge wave of teachers went into retirement, however the government did not replace them. However, it's not that Shimbwe doesn't have enough trained teaching staff, but rather that there's not enough resources for the school to employ them directly. Thanks to direct investment, the local government and the educational committee have been asked to increase the pupil-teacher ratio.
Despite the precarious financial situation, the staff and local council are very much involved and make a huge effort to ensure the smooth running of the school, given the circumstances. The organisation, C-re-aid, is of the opinion that this project requires financial support - for one, to increase the number of teachers, for another, to improve the quality of the school food. In addition, a combination of reconstruction and renovation is required to improve the school's infrastructure. Most in need of repair are the loos, dining room, teaching staff housing, kitchen and the class rooms.
Thanks to the Child & Family Foundation, the school should be able to be renovated to create a better learning environment for the children. The Child & Family Foundation ensures that the costs of the school's main requirements, such as for example for books, brochures, healthy food, the playground and the sanitary facilities, are covered.
We very much looking forward to supporting many children with this project and to make it possible for them enjoy a healthier and more self-determined future.
The second primary school which we support is the Sia Shimbwe Primary School. Here you can find out more information about the project.
Renovation/Reconstruction of the Shimbwe Chini Primary School complex to improve the educational provision in the region
A renovated school and improved educational provision for school children in Tanzania
Start: March 2019
250 children from the region Shimbwe Chini Primary School