NUI Galway Graduates Undertake Volunteer Teaching in Tanzania

Monday, 31 January 2011

NUI Galway's ALIVE programme in partnership with Tanzanian Village Renewal have announced a new initiative whereby five graduates of NUI Galway commenced work as volunteer teachers in Suji Malindi Secondary School, Tanzania from January to December 2011. The initiative was conceived by Lorraine McIlrath of the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) and Maureen Mescall, formerly of the Discipline of Economics, NUI Galway and founder of the registered charity Tanzanian Village Renewal. The five graduates; Aine Staunton, B.A., H.Dip. Tourmakeady, Co. Mayo, Aisling Mitchell, B.A., H. Dip. Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim, Belinda Crossan, B.A., H.Dip. Letterlenny, Co Donegal, Aaron Cunningham, B.Comm. Letterkenny, Co. Donegal and James Lovett, B.Sc., M.Sc., Newcastle, Galway accompanied a group of builders to Tanzania on 31 October, 2010 where they assisted in the construction of a large extension to Suji Malindi Secondary School. Once the builders returned to Ireland following their two week building blitz, the graduates began teaching English to local adults, the girls set up net ball and basket ball courts to the delight of the pupils while Aaron took charge of football matters. The academic year is now in full swing in Suji and with the addition of the five Irish volunteer teachers and their organisational abilities; pupils who had left the school have returned. There are increased numbers of first year students and this year for the first time in many years there will be a fourth form class as retention has improved. The Chairman of the School Board, Mr Nyanga said "It is wonderful to have these teachers here in Suji, and already we are seeing the benefits of their role in our community. We thank them for volunteering and we are grateful to NUI Galway and Tanzanian Village Renewal for organising the initiative and we look forward to many years of continued involvement with our school and village. The people of Suji value education very much and we see it as the means of providing a secure future for our people." The volunteer teachers are setting up a library in the school which they hope will be of benefit to the local community as well. In this regard Maureen Mescall of Tanzanian Village Renewal is appealing to parents, schools and pupils to donate old school books (except through the medium of the Irish language) and appropriate novels which will be sent to Suji at the end of February for the library The books for the curriculum are too expensive for the local parents to purchase and the teachers are currently organising an initiative in conjunction with Tanzanian Village Renewal whereby they will purchase a complete set of all school books for all years and rent them to pupils at a nominal fee for the year. The books would be returned at year end to be rented out the following year again. You can get details of this and follow the progress of the teachers on http://nuigalwaysujiteachers.blogspot.com/ and you if you feel you would like to help by sponsoring a uniform or school books you will find details of how to do so at http://tanzanianvillagerenewal.blogspot.com/. Further information contact Maureen at mpmescall@gmail.com
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