Making a difference further a field

TUJATANE “Let us all hold hands together” – Tongabezi Trust School 

After Mike’s recent circuit trip to Zambia he spent time with a charity initiated by one of our Zambian clients, Tongabezi. We wanted to make a difference and have sent a donation for the school to purchase some much needed educational games and supplies. Here is the story of how the Tongabezi Trust School, Tujatane all began and the impact the school has made to the lives of the local people, and now ours.

TUJATANE, Tongabezi Trust School is a primary school, set up by Vanessa Parker who first came to Livingstone, Zambia as a volunteer teacher. Vanessa is married to Ben Parker who established Tongabezi Safari Lodge in 1990.

The aims of the school are to give as many local underprivileged children an education by offering small class sizes, quality teachers, and a variety of extracurricular activities such as computers, sports, music, drama, traditional dance (they are National champions!), conservation, chess and art, plus an HIV/Aids club and a girl empowerment programme.  All children are encouraged to pursue their loves and talents. The children love welcoming visitors to their school, so many guests from the lodge are able to visit, as the school is only a short walk away.

The school began in 1996 with 15 Tongabezi staff children and now has over 220 students who all walk to school – some from as far as 1 ½ hours walk away. The children who attend Tujatane come from families with no running water and they generally live in one or two roomed mud huts. The children have to contribute to chores at home, including collecting firewood and water. Many of the children live with extended family, some sadly due to being orphaned but also for many, so that they can live closer to education. From having this opportunity to get an education, some former students are are now studying law, medicine, accountancy and much more at universities in Zambia, South Africa and the US.

The school has also started a food programme as many children come to school without breakfast and some may only have one meal a day. Since this began, they have seen a dramatic rise in the academic results. Children are able to focus in class with something in their tummies! $10 per month provides a child with porridge for breakfast and at break time for lunch, the children have Nsima (the local maize meal staple) with tomato, onion and cabbage and either beans or boiled egg.

While the cultures of different countries vary in myriad ways, they also contain many shared values. Among these is the universal understanding that education is a core component of healthy development.  Apart from the first classroom, which Tongabezi built, the development of the school has been made possible through the generous sponsorship of patrons all over the world. The school has charity status in the UK, is a registered Trust in Zambia and is completely funded through donations. Contributions include sponsorship for individual children, teachers salaries, help with our food and medical programs and building projects. The school currently has seven classrooms, an office, a library, a kitchen, an amphitheatre, a storeroom, a computer room with eight donated laptops and a fantastic new music room with guitars and keyboards as well as local instruments such as the marimba.

Through education, Tujatane becomes the starting point for change. The children and their parents understand that education will bring opportunity. We can all help to make opportunity a reality. Won’t you consider seeing how you can provide towards the cornerstone which improves the living conditions for the people of Tongabezi.

TongabeziTrustSchool

For more information or to contribute, please email: vanessa@tongabezi.com and visit: www.tujatane.com

Making a difference in our community

Inspired by Mike and Jill’s passion to “give back”, our team wanted to find a way to help our community. Close to our offices in Kloof, we located The Neema Foundation, where we knew immediately that we could add value and impact children’s lives positively.

The Neema Foundation Trust was born out of a passion and vision to meet specific needs of the community. Afternoons at Neema are structured so that teachers can provide one-on-one literacy and numeracy tuition to underprivileged children. The programme currently supports twenty one children and the Neema team say that there is scope for this number to be increased, as more volunteers make themselves available. The positive impact and effect of Neema on these children is enormous and helps to give them a chance at making a success of life.

This quarter our team were able to donate several much-needed items, including: sports equipment, stationary and office consumables. We thought you would enjoy reading one of the children’s stories.
Thabo’s Story: (Fictitious name to protect learner’s identity)

Thabo is an intelligent grade 6 learner struggling to reach his full potential at school because of an attention deficit disorder. His parents are domestic workers in Kloof, Durban, and are unable to afford the remedial help he needs in a special class at school. The remedial teacher at  this school felt that Neema would be “his only hope” educationally. For about a term now he has been coming to lessons where he follows a program with 3 different teachers, catering for his specific need. Last week, after the exam results came out, we were all very excited to hear from his teacher that he has made considerable progress in various areas. Well done Thabo! You are such a pleasure to work with and we’re proud of you.
What does Thabo’s mother think about Neema? I am so pleased with Neema because it helps children like my son and is making a real difference in his life!

neemagallery