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Calling prospective volunteers…

MIHABURA PRIMARY SCHOOL, RWANDA

AUTUMN/WINTER 2015 PROJECT

Aims:    To help complete, with local people, the construction of a new classroom block for

                                   Mihabura Primary School

          To provide additional sports facilities through group fundraising

Dates: The project will last up for just over 3 weeks in November/December 2015. Precise dates will be agreed once the volunteer team has been formed.

Mihabura School, Bugarama

Near the stunningly beautiful Lake Kivu and close to the borders with DR Congo and Burundi lies the village of Bugarama in Cyangugu District, South West Rwanda. Mihabura School is a large primary school of more than a thousand pupils. It’s a thriving school achieving excellent results putting it at the forefront of schools in the region but it is desperately in need of new classrooms. There are only 12 classrooms in the school so, like many children in Africa, pupils attend school in two shifts per day. Our plan is to replace 5 old, crumbling mud brick classrooms with a larger, modern block.

Mihab 1a

These pictures show the block we will be replacing and a view of a recently constructed new block at the school.

Mihab 2a

The Story So Far

HANDS AROUND THE WORLD has been working in Bugarama since 2010 when a team of volunteers from Jersey assisted with the construction of new classrooms at Muko School which was developing the first senior secondary classes in the town. Since then a team from Jersey has visited each year to assist with maintenance projects, the establishment of a nursery school and the development of an English language teaching programme.

Mihab 3

In 2015 we are moving across town to work with Mihabura primary school in partnership with RSVP (Rwandan School Village Project www.rsvpcharity.org.uk). A Scottish registered charity founded in 2009 by Simon, a Rwandan doctor currently living in Aberdeen, RSVP supports education in Bugarama, Simon’s home town.

The project

We will be working as a mixed RSVP/Jersey team, alongside local Rwandan volunteers, while leaving plenty of time to get involved in the school and meet people in the community. Following our experience in other projects, it is planned that to engage a local team of builders who will complete the most of the construction work before the RSVP/Jersey volunteers arrive. The RSVP/Jersey team will then help with finishing the interior of the building and refurbishing other facilities.

The project also aims to provide improve sports facilities for the school, through additional fundraising carried out by the volunteer team. Our target will be to raise £1,000 each through group fundraising efforts before we go to Rwanda.

Mihab 4

Funding: A grant of £25,000 has been provided by the Jersey Overseas Aid Commission. The local community is providing land and hard core and additional volunteers.

Volunteer costs (including flights, visa, insurance, food and internal travel) amount to £1,500 per person. Accommodation will be provided near the school. Volunteers are asked to pay a commitment fee of £300 on acceptance of a place on the project. The balance may be met either by a personal contribution or by further fundraising or seeking personal sponsorship. Assistance will be given to volunteers.

Preparations Regular meetings are held to discuss fundraising, understanding the country, preparation for the project, security, child protection, travel and health. Muck and Mayhem weekend as a group bonding exercise will be arranged.

The Future After this project, HATW hopes to continue contact with the community, to help them to continue developing their school, including sending further volunteers in 2016. There is also the possibility of expanding our child sponsorship scheme.

Practicalities

  • Will probably sleep on mattresses on the floor, possibly in beds

  • Need to take a mosquito net (provided by HATW)

  • Long-drop toilets, hole-in-the-floor style

  • Electricity on sometimes; mobile phones usually work (once charged!)

  • Weather hot, nights a little cooler, some heavy periods of rain during the day

We are looking for:

  • Enthusiasm and commitment

  • Previous building experience is not necessary

  • A willingness to work alongside local people on a project owned by them

  • A willingness to spend time preparing for the project

  • A team of volunteers that will work well together

Mihab 5a     Mihab 6a

Rwanda became infamous in 1994 for its genocide, the worst humanitarian crisis since World War Two in which a million people were killed and 3 million fled the country. Since that time Rwandans have rebuilt their country. The country is trying hard to rise from the tragedy of its past and is keen to show the world a new face. It has recently become Anglophone and joined the Commonwealth.

HANDS AROUND THE WORLD (HATW), Registered UK Charity No. 1097626, helps needy children around the world, sending volunteers to offer practical help, skill-sharing and friendship at our partner centres. More than 2500 children benefit every day

HANDS AROUND THE WORLD was founded in 1994 and has sent over 400 volunteers on short-term building and skill-sharing projects in Africa, Brazil and India. We believe in ‘giving a hand, not a hand out’ and working alongside local people

Dr David Steiner, who set up HATW, was born and brought up in Jersey and worked for many years with Jersey Overseas Aid before moving to the UK in 1993.

Mike Haden, who will lead this group, has led HATW teams to Brazil, Uganda and Rwanda and is a trustee of both HATW in the UK and Chairman of the Jersey branch, established in 2007.

Here is a link to the charity website http://hatw.org.uk and its Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/HandsAroundTheWorld where you can find out more about HATW’s activities.

Mihab 7

Joining hands around the world

Applications

If you are interested in this project please contact Mike Haden on 01534 861796 or 07797 787149 or email mikehaden2@hotmail.com and come along to an information evening at St Lawrence Parish Hall, Jersey on Monday 9th March 2015 at 8pm.

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Return to Muko School Bugarama Rwanda 2013

Dennis Spencer and Izzy Anderson   November 2013

Arriving back at Muko School in October of this year was a bit of a disappointment as there had been a  misunderstanding as to when the closure date was, meaning that when we arrived is was still occupied with students and any work that was intended could not be started until the following week. This first week was therefore taken up buying materials, meeting builders, recruiting a more than eager workforce and making plans for the works that were intended. Other times meeting old friends and sitting under a tree eating lunch.

With the absence of Immaculee due to the birth of her baby the day before we arrived, Wellars the head teacher had become the “Man in Charge”. It soon became apparent he was an excellent negotiator, and was available at all times and for whatever reason.          

Work started the following Monday morning with Izzy and her team soon into their old  routine of scrubbing classroom walls, soon to be followed by men fixing damaged areas and painters. A total of fourteen classrooms where painted this year.

The old original block of classrooms had all their old windows/shutters and doors removed, these have now been replaced by much larger units allowing light and ventilation into the otherwise very hot and dark rooms. More concrete footpaths have been laid outside meaning that now nearly all classrooms are linked and the children no longer have to walk in mud to get from one room to another. 

A number of doors that get damaged due to the strong gusty winds that seem to come from nowhere, have all been replaced or repaired. Work has also been started on a new and desperately-needed ten cubicle toilet block.

It was with some disappointment that we learned that the four large water tanks that we had purchased last year had not been installed properly, and are therefore not being used. The reasons for this are a little unclear – it does mean that the school is now relying on just one large water tank as the tap on the other one is broken and is proving difficult to replace.

At this time a new block of four classrooms is under construction which should be ready for the beginning of the 2014 first term. This is being funded partly by the parents of the pupils.

The school nursery that Izzy help to set up in 2012 has had a few teething problems, a lot of which seem to have been caused by the absence of Immaculee this year. It is hoped that these have now been sorted and that things might run more smoothly in 2014.

FUTURE WORKS/PROJECTS

  • Toilets are a major problem and priority as soon as funds become available
  • Further help with TEFL and English language speaking practice is needed
  • A library is being considered
  • Concrete floors are still required in a number of the old classrooms
  • Plastering of walls is required in six of old classrooms
  • Broken windows need replacing
  • External footpaths to be completed
  • Further water storage tanks to be purchased and installed
  • Windows and doors to be replaced in the two remaining old classrooms

Although work had started on digging a soakaway pit for a new ten cubicle toilet block, (which we were able to fund) before our departure, this can only be completed if and when the final balance of £1500 is obtained. There is also a problem with another block that had been built, in that the pit does not soak away, and is therefore full. Money is not available to bring the lorry from Kemembe to clear its contents.

Arrangements have been made with Wellars so that as soon as funds become available these works will be addressed, along with the proper installation of the water tanks.

SUMMARY

Agreements have been made with Immaculee, that Wellars will remain in charge of future works and that all tenders will be submitted from at least two sources before any major project commences. It is intended that the new toilet block has priority as soon as money is made available.

The School will (when the new block is complete) have a total of 39 classrooms, two of which are taken up by the nursery, and a further two as teachers rooms, leaving 35 operational classrooms to accommodate over 2400 children attending on a split shift basis, with only 29 teachers.

This is still a long term project and although there is still much work to do at the school standards are slowly improving.

 

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Zumbo Rural Health Clinic, Uganda

Summary

In 2012 a small team of volunteers from Jersey helped to build additional classrooms at the overcrowded primary school in the village, as well as renovate and decorate existing classrooms. We worked in partnership with a team of local builders. In 2014 we are returning to the village to assist with the construction of a new permanent children’s ward for the village’s health centre.

What is the issue, problem, or challenge?

The Health Centre currently has a bed capacity for 20 people, some of which is in grass-thatched houses which are in a poor state of repair and leak in the rainy season. The available accommodation is dingy and often over-crowded contributing to cross infection particularly for infections such as diarrhoea, measles and tuberculosis.

Potential long term impact

Our work with the primary school is part of an overhaul of standards of teaching and learning in the school which has recently seen the appointment of a new headteacher and construction of new teachers’ accommodation.

The construction of a new permanent children’s ward will therefore reduce vulnerability to infections and provide much improved conditions for inpatient diagnosis and treatment. We are examining the feasibility of installing solar lighting.

Members of the team are continuing to support the school by sending teaching materials as well as providing ongoing financial assistance for a local initiative to educate young people about the facts of HIV/Aids.

Project message

My experience of the poor and basic conditions at the health centre was a real shock to the system and it really brought home to me the importance of carrying on with follow up projects. Steve Turner, former paramedic and volunteer in 2012

Funding

Total funding received to date: £19,500

Remaining goal to be funded: £12,500

Total funding goal: £32,000

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This is a post about Jersey

 

If you live in Jersey Channel Islands, you can apply to join building-based Jersey team projects, as well as to be an individual volunteer.

In 2012 volunteers went to build classrooms at Zumbo Primary School in northern Uganda.

In April 2013 a team returned to Mnukwa a village near Chipata in eastern Zambia, to help at a vocational training centre for vulnerable, disadvantaged young people and also elsewhere in the school and wider community.

Others are involved in Rwanda continuing the good work started in 2010 at a fast-growing rural school in the south of the country.

A new team is preparing to travel to Zumbo in Uganda again in 2014, this time to build a children’s ward in the village clinic.

More projects and opportunities are in the pipeline.

For more information, in the first instance please contact David – 01600 740317 / david@hatw.org.uk

HANDS AROUND THE WORLD has a very active Jersey branch which supports volunteers and helps with fundraising.

Your help with fundraising is always welcome – do contact Mike (mikehaden2@hotmail.com) to go on the list of Jersey friends..

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