Obtaining sufficient clean water is always a challenge for any family or organisation in rural Tanzania, and this is especially true for Amani’s farming centre in Mikese.
For some time now, the prospect of a borehole has been something Amani has been very keen to explore. FOAT has been in discussion with Reading Rotary Club. In late 2020, we learned that the bid for £6,300 has been agreed and will be met from the Mike Eggleton bequest. Mike recently died after a career as a senior electrical engineer. He had a passion for sustainable engineering projects.
This project is now underway and water has been successfully reached. This will make a huge difference to everyone at the Mikese Amani Centre.
The Co-Curricular Project at Mvomero, funded by a grant from the Fonthill Trust, is an exciting and innovative project launched in February 2019. It aims to use agriculture as a learning opportunity by using the maize field and vegetable garden as an outdoor classroom, where the children at the Amani Special School for the Hearing impaired can learn about growing maize and vegetables, but can also practise elements of the Government Curriculum.
During a visit in February, Associate Trustee, Barbara Bristow facilitated the launch of the project including buying all the necessary technology, computers and a laminator, as well as the tools for the agriculture.
Phase 1 saw the successful planting and harvesting of the maize farm and vegetable garden. The children were able to use the land as part of their language, signing, maths and art lessons.
The Fonthill Foundation provided a further grant to support the project throughout 2020. The money was used the consolidate the project, replant the maize and vegetables, and to begin a chicken project. The children will be taught about chickens and will use the eggs to create a mini business, learning entrepreneurship skills.
Additionally, The Amani Centre used the remaining funds from Fonthill to purchase a plot of land nearby the school so that they do not have to pay rental costs.
In February 2021, FOAT learnt that the Fonthill Foundation wishes to, once again, support Amani in 2021 so that the children can continue to use the surrounding land as part of their education. It is, and continues to be an exciting project which benefits the students and the staff.
Amani has long supported the villagers of Mpapa and Msufini through outreach from its Mvomero Centre. In 2007-08 FOAT supported economic social empowerment projects in these communities, teaching families of the disabled the skills of goat husbandry and donating goats for them to rear, use the milk and sell for meat.
Subsequently, the villagers have started community banks and initiated other income generating projects, including a local vegetable garden cooperative.
Over the years, FOAT Trustees have regularly visited these communities and seen the benefits derived from the social empowerment projects. However, the on-going challenge the villagers were facing was that of access to medical facilities. These communities are some 10 to 15 km from Mvomero, accessible by motor vehicle only during the dry season. For up to three months of the year they have no access to medicines or medical professionals.
In 2014, working with FOAT, children from Dame Alice Owen School in London raised funds to build a four room dispensary for the villagers. Once complete the Government had agreed to provide a nurse/dispenser to live on site and to stock the drugs for the dispensary. FOAT provided the last of the funds in 2018 to complete the building ready for registration.
In February 2019 Government officials visited and advised it did not meet the revised Government standard for registration as a village dispensary. It would need to have a total of 10 rooms. FOAT made an unsuccessful bid to a Trust Fund in the UK to complete this work. After a local appeal in July 2019, Bridget secured an anonymous donation for the full amount to complete the building of the 10 roomed structure. Bridget and Leslie reviewed the work during their visit in August 2019. The structures were subsequently completed during 2019-20 and meetings held with local government officials who approved the work.
March 2021 update: The villagers are still waiting for the local government medical department to supply furnishings, medications and to appoint a nurse/dispenser. It is expected that these costs will be included in the local government budget due to be set in July 2021.
The progress of the dispensary building
The collaborative project between the Anglican Diocese of Morogoro and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Morogoro was initiated by the Trustees of Friends of Amani Tanzania (FOAT) and the Anglican and Catholic Bishops in 2013 with funding from the Oxford Diocesan Outreach Fund. Since then the two churches have been working hard to serve the community through projects supporting the Berega Hospital and Orphanage and the Amani Centre in Morogoro. Over the past few years members of both churches have worked together to undertake outreach work to provide education to raise awareness in the community regarding the welfare of children with disabilities.
The result has been that this joint effort was able to reach a greater range of families than was possible before the collaboration. As a consequence of this outreach work, many families responded positively to the education on health of the children with disabilities, but the challenge was that of family poverty.
Ecumenical social entrepreneurship projects mark an extension of this joint mission to help these families become more economically self-reliant and also less socially isolated.
This project, begun in February 2018 funded by the Anglican Communion Fund, focussed on training and supporting small groups of families with children with disabilities to develop small enterprises to generate income for themselves. The two villages, Chalinze and Tunguli, chosen for this project were geographically remote from Amani but families with disabilities had already been identified in both locations through earlier ecumenical outreach work. In August 2018, after the project had been running for just six months, Trustees Bridget and Leslie Green visited Tunguli and were impressed by early developments. Most of the groups had initiated chicken rearing projects.
In August 2019 Bridget and Leslie made a brief visit to Chalinze; developments here were impressive. Two of the groups had combined, had a strong Vicoba (Village Community Bank) which had already enabled a number of the individuals within the group to take loans to start/enhance their own businesses including small shops, cafes and a hairdressing salon. They had also obtained Government registration and were making an application to borrow further funds.
There was no doubt in Bridget and Leslie’s minds that this project was proving a tremendous success and given an injection of further funds, could be emulated elsewhere to empower families with children with disabilities to work cooperatively and help to lift them out of poverty.
Funded by a grant from the John Pitman Charitable Trust, the ecumenical team were able to conduct outreach in the villages of Kiloka and Lugoba in November and December. At Kiloka many villagers participated.
Amani awareness group performed plays and sang songs to make sure the villagers understood that children with disabilities should not be persecuted but supported. More than ten children were advised to visit Berega Hospital (Anglican Mission Hospital), other children were advised to go to Amani for physiotherapy and eight children were advised to go to Mvomero Special school. These children are currently unable to attend their local school due to their hearing impairment.
The Ecumenical team continues to mobilize their respective churches to support disadvantaged groups. Thus the local church leaders can assist Amani to educate the villagers about disabilities.
Sponsored by a grant from the Park Family Charitable Trust and supported by FOAT, this project began in January 2019 with a total of 17 students with disabilities from the Amani Community in and around Chamwino. The Tailoring Project gave these students a skill they can use to earn an income for their families.
The initial funding was for seven months. After this time, three of the students learned basic tailoring skills and, with limited support from their teacher, could make clothes and uniforms to sell in the local market. In August 2019, Trustees Bridget and Leslie Green were on hand to congratulate them on their success on reaching a key milestone for the project.
A further three students were close to graduation. Amani and FOAT recognised that the students needed longer to learn skills needed to be able to tailor independently and establish their own small businesses.
Following a small injection of funds by FOAT and a generous donation from a private individual, the project was able to continue to July 2020 when 10 of the original cohort of students will have the skills necessary to start their own tailoring businesses or, for those remaining at Amani, to make some basic items for Amani to sell.
The Tailoring Project in action outside the Amani Centre
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